The Latin Catholic Church in Thiruvananthapuram is all set to intensify its protest against the government for not allowing devotees to enter Kurisumala and offer prayers atop the hill.
A pastoral note, read out in the churches under the Latin Catholic diocese of Neyyattinkara on Sunday, called for protests. The note, issued by Bishop Vincent Samuel, said that he will go on a fast in front of the Secretariat on Tuesday. He will be joined by the priests and the nuns.
The protesters will assemble at the St Josephâs Metropolitan Cathedral in Palayam and take out a rally from there to the Secretariat, after which they will begin their fast, the note said.
The note criticized the government keeping silent on the issue and said that the government has prevented freedom of worship.
Kurisumala at Bonacaud, Thiruvananthapuram, has been at the centre of controversy since August 2017, after a 60-year-old cross was demolished by unidentified persons. A wooden cross was erected at the spot later, but it was also demolished in November.
The church has demanded the cross should be reinstalled, but the Forest Department refused. The reason cited by the department is that the land is owned by them.
On Friday, nearly 2000 devotees attempted to climb the hill as part of the âWay of the Crossâ, an annual pilgrimage taken out on the first Friday of every January.
The police prevented the entry of the devotees, due to which tensions escalated. They have been protesting since.
âThe government has gone back on the promise they gave during the discussion held in August between the heads of the church and the Forest Minister. At the time, they promised that prayers can be offered at Kurisumala and the cases charged against the priests and the devotees by the police will be withdrawn. Despite several rounds of talks, memorandums and applications, there has been no response from the government and so far, the church has been on a silent protest. We feel that the government is now in favour of fundamentalist elements,â the note read.