KOLLAM: The Kerala government on Wednesday proposed an ordinance for making burial a right of every Christian at his or her parish cemetery. The law will benefit the Jacobite faction of Malankara Church as the ongoing property dispute with the Orthodox faction resulted in an inordinate delay in burials.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said that the state government has intervened in the issue as the delay in burial had become a social issue affecting the entire Christian community.
He clarified that Jacobites could conduct the funeral rites as per their belief outside the parish and cemetery. They will have the right only for burial at the family vault or other graves in the same cemetery. The ordinance also suggests a penal provision of imprisonment up to one year and a fine of Rs 10,000 for obstructing the burial.
The Chief Minister said the intervention was made as there was no consensus to solve the issue amicably. Orthodox faction reportedly did not co-operate with a minister-led committee and later by a delegation of heads of other Churches to resolve the issue.
The feud between two factions refuses to die down even after the Supreme Court directed the Jacobites to hand over the total control of the church to the Orthodox faction on July 3, 2017.
The Orthodox Church in many an instance has agreed to the burial of Jacobites at the parish cemetery. But it is against Jacobite priests performing funeral rites at the cemetery.