Fr Kuriakose’s family alleges he has been killed for giving statement against Franco Mulakkal.
The mysterious death of Fr Kuriakose, is very sad and shocking. He was an outspoken critic of Frightening Franco Mulakkal's predatory ways and showed exemplary courage in calling a spade a spade unlike the spineless CBCI which in its statement dated 15th September 2018 wrote: "We wish to express our distress connected to the accusations against Bishop Mulakkal of Jalandhar. CBCI has no jurisdiction in the issue of individual bishops!"
Fr Kuriakose's death in Jalandhar within a few days of the return (to Jalandhar) of Franco from jail, is not merely a coincidence but it clearly establishes the investigating team's apprehension that if granted bail, he would tamper with crucial evidence, being moneyed and very powerful. Let us not forget all the money that Mulakkal flaunts to stay in 5-star hotels, ride BMW cars and hire the best lawyers, is LAITY'S MONEY, and not a single paisa his. He has feathered his nest with LAITY'S MONEY. It is also highly suspicious that only 15 days' ago Fr Kuriakose was transferred to Franco's den Jalandhar, which resulted in his highly mysterious death. The chain of events shows a clear linkage.
With one key witness gone, the case against wolf-in-sheep's clothing Mulakkal hangs in the balance. One wonders whether the prosecution will file a charge-sheet within the stipulated 90 day period. One can understand the tremendous mental agony of the victim complainant nun and her team which has so far stood steadfastly by her. It's little wonder the nun's supporters have urged the Kerala Government to provide extra security to the nun and her team. It is becoming increasingly evident that the Indian Church is being controlled by characters straight out of Mario Puzo's GODFATHER. Archdiocese of Calcutta has already had a taste of one such Godfather of mafias – Salesian K.K. Sebastian alias Sebastian Kuzhipala, the then Parish Priest of Auxilium Parish. The sordid state of affairs in the Indian Church clearly points out that something is rotten in the state of Denmark.
When will the Laity wake up and take up Jesus' whip to clean the Indian Church? Isaac Gomes, Asso. Editor, Church Citizens' Voice.
Jalandhar, Oct 22: Senior priest Father Kuriakose Kattuthara who had testified against former Jalandhar bishop Franco Mulakkal accused of raping a nun, has been found dead on October 22 morning.
The exact cause of death isn’t known and more details will be revealed after the post-mortem. He was found dead in his room in a church at Bhogpur in Jalandhar
His family said they suspect foul play.
His brother Jose Kattuthara told local news channels that church authorities from Jalandhar called him this morning and informed him that he was found dead in his room which was locked from inside. Church officials reportedly told the priest’s brother that he possibly died of a heart attack.
But Jose Kattuthara remains suspicious. He said he would be filing a complaint and will move the Kerala high court to cancel Franco Mulakkal’s bail.
Kuriakose’s brother Jose Kattuthara alleged that his brother has been killed for giving statement against Franco Mulakkal. Fr Kuriakose had been frequently threatened by the church officials. He also revealed that Fr Kuriakose had said that his life was under threat.
Father Kuriakose Kattuthara's family members allege that the death is suspicious. (NDTV)
Fr Kuriakose had filed a complaint against Franco Mulakkal in the nun abuse case. Fr Kuriakose had said in an interview given to news reporters that he was tortured by the Bishop and the Bishop House officials for his stand.
Fr Kuriakose had said that the nuns had told several complaints about Franco to him, who was also a vocational trainer. He had worked with former bishop Symphorian Keeprath, who had established Missionaries of Jesus for nuns under the diocese. He was a native of Pallippuram in Alappuzha.
Bishop Mulakkal was arrested late September and spent three weeks in jail before he got bail earlier this month.
Report from THE NEWS MINUTE 22 October 2018
Nuns grieve the shocking and mysterious death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara
The death of Father Kuriakose Kattuthara at St Mary's church in Dasuya in Jalandhar on Monday has sent a shiver down the spine of nuns, who had protested against rape accused Bishop Franco Mulakkal. Father Kuriakose, who was a prosecution witness in the rape case had given a statement to the police against Fr Franco, was found dead on Monday morning. While the exact cause of his death is not known, Father Kuriakose’s brother Jose Kattuthara said he was suspicious about his death and alleged that he had been killed for giving a statement against Bishop Franco Mulakkal.
The Missionaries of Jesus priest, who was 62 years old, was a vocational teacher at the Jalandhar diocese and had also taught the survivor nun and the other nuns who protested for justice. Speaking to TNM, the sister of the survivor nun said, “We all knew him very well. He was our teacher. He was one of the first people we confided in and since he has been part of Jalandhar diocese, he knew Franco was not a good person. He had supported us. My sister used to speak to him at all times and used to get advice from him.”
Father Kuriakose had in an earlier interview to Mathrubhumi news expressed fears over what would happen to him for speaking out against Franco Mulakkal. The sister of the survivor nun said the threats against him worsened since the accused was given bail on October 15. “He has said many times he has received threats. He was attacked once we heard. The threats got worse after Franco came out on bail. Franco is anyway so powerful there (in Jalandhar) that people are afraid of him.”
Though the sister of the survivor nun says they are shaken by Father Kuriakose’s death, they will continue to fight for justice. “We feel that his death is a message to us to keep quiet and not to take Franco on. We are scared but we will not stop speaking against Franco or fight for justice,” she said.
Expressing shock at Father Kuriakose’s death, Sister Anupama, who had led the protests against Bishop Franco, told TNM, “We are very shocked to hear this news. Father Kuriakose has taught me and he was part of our parish as well. He was a crucial witness in our case as he had given statements against Bishop Franco to the police. I haven’t been in touch with him but I had heard from other priests that he had been facing a lot of pressure of late, with many in the church pointing fingers at him. We feel the circumstances of his death are suspicious and may affect our case against Bishop Franco.”
Sister Anupama alose went on to say that Bishop Franco made sure that Fr Kuriakose was only just a priest and did not rise in the diocese. When asked whether his death had scared them, she said, " It's not about fear. We are sad that who we see today we may not see tomorrow. We don't fear death but we fear that justice will not be given."
In an interview to Mathrubhumi, Fr Kuriakose had said, “The sisters had approached me complaining about Bishop Franco. They did not approach the Kerala police fearing the bishop. In fact, I fear what will happen to me for speaking out against him.”
Bishop Franco Mulakkal has been accused of raping a 44-year-old nun multiple times between 2014 and 2016. He was arrested on September 21 two months after the survivor lodged a police complaint. Protests by five nuns who supported the survivor sparked outrage across the state, exerting pressure on Kerala police, who then issued summons to the bishop.
On October 15, Franco Mulakkal was granted conditional bail. The Kerala High Court had at the time of granting his bail ordered the bishop to be present before the investigating officer once in two weeks. The bishop has also been directed to surrender his passport to the court and he has been forbidden from entering Kerala. He had received a hero’s welcome when he returned to Jalandhar on October 17, with supporters showering him with rose petals and garlanding him.