Resistance from Jacobite faction halts church handover, Kerala govt tells High Court

Says Jacobite faction members, including women, children and elderly, have camped in most of the churches, and are agitated and aggressive
Officers retreated without physically handing over the churches, considering the potential for serious law and order issues.
Officers retreated without physically handing over the churches, considering the potential for serious law and order issues. Photo | Express

KOCHI: The state government has informed the Kerala High Court that the order to hand over churches to the Orthodox faction of the Malankara Church cannot be implemented due to stiff resistance from the Jacobite faction.

Jacobite faction members, including women, children and elderly, have camped in most of the churches, and are agitated and aggressive, the court was told. Some protesters have even threatened to commit suicide if the order is enforced. Officers face significant resistance from children and women, which is preventing them from carrying out the court directive.

The government pointed out that it is inappropriate to use excessive force to implement the ruling. Officers retreated without physically handing over the churches, considering the potential for serious law and order issues. Dispersing Jacobite faction members without using force was not feasible.

Despite attempts by the district administration and police to implement the court order, they failed due to strong protests, the HC was informed.

Police officers are continuing their vigil, the government submitted. There is a possibility of unpleasant incidents, clashes, and even murders or suicides in the districts where the disputed churches are located. Therefore, police must be prepared. The matter needs to be treated cautiously and diligently, and efforts to implement the court order will continue.

The affidavits of the state government were in response to a contempt case filed for not implementing the order at St Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church, Cherukunnam; St Mary’s Orthodox Church (Odakkali Palli), Odakkali; St John’s Besfage Orthodox Church, Pulinthanam, Muvattupuzha; St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Mangalam Dam; St Mary’s Orthodox Syrian Church, Erickinchira; and, St Thomas Orthodox Syrian Church, Mazhuvannoor.

When the case came up for hearing, the court observed that the affidavits have been filed to create the impression that the state and the police machinery are unable to act.

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