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Day before summon, rape accused Bishop Mulakkal seeks anticipatory bail

Thiruvananthapuram: Day before he is to appear before the Kottayam police for questioning in the Kerala nun rape case, Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar diocese, on Tuesday has approached the Kerala High Court to seek protection from arrest.

The matter will be heard by the high court later in the day.

Franco Mulakkal had also written to the Pope seeking permission to temporarily step down from the responsibilities as the bishop or head of the diocese of Jalandhar, saying he needs to spend more time to fight his case.

In a letter dated September 16, he said he may have to travel to Kerala several times and so he wants to hand over the responsibilities of the diocese temporarily.

The nun in her late 40s has alleged that she was sexually abused by Franco Mulakkal repeatedly between 2014 and 2016 during his visits to a convent in Kottayam district.

Amid mounting pressure to initiate action against the bishop, the Kerala police last week issued summon to the priest for questioning.

In Kochi, a group of nuns and activists continued their hunger strike protesting the delay in action against Franco Mulakkal.

The nun sought immediate intervention of the Vatican and demanded removal of Bishop Mulakkal. She alleged that the bishop is using "political and money power" to bury the case.

A representative from the Vatican is already in India to discuss the issue with Archbishop of Delhi Anil Couto. The Archbishop is yet to take a decision on the matter.

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