The death of senior priest Father Kuriakose Kattuthara has added another controversial twist to the already shocking turn of events in the rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal case. The senior priest had testified against Bishop Franco Mulakkal in the case filed by the nun who claimed that the Bishop had sexually assaulted her numerous times over a period of three years. The body of the senior priest was found in a room at the St. Mary’s church complex in Dasuya town. The church authorities had called up his family on Monday morning to inform them of his death, the family members were reportedly told that the senior priest had died of a heart attack. The family members of the departed priest have alleged foul play in the incident, the brother of the late priest has spoken about the possible involvement of Franco Mulakkal and his supporters in the death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara. His brother is also planning to approach the Kerala High Court with a plea to cancel the bail of Bishop Franco Mulakkal who had recently received a grand welcome upon his return to Jalandhar.
Senior priest Father Kuriakose Kattuthara had made claims that the church authorities were attempting to hush up the sexual assault complaints made against bishop Mulakkal. He was serving in the same diocese in which Mulakkal served as the bishop. The death of the senior priest therefore becomes shady considering it has taken place at such a crucial juncture in the case. The late Father Kuriakose Kattuthara had also claimed earlier that many nuns from the Jalandhar diocese had complained against the Bishop. The nuns, according to the late senior priest, had chosen to remain silent as they were afraid of Mulakkal and his influence in the church.
His death will also raise questions on the intentions of the church which has so far steadily backed up Bishop Franco Mulakkal and has chosen to give no support to the victim. 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. The death of the senior priest also raises questions related to the security of the nuns and others who are supporting them in their fight against the Godmen from the church.
He used to live at St. Paul's Church in Dasuya. He was found dead there. He was 62. The matter will be investigated. I have been informed that no injuries have been found: AR Sharma, DSP Dasuya, on Father Kuriakose Kattuthara, witness in Kerala nun rape case, found dead pic.twitter.com/jQcMPqlEkf
— ANI (@ANI) October 22, 2018
AR Sharma, DSP Dasuya has stated that the police is going to conduct investigations in the matter of the senior priest’s death. The senior priest had not only backed the nuns but he was also a key witness in the Kerala nun rape case, chances of foul play in his death therefore cannot be ruled out. Amongst all the voices from the church which were trying to drown the voices of the nuns demanding justice in the Bishop Franco Mulakkal case, his was the only one which had supported the nuns. His statements against the Bishop had provided credibility to the accusations of the victim; therefore, the Bishop and his supporters had enough reasons to sideline Father Kuriakose Kattuthara , raising further doubts over the death of the priest.