Kerala rape case: Church revokes transfer orders of nuns protesting against Bishop Mulakkal

The four nuns had received a reminder notice from the church last month to obey their transfer orders which were issued in March 2018. (Express File photo: Vignesh krishnamoorthy)

The Jalandhar-based Missionaries of Jesus Saturday revoked transfer orders of four nuns who staged a protest demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who is accused of rape by a nun, PTI reported.

Apart from the four nuns who were issued transfer orders, another nun was asked to report to the congregation’s Jalandhar convent and meet its Superior on January 26.

"There will be no move from Diocese of Jalandhar to oust you from Kuravilangad Church as long as you are needed in the court case," a letter written by Bishop Agnelo, Apostolic administrator in charge of the congregation, read.

The five nuns have been staying at the congregation’s mission house in Kerala’s Kottayam. The statement, issued by the church said that the nuns need not move out of the congregation premises in Kottayam. An email was sent in this regard to the five nuns, who are staying with the survivor nun.

In September, five nuns of the Missionaries of Jesus mission house in Kottayam staged an indefinite sit-in in Kochi, demanding Mulakkal's arrest. The protest had paved the way for a major movement, Save Our Sisters, which was called off only after the arrest of Mulakkal and his removal as bishop of Jalandhar.

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Although five nuns had staged the sit-in, four of them have been asked to comply with last year's transfer order.

The four nuns had received a reminder notice from the church last month to obey their transfer orders which were issued in March 2018. The Kerala nuns, however, refused to report at the assigned convents alleging that they would meet the fate of deceased Father Kuriakose Kattuthara- their colleague who was found dead at a church in Hoshiarpur Dasuya in October last year, few months after he testified against the bishop in the rape case. The nuns, including the victim, had written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan in January urging him to intervene and ensure that they continue to live in the present convent.

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The Church cancelled the transfer order a day before the nuns were to begin second round of protest demanding justice for the nun on the streets in Kerala’s Kottayam town. Sister Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, one of the nuns who was asked to return to Chamiyari convent in Punjab, had called the transfer order an 'attempt to split and destabilise them'.

Franco Mulakkal was accused of raping a nun at the mission house in Kottayam several times between 2014 and 2016 and spent three weeks in the sub-jail at Pala before he got bail.