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Kerala: Over 400 Christian priests booked by police for violating Covid-19 regulations at Munnar church gathering

It is alleged that after the retreat, 100 priests contracted Covid-19, and four of them died over the past few days

As per reports, Munnar Police have registered a case in Idukki, Kerala, against over 400 Christian priests for unlawful gathering at a time when the state is facing a severe surge in Covid-19 cases. All the priests are members of CSI Church. They have been booked under different sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Kerala Epidemic Disease Ordinance.

The gathering took place in Munnar between April 13 and April 17. The annual retreat of the church violated the protocols enacted by the state government to control the Covid-19 surge in the state.

Kerala Government and District Administration were approached by one Sabu Stephen, a member of CSI Church, against the gathering. However, CSI Church claimed that there was no violation during the retreat.

Based on the preliminary inquiry, the police said that the gathering violated the protocols. The Circle Inspector said, “At the time of the event, only 100 people were allowed for indoor and up to 200 for outdoor events. Based on the inputs from Devikulam Tehsildar, we have registered a case.”

Stephen, in his complaint, alleged that after the retreat, 100 priests contracted Covid-19, and four of them died over the past few days. On the other hand, CSI Church claimed only 20 contracted the disease, but it was not linked to the retreat that took place in Munnar.

The annual retreat that allegedly killed four priests

As per reports, the annual retreat took place between April 13 and April 17. The priests had travelled to Munnar from LMS Church in Thiruvananthapuram in a bus. Rev Bijumon, 52, the vicar of CSI church, Kazhukode, near Vattappara, passed away due to COVID on April 29. Rev Shine B Raj, 43, the vicar of CSI church, Punnakkamugal, near Thirumala, lost his battle to COVID on May 4. Many infected priests are currently undergoing treatment at Dr Somervell CSI Medical College Hospital at Karakonam, while some are home quarantined.

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