Govt says right to worship at Kurisumala will be protected, Church defers Tuesday’s strike


Archbishop M Soosa Pakiam held talks with government over Kurisumala, which witnessed violent protests Friday after the police tried to block people’s entry.

Thiruvananthapuram: The Latin Catholic Church has deferred their proposed strike for Tuesday after the Kerala government assured the clergy that the believers’ freedom to worship at Kurisumala, a controversial pilgrimage center, will be protected.
The decision comes after archbishop M Soosa Pakiam held talks with forest minister K Raju. The minister has reportedly assured the archbishop that limited number of pilgrims would be allowed to enter Kurisumala, which witnessed violent protests Friday after the police tried to block people’s entry. The Church had earlier planned to hold protests Tuesday after the faithful were injured in the police action. However, it was learned that the government would not allow construction activities in the ecologically sensitive area.

Eight people, including three police personnel, injured after a march by the faithful to the ‘Kurisumala’ (Mount of the Cross) in nearby Bonacaud turned violent leading to lathi charge.

Priests and the faithful under the Neyyantinkara Latin Catholic Diocese took out the procession to install a new holy cross in the place of one which got damaged a few months ago. After which the entry to the Kurisumala was barred.

The faithful visit Kurisumala on the first Friday of every new year. The wooden cross was found destroyed in November last year under mysterious circumstances. The police and forest officials had then stated that the cross got damaged in lightning. A case is also pending in the Kerala High Court on the matter.

The Church is seeking to hold a meeting with chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan to get his assurance.



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