Ja­land­har dio­cese stays or­der hours after nuns’ trans­fer re­voked For­mer cabi­net min­is­ter Gobind Kan­jla passes way

Hindustan Times (Jalandhar) - - HTPUNJAB - HT Cor­re­spon­dent let­ter­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com HTC and agen­cies let­ter­[email protected]­dus­tan­times.com BISHOP IN THE DOCK

cabi­net min­is­ter in Parkash Singh Badal gov­ern­ment in 1997, Gobind Singh Kan­jla, 69, passed way after a pro­longed ill­ness on Fri­day night. On Satur­day, he was cre­mated at his na­tive vil­lage Kan­jla near Dhuri. Lehra SAD MLA Par­min­der Singh Dhindsa, Su­nam AAP MLA Aman Arora, Dhuri SDM Deepak Ro­hela and DSP Dhuri Akashdeep Singh Au­lakh at­tended the last rites Kan­jla, who was elected MLA for the first time from Sher­pur in 1985. He is sur­vived by sons, Aman­deep Singh and Ga­gan­deep Singh.

Hours after the apos­tolic ad­min­is­tra­tor of Ja­land­har dio­cese bishop An­gelo Gra­cias sent an email to five protest­ing nuns re­vok­ing their trans­fer, the Ja­land­har dio­cese is­sued a state­ment on Satur­day evening say­ing the or­ders have not been can­celled.

The five nuns are de­mand­ing the ar­rest of for­mer Ja­land­har bishop Franco Mu­lakkal ac­cused of sex­u­ally as­sault­ing a 43-year-old nun. In her com­plaint to the po­lice in June last year, the nun, also a mother su­pe­rior, al­leged that Mu­lakkal raped her 13 times be­tween 2014 and 2016.

In the email, bishop An­gelo had as­sured the nuns that “there will be no move from the dio­cese of Ja­land­har to oust them” from Ku­rav­i­lan­gad con­vent in Kottayam district as long as they are needed for the court case, she said.

PROTEST­ING NUNS WILL NOW HAVE TO MOVE TO THEIR COM­MU­NI­TIES FROM WHERE THEY HAD WALKED OUT WITH­OUT SU­PE­RI­ORS’ PER­MIS­SION

The five nuns joined a con­ven­tion called “Save Our Sis­ters” – an out­fit floated dur­ing the protests last year – in Kottayam where Sis­ter Anu­pama con­firmed re­ceiv­ing the email. She ex­pressed grat­i­tude to all who sup­ported their cause and said they would take the case to its log­i­cal end.

Later in the evening, the Ja­land­har dio­cese’s PRO, Fa­ther Peter Kavumpu­ram, is­sued a clar­i­fi­ca­tion say­ing: “The church has no in­ten­tion to scut­tle the case. The church in Ja­land­har and the uni­ver­sal church want the truth to emerge. The ju­di­ciary alone is com­pe­tent to pro­nounce on guilt or in­no­cence of any­one. The con­gre­ga­tion of the Mis­sion­ar­ies of Je­sus did not or­der the trans­fer of five sis­ters, but it was rather an in­vi­ta­tion to them to re­turn to their right­ful com­mu­ni­ties from which they had walked out with­out any per­mis­sion from their su­pe­ri­ors. The or­der to re­turn to their right­ful com­mu­ni­ties by the mother gen­eral is not can­celled but stands.”

Last month, the head of their con­gre­ga­tion had is­sued trans­fer or­ders to four nuns who took part in the protest against Mu­lakkal and asked them to join their pre­vi­ously as­signed con­vents. An­other nun, Sis­ter Neena Rose, who is stay­ing with the com­plainant nun, was asked to re­port to the Ja­land­har con­vent on Jan­uary 26. The four nuns had writ­ten to Ker­ala chief min­is­ter Pi­narayi Vi­jayan seek­ing his in­ter­ven­tion to en­sure that their trans­fer or­ders were not af­fected till the trial of the case was over.

Mu­lakkal was ar­rested on Septem­ber 21, 2018, on rape charges after the nuns joined a pub­lic protest in Kochi that forced the po­lice to take strong ac­tion against him.

HT FILE

Nuns hold plac­ards dur­ing a protest in Kochi, de­mand­ing jus­tice after an al­leged sex­ual as­sault on a nun.

n Gobind Singh Kan­jla

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