Jalandhar: Rape-accused clergyman Franco Mulakkal in Punjab said that the five nuns would tender an apology and accept their mistake during Christmas.

On September 8, the five nuns had protested in front of the Kochi high court against Franco Mulakkal for raping a nun multiple times between 2014- 2016.

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The Kerala Police arrested Franco Mulakkal on September 21 on charges of raping a nun of the Missionaries of Jesus congregation in Kottayam. The arrest of the high profile religious leader came 87 days after a nun filed a complaint alleging rape and sexual harassment in Kerala. 

A priest from Punjab, on the condition of anonymity, said, "No one is condemning, but if there is any lie it will come out. There is a computer (laptop) in question that has not been submitted by the bishop till now. Either he is lying about losing it or he is lying about the case saying that letters that have been submitted on record are forged. The whole case is fishy from his side."

Dismissing rumours about the church allegedly funding Mulakkal fight at the court, the priest said, "This was made clear early on that the diocese will not be funding his defence. Money is not an issue, there are companies under the diocese. For instance, there is a transport corporation that is under the name of the diocese, but the money that comes in as extra is used for the expenditure of the bishop. And his family is also wealthy, there is no financial difficulty for him."

The case gained a lot of momentum in the month of October and also received a lot of media coverage. Has the issue around Sabarimala overshadowed the case? "No new development, thus no news. Also since there are various corporations associated with the bishop, they would not want to taint their image with him. He should have confessed all his wrongdoings a year ago before everything became public. Now, he has pushed the whole church into trouble. He has managed to convince the people with his acts of godliness, and the Kerala arrest was also a well-thought-out and well-planned move of his. It showcased his power and political associations," he said. 

People don't want to blame Mulakkal, and thus, no one is speaking out about it, said Roshan Joseph, who is closely associated with the churches in Punjab. People are perhaps thinking God will do whatever needs to be done, he added, "The main problem is that Vatican has not taken any action against him. He is, for now, only suspended."