Four Kerala nuns today met the Kottayam Superintendent of Police in connection with the delay in filing of chargesheet against Franco Mulakkal, a former Bishop of the Jalandhar diocese who is accused of rape.
The nuns, living with another nun who raised allegations of sexual abuse against the Mulakkal, told Kottayam SP Hari Sankhar that they were "living in extreme fear".
"We witnesses are living in extreme fear and anticipation of this case. The investigation of this case was over earlier and the chargesheet was to be filed in court. However, due to some reasons the chargesheet is getting delayed. The government and the police are aware of the pressure we witnesses are under... The delay in filing chargesheet is causing us extreme sadness and fear," a petition submitted by the nuns stated.
"We don't know how long will we be able to withstand this all. Taking into inconsideration our helplessness, we hope the decision for filing chargesheet will be made as soon as possible", the petition further added.
According to sources, the draft chargesheet has been ready for filing since December. There was an initial delay in the public prosecutor being appointed but the nuns raised concerns that it has been over month the appointment was made.
The nuns have been under pressure from the church for disobeying transfer orders, which were withdrawn by their diocese only after several public protests.
Bishop Francko was released on bail on 16th October, after over three weeks in jail.
Another nun, Sister Lucy, who spoke up in favour of the protesting nuns has been facing a backlash from her congregation for allegedly violating rules. On Friday, the nun received an 18-page show cause notice again, detailing her alleged violations -- of participating in television discussions, not following the dress code, buying and driving car, publishing books, not handing over salaries.
"The letter specifies each and every allegations levelled against me. Even the most negligible things has been mentioned. They have clearly stated that I can be dismissed after second warning letter, which I received in February. But according to them, they are giving me one more show cause notice. They have also said, I can leave the congregation by myself if I so wish," Sister Lucy said.