Kerala nun's rape case: Jalandhar Bishop ‘steps aside’ briefly

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Priest gets Jalandhar diocese charge.

Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal

Kottayam: Beleaguered Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal has handed over charge to another priest in the wake of the Kerala Police summoning him to appear in person on September 19 in connection with the rape allegations raised against him by a nun.

Bishop Franco issued a circular delegating Monsignor Mathew Kokkandam to administer the activities of Jalandhar diocese in his absence.

The circular dated September 13 maintained that “as you have probably come to know from the media, there is an investigation into the allegations raised against me as there are several contradictions in the evidence collected aga-inst me as per the report of the police and it is reported that I am likely to be called for further clarifications by the investigating officer in Kerala. In my absence, Msgr. Mathew Kokkandam will adm-inister the diocese as in the normal practice when I am away from the diocese”, it said.

The bishop had personally received the Kerala Police summons on Friday evening.

The circular said, “I request you to continue praying for me and for the alleged victim and her supporters who have come out against me so that godly intervention may bring change in heart and the truth in the issue may be disclosed.”

“I leave everything in the hand of God as I await the results of the findings of the team probing the allegation,” he said.

The nun had alleged that she had complained on several occasions against the bishop to the head of her congregation and to the Church leadership, including cardinal George Alenchery, against the harassment meted out to her.

The nun had on September 8 written a letter to the Apostolic Nuncio of Vatican to India, Giambattista Diquattro, citing the harassments she faced from the bishop and demanding the Church intervention. She also had previously sent a complaint to the nuncio on January 28 through Bhagalpur bishop Kurian Valiyakandathil.