Mulakkal was arrested on September 21, 2018, on rape charges after the four aggrieved nuns joined a public protest in Kochi, forcing the police to take action against the bishop. Mulakkal secured bail on October 16, 2018, and is no longer head of the Jalandhar diocese, which he headed till his arrest.
The Akademy had awarded the first prize to the cartoon in question drawn by K.K. Subhas who is working for a vernacular magazine. It depicts Mulakkal as a fowl, while a ladies undergarment is seen at the end of the bishop's staff.
With the KCBC expressing deep anguish over the issue, State Culture Minister A.K. Balan examined the cartoon and confirmed that it hurts religious sentiments and that he does not agree with it.
"The state government has no role in it as the award winners were selected by a group of experts. After protests surfaced, we examined it and we found it was not right to hurt religious sentiments," said Balan.
Akademy Chairman Nemom Pushparaj said that they will have re-examine the matter soon.