Church activist follows Irom Sharmila path

Stephen Mathews on hunger stir for enactment of Church Act, justice in Sr. Abhaya case.

Kochi: Even as the state government has made its stand clear on the Church Properties and Institutions Trust Bill Act, there has been growing demand for the enactment of the Act. Social activist and laity leader Stephen Mathews, who started a hunger strike in Kochi on March 27, is continuing the protest, demanding enactment of Church Act and justice in the Sister Abhaya murder case. Though he was arrested and shifted to the Ernakulam Government General hospital last week, he is not willing to end the hunger strike.

"It has been since 27 years since Sr. Abhaya was murdered. But, the government, which is bound to protect the life of citizens, has failed to provide justice. And the case has faded into oblivion with the culprits roaming free outside. Hundreds of nuns who have been facing sufferings like Sr. Abhaya are denied justice," Stephen Mathews told DC. "I will not end hunger strike until the government and authorities concerned take a proactive step in this regard," he added. Various laity organisations like Joint Christian Council, Kerala Catholic Church Reformation Movement(KCRM) are supporting Mr. Stephen's protest.

"Issues in the church can be resolved permanently only through enactment of the Church Act. It can end the corruption and other malpractices in the church. Political parties, concerned of the Christian vote bank, should show the courage to enact the Act," said Mr. Joseph Varghese, joint secretary of KCRM. Mr. Varghese has submitted memorandum to ministers, district collector and superintend of police urging to take immediate action to save the life of Stephen.

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