Cartoon on rape-accused bishop stokes controversy

Franco Mulakkal (ANI final photo)

A cartoon depicting rape-accused former bishop of Jalandhar, Franco Mulakkal, has led to controversy in Kerala.

The cartoon that shows Franco holding a stick with an undergarment on it instead of a sceptre was selected for the best cartoon award of 2018-19 instituted by the Kerala Lalithakala Akademi, an organisation affiliated to Kerala government meant for promotion of visual arts.

Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council has alleged that the cartoon that hurt the sentiments of Christian believers was deliberately given the award as the ruling left-front in Kerala was under the impression that the Christian community did not favour them in the recent Lok Sabha polls.

Kerala Cultural Affairs Minister A K Balan, who denied the allegation, said that the Akademi would be asked to review the award in the wake of the concerns expressed by a section of the Christian community. There were no political interventions in the award selection done by a panel of eminent persons, he said.

The controversial cartoon was drawn by well-known cartoonist in Kerala, K K Subash, who has been drawing cartoons over the last 17 years. Apart from Franco, the controversial cartoon also depicted CPM MLA P Sasi, who also faced sexual allegations, and P C George MLA, who had earlier spoken in favour of Franco.

Meanwhile, the nuns who have been fighting against Franco suspected that a recent transfer of DySP K Subash who probed the case against Franco could be part of attempts to sabotage the case.

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