Kerala's Thrissur Archdiocese Issues 2021 Calendar With Rape-Accused Bishop Mulakkal Photo, Believers Burn It

Kerala's Thrissur Archdiocese Issues 2021 Calendar With Rape-Accused Bishop Mulakkal Photo, Believers Burn ItRape accused bishop Franco Mulakkal (@apnnewsindia/Twitter)
Snapshot
  • The church has been coming out with the calendar since 2019 and usually, March has the photograph of Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

    The protesters were taken aback over the Archdiocese terming Mulakkal as “a saint”, which they argued was degrading women in the society.

A photo of Kerala Roman Catholic Church Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who has been accused of sexually abusing a nun, printed in a calendar for 2021 by the Thrissur diocese in the State has triggered protests, with some followers of the church burning its copies at Kollam.

Local media reported that the photo of Mulakkal, who is under trial at a local court in Kottayam, was printed on the page for the month of March.

The Syro Malabar Catholic Church supervises the functioning of the Thrissur Archdiocese, which brought out the calendar.

Enraged on seeing Mulakkal’s photographs, believers of Kollam Catholic Church burned the calendar copies in front of the Kollam Bishop's House, in protest against the publishing of the rape-accused Bishop's picture.

The church has been coming out with the calendar since 2019 and usually, March has the photograph of Mulakkal.

Last year, too, there were protests, but this year, the followers were agitated over the photograph getting repeated, particularly after the Supreme Court had, earlier this year, dismissed his petition to be cleared of the cases since “there is no merit”.

The protesters were taken aback over the Archdiocese terming Mulakkal as “a saint”, which they argued was degrading women in the society.

A 43-year-old nun had complained in 2018 that Mulakkal had raped and abused her between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kuruvilangad in Kottayam district.

A special investigation team filed a chargesheet in a Kottayam local court, while he was also relieved as bishop of the congregation. Apart from charges of rape, the bishop is facing charges of wrongful confinement, unnatural offence and criminal intimidation.

In August this year, a Supreme Court bench comprising Chief Justice S A Bobde and justices A S Bopanna and V Ramasubramanian dismissed Mulakkal’s petition to be discharged from the case of sexual abuse, saying: “You don’t have a case. We are not convinced.”

Mulakkal had moved the apex court against the case filed in a lower court in Kottayam for alleged abuse. This has forced him to face trial now.

The bishop, who heads the Jalandhar-based Missionaries of Jesus congregation, petitioned the Supreme Court saying he had been implicated in the case.

Much to his chagrin, a few more nuns have come forward alleging sexual abuse by Bishop Mulakkal.

On his part, the Bishop has alleged in the courts that the nun complained of sexual assault charges after he took action against her for financial irregularities she committed in the convent.

The nun approached the police after church authorities failed to act on her and other nuns’ repeated complaints. The church attempted to suppress the complaints by the nuns, while one of the prime witnesses has been asked to change her version.

The Mulakkal case is among a slew of cases that have come up against the church in Kerala in the last couple of years.

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