Tension grips Kottappady after standoff between Church factions

Orthodox priest stopped from taking charge of the church

Tension prevailed for hours in front of St. George Hebron Syrian Church at Naganchery in Kottappady following a standoff between the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Malankara Church on Wednesday morning.

The drama started when the Orthodox faction, led by Fr. Kuriakose Mathew, who was to assume charge as priest of the church, armed with a High Court order stating that the Naganchery church was to be governed as per the 1934 constitution of the Malankara Church, arrived at the church gate around 9.45 a.m.

By then a large number of Jacobite faction members, nearly 1,000 according to the police, had locked up the gate of the church and blocked their entry by resorting to a prayer protest.


‘‘I was stopped from assuming charge as priest of the church by the Jacobite faction. This amounted to violation of the court order and we will file a contempt of court petition,’’ said Fr. Kuriakose.

The standoff lasted for two hours before the Orthodox faction members returned. A huge posse of police personnel was deployed in the area.

The police registered a case against the Jacobite faction invoking Sections 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 294 (b) (sings, recites or utters any obscene song, ballad or words, in or near any public place), 506 (1) (criminal intimidation), 283 (danger or obstruction in public way or line of navigation), and 188 (disobedience to order duly promulgated by public servant) of the Indian Penal Code.