'Bishop Franco & aides still harassing me': Rape survivor nun moves women's panels

Nun moves National, State Women's Commissions, NHRC against Bishop Franco
Bishop Franco being escorted by police.

Kottayam: A nun, who filed a rape case against Bishop Franco Mulakkal, has approached the National and State Women's Commissions and the National Human Rights Commission, accusing the priest and his supporters of harassing her through various online platforms.

In her complaints, the nun alleged the Bishop and his supporters have been humiliating and defaming her and fellow nuns, who are witnesses in the case, through social media and youtube channels.

"From the time the sexual assault was reported, I have been subjected to extreme humiliation and intimidations in various forms," the nun said in her complaint to the National Human Rights Commission.

She further alleged that from the time the First Information Report on the sexual assault was registered, she and her fellow nuns have been "subjected to character assassination."

"Church authorities have been using their social media platforms to spread rumours against me and my companion sisters," she said in her complaint.

"False statements, imputations and fabricated stories tarnishing our reputation and character are being systematically spread through the YouTube channel, and we believe Bishop Franco and his group are behind this agenda," she claimed.

The nun pointed out that even after registering a case against the said channel, several videos were being circulated publishing her photograph and revealing her identity. The identity of witnesses supporting her are also disclosed leaving them open for intimidation and threats, she added.

The nun charged Bishop Franco with spreading false rumours and fake news through his supporters and media cells in order to intimidate her and her companion sisters.

Claiming that their prime intention was to "humiliate, insult and torture" her, she said the actions of the accused Bishop and his allied agents amounted to clear violations of the law.

She appealed to the NHRC and womens commissions to take "serious action" against those violating the law and ensure justice to her and her companions.

In her complaint to the Kottayam Police in June last year, the nun had alleged that Bishop Mulakkal raped her at a guest house in Kuravilangad in May 2014 and later sexually exploited her on several occasions. The police arrested him later.

The nun said she had to approach the police as church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman.

However, Mulakkal has denied the charges as "baseless and concocted," insisting she levelled those as the Catholic order had rejected her demand for favours.

He had stepped aside as the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese following his arrest in connection with the case.

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