Two Kerala church priests – Father Sony Varghese and Father Jaise K George – accused of raping and blackmailing woman surrendered before a local court on Monday, in connection with Kerala church rape case that was reported weeks ago. The development comes days after the Supreme Court ordered the two priests accused of sexually assaulting a woman in Kerala to surrender by August 13. The top court also refused to grant anticipatory bail to the accused. In its order, the Supreme Court two-judge bench of Justices AK Sikri and Ashok Bhushan ordered for the bail plea to be taken up by the trial court on the same day. The complainant woman had claimed that the accused had uploaded a video online to blackmail her.

On July 27, the Supreme Court while hearing the Kerala church rape case ordered the state police to file a status report within two weeks on the investigation into the charges of sexual abuse against four Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church priests priests accused of raping and molesting a 34-year-old woman by using a statement she made during confession before one of the accused priests.

Days ago, the National Commission of Women (NCW) recommended that practices of confessions should be abolished in the churches. But the Kerala churches refused this proposal and requested Centre to not accept it. The Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church had also observed protest for a day against the NCW’s recommendation. The victim woman’s husband had claimed that church priests used his wife’s confession to blackmail her.

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