Kerala police will provide security to nuns, convent if required: Kottayam SP

Kottayam: A day after a sessions court here acquitted Roman Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal of the charge of raping a nun in a convent in the state, Kerala police on Saturday said it will conduct a threat assessment if necessary and provide protection to the nuns and their convent here if required.

Kottayam Superintendent of Police D Shilpa said they have approached the Special Public Prosecutor to assess the scope for appeal in the case.

"We have approached Special Public Prosecutor Jithesh Babu to assess whether there is any scope for appeal in the case. If there is, we will approach the government with necessary documents and seek permission for the appeal," Shilpa said.

Mulakkal, 57, was accused of raping the nun multiple times during his visit to a convent in the district between 2014 and 2016 when he was the Bishop of the Jalandhar Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church. The complainant is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus, a diocesan congregation under the Jalandhar Diocese.

Acquitting the Bishop, the judge of the Additional District and Sessions Court I, Kottayam, in the order said the victim's claim that she was raped on 13 occasions under duress cannot be taken reliance on the basis of her solitary testimony.

When asked whether protection will be provided for the nuns at the convent, the district police chief said it will be given if required. "We are already providing security to the nuns. But if needed, we will conduct a threat assessment and if required, we will enhance the protection," she said.

Meanwhile, the Bishop visited various churches and met former MLA P C George, who had been backing Mulakkal since the issue came out.

The Bishop, after a brief meeting with George, left for other visits to churches nearby, but refused to comment before the media.

George, who met the media after the meeting, said the case was an effort to target the church. He said the case was part of a conspiracy to target the church and its believers. PTI

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