Jalandhar: Crying foul over the rape allegations against him, Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal has accused 'anti-church elements' of falsely implicating him.
In an exclusive interview to news agency ANI, the prelate, who allegedly raped a nun from Kerala, assured of his cooperation in the investigation of the case.
"I think some internal forces are using these nuns for some advantage. The antis in the church are pushing these nuns forward to raise their own issues. There is a conspiracy behind this. Few people are taking advantage of this. I will cooperate to all legal measures," Bishop Mulakkal told ANI.
A nun from Kerala has accused the 54-year-old priest of raping her on several occasions between 2014 and 2016, a charge that the Bishop has denied.
"Police had a conversation with me and they recorded my statements on the issue. They (nuns in Kochi) are free to protest and raise their demands. I do not want to comment on that. Right now, I am in Punjab. I don't know much about, what all is happening in Kerala," Mulakkal added.
However, the nun has appealed to the Vatican seeking justice.
In a seven-page letter dated September 8 addressed to the Apostolic Nunciature- the representative of the Holy See in India- the nun described the ordeal she allegedly went through at the hands of the Bishop. She also mentioned about the trauma that she has been facing ever since she spoke about the abuse.
Alleging the church authorities of inaction, the nun wrote, "I feel this kind of silence on the part of the Church authorities and protection of those who commit the crime may create a situation where the Church loses its credibility before society."
She added, "It will have a very adverse effect on women in the Indian Church that they have no other option than to react in a manner that safeguards their dignity as human persons even at the cost of losing their catholic faith."
The plea is also marked to 21 other high ranking authorities of the Roman Catholic Church in India.
The alleged rape of a nun by a bishop has come weeks after Pope Francis condemned the "crime" of sexual abuse committed by the priests of Roman Catholic Church, and demanded accountability.
The nuns in Kochi, for four days, have been staging a protest against the accused Bishop, demanding action against the priest. The protestors claim that they have not received police help as well as from the church authorities and the government. They allege that the probe is being delayed as the accused is an influential authority in the church hierarchy.