Native Catholics of the northern Indian State of Punjab have demanded a Dalit as their next bishop. “We demand a spiritual, well educated, co- operative and energetic Dalit bishop installed in Jalandhar diocese,” Roshan Joseph, the spokesperson of the Catholics of Punjab, told Matters India on September 25.
The Jalandhar diocese covers Punjab and four districts of neighbouring Himachal Pradesh.
On September 24, several lay leaders met with the native priests to discuss the diocese’s future in the wake of a sexual abuse case against their bishop. They expressed distress after Bishop Franco Mulakkal, earlier in the day, was remanded to 14 days of police custody by a court in Kerala, southern India.
“The diocese has suffered too much insult because of the rape case in Kerala,” Joseph explained the reason for the meeting called by Punjabi priest Father Martin Sadiq. All Punjabi priests and lay leaders of the diocese attended the meeting at the Pastoral Council Centre in Jalandhar.