UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News Catholic Dioceses in Asia
UCA News

India

Indian nun accuses bishop charged with rape of slander campaign

Nun seeks legal action against Bishop Franco Mulakkal for allegedly supporting moves to defame her

ucanews reporter, Kochi

ucanews reporter, Kochi

Updated: October 24, 2019 08:17 AM GMT
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Indian nun accuses bishop charged with rape of slander campaign

Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveli, spokesperson for the rape accuser nun, speaks during a public protest seeking the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar on Sept. 20, 2018, in Kochi, southern India. (ucanews photo)

Share this article :
A Catholic nun, who accused a bishop of raping her more than a year ago, has approached India's federal rights commission accusing the prelate of being behind a defamation campaign against her.

The nun, based in Kerala state in southern India, wrote to the National Human Rights Commission on Oct. 19 seeking action against Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar for allegedly tarnishing her image.

"I have been subjected to extreme humiliation and intimidation in various forms" since the crime was reported to police in June 2018, the letter said.

It said church authorities and church social media forums had spread rumors about her and the nuns supporting her.

False statements and fabricated stories aiming to tarnish their reputation and character were spread through social media channels, particularly internet channel Christian Times, the letter said. "We believe Bishop Franco and his group are behind this agenda," it added.

Her nun companions, who witnessed the torture and humiliation she suffered, have also been put through humiliations, the nun's letter said.

The bishop, based in Jalandhar Diocese in northern India, was accused of raping the nun multiple times from 2014 during visits to Kerala. The nun is a former superior general of Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under the bishop's patronage.

The bishop was arrested on Sept. 21 last year after a fortnight-long public protest led by five nuns of the same congregation. The nuns are also companions of the alleged rape victim.

The nun said she had filed police complaints about eight cases of media humiliation and insults. But even after police began investigating a case against the Christian Times, it published several photographs and videos revealing her name and identity, the nun said.

Indian laws forbid revealing the name, photograph or other details of an alleged rape victim to help protect her from a possible social backlash.

"The identity of witnesses supporting me are also disclosed, leaving them open to intimidation and threats. The videos were published in such a way that my identity was easily recognizable to the public," the letter said.

Bishop Mulakkal and his supporters and their media "have been spreading false rumors and fake news" in violation of laws in order to obstruct justice, the nun said. 

'Channel not linked with bishop'

Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveli, spokesperson for the nun, told ucanews that the letter was written as Christian Times had continued its slander campaign even after eight complaints against it to the police.

"We strongly believe that it is being done at the behest of the bishop, who himself appeared in one bulletin, further strengthening our doubts," Sister Anupama said.

However, Father Peter Kavumpuram, public relations officer of Jalandhar Diocese, dismissed the accusations.

"As far as I know, Christian Times is a private online channel, and Bishop Franco and Jalandhar Diocese have no connection with it," he told ucanews.

Several media outlets "targeted the bishop and carried negative stories without checking their facts and figures a year ago. Nobody ever raised any objection then," he noted.

The priest said he had seen some news broadcasts by Christian Times. "I found them accurate and with proper facts and figures. I believe they have sufficient documents to support their claims," he added.

Police charged Bishop Mulakkal in April with raping a nun multiple times. A 2,000-page charge sheet listed charges of wrongful confinement, rape of a woman incapable of giving consent, causing grievous bodily harm during rape, unnatural offense and criminal intimidation.

If found guilty, the bishop faces imprisonment of not less than 10 years or up to life in jail.

Support UCA News...

As 2020 unfolds, we are asking readers like you to help us keep Union of Catholic Asian News (UCA News) free so it can be accessed from anywhere in the world at no cost.

That has been our policy for years and was made possible by donations from European Catholic funding agencies. However, like the Church in Europe, these agencies are in decline and the immediate and urgent claims on their funds for humanitarian emergencies in Africa and parts of Asia mean there is much less to distribute than there was even a decade ago.

Forty years ago, when UCA News was founded, Asia was a very different place - many poor and underdeveloped countries with large populations to feed, political instability and economies too often poised on the edge of collapse. Today, Asia is the economic engine room of the world and funding agencies quite rightly look to UCA News to do more to fund itself.

UCA News has a unique product developed from a view of the world and the Church through informed Catholic eyes. Our journalistic standards are as high as any in the quality press; our focus is particularly on a fast-growing part of the world - Asia - where, in some countries the Church is growing faster than pastoral resources can respond to - South Korea, Vietnam and India to name just three.

And UCA News has the advantage of having in its ranks local reporters that cover 22 countries and experienced native English-speaking editors to render stories that are informative, informed and perceptive.

We report from the ground where other news services simply can't or won't go. We report the stories of local people and their experiences in a way that Western news outlets simply don't have the resources to reach. And we report on the emerging life of new Churches in old lands where being a Catholic can at times be very dangerous.

With dwindling support from funding partners in Europe and the USA, we need to call on the support of those who benefit from our work.

Click here to find out the ways you can support UCA News. You can make a difference for as little as US$5...
UCAN Donate
UCA Newsletter
YOUR DAILY
NEWSLETTER
Thank you. You are now signed up to our Daily Full Bulletin newsletter

Also Read

UCA News Podcast
UCAN Ad
 
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution
Mission in Asia | Make a Contribution