June 21, 2019
Kochi: A month-long controversy over burial of a body ended after 75-year-old Annamma was buried in the family grave at Jerusalem church cemetery on June 13 at Thuruthikkara in Kunnathur panchayat in Kollam district.
The body was kept in the mortuary of Kunnathur taluk hospital after she died of multiple ailments. Some families living near the cemetery protested against the burial saying nearby areas were getting polluted.
The panchayat authorities and the local MLA held parleys to find a solution to the problem, but failed.
Efforts by the district administration to pacify the protestors also did not bear fruit.
Finally, another church offered to bury the body in its cemetery. But Annamma’s kin were not in favour as they claimed it was her wish to be buried in the family grave.
Alongside, the matter reached the High Court which set down certain norms to be adhered by the Jerusalem church before carrying out the burial.
These included construction of a compound wall around the cemetery and have the grave concreted to prevent seepage of water.
The protest against burials started in 2014 when people residing in the vicinity launched a protest claiming that the cemetery was polluting water in the region.
When contacted, Geetha Kumari, a CPI member of Kunnathur panchayat, told The Covai Post that the situation was normal now and nothing about the future could be predicted.
The church is yet to construct the wall round the cemetery set up on 15 cents, she said, adding that authorities there had promised to do it soon.
She said the panchayat could have intervened if the plot was abutting the road. Since the cemetery was accessible through another plot, it was not possible for the local body to act.
Another panchayat member said the controversy was created with some other motive as the stand claim of pollution was baseless. The cemetery was at least 100 metres from the nearest house.
Meanwhile, BJP district president Gopinath said the issue was not communal as the protestors included members of different communities and the issue was connected with environment pollution.