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Nun Rape Case: Supporters of survivor express shock; 'Praise the Lord', reacts Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Nun Rape Case: Supporters of survivor express shock; Praise the Lord, reacts Bishop Franco Mulakkal

Kottayam (Kerala): After the Additional District Court in Kerala's Kottayam exonerated former Jalandhar Bishop, Franco Mulakkal, from the charges of raping a nun in a Kerala convent, the acquittal has triggered emotional reactions on Friday.

The nuns who supported the survivor expressed shock and dismay over the verdict and said they would continue the fight till justice is prevailed while the jubilant bishop urged followers to 'praise the Lord and be happy'

A group of nuns of Kuravilangad Convent, Kottayam who have been standing with the survivor in her fight, were on the verge of tears when they said they were yet to believe such a verdict came out from the court and they did not know what has happened. The survivor and her supporters stay in the Kuravilangad convent in this south Kerala district.

Sister Anupama, who was the face of the nun's years-long fight for justice, said they would surely challenge the verdict in the higher court and take forward the fight of their hapless colleague.

In a broken voice, she also said the verdict gives them a message that ordinary mortals like them should never break their silence against any injustice and fight a case that happened to them in life.

When asked whether they would be safe in the convent and they expect any ill-treatment from the church authorities in the wake of the verdict, she said they had never been safe there and they could not reveal many things happening inside the institution. Sister Anupama also made it clear that they were even ready to die to get justice for the survivor.

Meanwhile, a visibly relieved and emotional Mulakkal, who arrived in the court to hear the verdict, burst into tears, hugged his followers and lawyers, sharing his joy over the verdict.

When asked what he has to say to his followers and faithful, the priest urged them to praise the Lord and be happy. Some of his followers were even seen crying out of joy knowing the acquittal of the bishop.

Investigators, lawyers and social activists who stood with the nun in her fight against Mulakkal expressed shock over the verdict, saying it was totally unexpected.

Terming the verdict as "very very unfortunate" and "unnatural'', senior IPS officer S Harishankar, who had led the special investigation team in the rape case, said 100 per cent conviction was expected in the case and the verdict would be an "astonishment" for the entire legal system of the country.

In the case, the survivor was a nun and the assailant was a person who was powerful enough to decide whether she should continue to live or die.

"The argument that the woman should have reacted at the time of molestation is unacceptable. An appeal will be filed in the higher court challenging this verdict. The state police chief already gave instructions in this regard and an appeal will be filed as soon as we get a copy of the verdict," he told reporters.

Even the supreme court made it clear multiple times that the victim's statement, if it is consistent and does not have massive contradictions, is a satisfactory piece of evidence for a conviction, he said, adding that it would give a wrong message to society and those suffering similar assaults silently.

Public prosecutor, Jithesh J Babu, said it was a single-line judgment and could avail the details only after getting the copy of the verdict.

He also said the verdict would be challenged in the higher court and the decision would be taken after consulting with the government and the investigators.

In a brief Malayalam statement issued soon after the verdict, the Jalandhar diocese thanked those who believed in the innocence of the Bishop to date and provided him with the necessary legal assistance.

Mulakkal, 57, was accused of raping the nun multiple times during his visit to a convent in this district when he was the Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic church.

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TAGS:Nun rape case Catholic Bishop Franco 
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