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Catholic bishop in India charged with rape tests positive for coronavirus

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jalandhar, India, is pictured in an undated photo. Leading Catholic figures and laypeople have appealed to the Vatican to remove Bishop Mulakkal, who is being investigated for allegations of raping a nun. (CNS photo/courtesy Diocese of Jullundur) See INDIA-BISHOPS-RAPE-CHARGES July 13, 2018. Editors: best quality available.

Bishop Franco Mulakkal of Jullundur, who has been charged with the rape of a nun, has tested positive for coronavirus. The announcement comes as his bail was cancelled after he failed to appear at trial.

The bishop has been charged with raping a nun repeatedly over the course of two years, allegations he denies.

Officials of India’s Punjab state, where Bishop Mulakkal resides, announced on July 14 that he had tested positive for coronavirus. He is displaying symptoms of Covid-19, The Indian Express reported.

A court in Kerala had on July 13 cancelled his bail and issued a warrant for his arrest. He had failed to appear before the court both that day and on July 1.

The court in Kerala has ordered that he appear before it on August 13.

The bishop did not appear at court in the beginning of July saying that Jalandhar was within a coronavirus containment zone. But prosecutors demonstrated that according to the city’s administration, his residence was within the containment zone on July 1, according to Hindustan Times.

The Tribune India reported July 9 that a priest of the Jullundur diocese claimed Bishop Mulakkal had sought permission from the district administration to travel to Kerala for the court hearing and was denied. Both Jalandhar’s Deputy Commissioner and a local health official denied receiving such a request.

Bishop Mulakkal’s lawyer had tested positive for coronavirus on July 3, and the bishop then began a 14-day quarantine on July 6.

Read more at Catholic Herald

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