Bishop hospitalized after attack by parishioners

Bishop Jerome Dhas Varuvel of Kuzhithurai

By Arul Gnanapragasam

Chennai, March 12, 2019: A Catholic bishop was reportedly hospitalized in Tamil Nadu, southern India, after a group of Catholics attacked him over a land dispute.

Police in Marthandam in Kanniyakumari district have registered a case against 58 people for attacking Bishop Jerome Dhas Varuvel of Kuzhithurai and a security guard, Tamil newspaper the Daily Thanti reported on March 11.

The attack took place the previous day at the bishop’s residence in Unnamalaikadai near Marthandam some 45 km southeast of Thiruvananthapuram, the Kerala state capital, which is the nearest major city.

The incident reportedly was the fallout of a land dispute between two parishes — St. Joseph’s Church and St. Antony’s Church — of Kuzhithurai diocese, which was created on December 22, 2014.

Although the diocese tried several times to solve the issue, it could not succeed as the matter was complicated, the newspaper reported.

Parishioners of St. Antony’s Church resented the settlement the diocese reached on the basis of the advise of a committee.

On March 10 afternoon, some parishioners St. Antony’s Church gathered at the porch of the Bishop’s House when Bishop Varuvel arrived in a car.

The 67-year-old Salesian prelate came out of the car after the agitating parishioners stopped it. The crowd surrounded him and demanded immediate solution of the dispute.

As the discussion was going on, some people suddenly started attacking the bishop and pulled his cassock, the news report said. The security guard, who tried to protect the prelate, was attacked with a rod.

The attackers ran away as the police arrived at the scene. Bishop Varuvel and the guard named Manoharan were admitted to a private hospital in Marthandam.

The police registered the case against 58 people, including some women, on the complaint of the security guard.

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2 thoughts on “Bishop hospitalized after attack by parishioners

  1. Violence is never a solution. It is also a symptom not a disease. Sociologists say that violence is the option of those who have nothing to lose. We need to analyse the root causes of the violence.

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