KOCHI: The internal rift in the Ernakulam- Angamaly archdiocese over the controversial document forgery case intensified on Sunday when most of the churches read out a circular against Cardinal George Alenchery, major archbishop of Syro-Malabar Church.
The circular - issued by Fr. Varghese Pottackal, the Protosyncellus (Vicar General) of the Syrian Catholic Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly - clarified that no attempt was made by the priests of the archdiocese to defame the cardinal with forged documents.
It also noted that the documents were found by a young member of the archdiocese during the course of his work. Meanwhile, many churches at major places including Tripunithura, Koratty, and Manjapara witnessed protests of the laity against the Vicar General. They protested by setting fire to the circular.
“Issuing a circular at this time is a contempt of court as the case is under its consideration. The devotees will always stand firmly behind the Cardinal and we are not afraid of an investigation into the case. We believe that any inquiry into the matter will give him a clean chit,” said a priest close to the Cardinal, who does not want to reveal his name.
The circular severely criticized the cardinal for not supporting the senior leaders of the Church. It stated that the Cardinal has failed to keep the promise that he would protect Bishop Jacob Manathodath and Fr Paul Thelekkat from unnecessary police investigations related to the case.
The circular further stated that Adithya, an IIT Madras graduate, who was arrested in this connection with the case, had been kept in illegal custody for 48 hours. He was tortured in the custody to confess that he forged the documents on the instructions of the priests.
“It is a clear violation of human rights and a threat to the rule of law,” it cited. The circular pointed out that the probe into the forged document case is not moving in the right direction and demanded a CBI probe.
Land deal row
The land deal controversy began when Adithya, who happened to be a member of the archdiocese, during the course of his official duty, found some documents linking a few bishops of the Kerala Church. He brought the matter to the attention of Fr. Paul Thelakat. Later, the document was handed over to Bishop Jacob Manathodath in private.