Rape case: Journalists attacked as bishop Mulakkal arrives for interrogation

Cops grill bishop Mulakkal till early morning on Tuesday

Bishop Franco Mulakkal | Diocese of Jalandhar

The Bishop's House in Jalandhar was a stark contrast to the otherwise peaceful atmosphere typical of bishop houses across the globe. Unruly scenes were witnessed at the Bishop's House on Monday night after a group of "security men" attacked mediapersons who tried to click photos of bishop Franco Mulakkal. The bishop was arriving for interrogation by the Kerala police for allegedly raping a nun at a convent in Kottayam.

While news agency PTI reported that "a group of private security guards" was behind the attack, a few media reports said members of the church were responsible for the assault.

Believers had thronged the Bishop's House in Jalandhar after reports that the bishop was to be grilled by the cops. Though earlier reports said that the bishop was being questioned, Mulakkal returned to the Bishop's House only in the evening. As mediapersons tried to take his photographs, the crowd attacked them injuring several journalists and damaging their equipment.

Meanwhile, the Kerala police interrogated bishop Franco Mulakkal for nearly nine hours on Monday night. The questioning, which began at 8 pm on Monday, continued till the wee hours on Tuesday. 

The police team from Kottayam, led by DSP K. Subhash, left the Bishop's House at Jalandhar around 4.45 am on Tuesday. The cops also seized the bishop's mobile phone. The statements of two of bishop's aides were also recorded.

Subhash said the bishop answered the questions posed to him. Indications are that the Jalandhar Diocese bishop might not be arrested soon as police have to gather more scientic evidence. The probe team is likely to return to Kerala soon after collecting evidence.

According to reports, a medical examination of the bishop is also likely. The bishop's counsel said Mulakkal would cooperate with the interrogation.

The Kerala police team had been waiting at the Bishop's House since Monday morning to question Mulakkal. The Punjab police had also stepped up security in the area.

Earlier on Monday, the Kerala government had told the high court that the bishop was likely to be arrested. The government claimed that the delay in the probe was due to the fact that the case dates back to 2014. Police sources said evidence collection is in the final stage. The bishop has been claiming innocence in the case right from beginning.

(With inputs from Onmanorama)