A legislator in Kerala on Saturday made derogatory remarks about the nun who has filed a complaint of sexual abuse against Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal, reported ANI. Independent MLA PC George called the nun a prostitute, asking why she did not file a complaint after the first instance of sexual assault.
“No one has doubt that the nun is a prostitute,” said George, at a press meet in Thiruvananthapuram. “Twelve times she enjoyed it and the 13th time it is rape? Why didn’t she complain the first time?”
On the same day, a group of nuns in Kochi city protested the delay in taking action against the bishop. The nuns, along with some activists, staged a dharna at the High Court junction, alleging that the police and church officials had denied them justice.
The nun’s family will initiate legal action against George, reported NDTV. They said that she was to meet the media for the first time on Sunday but had since backed out after George’s comments. “She just locked herself in the room and refused to take calls or meet anyone for hours,” said a family member. “She was very upset.”
Sister Anupama, one of the five nuns who protested on Saturday, said the complainant was not in a frame of mind to address the media, reported The News Minute. “Her sister was with her and she told us that the nun cried as soon as she heard PC George, and ran into her room,” said Sister Anupama. “She did not have any food last night and her condition continues to be the same even today.” She also added that the nuns will file a case against the MLA.
The National Commission of Women condemned the comments and demanded strict action against the MLA. “We will write to the Kerala Director General of Police for action against George,” ANI quoted NCW Chairperson Rekha Sharma as saying. “I am ashamed of such lawmakers who are giving these statements instead of helping women.”
Communist Party of India (Marxist) MLA Subhashini Ali also criticised George, reported ANI. “Nuns showed courage in making such allegations against someone who is head of the organisation,” she said. “In such a situation, for somebody who is a public figure to make this comment is horrible.”
Former Chief Minister VS Achuthanandan also criticised George’s “condemnable language”, reported The Hindu. “The lawmaker should have supported the victim’s cause instead of shaming her,” he said.
The complainant has accused Mulakkal of raping her several times between 2014 and 2016. The nun is a member of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation based in Punjab’s Jalandhar, but it runs two convents in Kerala – one in Kottayam and the other in Kannur. The alleged abuse took place in Kottayam.