JALANDHAR BISHOP HANDS OVER CHARGE

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - News - HT Correspondent let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com

Bishop Franco Mu­lakkal on Satur­day named a se­nior priest to ad­min­is­ter the Ro­man Catholic Dio­cese of Jalandhar, a day af­ter he re­ceived sum­mons from the Ker­ala po­lice to join an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a nun’s al­le­ga­tions that he raped her mul­ti­ple times be­tween 2014 and 2016.

JALANDHAR: Bishop Franco Mu­lakkal on Satur­day named a se­nior priest to ad­min­is­ter the Ro­man Catholic Dio­cese of Jalandhar, a day af­ter he re­ceived sum­mons from the Ker­ala po­lice to join an in­ves­ti­ga­tion into a 43-year-old nun’s al­le­ga­tions that he raped her mul­ti­ple times be­tween 2014 and 2016. Mu­lakkal ap­pointed his deputy, vicar gen­eral Mathew Kokkan­dam, to ad­min­is­ter the Dio­cese, as is the nor­mal prac­tice, be­fore he trav­els to Ker­ala .

“I leave every­thing into the hand of God as I await the re­sult of the find­ings of the probe into the al­le­ga­tion. In my ab­sence, Msgr. Matthew Kokkan­dam will ad­min­is­ter the Dio­cese as the nor­mal prac­tise when I am away,” Mu­lakkal said.

On Fri­day, the 54-year-old Bishop re­ceived of­fi­cial sum­mons served by the Jalandhar po­lice on be­half of Vaikom deputy su­per­in­ten­dent of po­lice K Sub­hash, who is head­ing the in­ves­ti­ga­tion. Jalandhar com­mis­sioner of po­lice Praveen Sinha re­ceived the sum­mons from Ker­ala po­lice to serve the pa­pers on the Bishop, ask­ing him to ap­pear be­fore the in­ves­ti­ga­tors on Septem­ber 19.

A rep­re­sen­ta­tive of the Bishop said he hadn’t re­signed. “He has only ap­pointed Fa­ther Matthew to ad­min­is­ter the func­tion­ing of the Dio­cese in his ab­sence as the Bishop is go­ing to join the in­ves­ti­ga­tion in Ker­ala.”

The nun has alleged that Mu­lakkal first as­saulted her af­ter sum­mon­ing her on the pre­text of a dis­cus­sion in 2014. On Satur­day, a group of Catholic pri­ests ex­tended sup­port to the protest by Catholic ref­or­ma­tion or­gan­i­sa­tions and the sur­vivor’s col­leagues seek­ing jus­tice for her.

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