By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi: Police in Kerala have registered a sexual case against a Catholic bishop, television channels in the southern Indian state reported on June 29.
The case was filed by a Catholic nun who has worked in Jalandhar diocese in the northern Indian state of Punjab, now headed by Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
“It is a false case filed in retaliation,” Father Peter Kavumpuram, public relations officer of Jalandhar diocese, told Matters India on June 29.
This is the first sexual abuse case against a bishop in India where several priests have been arrested for the crime.
The priest said the nun went to the police ten days after the diocese filed a police case in Kerala’s Kottayam town against her brother who had sent life threatening letters to Bishop Mulakkal.
“The letter had threatened to cut the bishop into pieces when he comes to Kerala next,” Father Kavumpuram explained. Local newspapers had reported the bishop receiving threat to his life.
In her complaint to the police, the nun alleged the 55-year-old prelate had in 2014 sexually abused her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in Kottayam district.
Father Kavumpuram said the nun, who is her early 40s, belongs to the Missionaries of Jesus, a pious society of religious women. It was founded by late Capuchin Bishop Symphorian Keeprath of Jalandhar in 1993.
The nun has made several charges against the bishop and her superiors after she was removed from her posts in the congregation, the priest alleged.
He also said the superior general of the congregation would take her counselors’ team to Kerala on June 30 explain the situation to the police there.
He said the diocesan curia has decided to “go all out and fight the false case” against the bishop.
Meanwhile priests, who have worked in Jalandhar for years, see the cases as the outcome of infighting going on for years in the diocese. They said the nun had refused to oblige the bishop, who wanted to use her position to target a priest who had opposed him.
“The diocese is very rich and what we are seeing is arrogance of money power,” said a priest, who refused to be identified. “It is very sad and shocking,” he added.