Two big developments took place this Wednesday. First, in the wake of allegations of sexual misconduct by a number of women journalists, Minister of State (External Affairs) M J Akbar resigned from his post. In the second instance though, something opposite to this happened, Catholic Bishop Franco Mulakkal received a grand welcome upon his release on conditional bail. While the first news is being considered as a huge victory of the ongoing #MeToo movement in India but what is surprising is that on the other hand there is no Kathua like outrage with respect to the grand welcome given to the rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal. The Bishop was granted bail by a Kerala court.
Followers of Franco Mulakkal in Jalandhar welcomed him like a hero. His supporters garlanded him and also showered rose petals on the rape accused. All this despite the court disallowing him to visit Kerala and also asking him to submit his passport
— India Today (@IndiaToday) October 18, 2018
This kind welcome for a rape accused is a slap on the face of the helpless victims and their supporters, the #MeToo campaign appears to have no clout here. The cabal which is enthusiastically celebrating the resignation of M J Akbar seems to have no comments on this issue. Their silence completely exposes their double standards and it also shows that they have no intentions whatsoever to ensure justice for the victims and punishment for the guilty. What matters to them is peddling of their nefarious, fake agenda. There is no outrage whatsoever on the plight of the Nuns. No twitter trend #ArrestBishop. No prime-time debate, no naming and shaming of accused, no outrage of journalists, no slamming the desks on live debates has been seen till date on this issue.
Amidst the #Metoo campaign, the Nuns in Kerala are still fighting a lone battle against all odds. Instead of support they are facing threats and abuses. An independent MLA from Poonjar, Kerala, PC George has referred to the nun who accused the Jalandhar based Bishop Franco Mulakkal of raping her 13 times as a ‘prostitute’ and even went on to raise questions on her character.
Catholic Federation of India president, P P Joseph, told The News Minute, “If the Save Our Sisters (SOS) begins the second phase protest against the Catholic church, we will launch our protest to oust the nuns from the convent.” He also alleged that nuns have the support of those who are working against the Catholic Church. So far, neither the Church nor any other influential Christian organizations have taken any concrete steps to investigate the rampant problem of sexual abuse in Church.
On the other hand, the rape accused Bishop Franco Mullakkal enjoys political support in Kerala and the support of the Church. As is clearly evident by the kind of reception that he has received upon him getting conditional bail. Franco Mullakal used his political clout to defame the nuns. He also used the Church authorities to attempt to bribe and lure the nun and her family to withdraw their complaint against him. According to a Swarjaya report, the nun was presented with an offer for 10 acres of land and a new convent. The report further states that the Nun’s brother has alleged that her sister was offered Rs. Five crore to take back the case.
The nuns are already facing massive troubles with the church backing the bishops, now with this kind of reception to a rape accused they are sure to get disheartened. The backlash from the church authorities to the nuns is also suggestive of the fact as to why more women are not coming forward who have been victims of abuse by the clergy. This also demonstrates one of the basic flaws of the #Metoo movement where perpetrators are judged based on their ideological inclinations, faith and other parameters.
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