Members of Confraternity get ready for a procession in a Catholic church in Kochi in southern India's Kerala state. (Photo: Christopher Joseph/UCA News)
The communist-led government in India's Kerala state has passed a law to govern the burial rights of two warring Christian factions, exempting other groups including Catholics from the purview of the law.
The Kerala legislature passed the law on Feb. 11, incorporating the changes the Catholic leadership requested, to make it applicable only to the Orthodox and Jacobite factions of the Kerala-based Syrian Church.
The Christian Cemeteries (Right to Burial of Corpse) Act 2020 aims to address a century-old feud over church lands and properties, which resulted in each faction denying the other access to cemeteries to bury the dead.
As their fight became a law-and-order issue in the southern state, the communist-led coalition stepped in with an ordinance in January to ensure the right of Christians to be buried in their respective parish cemeteries.When the government then moved to make it a law applicable to all Christians in the state, Catholic leaders objected, saying they needed no such laws as Catholic parishes have no issues about burial.