Bishop Franco case: Kerala nun calls transfer order a ploy to split them

Four nuns who protested against Bishop Mulakkal were issued transfer orders

franco-nuns-agitation Catholic nuns hold placards demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal | AP

Sister Anupama, one of the four nuns who protested against rape-accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, said the transfer order against them was an attempt to split them and weaken them emotionally. "Attempt to split us and destabilize us emotionally. No guarantee that people who aren't protecting us here will give us protection at other places like Bihar or Punjab," Sr Anupama told news agency ANI on Thursday. 

Sr Anupama and three other nuns, who protested against Bishop Mulakkal, accused of raping one of their colleagues, were transferred last year after they complained to the church authorities against the bishop. However, they refused to comply to the transfer order and continued staying at their convent at Kottayam in Kerala.

Following this, the church sent them reminder notices on the transfer order. The nuns have been transferred to different parts of the country. While Sr Anupama was transferred to Punjab, Sr Alfie has been ordered to move to Jharkhand. Sr Neena Rose and Sr Josephine, too, were transferred, according to the order issued by the mother general of Missionaries of Jesus.

The church has been criticised for acting against the nuns, while Bishop Mulakkal is out on bail and is based in Jalandhar. Recently, Sr Lucy Kalapura, another nun, was sent a notice threatening her with expulsion for protesting against the bishop. In November, two months after the hunger strike staged by nuns in Kochi, Fr Vattoly was prohibited by the church from holding protests and was warned of ecclesiastical action in case of disobedience.

Bishop Mulakkal was arrested on September 21 amid mounting public outrage over allegations of repeatedly raping the nun. A magisterial court had on September 24 remanded Mulakkal to 12 days in judicial custody. However, he was later released on bail.