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Ernakulam Priests Go on Indefinite Hunger Strike Against Cardinal Alencherry Over Church Land Row

Report from News 18

Thiruvananthapuram: In a first-of-its-kind incident, priests of the Syro-Malabar Ernakulam archdiocese in Kerala have begun an indefinite hunger strike at Cardinal George Alencherry's house, demanding his resignation over allegations of involvement in a dubious land deal.

Nearly 200 priests on Thursday joined the 10 protesters, sitting on hunger strike at the Cardinal's house. According to reports, Alencherry was allegedly involved in a dubious land deal that led to the loss of Rs 90 crore for the archdiocese.

"The Cardinal has to be removed as he is facing about 14 cases, mostly related to financial dealings. The Cardinal should not chair the coming synod as it's against the code of law. Pope's representative should chair the synod," Father Jose Vailikdath, joint convenor of the steering committee said.

Father Jose added that their demands include immediate appointment of an administrative archbishop, who has the power to take decisions, and the two auxiliary bishops, who were suspended, should be brought back.

The priest added that if their demands are not met they will intensify the protests with the help of members of the community.

Meanwhile, chairman of the Syro-Malabar Church's media commission Bishop Joseph Pamplany said that the priests aren't demanding the removal of the Cardinal. "Their demands include the appointment of an administrative archbishop, reinstatement of the suspended auxillary bishops and publishing the report of the commission that inquired into the allegations. The permanent synod will be discussing their written demands. The discussion might happen tomorrow itself. "

After Cardinal Alencherry's reinstatement, about 251 priests of Ernakulam archdiocese met and passed a resolution against this. So far, no action has been taken and this has forced the priests to come out in open and protest.

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