December 10, 2018
Close on the heels of the violent protests over young women entry to Sabarimala after the Supreme Court verdict, Piravam, near Kochi, is facing tension over another ruling by the apex court over handing over a church.
Devotees belonging to the Jacobite faction thronged the Piravam St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Cathedral on Monday, locked the gate to prevent the police from entering the premises to implement the verdict of handing over the church to the Orthodox faction.
As a strong police force stood around the church,
a few devotees, including women, belonging to the Jacobite faction climbed atop the church parapet and threatened to commit suicide if the police tried to implement the verdict. One of them even doused himself in kerosene. Devotees in large numbers flocked to the church along with priests and even began ringing the bell.
The Supreme Court in July 2017 ruled in favour of the Piravom church being handed over to the Orthodox faction. It has been a running feud between the two factions over custodianship of a number of churches in the State.
In this case, the Jacobite faction refused to hand over the church and there had been clashes between the two groups.
The Orthodox faction recently moved Kerala High Court saying that despite the apex court order, the church had not been handed over. When the State Government told the court that it was trying to find an amicable solution to the issue, the bench said Supreme Court verdict was clear in this matter. It asked the Government to take steps to implement the verdict just as it was trying to implement some others like the Sabarimala one.
Incidentally, the protests at Piravam have happened a day before matter is to come up for hearing in the court. The Jacobite faction stand is that the matter has to be resolved through discussions.