4 nuns who protested against Kerala bishop told to leave convent

Four nuns from the Missionaries of Jesus congregation who supported a fellow nun who accused a bishop of rape last year have been asked by church authorities to leave the convent in Kerala and return to the vocations they were previously assigned to, according to letters they received from the congregation.

However, the nuns named Alphy Pallasseril, Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Josephine Villoonnickal and Ancitta Urumbil have refused to vacate the convent in Kuravilangad, Kottayam and alleged that the transfer order is the latest in a series of attempts to weaken the case against former bishop Franco Mullakkal of the Jalandhar diocese.

“Though we are leading a secluded life in the convent, we don’t have any plan to move out. It is a plan aimed at isolating us and weakening the case. Convent authorities have made our lives miserable but we will not dump our fellow nun and will go ahead with the case,” said Anupma, adding that three other nuns had received similar letters.

“There were many attempts to smoke us out. The latest is one of them. But we will remain in the convent and take the case to its logical end”, she added.

Last June, a 43-year-old Mother Superior complained to the police that Mullakkal raped her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. In the weeks that followed, the five nuns staged a sit-in protest in Kochi seeking the bishop’s arrest. A special investigation team finally apprehended him in September after several rounds of questioning. He was granted bail after three weeks in judicial custody. The trial is yet to start. Last week the government appointed a special prosecutor after the nuns threatened to resume protests.

Anupama has been asked to relocate to Chamiyari community in Punjab, where she was transferred in March. Ancitta meanwhile has been asked to go back to the Pariyaram community in Kannur, where she was shifted in May. Alphy has been asked to rejoin the community in Bihar’s Pakartala, while Josephine has been accused of abandoning the community, in Jharkhand’s Lalmatia and ordered to go back there.


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