Staff Reporter

Thiruvananthapuram: The police today justified its "limited action" against members of the Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church (Orthodox faction) on February 13.

The high-level inquiry report into the incident said that an "unruly, boisterous and inebriated" section of the laity had attacked the police and destroyed public property, forcing the constabulary to use force to restore public peace.

The inquiry found "no evidence" to suggest that members of the opposing Patriarch Faction had infiltrated the Orthodox march and caused the trouble by attacking the police with stones from the top of buildings on Mahatma Gandhi Road. Inspector General of Police (South Zone) Arun Kumar Sinha headed the inquiry.

Scores of people, including several priests and policemen, were injured when the police swung lathis, fired tear-gas shells and the water cannon to disperse the march that turned violent in front of the Secretariat.

Nearly 6,000 members of the Orthodox faction, including a large number of priests, participated in the march organised to protest against the Government's decision to allow members of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church (Patriarch faction) to pray at the Thrikunnathu Seminary in Aluva.

The permission to organise the march was sought by T.O. Joseph, a retired policeman. As many as 1,000 members of the crowd started making trouble at the very outset of the march. They abused the police and attempted to block a police vehicle at Palayam, the report said.

Later, the unruly section of protestors tried to break the police cordon in front of the Secretariat main gate despite the presence of the clergy.

Most of the protestors dispersed peacefully after the march while around 1,000 remained on the road, blocking traffic and disrupting life.

The police gave permission to four Orthodox faction representatives to enter the Secretariat through the Azad Gate for giving a memorandum to the Government.

The unruly elements who accompanied them to the gate mobbed and beat up an officer and three constables at Statue junction. The report said that the unruly elements also attacked journalists covering the incident.

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