Thiruvananthapuram: The priest who allegedly made a phone call to Kerala-based nun offering “land, building and safety” if the rape complaint against a Bishop is dropped, has been asked to step down.
According to reports, the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate (CMI) Congregation termed the alleged phone call to be an unfortunate incident and Father James Erthayil of the Kanjirappallly diocese has been asked to step down.
A conversation between priest and a nun in Kerala has been leaked, adding fuel to allegations about how Catholic Church is attempting to bury complaints of sexual harassment by clergymen.
An 11-minute audio clip is between Father James Erthayil of the Kanjirappallly diocese of Carmelites of Mary Immaculate and Sister Anupama from the Missionaries of Jesus in Kottayam, who was one of the five nuns who came out in support of a 44-year-old nun, allegedly sexually abused by Bishop Franco Mullakkal of Jalandhar diocese.
The nun had alleged that Jalandhar Bishop Franco Mullackal sexually abused her 13 times between 2014 and 2016. She went to the police only after the Bishop filed a complaint against her and five others, accusing them of threatening and blackmailing him.
The Bishop, who has been booked for rape by Kerala police, has on his part, claimed innocence and said he is a victim of vendetta for taking disciplinary action against the nun.
The leaked audio of the alleged phone call to the nun who stood by the rape survivor now finds another priest acting as a mediator who made a phone call offering, “land, building and safety” if she withdrew her rape complaint against the Jalandhar Bishop.
According to reports the leaked phone call sees one priest introducing himself to the 30-year-old nun Sister Anupama who has supported the survivor and saying, “We can buy some land, build a convent and shift you all there safely. This won’t happen tomorrow but everything has a time. We can think about it.”
In the telephonic conversation, the Father is heard making veiled threats if the woman doesn’t withdraw her complaint.
“If you all are adamant on your stand, this won’t happen. If you withdraw your complaint and go to one of your convents in Odisha, Andhra, threats may arise. But if you move independently and go under some other Bishop, there won’t be any threats. It will be good if you think about this and if you decide to do this positively, I will help you in any way possible. I can’t do everything, but will help in whatever I can do. In the sense that we can buy some land, build a house, shift them. They will support. I suggested this because they have said they will support,” he says.
The nun asks who will “support” the family, the Jalandhar Diocese? He answers with a “yes”.
“If we have to buy 10 acres of land and build a decent building for everyone, it’s not easy. So they will help, but their condition is that this case must be withdrawn,” he explains.
The nun refused the offer and told the Father they won’t withdraw any case. “We must get justice. We don’t desire to lose any life, or sell our dignity,” she said.
The priest, who allegedly acted as a mediator, continued his attempt to persuade the nun and said, “I’ve understood the situation. I respect your feeling. I was just giving my suggestion. So they are actually thinking about buying some land for this in Erumely and Ranni area. So in that case, you can stay in that compound itself.”
Ayodhya on high alert following intelligence inputs
Ayodhya: Amid VIP movements, Ayodhya has been put on high alert soon after intelligence inputs indicated a possible terror attack in the city.
“We have put more force into action. The force has been alerted. Also, intelligence officials in the civil dress have come here. They are checking all hotels, restaurants and railway stations. The police force is vigilant and keeping a track of all the movements,” Anil Kumar Sisodia, Superintendent of Police City, told ANI.
This comes ahead of Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray’s visit to Ayodhya on Sunday along with his party MPs.
According to reports, the security has also been heightened keeping in mind the hearing on 2005 Ram Janmabhoomi attack on June 18.
Seven died while cleaning hotel sewer in Vadodara
Vadodara: Seven persons, including four sanitation workers, died due to asphyxiation on Saturday while cleaning sewer of a hotel in Gujarat’s Vadodara district, officials said.
The incident happened at a hotel in Fartikui village in Dabhoi tehsil, about 30 km from Vadodara city. Three employees of the hotel were also among those killed.
“When one sanitation worker failed to come out of the manhole, others went inside. All of them died due to asphyxiation,” district collector Kiran Zaveri told PTI.
Manmohan retires from Rajya Sabha
New Delhi: For the first time in 28 years, former prime minister Dr Manmohan Singh’s name ceased to be part of the list of members of the Rajya Sabha on its Web site, and was included in the list of former members of Parliament.
With the Congress lacking the numbers in the Assam legislature to ensure his re-election, 86-year-old Dr Singh retired from the Rajya Sabha.
Dr Singh, then finance minister in the P V Narasimha Rao government, had debuted in the House on October 1, 1991, from Assam and represented the state for five consecutive terms. He was the leader of the House during his 10 years as PM, and leader of the Opposition from 1998 to 2004.The former PM would now need to wait for the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, an ally of the Congress, to send him to the Rajya Sabha next month or until the next biennial elections in the Upper House in April 2020 when 54 MPs retire.
Five Rajya Sabha members from Tamil Nadu retire in July. The DMK, along with its allies, has the strength in the state legislature to get at least three elected to the Rajya Sabha. It has promised one seat to MDMK chief Vaiko.
However, sources said the DMK and the Congress have not had any discussions on the issue.
The Congress could also hope to send Dr Singh to the Upper House from Gujarat if elections to fill the two vacancies from the state take place together.
The vacancies are on account of two Bharatiya Janata Party Rajya Sabha members from Gujarat, Amit Anilchandra Shah and Smriti Zubin Irani, being elected to the Lok Sabha. Shah has debuted in the Lok Sabha from Gandhinagar while Irani is the Lok Sabha member from Amethi in Uttar Pradesh.
The Congress’s numbers in the Gujarat assembly would ensure the party wins one of the two seats, the other going to the BJP, if elections to the two seats are held jointly.
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