KOZHIKODE: Destruction of a cemetery and smuggling out mortal remains by aut-horities of Little Flower Church, Pushpagiri parish, Thamarassery diocese, near Koodaranji allegedly in January for facilitating a mega-mining project has landed in a legal dispute with relatives approaching the Munsif Court here aga-inst Bishop Remegiose Inchananiyil and the parish priest Fr Mathew Thakidiyel.
It assumed significance as the bishop had been an ardent critic of the Gadgil Committee report, leading a public campaign against its conservation recommendations.
The plaintiffs demand the restoration of tombs with mortal remains, a compensation of Rs 5 lakh for the mental agony and humiliation they had undergone and punishment for the guilty.
The Munsif Court 2A has summoned both the bishop and the vicar on June 14th and also directed the respondents to file a counter affidavit on July 2.
The vicar and the bishop are the first and second respondents in their spiritual capacity as leading lights of the church and are also the third and fourth respondents as individuals who acted against the Christian faith as well as the law of the land.
The petitioners Vincent Mathew Kalappurayil and others, relatives of late Kapyarumalayil Lucose and wife Sicily Lucose, in the petition, states that the demolition of the tombs and smuggling out of the mortal remains of the duo had caused them much mental pain, brought shame and above all shattered their faith that the dead would be resurrected on the doomsday.
The Catholic Laymen’s Association secretary M.L. George told DC that the attack on the tomb by the church authorities themselves hits at the very foundation of the Christian faith that the dead laid to rest at cemeteries should be cared well as the souls are on a short stay waiting for the resurrection.
“The cemetery is a sacred spot where every year on the day of the death, the kith and kin pray along with floral tributes to the departed”, he said.
The tomb which was bought with a price from the church was demolished without any permission of kith and kin. The court also directed the respondents to file a counter affidavit.
Though the relatives had approached the police, the revenue officials and the district collector, there have been no attempts to ensure justice, which led to the legal dispute.
Moreover, when the protest started gathering momentum, the church officials managed to erase out the cemetery and cleaned the site by dumping loads of soil, converting it into the ground.
Meanwhile, a report submitted by Village Officer, Pushpagiri, Koodaranji, to tahsildar, Thamarassery, early this year after the incident, says that the granite quarry on the land owned by the Little Flower Church, Pushpagiri, had been operating illegally violating safety and explosive rules posing a threat to public life.
The suspicious activities of the church authorities underline the allegations raised by various quarters that a massive mining project is in the pipeline in the area buying large tracts of granite-rich land, says the report.
It also recommends more probe into various other aspects of the issue, including a loss to the state exchequer and the illegal activities near the quarry in the recent past.
Spread over 1.75 acres of a total of 13.25 acres of land owned by the church, the open quarry with 40 meters length, 40 meters wide and 15 meters depth still pose a threat to the public as there are no safety barriers and moreover the deep portion is waterlogged with rainwater collected in it.
As per the report, though the vicar of the Church who owned the quarry has shown only a license from the department of mining and geology for the period of 9-11-2009 to 8-11-2010, the quarry had operated illegally between 1990 to 2015, the report said.