Kerala Jacobite church in a spot on forcing kids to write on paper in blood

Jacobite faction, Jacobite, orthodox faction, Malankara Church dispute
The Marthoma Cheriya Palli in Kothamangalam | Photo: cheriapally.org

The Jacobite faction has found itself in a bind with a state panel for protection of children’s rights taking up a case against it for allegedly forcing children to write ‘sathyam’ (truth) in blood as part of its protest against the Orthodox church which is trying to gain control of churches armed with a Supreme Court order.

Authorities on Monday (October 28) were unable to implement a court order directing them to facilitate entry of Orthodox faction priests and followers into a church at Kothamangalam in Ernakulam to offer prayers following strong resistance from the Jacobite priests and the faithful.

Even though the apex court had nearly two years ago allowed the Orthodox faction to offer prayers at the church, members belonging to the rival faction allegedly prevented them from entering it.

Also read | Tension at Kerala church after Orthodox priests prevented from taking possession

The Orthodox faction recently tried to take possession of the church after a court in Ernakulam district directed police to provide protection to their priests to conduct religious services. To counter it, the Jacobite faction had organised a protest using students from Sunday school and some were made to write sathyam’ on white paper allegedly using blood drawn from their fingers.

The Kerala State Commission for Protection of Childs rights took up the case after taking note of media reports showing children writing on white paper as part of the protest.

“Children have every right to unite themselves and stage protests for safeguarding their rights. However, minors being used as a tool for protest and using their blood to proclaim their faith is against the law,” Commission Chairman P Suresh said in a release.

Also read | Cops break into Kerala church to remove resisting Jacobites

The commission also sought reports from the Director General of Police (DGP) and the Ernakulam District Collector on the event. The Orthodox faction had moved the court after the state government failed to implement the top court order.

Last month, priests and followers of Malankara Syrian Orthodox Church had entered the Piravom Valiyapalli near here and took possession of it amid strong protests by the Jacobite
faction.

The Orthodox faction could enter the church following a High Court directive to the state police to implement the Supreme Court order. Two years ago, the Supreme Court ruled in favour of the Orthodox faction on a dispute with rival Jacobite faction over control of over 1,000 churches and properties in Kerala.