Bishop Franco Mulakkal's interrogation in Kerala nun rape case enters third day

Catholic nuns hold placards demanding the arrest of the bishop

Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been accused of raping a nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016 in a case that has drawn widespread attention in India, where it remains rare for members of the church to accuse senior clergy of wrongdoing publicly. The SP maintained that the decision to arrest the bishop would be taken after Friday's questioning.

The development came a day after the Vatican relieved him "temporarily" of all pastoral responsibilities as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation to which the alleged victim also belongs. The bishop has swiftly denied all the charges which were filed against him and reportedly said that it was a "conspiracy". It is reported that the probe team discussed the matter with higher officials.

Independent legislator PC George, who had drawn outrage earlier this month for calling the nun "a prostitute" before apologising, today said the bishop was being framed by the investigators. Kottayam Superintendent of Police Hari Sankar said the bishop's questioning was likely to be over on Thursday.

When asked whether Mulakkal can be arrested before September 25, the day his anticipatory bail plea will come up for hearing in the high court, the top police officer said, "I think, legally there is no problem".

A protesting nun said they were all waiting for the news of the arrest of the bishop so a strong message goes out to those who abuse women.


He wrote the letter after Kerala police summoned him to appear before it for questioning in the case.

The officer refused to answer when asked whether the bishop would be arrested on Friday.

Dozens of nuns, activists and advocates have protested outside a court demanding his prosecution. From a small protest by five nuns, it has virtually grown into a movement over the past week with nuns and priests from various churches joining in.

The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India has also issued a statement announcing the appointment of the new Bishop.

Mr Sankar told reporters on Friday that the police would now investigate charges of rape, illegal confinement, unnatural sex and intimidation.

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