In ecclesiastical hierarchy, nuns are bottom-line functionaries, dingbats and footnotes in the order; they come and go in nondescript robes. And if one gets laid, that’s God’s will, no questions are asked. The Church is a male preserve and that of the clergy. Bishop of Jalandhar Franco Mulakkal is allegedly up to his neck in rape and “unnatural sex” charges, and yet he gets a free pass while the nun he abused doesn’t get the State’s protection. What’s wrong with India’s criminal justice system? The 44-year-old rape survivor nun has knocked on every door, given her statement to the magistrate under ‘Section 164’, and on her behalf, appeals have gone to top state functionaries, including police top brass, but all in vain.
Now, convinced she wouldn’t get justice under Indian law, the victim-survivor has written to the Vatican to punish Bishop Franco under Christian canonical law which, like everybody and Jesus knows, will tell her to keep quiet unless the Pope gets a directive from an unresponsive, unseeing God to do something.
The FIR alleging that Bishop Franco Mulakkal raped the nun 13 times in two years was turned into a joke by MLA PC George. The police have been investigating and a police affidavit has suggested that a case of rape could be made. But that did not happen. The Centre, for obvious reasons has not stepped in, wary of politicising the issue, keeping in mind 2019.
Without much ado, let’s make it clear that it is the Indian State’s credibility at stake here. Is there a rule of law in India? Too much has been made out of the Constitution in these last four years; does the statute count at all? What about the lady’s fundamental rights? And will she have to get “justice” from the Vatican, and not the country she and her tormentor owe allegiance to? Will the ‘Nun and the Bishop’ turn out to be a joke?
(The writer is a freelance journalist. Views are personal.)