About 40 tombstones at the cemetery of the Kolenchery St. Peter’s and St. Paul’s Orthodox Church were found desecrated on Saturday morning. People who arrived at the church found some of the tombstones pushed over and broken and called the police.

“The tombstones look as if they have been kicked or pushed over by hand. The cemetery has many tombstones of various sizes and 40 of these have been desecrated,” said an officer at the Puthencruz police station. Mass at the church has been stopped for a while following a row between the Jacobite and Orthodox factions, both of whom claim the rights to offer service at the church.

Police said that tombstones of deceased members from both communities had been vandalised. Police officers and forensic experts visited the scene of the crime to collect evidence. “It was difficult to gather evidence as the rains had washed away some of the traces of the criminals,” said a police officer.

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