Police takes over Mulanthuruthy church amid mounting protests from followers

The court will consider the case at 10 am. The Jacobite faction had requested not to take over the church till then.

Mulanthuruthy (Ernakulam): Amid mounting protest from the faithfuls, the police forcefully took over the Jacobite Syrian Cathedral here on Monday morning. The police broke the gate of the church to enter inside and removed the faithfuls, priests and metropolitans by arresting them before taking over the church.

The police took action in the early hours as the deadline fixed by the high court for the district administration to take over the church and hand over the keys was to end on Monday. The court will consider the case at 10 am. The Jacobite faction had requested not to take over the church till then.

However, the district administration rejected their pleas. A group of devotees including women and children were already staying inside the church since Sunday night adhering to the COVID protocol.

The district administration and police reached the place and started the procedures to take over the church by 3 am on Monday. The devotees made blockade in order to stop the police from entering inside. They also locked the gates.

When the devotees refused to cooperate even after requests from the sub collector, the police broke open the gate and entered. As the COVID threat exists, the police were wearing PPE kits while arresting the followers.

Metropolitan Theophilos Mar Kuriakose told Mathrubhumi News that the authorities did not pay heed to their requests to give time till 10 am and that they are taking immediate action in order to convince somebody. He added that the Jacobite Church wants to know if the police brutality is with the knowledge of the chief minister.

A hunger strike has been progressing in protest over the Orthodox faction taking over the Jacobite Syrian Cathedral in Mulanthuruthy during the COVID crisis. Baselios Thomas I Bava also had arrived the other day to take part in the protests, despite age related ailments.

The hunger strike on Sunday was inaugurated by Bava. The faithfuls were excited in his presence. He condemned the act of taking over the church from Jacobite believers which they were maintaining for centuries, when the entire society is going through a tough time.

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