Mortal remains of senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy being brought to Durbar Hall from the Puthuppally House in Thiruvananthapuram. (Photo | B P Deepu, EPS)
Mortal remains of senior Congress leader Oommen Chandy being brought to Durbar Hall from the Puthuppally House in Thiruvananthapuram. (Photo | B P Deepu, EPS)

A special tomb being readied for Oommen Chandy in his Parish church

"Puthuppally Palli" has decided to change their decades-old practice of burying dead laymen in the church cemetery or in their family vaults there for the Congress stalwart.

KOTTAYAM: The mortal remains of Kerala's two-time Chief Minister Oommen Chandy, who died in Bengaluru on Tuesday, will be laid to rest at a special tomb on an exclusive area of his village church, where priests are buried.

As preparations are on in full swing for his funeral on Thursday, a special tomb is being built for Chandy in an exclusive area on the church premises instead of his family vault in the cemetery.

The authorities of the St George Orthodox Church, popularly known as "Puthuppally Palli" in local parlance, have decided to change their decades-old practice of burying dead laymen in the church cemetery or in their family vaults there for the Congress stalwart.

The church committee decided to change the practice as a mark of respect for "Kunjoonju", as he was known among his villagers and admirers.

Church vicar Varghese Varghese said the decision was taken considering the immense contributions given by Chandy to the parish and to the church in these decades.

"The decision was taken to lay him to rest on the church ground where the remains of the late priests were buried, considering his virtues and the contributions he made to the parish and the church," he said.

As per the common practice, the mortal remains of an ordinary believer are being buried in the cemetery and those of priests in an exclusive area located north or south of the church, he said.

"The tomb for Chandy is being readied adjacent to that of the priests. The general feeling of the parish is that his tomb will remain a permanent memorial on the church premises," the priest said.

Recalling Chandy's contributions to the parish, he said the former chief minister is one of the persons who have contributed the most to its modernisation and development.

Since his younger days, Chandy had been very much active in the youth movement, Sunday school activities and prayer meetings in the church, and it had paved the way for his growth as a public activist, MLA, minister, and the Chief Minister of the state, the vicar added.

Bidding adieu to the state capital Thiruvananthapuram, the mortal remains of Chandy -- who died in Bengaluru a day ago -- was taken to Kottayam, the stronghold of the Congress stalwart, on Wednesday morning.

His body was taken to Kottayam by road in a specially modified low-floor bus covered in garlands and pictures of Chandy and packed with party leaders and workers.

Arrangements have been made at the Thirunakkara Ground here for the public to pay homage to Chandy and thereafter, his body will be shifted to his home in Puthuppally.

Chandy had been representing the Assembly constituency of Puthuppally, where he is affectionately called 'Kunjukunju' by the people, for the last 53 years and locals recall that the doors to his home were always open for anyone to walk in and discuss matters with him at any time of the day.

Chandy, who served as the Chief Minister of Kerala twice, breathed his last in a private hospital in Bengaluru on Tuesday.

His end came while undergoing treatment for cancer, party sources said.

He was 79.

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