‘Will con­tinue fight till bishop’s ar­rest’

Protest­ing nuns say govt.’s stance on the is­sue is not clear; eight priests ex­tend sup­port to ag­i­ta­tion

The Hindu - - NATION - Spe­cial Cor­re­spon­dent

The five nuns par­tic­i­pat­ing in the on­go­ing protest or­gan­ised by the Save Our Sis­ters (SOS) Ac­tion Coun­cil against Bishop Franco Mu­lakkal, head of the Ja­land­har dio­cese of the Catholic Church, have said that their ag­i­ta­tion will end only af­ter the bishop’s ar­rest for al­legedly rap­ing a nun.

Sis­ter Anu­pama of the Mis­sion­ar­ies of Je­sus un­der the Ja­land­har dio­cese said here on Satur­day that the bishop’s de­ci­sion to hand over charges to vicar gen­eral Mathew Kokkan­dam was a nor­mal prac­tice in the Church ad­min­is­tra­tion and it could not be con­sid­ered as a vic­tory for the ag­i­ta­tion.

“Our fight is to en­sure jus­tice for the vic­tim and it will con­tinue till the bishop is ar­rested and in­ter­ro­gated by the in­ves­ti­gat­ing team,” she said at Vanchi Square near the of­fice of the In­spec­tor Gen­eral, Kochi Range.

Sis­ter Anu­pama pointed out that they were not fight­ing against the Church, the po­lice and the gov­ern­ment.

“The Church au­thor­i­ties had not sup­ported us de­spite our re­peated pleas... V.S. Achuthanan­dan, for­mer Chief Min­is­ter, had called us to ex­tend sup­port for our strug­gle. We are not yet clear about the stance adopted by the gov­ern­ment. How­ever, we hope that the po­lice will ar­rest the bishop,’’ she said.

Fr. Au­gus­tine Vat­toly, con­vener of the coun­cil, said they would file a com­plaint be­fore the Com­mis­sioner of Po­lice, Kochi, seek­ing the ar­rest of those at the Mis­sion­ar­ies of Jus­tice re­spon­si­ble for re­leas­ing a pho­to­graph of the vic­tim. A case has been reg­is­tered against the Mis­sion­ar­ies of Jus­tice by the Ku­rav­i­lan­gadu po­lice in Kot­tayam district on a com­plaint filed by the vic­tim’s brother.

Mean­while, sup­port con­tin­ued to pour in for the on­go­ing protest from var­i­ous quar­ters. Eight priests led by Fr. Paul The­lakkat, for­mer spokesper­son of the Syro Mal­abar Church, vis­ited the protest site and ex­tended their sup­port to the ag­i­ta­tion. Fr. The­lakkat urged the Vat­i­can to en­sure jus­tice to the protest­ing nuns and the vic­tim.

SPE­CIAL AR­RANGE­MENT ■

Grow­ing sup­port: A priest vis­its the protest­ing nuns in Kochi on Satur­day.

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