Indian Catholic News

Indian priest, five nuns accused of defaming dismissed nun

Kerala nun who joined protest against rape-accused bishop complains to police of harassment via social media.

 
Sister Lucy Kalapura (right) is seen visiting a home near her convent in Mananthavady Diocese in Kerala. The Franciscan Clarist Congregation dismissed her on Aug. 5 citing a violation of norms, but the nun claims she was sacked because she supported action against a bishop accused of rape. (Photo supplied)
Kochi: 

Police in India’s Kerala state have filed a case against a Catholic priest and five nuns after a complaint by a nun dismissed from her congregation this month that the six defamed and harassed her through social media.

Sister Lucy Kalapura complained to police that Father Noble Thomas Parackal and five nuns of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC) collaborated to share CCTV footage of her entering her convent with two male journalists on social media with the intention of defaming her.

The FCC dismissed Sister Kalapura on Aug. 5 following Vatican approval, citing several instances of her indiscipline and disobedience. However, she appealed to the Vatican against the dismissal and continues to live in the convent.

Along with the video, Father Parackal posted comments that the dismissed nun had used the back door of the convent to invite two men inside. The 54-year-old nun claimed the comments had a tone to project her as a loose character.

The nun on Aug. 21 complained to the police chief of Wayanad district, where her convent is based.

“These posts are clearly meant to defame and annihilate my reputation in society,” Sister Kalapura told ucanews.com on Aug. 22.

However, Father Parackal, a member of the media commission of the Kerala-based Syro-Malabar Church to which the nun belongs, denied all allegations.

“What you see is what has been captured by the camera. I have not added or deleted anything. And I have not said anything to defame anyone,” he told ucanews.com.

The federal government’s National Commission for Women has written to Kerala’s director general of police seeking action against the priest for an alleged attempt to defame a woman, media reports said.

Investigators could charge the priest and his accomplices with criminal intimidation threatening to injure reputation, making sexually colored remarks against a person and outraging the modesty of a woman, said George K. Jose, a law professor based in Bangalore.

He said the priest could also be charged with violating several clauses of India’s information technology laws. If proved, Father Parackal could be jailed for several years, he said.

The media and Sister Kalapura identified the two men in the video as journalists who had come to discuss with her the publication of her autobiography. She told media that the front door of her convent is usually kept closed for security reasons and residents generally use a side entrance, which she also used to take the journalists inside.

The nun claimed that several church leaders “ganged up” against her after she supported five nuns who publicly protested last September in Kochi to demand the arrest of Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar after he was accused of raping a nun.

“This is an organized move. Most churchmen are behind me because I did not heed them [those who ‘ganged up’ on her] and took a stand for justice,” said Sister Kalapura, who teaches in a Kerala school.

However, documents from her congregation show that her superiors have been issuing her with warnings and corrections for more than five years.

She also owned a car, published a book and spent her salary on disobeying her superiors and violating the norms of her congregation, the documents stated.

Police charged Bishop Mulakkal in April with raping a nun multiple times. A 2,000-page charge sheet listed charges of wrongful confinement, rape of a woman incapable of giving consent, causing grievous bodily harm during rape, unnatural offense and criminal intimidation.

If found guilty, the bishop faces imprisonment of not less than 10 years or up to life in jail.

Sister Kalapura told ucanews.com on Aug. 7 that she will fight her dismissal in the civil court to restore justice to her.

Source: UCAN

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