The five Catholic nuns who have been protesting against rape accused former Bishop Franco Mulakkal on Saturday demanded that the police file a chargesheet against him immediately, The News Minute reported. In their petition to the Kottayam police superintendent’s office, the nuns claimed they were living in fear and questioned the reasons for delay.

The petition said they “are tempted to doubt that [the delay] is due to the influence of the accused who is prominent and politically and financially powerful”. Sister Anupama said the superintendent of police promised to file the chargesheet in three to four days.

Anupama said they will resume their protest if the police fail to file a chargesheet. “Our request is that the chargesheet should be filed at the earliest,” News18 quoted her as saying. “We request everyone to not force us to come out on the streets again.”

“Hopefully, the pressure we are going through has come to the notice of you as well as that of the government,” the petition said. “There was move a couple of months ago to transfer five of us to various parts of the country, which we even doubt as an attempt to finish us off. The complainant at the convent has been ostracised. You should be aware of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, who died under mysterious circumstances and the pressure on Lissy Vadakkel, who is said to be the prime witness.”

The Franciscan Clarist Congregation has issued a final notice to Sister Lucy Kalapura, who had joined protests against Mulakkal and asked her leave the congregation, PTI had reported on Friday. The Superior General of the congregation, Sister Ann Joseph, accused Kalapura of leading a way that was against the “principles of religious life” and the rule of the congregation.

Rape case against Franco Mulakkal

In June, the police filed charges against Mulakkal after a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation accused him of raping her 13 times between 2014 and 2016 at a convent in Kottayam. The police arrested Mulakkal on September 21 after three days of questioning. On October 15, the Kerala High Court granted him conditional bail, and he was released the following day. He returned to Jalandhar on October 17. Mulakkal has denied the charges.

An internal investigation by the Missionaries of Jesus in September found Mulakkal to be innocent. The organisation has also attempted to malign the complainant repeatedly, once alleging that she was in a relationship with a taxi driver.