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Orthodox vs Jacobites in Kerala: Body of BSF Jawan not allowed inside Piravom church, funeral turns chaotic

The funeral rites were eventually held in another church belonging to the Jacobite faction. After much chaos, the body of the jawan was allowed to be kept for a few minutes in the St. Mary's Church at Piravom.

The feud between the Jacobite and the Orthodox faction over the ownership and entry into Churches in Kerala seems to be getting worse over the period of time. Recently, the two factions once again came face to face after the Orthodox faction did not allow funeral rites of a BSF Jawan belonging to the Jacobite faction in Ernakulam on Monday.

As per a report in The News Minute, the family of Benoy Abraham, a recently martyred BSF jawan became the victim of this ongoing tussle between the two factions after the funeral rites of the jawan, hailing from Piravom of Ernakulam district in Kerala witnessed chaotic scenes as relatives of the jawan, who belong to Jacobite faction, tried to take his body inside the St Mary’s Church in Piravom.

Abraham died on Saturday in Rajasthan after the truck he was travelling in hit a private bus.

The church is at present under the control of Orthodox faction of the Malankara Church following a Supreme Court order. Though the Jacobite faction can bury their deceased in the St Mary’s church cemetery, the Orthodox faction claims the right to conduct funeral rites and hence, the jawan’s family were reportedly denied funeral service at the church.

Read: Kerala: Daughter blackmailed to join Orthodox Church to ensure decent burial ground for Jacobite Christian mother

Following the ensuing tussle between the two factions, the police officials posted at the church asked the family to leave. After the jawan’s wife pleaded with the police that they let her husband’s body be kept inside the church for a few minutes, the police allowed the family to do so. The funeral rites were eventually held in another church belonging to the Jacobite faction.

“As per the SC order, St Mary’s Church, which was earlier under the aegis of Jacobites is now under the Orthodox faction’s control. The funeral rites of the jawan were held in another church on Monday. But as per the request of the jawan’s family through police mediation, the priest of St Mary’s Church agreed to bury his body at the church’s cemetery. But things went out of control as the Jacobite faction forcibly tried to carry the body inside St Mary’s Church,” an official at Piravom police station told The News Minute.

This is, however, not the first time. There have been several such cases of fights over burials of believers between the two factions. In such instances, the bodies of the deceased are kept frozen for days together as the family struggles to get them buried.

Earlier this month, a 91-year-old deceased woman was denied burial rights after a difference of opinion erupted between the members of the Malankara Orthodox Church and the Jacobite Syrian Church over their right to conduct the rituals of the deceased.

Read: Kerala: Orthodox-Jacobite Church fight over burial ritual, family donates body to Ayurveda medical college

Reportedly, the police officers and revenue officials blocked the funeral procession 100 metres from the church after the Orthodox faction opposed the burial at the church cemetery.

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OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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