Church says Kerala nuns' 'transfer' order not cancelled

Transfer of Kerala nuns, who sought bishop's arrest, cancelled
The Kottayam wing of Save our Sisters organised a protest meet in Kottayam on Saturday.

Kottayam: Hours after a group of nuns, who had protested seeking justice for their colleague, allegedly raped by former bishop Franco Mulakkal, said the order asking them to move out of their convent has been cancelled, the Jalandhar Diocese of the Roman Catholic Church on Saturday denied the claim.

Peter Kavumpuram, the public relations officer of the diocese, said the order has not been cancelled, Manorama News reported. He said it was up to the mother general of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation to take a final call on the order. He clarified that it was not a transfer order, as being reported. He said the four nuns were only called back to the convents where they stayed earlier. Earlier, sister Anupama, one of the four nuns had said here that the diocese assured them that there will be no move to oust them as long as they are needed for the court case.An e-mail in this regard was sent to five nuns, who are staying with the survivor nun, by current apostolic administrator of Jalandhar diocese Bishop Angelo, the nun said.The bishop has assured the nuns that "there will be no move from the diocese of Jalandhar to oust" them from the Kuravilangad convent in Kottayam district as long as they are needed for the Court case, she said.

Earlier, the head of their congregation, Missionaries of Jesus under the Jalandhar diocese, had issued “transfer” orders to four nuns who took part in the protest in Kochi, demanding the arrest of the Franco Mulakkal.

Another nun, Sister Neena Rose, who is staying with the survivor nun, was asked to report to the Missionaries of Jesus congregation's Jalandhar convent and meet its Superior General Sr Regina Kandamthottu on January 26.

The congregation of nuns-- Missionaries of Jesus-- had directed the nuns to join their previously-assigned convents, according to the transfer orders issued between March and May this year.

The nuns Alphy, Anupama, Josephine and Ancitta were served notice by the superior general, urging them to take up their assigned responsibilities as befitting members of the congregation.

The four nuns had earlier written to the Kerala chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking his intervention to ensure that their transfer orders were not effected till the trial of the case was over.

The survivor nun had also written a separate letter to the chief minister, seeking his help in the matter.

"Their aim is to single me out and to harass and torture me. My life will be in danger if such a situation arises," she said in her letter.

In her letter to Rose, the superior general had warned that failure to comply with the advice to report in person as instructed would be construed as a deliberate refusal to abide by the legitimate order of her Mother General, thereby challenging the authority canonically bestowed on her.

Meanwhile, the nuns Saturday joined 'Save Our Sisters' forum to stage a protest against the transfer orders issued by the congregation.

A tense situation prevailed at the protest venue when a group of people oppposing the nuns' protest reached there and raised slogans against them.

The group was removed from the spot, police sources said.

The protest led by the nuns and the Catholic reformist forums in Kochi in September last year had led to a public outrage and demands for action against the bishop.

Bishop Mulakkal, a senior member of the Roman Catholic clergy in India, was arrested last year following allegations by the nun that he repeatedly raped and sexually assaulted her at the Kuravilangad convent between 2014 and 2016, a charge denied by him.

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