Kerala

Kurishumala issue: diocese calls off protest plans

Govt. says it will ensure the believers’ freedom to worship

The Neyyatinkara Latin Catholic Diocese appeared to soften its stance on the Bonacaud Kurishumala issue on Monday, with the Kerala government giving an assurance that it will ensure the believers’ freedom to worship.

Following a meeting with representatives of the diocese here, Kerala Forest Minister K. Raju said pilgrimage to Kurishumala would be allowed on a limited number of days, without restrictions.

No activity on forest land

In response, the diocese called off the Secretariat march and hunger strike it planned for Tuesday.

It called off all its protest programmes, until a meeting with the Chief Minister to discuss the issues.

“The government will ensure that the believers will have freedom to worship. They will be allowed in Kurishumala on the days specified for the pilgrimage. But, as per the court’s order, to maintain status quo, no construction activities will be allowed on the forest land,” said the Minister, after the meeting.

The issues at Kurishumala began with the Forest Department issuing a notice to remove two concrete crosses erected there, as they were illegal constructions. These crosses were found destroyed in August last year.

A 10-ft-high wooden cross was installed at Kurishumala following the settlement arrived at a meeting chaired by the Forest Minister on August 29. This cross was found destroyed on November 27.

The police and the forest department had reported that the cross was destroyed in a lightning strike, a claim which the believers have contested.

Procession turns violent

After a few months of calm, the ‘way of the cross’ procession took out by the believers from 247 churches under the Neyyatinkara diocese to Kurishumala last Friday turned violent, with the believers breaking through the barricades and hurling stones at the police.

Several people, including policemen, were injured in two rounds of lathicharge at the Kaanithadam forest checkpost and at Vithura Junction in the city.

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Printable version | Jun 4, 2020 5:35:59 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/kurishumala-issue-diocese-calls-off-protest-plans/article22399267.ece

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