Malankara dispute: Police return to Perumbavoor St Mary's church amidst protests

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Kochi: Police on Monday have taken action to enforce the Kerala High Court order in the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara Suriyani church dispute at Odakkali St Mary's Church, Perumbavoor. According to the order, the church must be handed over to the Orthodox faction.

However, upon the arrival of the police to execute the verdict, Jacobite priests and believers gathered inside the church, staging a protest.

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Approximately 100 police officers have been stationed outside the church to ensure compliance with the court's ruling. However, Jacobite priests and believers oppose the handover and prevent the police from entering the premises. The Jacobite believers are resolute in their determination to retain control of the church, while the Orthodox sect is situated in a separate location.

Last month, a single bench of Kerala HC directed the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church to hand over the control of six churches to the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church in the state. The court gave an ultimatum of two months to implement its order. The court suggested the use of police protection while handing over the churches.

The police have been directed to submit a report by June 28 after implementing the court's decision. Negotiations are currently underway between the police and members of the Jacobite Church. Simultaneously, the Jacobite sect plans to appeal against the High Court order and requests a delay in its implementation.

Two years ago, police made a similar attempt to hand over the church to the Orthodox, but failed to implement the order. The Supreme Court has also ordered the handing over of several churches to the Orthodox faction in Kerala. The state government is trying to find a truce between the two prominent Christian churches in Kerala. The matter had turned out to be law and order issue in various places.

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