A Bishop’s Bloomer or a Harrowing Tale of Silent Sufferers

The Roman Catholic Church in Kerala, which was already mired in a slew of charges of rape and sexual abuse involving its priests, received a further jolt a few months back when a nun fired a fresh salvo of yet another rape charge against a senior clergyman. The nun went public with the startling accusation that she had been repeatedly raped on several occasions over a period of two years by Franco Mulakkal, who is the Bishop of Jalandhar Diocese, during the latter’s visits to a convent in Kerala. At first, she wrote to the Vatican and sought the bishop’s removal from the post. As no proper response was forthcoming, she filed a complaint with the police.

Meanwhile, the Church instituted an internal probe into the nun’s complaint and issued a clean chit in favour of the bishop. Although the police, on their part, registered a case, the preliminary probe against the accused dragged on for nearly three months, which led to the pulling up of the State and the police by the Kerala High Court. It became particularly awkward for the police when the nun further accused that the bishop used his authority and clout to defame her and tried to buy off her silence with a bribe of Rs 5 crore.

Bishop’s Arrest

The police stepped in and called the accused bishop for interrogation but not before a group of nuns and a motley collection of women group activists, artists, writers and celebrities took to the streets in a protest march, and the State erupted into a hysterical demand for justice for the aggrieved woman. Meanwhile, the bishop refuted the charge outright, calling it baseless and concocted. Franco Mulakkal alleged that the nun filed the case against him as a vendetta because he had ordered an internal probe against her after a woman complained that the nun was having an affair with her husband.

However, the bishop could not sustain his allegation against the nun, and his fake claim of a vendetta got exposed owing to contradictions in his own statements, which he had made during three days of interrogation, coupled with digital and circumstantial evidence, as well as statements of witnesses. This led to his arrest and finally on September 21, the High Court sent him to judicial custody.

Allegations and Counter-Allegations

The vociferous support received by the nun from a section of the society was sought to be rebuffed with counter-allegations against the woman in distress by a group of political supporters of the accused who did not flinch from indulging in character assassination. Poonjar MLA, PC George even went to the extent of calling the nun a prostitute.  Without a shred of evidence to back their theory, the supporters of the bishop blamed anti-Christian forces for plotting to bring disrepute to the Church by making the bishop a fall guy. Meanwhile, three more nuns joined the tirade against the bishop, accusing him of sexual misconduct towards them. However, the Church stuck to its stand that the bishop was innocent.

Following a report that the nuns supporting the rape-survivor were planning a second phase of agitation, a Kerala-based independent body that goes by the name of the Catholic Federation of India, consisting of followers of the Catholic Church, condemned the move by the nuns, calling them a cat’s paw in the hands of those individuals who are against the Church, anti-social elements and some terrorist groups. Claiming that the nuns were illegally occupying a convent, the federation demanded their ouster and announced its decision to launch an agitation to press its demand.

Face Saver

The troubled waters became even murkier when the Vatican recently came out in the open with the revelation of a humongous conspiracy by Satan to undermine the Roman Catholic Church. Pope Francis has spoken about the devil being alive and working overtime to sow scandals and division in the Church. Although he made the statement in the global context and his message made no specific reference to the scandals in India, especially the rape charge made by the nun in Kerala, it could not have come at a more appropriate time for the accused bishop and his supporters who were badly in need of a face saver.

Meanwhile, the Kerala High Court granted bail to the bishop on October 15, and he was released the next day from a sub-jail near Kottayam. A large number of supporters, including independent MLA PC George, greeted him as he came out of the sub-jail at Pala. The clergyman first went to his residence in Thrissur and later left for Punjab. When he reached Jalandhar on October 18, Franco received a hero’s welcome from his supporters, nuns and the current administrative bishop. They showered rose petals on him and welcomed him with a huge garland.

