The National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) today condemns the impunity being provided to Bishop Franco Mukammal, by the Kerala police, the criminal justice system and the Catholic church, who are letting him roam free, despite heinous charges of rape and sexual exploitation.
The survivor of this violence is a nun from the same congregation as the Bishop, who was raped 13 times between 2014 and 2016 by her superior, Bishop Franco at a convent in Kuravilangad, Kerala. Additionally, the Bishop also harassed her by sending her lewd messages and obscene pictures on her phone.
NAPM wonders that over 70 days have passed now after the filing of the case and it is appalling that the Bishop still roams scot free. This is shocking because a man who allegedly raped the survivor more than 13 times over a period of two years, has the complete support of the higher structures of the Catholic Church, simply because he occupied a position of power: that of a Bishop.
In an effort to defend the Bishop, NAPM lamented that various members of the Catholic congregation have tried to defame the nun by stating that she was motivated by right-wing Hindutva elements and rationalists and was making false charges. They also went a step further and published her photos with the Bishop.
NAPM demanded iImmediate arrest of the main accused Bishop Franco Mukammal, an impartial and just investigation, given the formidable political influence wielded by Bishop Franco and a speedy and fair trial to ensure justice to the survivor of violence.
It sought full protection and security to the survivor and the nuns who are protesting, full compensation given to the nuns as per the Supreme Court’s orders and IPC provisions and immediate legal action against the individual(s) responsible for leaking the survivors’ photos. It seeks establishment of committees at the level of each congregation to address sexual harassment within religious institutions.