Hundreds of Malankara Orthodox Church members, on Sunday, laid siege to the ancestral house of Chief Minister Oommen Chandy at Puthuppally, demanding implementation of the court order in the ownership issue of Kolencherry St. Peter's and St. Paul's Church.
Though the blockade was planned originally for 11 a.m., members of the Orthodox Youth Movement gathered in front of Mr. Chandy's ancestral home by 7 a.m. itself. The agitation led to a minor skirmish when Youth Congress activists, who were at the house, reacted to the slogans which they felt were personal attacks against the Chief Minister
After more than two hours, the youngsters left the spot after handing over their memorandum to the Chief Minister. Reacting to questions from mediapersons, Mr. Chandy said both sides deserved equal justice. Mr. Chandy left for Ernakulam by 10 a.m.
Chandy's home parish
Later, members of Mr. Chandy's home parish, St. George's Church, Puthuppally, arrived in a procession. Hundreds of people led by Vicar Thomas Abraham and other priests, trustees and office-bearers of the church gathered at the house compound, holding Catholicate flags and shouting slogans against the Patriarch of Antioch Catholicos Baselius Thomas I, head of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, and the State government. In the absence of Mr. Chandy, they handed over their memorandum to his personal secretary.
Later, the Orthodox Church members gathered for a public meeting at the shrine of St. George at Puthuppally Junction. Inaugurating the meeting, Bishop Geevarghese Mar Julius, head of the Ahmedabad diocese of Orthodox Church, said the UDF government had taken a firm stand in implementing court orders in all the issues that had come up during its tenure so far. The Chief Minister himself had show high regard for court directives in cases in which his name had come up. However, in the case of Kolencherry church, the government was reluctant to implement court orders, he said.
They later moved to the Nilackel Orthodox Church nearby and sat in a day-long fast along with members of the other Orthodox parishes in the area. The faithful from the Orthodox Church organised protest meetings in many places in the district.