The National Commission for Women (NCW) has written to Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan urging prompt action in ensuring safety of two nuns who are witnesses in a rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The two issued transfer orders by their congregation.
The complainants alleged that the transfer orders are aimed to split them and "to sabotage the case" against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, the NCW said in the letter.
The letter said the two nuns, who approached the women's panel, alleged the transfer orders issued last year were to pressurise and threaten them as they were prominent witnesses in the case.
"The complainants also apprehend danger to their lives, if transferred to distant regions," the letter said. "As you are aware of the seriousness of the issue, the National Commission for Women urges your personal intervention into the matter to ensure safety of the complainants, victim (of the case under trial) and the fellow nuns," the letter added.
The Commission requested the chief minister "to take prompt action to ensure prevention of sabotage of material evidence and witnesses in pending case against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, so that justice may prevail".
The nuns had been asked to report to the Missionaries of Jesus congregation's Jalandhar convent and meet its Superior General Sr Regina Kandamthottu on January 26.
Earlier, four nuns were served notices by the superior general of the congregation, Regina Kadamthottu, urging them to take up their assigned responsibilities as befitting members of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation.
The four nuns and the rape survivor had written to the Kerala chief minister, seeking his intervention to ensure that their transfer orders were not affected till the trial of the case was over.
Bishop Mulakkal, a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy in India, was arrested last year following allegations by the nun that he repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her at the Kuravilangad convent between 2014 and 2016, a charge denied by him.