HC asks Kerala govt to take control of Kothamangalam church

The Kerala High Court on Tuesday ordered the state government to immediately take over control of a Church at nearby Kothamangalam where the authorities allegedly failed to implement a Supreme Court verdict granting its possession to the Orthodox faction due to protests by followers of rival Jacobite Christian faith.

Disposing of a plea filed by Orthodox faction priest Thomas Paul Ramban seeking the court's intervention to implement the apex court order, Justice P.B Sureshkumar directed the Ernakulam district collector to use force to remove the protesters and take over the church known as 'Kothamangalam Cheriyapally'.

The court said once the church is taken over and peace and law is maintained, religious ceremonies can be conducted with police protection.

In its order, the court directed the collector to ensure public order, peace and tranquility in the locality of the church forthwith and deploy force if necessary. The court directed the collector to take over the church after removing all people squatting inside the church premises and its compound.