False Belief

Here it needs to be emphasized that when the rape is committed by someone very well known to the victim in whom the latter had reposed faith and trust, the crime of rape assumes more sinister dimensions. In this specific instance, the survivor was allegedly let down and attacked on several occasions by Franco Mulakkal, whom she had known well and closely. Besides, the perpetrator was apparently nursing the false belief that his target, being much lower than him in the hierarchy of the establishment, was in no position to raise her voice against him. This is nothing but betrayal of faith and misuse of power!

The Fallout

When the targeted person fails to receive justice from the establishment, it erodes her faith in the institution, no matter how lofty or August. Perceived delays on the part of the investigating agencies lead to lack of confidence in the system. When hounded by the mainstream media and lobbies that indulge in name calling, the woman in distress may become more depressed for having become the centre of unwanted attention and a soft target for unscrupulous sources of scurrilous writing. Implicit and explicit threats, hurled at her in the course of defending the accused, are capable of causing psychological injuries that leave behind emotional scars.

Justice for Restoration of Faith

In view of the above, the strong likelihood of the fallout of the sordid crime polarizing the society on communal or religious lines should be resolutely resisted by all the right thinking men, irrespective of their religious or political moorings and divisions. Men and women should rally around the just cause of ensuring justice for the aggrieved. The wheels of justice must be seen to grind, with the interests of the individuals involved in the case and the cause of the issue at hand, namely, freedom for the vulnerable links in the hierarchy of institutions from the fear of oppression and persecution, being the only considerations. A rape is a rape, no matter who perpetrates it on whom and there is no condoning of the perpetrator of the crime.

This message should be sent across the society to instil the fear of the law among the potential criminals as well as to safeguard the hope for justice among the weak and the vulnerable. Above all, the sanctity of a place of worship and trust and faith in those who serve God and humanity must be restored. In future, the Church’s cooperation with the investigating agencies and the Court in seeing the case through will be immensely helpful for shoring up the goodwill of the devout churchgoers and the others alike as well as to ensure fair play for the victims and the aggrieved.

89 thoughts on “A Bishop’s Bloomer or a Harrowing Tale of Silent Sufferers

  1. Prashant kumar singh

    It is in news that various high level officials and even politicians are backing the Bishop despite knowing that he is accused of a serious offence. Such people should be discahrged from their offices.

  2. ishwar mohite

    Perpetrators are allowed to use all resources to mute the voice of victim and the victim is shamed in public for coming out with her ordeal. This is the sad fact of not only India but world.

  3. Mandar Natekar

    In most of the rape and sexual harassment cases, first the parties are deliberately involved and then when something goes wrong from the side of man, it becomes a case of rape. Even courts admit this fact.

  4. Ajay Mahajan

    Law enforcement in India is so week that it took demonstrations by civil society for police action to initiate. Same happened in Bihar shelter home case. Why is police so inefficient?

  5. Gagan Jakhotiya

    Rightly said that all machinery must unite when such cases erupt in assuring justice for the victim. Else, the victims will not dare to report such violence against them and cases will go unnoticed.

  6. shweta ripple

    So heart-breaking to see a rape accused being welcomed on his release from prison. What has happened to the society and especially nuns and other church members who welcomed this man.

  7. Niraj Gupta

    Only because police presented their case so weak that the Bishop could walk out of jail on bail. Look at Hindu gurus still languishing in jail and this bishop could come out within a month.

  8. Aarti Duggal

    One thing is sure, women have to run from pillar to post to avail justice even in today’s India when we take pride in facts that women are achieving new heights.

  9. Gaurav Gupta

    A communist government in Kerala is supporting all anti-national and anti-Hindu activities by appeasing minorities. Bishop’s protection from arrest and arrest of devotees of Sabrimala should be seen in this light.

  10. Deepesh Vaish

    It is true that authorities turn a blind eye when missionaries and their officials and church authorities are accused in some criminal activity. Since these people enjoy impunity they are fearless of law.

  11. Jagandeep Singh

    I am often to blogging and i really appreciate your content. The article has actually peaks my interest. I am going to bookmark your web site and keep checking for brand new information.

