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Jacobites resist police bid to take over Church

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Jacobites resist police bid to take over Church
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Kochi: Tension prevailed at the premises of the St Mary's Church near here on Tuesday as police in large numbers reached there to take control of the Church following a Supreme Court order granting its possession in Ernakulam district to the Orthodox faction.

The order could not be implemented due to strong resistance by rival Jacobites, police said.

Followers of the Jacobite Christian faith prevented police from entering the church at Odakkali by locking its gate from inside, they said.

Police broke open the locks by using a gas cutter but Jacobite Christians, camping inside the church, refused to leave.

Police said they will have to take control of the church as the Kerala High Court has ordered authorities to submit a report on Wednesday.

Jacobite priests and followers of the church said they would not hand over possession to the Orthodox faction.

Police personnel are still camping in the area.

Jacobite church followers also foiled a bid by authorities to take control of a church at Kothamangalam.

Revenue Divisional Officer (RDO) Muvattupuzha and other officials reached the church, known as Kothamangalam Cheriya Palli, but they were blocked on the road by hundreds of the Jacobite faithful shouting "go back" slogans.

The RDO later left, police said.

The Kerala High Court has ordered the state government to take control of the churches as authorities had allegedly failed to implement the top court verdict granting possession to the Orthodox faction due to protests by followers of the rival Jacobite Christian faith.

Recently, priests and followers of the Orthodox church had entered the Piravom Valiyapalli near here and taken possession amid strong protests by the Jacobite faction.

The Orthodox faction could enter the church following a High Court directive to police to implement the apex court order.

The Supreme Court in 2017 ruled in favour of the Orthodox faction on a dispute with rival Jacobites over control of over 1,000 churches and properties in Kerala.

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