April 1, 2023

mulakkal: Ex-bishop acquitted in Kerala nun rape case | India News – Times of India

KOTTAYAM: A sessions court on Friday acquitted Franco Mulakkal – former bishop of Jalandhar diocese of the Roman Catholic Church – of charges of raping a nun multiple times in a convent, evoking sharp reactions from various quarters.
A visibly relieved Mulakkal burst into tears and hugged his lawyers after the verdict. “Only the trees that bear fruits are stoned. I am just proud of that. Praise the Lord,” he said.
Save Our Sisters (SOS), the organisation formed to support nuns after they launched protests in Kochi, Kerala, demanding bishop Franco Mulakkal’s arrest, said its central committee decided to appeal in the higher court against the sessions court’s verdict on Friday.
“The verdict acquitting bishop Mulakkal is disappointing and unexpected. It was indeed a shock. Only after getting a copy of the verdict can we comment on the legal aspects of the judgment,” said Felix J Pulladan, convenor of SOS. He added that an elaborate meeting of SOS will be held on Saturday to discuss the fight forward.
“The words of the nuns who were on the forefront of the protests that they will fight for justice till their death is a powerful message. Their conviction gives confidence to everyone who works and prays for justice,” said Pulladan.
Sister Lucy Kalapura, who had been in the forefront of the protests against the bishop, said that the verdict was totally unexpected. In a Facebook post, she said it was a day when the goddess of justice got murdered in the courtroom.
“When a person, who was considered to be an accused on the basis of circumstances and evidence, is acquitted by the court through a single line, I’m expressing my regret to sisters who waged an agitation for justice,” she said on Friday. She added that the verdict has heightened the threats for people like her to live with dignity. Sr Lucy expressed hope that the government would file an appeal against the verdict in the high court and added that the court will at one stage find him guilty. She pointed out that in the Sr Abhaya murder case, the accused were found guilty after 28 years and called upon the other sisters and all the people who have come out in support of the nun to take forward their fight for justice.

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