The sister of a nun in Kerala who has accused Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mulakkal of rape on Monday sought police protection for her family, reported ANI. She blamed the bishop’s supporters in her petition, which was filed with the Kalady circle inspector.

The copies of the plea have been sent to the state’s director general of police and Kottayam superintendent of police, reported the Hindustan Times.

“Due to hatred, the supporters of [accused] Franco [Mulakkal] have filed fake complaints against me,” she told Mathrubhumi. “Thomas Chittuparamban, a supporter of Franco, has threatened to cause danger to my son and brother. While staging the hunger strike in Ernakulam, a man named Unni Chittuparamban had taken photo of me.”

Meanwhile, the Catholic church on Monday withdrew its decision to take disciplinary action against a nun for participating in protests against the bishop, ANI reported. This came a day after Lucy Kalappurakkal alleged that the Franciscan Clarist congregation had barred her from participating in “prayer, worship and mass”.

The case

In June, the police filed charges against Mulakkal after a nun in the Missionaries of Jesus congregation accused him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 in Kottayam. The congregation is based in Punjab’s Jalandhar district but it runs two convents in Kerala – one in Kottayam and the other in Kannur. The alleged abuse took place in Kottayam.

Mulakkal has denied the charges and accused the nun of taking revenge on him for ordering an inquiry into a complaint against her. He filed a complaint against the complainant and five other nuns, accusing them of framing him.

The bishop was arrested on September 21 after three days of questioning. On Monday, Kerala’s Pala judicial magistrate court sent him to judicial custody till October 6.

The Missionaries of Jesus has said its internal investigation found Mulakkal to be innocent. The organisation has also accused the nun of being in a relationship with a taxi driver. The bishop, too, claims that there are “several contradictions” in the evidence collected by the police.

The Catholic Church in India comprises the Latin, the Syro-Malabar and the Syro-Malankara churches.