‘We will end stir the day bishop Franco is held’

Hindustan Times (Patiala) - - Punjab -

KOCHI: The dharna by the Mis­sion­ar­ies of Je­sus nuns in Kochi de­mand­ing the ar­rest of bishop Franco Mu­lakkal for al­legedly rap­ing a col­league in a Kot­tayam con­vent en­tered the eighth day on Satur­day. From a small protest by five nuns, it has vir­tu­ally grown into a move­ment over the past week. Sis­ter Anupama, one of the nuns head­ing the protest, spoke to Ramesh Babu on the con­tro­versy. Ex­cerpts:

The bishop has handed charge to his deputy to join the probe. Will you con­tinue your stir?

We will con­tinue till the bishop is ar­rested. Come what may, we will take it to its log­i­cal con­clu­sion. It is a tem­po­rary ar­range­ment that the bishop has given his charge to his deputy. It is eye­wash; we need jus­tice. We turned to ev­ery­one, in­clud­ing the Church higher-ups and the po­lice, for help but they ig­nored our re­peated pleas for two years.

Is it a spon­ta­neous stir or a well thought­out one?

When all op­tions were closed, we were forced to take to the streets. It was a spon­ta­neous move. Ini­tially, we were scared, but when we got pub­lic sup­port, we got some strength. We are get­ting good sup­port from all quar­ters. De­spite the church gag against show­ing any sym­pa­thy for us, our sup­port is swelling.

But the church says ex­ter­nal forces are sup­port­ing your move­ment...

No ex­ter­nal forces are be­hind us other than our fam­ily mem­bers. We don’t know who all are com­ing and sit­ting here. We were lured with tall prom­ises, in­tim­i­dated and wrong cases were foisted on us... There were at­tempts on our lives, we are not both­ered.

Po­lice say there are many con­tra­dic­tions in the nun’s (sur­vivor’s) state­ment as well?

More than the church, what re­ally shocked us was the in­dif­fer­ent at­ti­tude of the po­lice... De­spite a big out­cry, I don’t know why they dread touch­ing the bishop... The sur­vivor was ques­tioned seven times but the ac­cused only once. It seems the pe­ti­tioner is be­ing hounded.

Who is pro­tect­ing the bishop?

You can see that de­spite knock­ing on many doors, in­clud­ing the Pope’s, there is no re­sponse. Now they are in a race to shame the sur­vivor and the wit­nesses. Our strug­gle is only for jus­tice.

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