New Delhi: The four nuns who protested against rape-accused bishop Franco Mulakkal has been transferred by Catholic Church in Kerala from its Missionaries of Jesus convent on Wednesday. Sister Alphy Pallasseril, Anupama Kelamangalathuveliyil, Josephine Villoonnickal and Ancitta Urumbil, who had conducted an indefinite strike near the Kerala High Court premises in Kochi in 2018 demanding the arrest of the Mulakkal, have been given transfer orders back to the convents they were previously assigned by the Church.

While Sister Anupama has been given marching orders to go back to Punjab, Sister Ancitta to Kannur in Kerala, Sister Alphy to Bihar and Sister Josephine to Jharkhand.

The transfer of these nuns comes days after the church had sent a warning to Sister Lucy Kalapura, who was at the forefront of protests against Mulakkal. Sister Lucy was earlier restrained from performing her duties at the Church for “attending channel discussions”, writing articles in “non-Christian newspapers” and “making false accusations” against the Catholic leadership.

Sister Kalapura and some other nuns of the order had staged a hunger strike near the High Court premises in Kochi for several weeks last year demanding Mulakkal’s arrest. The protest was seen by the Church leadership as questioning and bypassing its authority. The Superior General of the Franciscan Clarist Congregation (FCC), to which the nun belongs, also counted among other offences the nun’s decision to publish a book of poems, learn driving, obtain a driving license and buy a car.

She was later allowed to resume her services following a backlash that the vicar received from members of his own community.

Since June last year, these four nuns and a fifth one have been staying at the Kuravilangad convent as an act of solidarity with the victim, who also resides here.

Mulakkal was accused of raping a nun belonging to the order of Missionaries of Jesus several times between 2014 and 2016 and spent three weeks in the sub-jail at Pala before he got bail.