Supporters Face Action For Standing In Solidarity With Kerala Nun

A Jacobite Priest has been warned of disciplinary action and a Catholic nun restrained from church duties in a fallout of their participation in protests in Kochi demanding the arrest of rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal.

Sister Lucy Kalapura, who returned to her parish in Wayand on Sunday morning from Kochi, claimed she was informed orally by the Mother Superior that she should keep away from holding catechism classes, conducting prayers and other activities related to the Syro Malabar catholic church.

"No written orders were given to me. I was only informed orally by the Mother Superior not to participate in any church-related activities." - Sister Lucy Kalapura told PTI.

Also Read: Kerala Nun Rape: Meet the 5 Nuns Who Waged Battle for Justice

Church Denies Retaliatory Measures Against Nun

However, in a statement, Father Stephen Kottakkal, vicar of the St Mary's church Karakkamala in Wayanad, said Sister Lucy had been asked to keep away from duties in view of certain concerns expressed by the parishioners.

He denied the church had initiated any retaliatory measure against Sister Lucy for participating in the nuns protest in Kochi.

"“The believers had informed us that they had some difficulties in sister Lucy participating in the church activities relating to Holy mass and taking classes for their children.”" - Father Stephen Kottakkal, vicar of the St Mary’s church Karakkamala

The vicar said he had only 'conveyed' the general feeling of the parishioners with regard to certain posts of sister Lucy in the social media which they felt were not in consonance with the church beliefs. Many of them had informed him the same, he said.

The Franciscean Clarist Congregation St Mary's province Mananthavady, to which sister Lucy belongs, said she faced disciplinary action for various other reasons.

However, no explanation had been sought or action taken so far against her in connection with the nun's issue.

Sister Lucy, however, maintained the restraint order against her was only for participating in the protests at Kochi.

Also Read: Kerala Nun Rape: Franco Mulakkal’s Bail Rejected, Sent to Custody

Church Headquarters Sends Letter to Priest, ‘Warns’ About Disciplinary Action

The priest, Bar Yuhanon Ramban, belonging to a dayara in Ernakulam district, said on Sunday he had received a 'warning' letter from his church headquarters in Damascus in Syria for supporting the nuns' protest.

The letter also said he had campaigned for the implementation of Church Act, he told PTI.

According to the letter, his involvement and public speeches supporting the Catholic nuns were seemingly more than the envisaged living style of church priests.

It further said his activities had caused 'disgrace' to the status of Monasticism and warned that disciplinary measures would be taken if he continued with such deeds.

The priest alleged that some local bishops had conspired against him and sent wrong information to the church higher-ups in Syria and based on which they had issued the warning letter.

He has written a letter to the Patriarch of Antioch, Mor Ignatius Aphrem II, the head of the Universal Syrian Orthodox Church, explaining his stand.

Indulekha Joseph, one of the leaders of the Kerala Catholic Church Reformation movement, alleged the action against sister Lucy was an attempt to silence the voices of protest against any form of unjust activities within the church.

Also Read: Bishop Accused for Rape of Kerala Nun Relieved of Pastoral Duties

Social activist Swami Agnivesh condemned the action against sister Lucy and the Jacobite priest for supporting the five nuns.

The nuns had protested for 13 days, demanding the arrest of the bishop who was accused of repeatedly raping a fellow nun.

The bishop, arrested on Friday after three days of intense grilling by Kerala police, is now in police custody.

‘An Attempt to Scare Me for Supporting the Nuns’

A case has been registered against Malayalam actor Joy Mathew and 24 others for taking out a march in a prohibited area in Kozhikode in support of the nuns who had held a sit in protest in Kochi, demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun.

The march was taken out on 12 September in the recently renovated 'Mittayi Thiravu' (sweet street), despite a prohibitory order being in force in the area.

Despite being told not to take out the march, the actor and the others flouted rules and did so, police said on Sunday, 23 September.

The case was registered under various sections of the Indian Penal Code, including unlawful assembly, breach of peace, rioting and obstructing public way, police said.

Reacting to the development, Joy Mathew said he had taken out the march to express solidarity with the protesting nuns.

“This is an attempt to scare me for supporting the nuns”, he said.

The actor said he was not told by police about the prohibitory order in the area.

“We took out a silent march with placards”, he told television channels.

The nun, in her complaint to Kottayam police in June, had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions.

The nun had said she had to approach the police as church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman.

However, the bishop has denied the charges.

Also Read: Kerala Rape Survivor Nun Must Get Justice: Amnesty International

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