Thiruvananthapuram: A Kerala nun who is a key witness in the rape case against Bishop Franco Mullakal was rescued by the police from the Jeeva Jyothi convent in Muvattupuzha, Kerala. A case of wrongful confinement has been lodged against the convent.
Sister Lissy had given a statement to the police in the sexual assault case against Mullakal, soon after which, she was transferred to Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh, where she was allegedly confined for a few months.
According to Save Our Sisters (SOS), an umbrella organisation of several church-based reformation groups, the 60-year-old nun was intimidated by superiors after being transferred to Vijayawada and pressured to withdraw her statement against the Bishop.
Sister Lissy told the police that was not allowed to see her ailing mother or communicate with her family and was compelled to change her statement. Her brothers had filed a missing complaint with the police.
“Lissy’s phone was taken away when she reached the convent in Andhra Pradesh. She was not allowed to communicate with her family or even talk to other nuns there. She was being pressurised to retract her statement against Franco Mullakal," Shaiju Antony, joint convenor of the SOS, said.
The nun was later allowed to visit her mother in Kerala, but only in the company of two senior nuns. She was then taken directly to the convent in Muvattupuzha, where she was allegedly wrongfully confined, the police complaint said.
The police has booked the convent under section 342 of IPC, which deals with punishment for wrongful confinement. The SOS has also demanded action against the convent for compelling the nun to withdraw the statement.
Lissy belongs to the Franciscan Clarist Congregation, under the Catholic Church. The congregation has been sending repeated warning letters to other nuns for supporting their colleague accusing Francko Mullakal of rape.