By Matters India Reporter
New Delhi, August 21, 2019: The National Women’s Commission (NWC) on August 21 asked Kerala police chief Loknath Behera to arrest those targeting Sister Lucy Kalappura, who was recently expelled from her congregation.
The commission wrote to Behera amid reports of attempts to slander Sister Kalappura.
A priest of Mananthavady diocese’s public relations office team had released a defamatory YouTube video based on CCTV footages showing Sister Kalappura entering the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) convent at Karakkamala in Mananthavady, Wayanad, with two journalists.
The 54-year-old nun had been complaining of immense harassment from the Church, including the orders to oust her from the congregation. She had come to the limelight in September 2018 when she protested against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar in front of the Kerala High Court.
Father Noble Thomas Parackal, who produced the video, tried to malign the nun’s image by suggesting that she had engaged in an illicit relationship with the two men, who were found to be journalists. However, the priest omitted the visuals of a woman journalist, who had come with the two men. The priest followed it with another video justifying his act.
The NCW, a statutory federal body that advises the Indian government on all policy matters affecting women, condemned the multiple harassment faced by Sister Kalappura and urged Behera to immediately intervene in the matter and to arrest those involved in the reported crime.
A case has been registered against the priest as well as the five nuns of the convent on a complaint by Sister Kalappura.
NWC also stated that these acts are moves to put the nun under pressure in the rape case against Bishop Mulakkal. “While we are waiting for the investigations to get over in the rape case, these acts are tactics to put the victim under pressure so that she steps back,” the commission chairperson stated in an official release.
The commission also stated that immediate action should be taken against the culprit and demanded a report on this from the police chief’s office as soon as possible. “We will not accept people holding respectable positions misuse their authority for wrongful actions,” read the statement.
Sister Kalappura was served the dismissal order on August 7 for a “lifestyle not befitting the law of the Church.” She was accused of violating the vows of poverty and obedience and refusing to amend her ways even after repeated warning.
The congregation faulted Sister Kalappura for publishing poems and driving car without her superiors’ permission. The congregation says it had warned the nun for some years now. However, the congregation’s difficulties with Sister Kalappura came to light only after she publicly came out supporting five members of the Missionaries of Jesus who had staged the sit-in against Bishop Mulakkal.
The bishop was accused of the former superior general of Missionaries of Jesus multiple times between 2014 and 2016 at their Kuravilangad Convent in Kottayam district.