KOCHI: Various laity organisations will jointly launch an indefinite strike in Kochi from Saturday seeking the immediate arrest and removal of accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Representatives of more than 14 laity organisations including Joint Christian Council and Kerala Catholic Renewal Movement will participate in the protest to be held at High Court junction tomorrow. The five nuns who openly expressed support to the victim will also participate in the protest aling with their families.
Representatives of the laity and revisionists organisations alleged that the Bishop is being protected by the Church and the police. “It is unfortunate that the Church has not initiated any measures against Bishop Franco, though the police has registered an FIR and interrogated him. The High Court also directed the government to arrest the accused Bishop at the earliest. We will not end the protest until action against the Bishop is taken,” said Joseph Varghese, joint secretary of Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement (KCRM).
Meanwhile, a human rights forum called Manushyavakasha Koottayma demanded reforms and transparency in the Church so that rights of nuns are protected. The government should take immediate measures to provide social and legal justice to the nun, the forum demanded.
“The Church leadership should seriously address the allegations raised by the nun. Though there were earlier instances of allegations of sexual abuse by priests, it is a rare and first time incident that a nun openly registered protest and submitted a complaint against the Bishop. Even the confession box has deteriorated to a rape trap,” said Aneesh Prabhakaran of Mnushyavakasha Koottayma.
“The state government has ignored the complainant and joined hands with the Church to protect the accused,” he alleged....