DesPardes + PKonweb

FURY in India: Bishop Goes on Trial for Raping Nun; New Rape-Murder Case Surfaces

DESPARDES — A Roman Catholic bishop went on trial in Kerala state of southern India Saturday accused of repeatedly raping a nun.

Franco Mulakkal is the first Indian clergy to go on trial in the country where rape is the fourth most common crime against women.

Mulakkal arrived in court with a group of supporters after attending morning prayers.

The bishop is charged with raping the nun several times between 2014 and 2016, while head of the Missionaries of Jesus order, AFP reported.

Mulakkal did not immediately make a plea in court but he has denied the accusations in the run-up to the trial. He faces a maximum sentence of life in jail if found guilty.

The bishop was arrested in October last year and granted bail. On Saturday, the court extended his bail until the next scheduled hearing on January 6.

Kerala police have filed a report of more than 100 pages on the case that included statements from nuns, priests and other bishops.

The nun filed a complaint in June last year but police only started investigating three months later, after five nuns staged near daily protests outside the state high court.

The nuns wrote to Catholic leaders in India as well as the Vatican, accusing the church hierarchy of failing to take the case seriously.

The nuns were criticized by many within the church and said their families were harassed — the Catholic church has been rocked by sexual assault and abuse cases in many countries.

Meanwhile, on Saturday, hundreds of people laid siege to a police station where four men are being held over the latest gruesome rape-murder to shock India.

Baton-wielding police pushed back crowds from the building in the southern city of Hyderabad where they said the 27-year-old veterinary doctor was gang-raped, killed and then her body burned.

“How anyone could subject another human being to such terrible, unprovoked violence is beyond imagination,” said former opposition Congress party leader Rahul Gandhi on Twitter.