KOCHI: In its submission before the Kerala High Court on Tuesday, the state government sought sufficient time and operational freedom to the police to implement the Supreme Court judgment in the
Piravom Church case without causing collateral damage or unwarranted loss of human life.
The state filed the affidavit in response to a petition filed by Fr Viju Elias, vicar of St Mary's Orthodox Church, Varikoli, and others, seeking a directive from the state police chief to provide adequate police protection to the church; its properties including chapel, cemetery; its vicar, priest and parishioners; and the petitioners. The petition also sought the provision for smooth conduct of religious services as well
as the administration of the church.
On December 8, the Ernakulam District Collector convened a meeting of all stakeholders concerned to facilitate a peaceful handing over of the administration of the church by the Jacobite faction to the Orthodox faction.
However, the move fell flat. When the police tried to implement the judgment on Monday, the Jacobite faction prevented it. Nearly 1,000 members of the Jacobite faction, including women and children, have
been camping in the church since December 8 thwarting the police from implementing the judgment.
On the afternoon of December 10, police deployment was enforced to take control over the situation. Since the funeral of a member of the Jacobite faction was scheduled at 11.30am, it was decided to wait for the same to be over. Later, the church and its premises were cordoned off by the police. What followed was a defiance of the instructions of the police by the protesters. More than five members of the Jacobite faction climbed atop the church terrace and tower, doused themselves with inflammable fluids and
threatened to immolate themselves. The appeals by the Fire and Rescue Services team and the police yielded no result.
After hours of tense situation, the police tactically withdrew to avoid any collateral damage or unwarranted loss of human life. Two cases were registered by the Piravom police against the members of
the Jacobite faction.
The state, in its submission, made it clear that it has no vested interests in the matter. The state will make every endeavour to implement the judgment of the Supreme Court.