KOZHIKODE: A section of parishioners of Little Flower Church, Pushpagiri, under Thamarassery Diocese, are up in arms after it dug out the mortal remains of the dead from its cemetery allegedly to facilitate the expansion of a quarry project.
“We strongly condemn the action. We won’t back down from the protest. We’ll fight it legally,” said Catholic Laymen’s Association secretary M L George. “Many tombs, as the relatives of the deceased had opposed shifting them to the new cemetery, were destroyed under the cover of night. The remnants of bodies were lying scattered. Some bodies were found missing. Crosses with inscriptions, set up at the heads of graves were damaged. This is total disrespect to the dead, “ he said.
It has been alleged that over 70 acres of land in the area is under the control of a mining company.
“The diocese and the church have been facilitating quarrying activities in the area for more than 25 years. The new church was built at Anayode around three years ago — nearly 1.5 kms away from where the old one stood.
The church gradually shifted all its institutions including schools, Bhalabhavan and Anganwadi to different places. But due to strong opposition from parishioners, the cemetery wasn’t moved, “ said George.“There’re a lot of procedures that have to be followed while shifting a cemetery or constructing a new one. But, here no procedures were followed, “ he said.
“Some parishioners were misled by the church. They were told the land where the cemetery stood was sold out to members of a different religious community and so one’s religious beliefs about the resurrection of the dead won’t be protected, “ he added. Meanwhile, diocesan chancellor Father Abraham Kavilpurayidam said the decision to shift the cemetery was taken after consultation with the parishioners.
Cemetery: Diocesan chancellor calls allegations baseless
Diocesan chancellor Father Abraham Kavilpurayidam said the decision to shift the cemetery was taken after consultation with the parishioners. “The allegations are baseless. The decision to shift the mortal remains of the dead to the new cemetery adjacent to the church was taken after consulting with the parishioners. Majority of the parishioners have endorsed the decision of the church. Only a handful of them oppose the decision. Such things can’t be carried out in secrecy as it has been alleged,”said Fr Kavilpurayidam.
Last week, the Catholic Laymen’s Association had petitioned District Collector S Sambasiva Rao condemning the action and seeking intervention into the matter. The Collector directed the Thamarassery tahsildar to submit a report. “I haven’t received the report yet,” said Collector.