  12. Dakshita Gandhi

    Very soon this web page will be famous among all blogging and site-building users, due to it is pleasant articles

  13. Haresh singh

    Ahaa, its pleasant dialogue about this piece of writing at this place at this weblog, I have read all that, so at this time me also commenting here.

  14. Deepeash pratap

    it is an amazing piece of writing designed for all the online visitors. they will get benefit from it I am sure.

  15. Divay Poddar

    I visit daily a few web sites and sites to read articles or reviews, however this blog provides feature based articles.

  16. Chaithra Murthy

    Quality articles or reviews is the key to attract the users to go to see the web site, that is what this web page is providing.

  17. Chaitanya thombre

    I was extremely pleased to find this web site. I need to to thank you for ones time due to this wonderful read.. I definitely really liked every little bit of it and I have you bookmarked to look at new information on your website.

  18. Madhav Pai

    Great task on this publish. I enjoy the way you displayed your info as well as the way a person achieved it significant and also obvious to be aware of. Thanks a great deal.

  19. Edward Gonsalves

    Hi there to every one, since I am really eager of reading this weblogs post to be updated daily. It contains fastidious stuff.

  20. Madhukar joshi

    Fantastic put up, very informative. I wonder why the opposite experts of this sector do not understand this. You must continue your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers base already.

  21. Hanif Mohamed

    I wanted to thank you for this fantastic read.. I absolutely enjoyed every bit of it. I have got you book marked to check out new stuff you post

  22. Ebenezer Lyall

    Great web site you have got here.. it is difficult to find high-quality writing like yours nowadays. I truly appreciate people like you. Take care..

  23. Aadarsh Sharma

    Hello very cool website. Man .. Excellent .. Amazing .. I will bookmark your website and take the feeds additionally.I am glad to search out numerous useful information here within the publish, we need work out extra techniques in this regard, thank you for sharing. . . . . .

  24. Abby Sing

    This is really interesting, You are a very skilled blogger. I have joined your rss feed and look forward to seeking more of your great post. Also, I have shared your web site in my social networks.

  25. Bedanta pathak

    Thanks for that, the site looks fantastic and I am sure will be a great service to both locals and visitors.

  26. Chandani

    Hello, I am so happy I found your weblog. I am really appreciating the commitment you put into your site and in depth information you offer. This has been so particularly generous with people like you to supply openly all that most of us would have offered for sale for an e book in order to make some dough on their own, even more so seeing that you could possibly have tried it if you ever decided.

  27. Lajja Gandhi Naidu

    I am very happy to find this web site. I wanted to thank you for your time due to this fantastic read. I definitely liked every little bit of it and i also have you saved to fav to see new information in your site.

  28. Aadil Shaikh

    Thank you for the introduction to the new website. I will be re-visiting it many times, but on a fast run-through it looks really great.

  29. Deepanshu mehandiratta

    Can I just say what a relief to discover someone that actually understands what they are talking about over the internet. You definitely understand how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people really need to read this and understand this side of the story. I was surprised that you aren?t?more popular since you most certainly possess the gift.

  30. Gautam kadan

    So good to find somebody with some unique thoughts on this subject matter. Really.. thanks for starting this up.

  31. Jasneet Bhatia

    Just wanted to say how much we appreciate the tremendous amount of hard work and effort you all put in to producing this website. It is a great credit to everyone and I am sure will be a great success.

  32. Harsh amrath

    You are very intelligent. You already know the significance in the case of this matter. You post consider numerous angles of information. Your own stuff is excellent.

  33. B G Kumar

    Congratulations Dr Gupta in the setting up of your attractive, informative and very professional website. Well done.


    I have learn several just right stuff here. Certainly price bookmarking for revisiting. I wonder how much effort you set to create such a fantastic informative web site.

  35. Jagdeep Chhokar

    Thank you, I have just been looking for info about this subject for ages and yours is the best I have found out till now.

  36. Jasmin Shah

    Really.. thanks for starting this up. This web site is one thing that is required on the web, someone with a bit of originality.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *