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Kerala Priests Hold Protest March to Demand Removal of Cardinal Mired in Controversial Land Deals

The protest was held days after the Kerala High Court ordered the police to register an FIR against the Cardinal, and three others, on a complaint alleging irregularities in land deals.

Chandrakanth Viswanath | CNN-News18

Updated:March 9, 2018, 7:11 PM IST
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Kerala Priests Hold Protest March to Demand Removal of Cardinal Mired in Controversial Land Deals
File photo of Cardinal Mar George Alencherry. (Image: Wikimedia Commons)
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Thiruvananthapuram: More than 200 priests belonging to the Ernakulam Angamali Archdiocese held a protest march on Friday to demand the removal of the head of the Syro Malabar Church, Cardinal Mar George Alencherry, over controversial land deals.

The priests held an emergency meeting for two hours and then marched to the house of Sebastian Adayanthrath, the Auxiliary Bishop of Ernakulam, to submit a memorandum.

The protest was held days after the Kerala High Court ordered the police to register an FIR against the Cardinal, and three others, on a complaint alleging irregularities in land deals. The police, however, is yet to comply with the HC order and sought a legal opinion in the matter on Friday.

"We are not against him (Cardinal) or the Synod. Our protest is against the secrecy in the land deals which were conducted without informing the Canonical committees. Moreover, we want to know why the reports, which studied the deals in detail, are neglected even after the court order," Father Kuriakose Mundadan told reporters.

According to Church insiders, the protest march was a tool to invite the attention of the Pope into the controversy. Following the public protest, a meeting of the permanent synod was also held in Ernakulam.

The Ernakulam Angamaly Archdiocese, in 2016, had sold a three-acre property in Kochi to repay a bank loan worth Rs 60 crore it had taken to purchase another property in the district for a medical college. Though the agent appointed for the deal estimated the land's value at Rs 27.30 crore, a section of the priests and the laity claimed that its real value would be more than Rs 80 crore.

Former chief minister and veteran CPM leader, VS Achuthanandan, also came down heavily on the Cardinal. "This is a matter of grave importance. A case should be registered as ordered by the High Court. Public property should not be dealt in the same manner as personal property,” he said, adding that the state government should also implement the Chuch Act as proposed by late Justice VR Krishna Iyer to curb malpractice.

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| Edited by: Aakarshuk Sarna
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