A Catholic priest from Kerala, who had taken a stand against Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun, has been found dead in Jalandhar under mysterious circumstances. Fr Kuriakose Kattuthara, 62, was found dead inside his room on the premises of St Paul's convent school at Dasuya in Hoshiarpur where he was posted. There are no injury on Fr Kuriakose's body, but there were signs he had vomited.
Fr Kuriakose's death comes exactly a week after Bishop Mulakkal was granted bail by the Kerala High Court in the rape case. The priest was transferred 15 days ago to a Catholic church in Dasuya, police said.
Fr Kuriakose had publicly criticised Bishop Mulakkal who has been accused of raping a nun multiple times at a convent in Kerala. Family members of Fr Kuriakose have, meanwhile, alleged foul play in his death. They have filed a police complaint in Kerala and sought postmortem of Fr Kuriakose's body. At the same time, it is learnt that the priest was suffering from some age-related health issues.
The priest had also alleged that the bishop had tried to scuttle the case. Fr Kuriakose, who was also a vocational trainer of the nuns, had even said several nuns had approached him with complaints against the bishop. He had further told the media that nuns were scared of speaking against the bishop.
Fr Kuriakose had also extended his helping hand to the rape victim nun. Fr Kuriakose had testified against Bishop Mulakkal when questioned by the Kerala Police probing the case. Following this, he had allegedly faced threats from goons. His residence was pelted with stones and his vehicle was attacked, claimed the family members. Fr Kuriakose's brother, Johny Kattuthara told Manoramaonline, that he would approach the Jalandhar police for a detailed probe into the priest's untimely death.
Bishop Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 amid mounting public outrage over allegations of repeatedly raping a nun. It was the first time in the country that a bishop was arrested. In her complaint to the Kottayam police in June, the nun had alleged that Mulakkal raped her at a guest house at Kuravilangad in Kottayam between May 2014 and 2016. She said she had approached the police as the Church authorities did not act on her repeated complaints against the clergyman. However, Mulakkal has denied the charges.