Fr. Michael Puranattukara (Swami Sadanand), a priest with the Carmelite of Mary Immaculate (CMI) congregation who had been on an indefinite fast in the past one week to press for a solution to the Thalore parish issue, was arrested by the police on Wednesday and shifted to the Thrissur Government Medical College Hospital.

The 64-year-old priest had shifted his venue of protest from Thalore to the Archbishop's House after talks between the Syro-Malabar Catholic Archdiocese and the Infant Jesus Monastery Parish Protection Council failed. He was arrested and taken to the District Hospital and later shifted to the Government Medical College Hospital. His condition is stable.

The Town East police also arrested 55 members of the Parish Protection Council, including women. They were released later.

The Council has been demanding restoration of administrative powers over the Thalore parish to the CMI congregation. The Council maintains that the Archdiocese took over the administration from the CMI congregation, allegedly violating an agreement that had been drawn up and signed in 1977 by the then Thrissur Archbishop, Thrissur CMI provincial, Thalore Monastery Prior, Vicars of Ollur and Puthukad parishes and two persons of the Parish Formation Council.

Auxiliary Bishop Mar Raphael Thattil, Vicars General Francis Alappatt, Paul Peramangalam and Chancellor Raphael Akkamattathil met eight members of the Parish Council this morning.

“The Archdiocese made it clear that it would not restore administrative powers over the Thalore parish to the CMI congregation. The Archdiocese's stand reflects the flaws in administration by Archbishop Mar Andrews Thazhathu. Problems similar to those in Thalore prevail in more than 30 parishes in the district. It is worth notice that such problems had not arisen during the terms of his predecessors Mar Joseph Kundukulam and Mar Jacob Thoomkuzhy,” said Porinchu Melethu, joint convener of the Council.

In a statement, Fr. Akkamattathil criticised the shifting of Fr. Puranattukara's venue of protest to the Archbishop's House and alleged infiltration into its premises.

“The high drama that followed the shifting of venue and infiltration thwarted the second round of conciliatory talks scheduled to be held this evening,” he said.

The Kerala Catholic Federation demanded that Mar Andrews Thazhathu should relinquish his post. “He has been functioning against the interests of the community and the faithful and is not fit to hold the post,” said Joy Paul Puthussery, State president of the Federation.

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