Indian Catholic bishop arrested ‘for raping nun repeatedly over two years’

Bishop Franco Mulakkal, accused of raping a nun is escorted by police outside a crime branch office on the outskirts of Kochi in the southern state of Kerala India

Catholic bishop accused of raping nun arrested by Indian police

The nun from the southern Indian state of Kerala has accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal, who heads the Diocese of Jalandhar, of raping her repeatedly over a period of two years.

He was questioned for the third successive day on Friday.

The Vatican on Thursday divested Mulakkal, who was the bishop of the Jalandhar diocese of Missionaries of Jesus despite shedding his administrative role, of his pastoral responsibilities "temporarily".

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Claiming innocence, the bishop has said the complaint was "nothing but a fictional story".

The Vatican has accepted a request from a bishop in India to be temporarily relieved of his pastoral duties as police questioned him for a second day over accusations that he raped a nun.

There was no immediate comment from Bishop Franco Mulakkal or his lawyers - though he has denied the charges in interviews in the past.

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Following the allegations, dozens of nuns, activists and advocates have protested outside a court demanding his prosecution.

Before he was appointed as the Jalandhar bishop in 2013, Mulakkal served as the auxiliary bishop of Delhi from 2009.

Sankar told reporters on Friday that the police would now investigate charges of rape, illegal confinement, unnatural sex and intimidation. "We are very happy. the Vatican has finally heard our prayers", said one of the nuns. When the church failed to take action on this matter, the nun approached the Kerala police. Mulakkal, who holds a doctorate in moral theology, is the first Indian Catholic bishop to be arrested in a rape case.

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The news was welcomed by people in Kochi where nuns of various churches have been protesting for the past ten days. However, the police reportedly submitted an affidavit which states that investigations so far reveal that the bishop had abused his position of power and raped the nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016.

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