“Nothing can stop us in our fight for justice,” says Sr Anupama who has been leading the protest near Kerala High Court premises along with four other nuns for the last 12 days demanding the arrest of Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun.
She led the nuns who created history by coming out in the open in the fight against the bishop. The support the movement has been gathering from different quarters, including the laity, has shaken the Church.
The victim nun's sister, who had been on an indefinite hunger strike for the last three days, was shifted to hospital this afternoon after her health began deteriorating. Social activist Geetha is continuing her hunger strike and said the fight will continue till the bishop is arrested.
On the day the second round of questioning began after the bishop was summoned by the probe team, Sr Anupama expressed her confidence that the struggle would succeed because the cause was just.
“We want nothing short of arrest. The bishop remaining out of custody poses a big threat. He can very well destroy evidence. This should not be allowed,” she told PenNews.
On the probe team taking a stand that there would be no immediate arrest and the bishop's anticipatory bail plea being deferred to September 25 and the nuns being dragged to public protest, she said even the Church itself was not protecting them. “We knocked at all doors, that of the Bishop of Pala, Cardinal Alencherry and four important offices in the Vatican, including that of the Pope, and there was no reply or even an acknowledgement of our concerns,” she said.
There was threat to their lives. Members of the family were facing the ire of a section of the Church. It was under these circumstances that they were forced to come out in the open and make an official complaint, St Anupama said. ”We wrote very recently to the Pope's ambassador in Delhi. And yet there has been no response,” she reminds.
Bishop Franco filed a false case against her and the victim nun in Punjab. That was when they felt they had to move officially against the bishop. It has been 85 days since the case was taken up and yet there has been no positive outcome like the arrest of the bishop.
“We feared that our fate could turn to be like that of St Abhaya (she was found dead in the well of a convent in Kottayam on March 27, 1992, and was proved to be a murder involving priests and nuns). We were forced to act as even the Church refused to hear us,” says Sr Anupama.
A section of the Church and even legislator PC George have been hurling abuses against the victim and nuns participating in the protest. But these nuns have not fallen to such 'traps’. “PC George is not our target. We do not want to file a complaint against him. Our aim is clear. If anyone complains let them do so. We won't get deviated. Already our colleague has suffered much and we will take our struggle for justice for the nun,” she said.