KOCHI: After 14 days of endurance and anxiety, an air of triumph and elation prevailed as the five nuns arrived at Vanchi Square, the protest venue near High Court Junction in Kochi on Saturday morning, to thank the civil society for its support.
Activists and leaders of NGOs greeted the nuns with slogans as they climbed on to the stage where they spent 14 days demanding the arrest of Bishop Franco. The nuns could not hold back their tears as they recounted their stress and agony while deciding to take to the streets demanding justice. “There was much pressure on us and we didn’t know what will be the outcome. But people across the state came to our support. Even the investigating officers were under tremendous pressure. People came forward to observe hunger protest on behalf of us ignoring their health,” said Sr Anupama.
She also offered thanks to the civil society on behalf of the victim. “Our sister (the victim) had submitted herself at the feet of the Holy Father. She spent her days praying to the God. She has conveyed the message that it was God’s grace and your support that delivered justice to her. Our agitation was for the hundreds of nuns who silently bear their sufferings. It was painful to hear the members of some congregations declare that they will go to the prison with the bishop. Our prayers are with them. No nun or woman should be forced to stage a protest like this for justice,” she said.
The sister of the victim, who is also a nun, broke into tears as she thanked the civil society for support. “It is the prayer of my parents, who are there in the heaven, and your support that delivered justice to my sister,” she said.
Sr Josephine said people from all walks of life, rose above caste, creed, colour and religion in support of the nuns. Our victory has proved that virtue, righteousness and social awareness thrive in our society despite odds. Our sister has been suffering, unable to share her ordeal with anyone for the past four years. Her tears have paid off. At times we feared the agitation will fail and contemplated suicide. But the invisible hands of the God supported us,” she said.
‘Arrest shows bold policy of LDF’
The arrest of Franco Mulakkal was the result of the independent and bold police policy adopted by the LDF government in the state, said CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishnan. “The police action has once again underscored the point that natural justice of women and children in sexual assault will not be denied at any circumstances during the LDF regime,” he said in a statement here on Saturday. Since the case dated back to four years ago, the police had to execute its responsibility after taking all legal precautions. The LDF government has given full freedom to the police and the arrest of bishop was the result of the free and fair probe conducted by the police, he said.
‘Government stance correct in bishop arrest’
The government’s stance is correct with regard to the arrest of Bishop Franco, said Industries Minister E P Jayarajan. Jayarajan told reporters on Saturday that the government is with the agitating nuns. It has made it clear that it stands with the victim, he said. The government will not take a stance to let anyone who is guilty escape from the hands of law. “The arrest was made only after ensuring all the evidences are collected. Kodiyeri was trying to say that all situations should be taken into consideration while arresting a person as there is a possibility of misuse. He is not a person who speaks nonsense,” he said.