Vicar, two others held for conducting funeral service with large gathering in Kerala


PTI, Mar 25, 2020, 8:01 PM IST

Pathanamthitta: A vicar and two officials of a local church here in Kerala were arrested on Wednesday on charges of conducting a funeral service, defying the government order against mass gatherings in view of the coronavirus outbreak, police said.

Priest Reji Yohanan, vicar of St Peters Church at Thuvayoor South here, and church’s trustee Suraj and secretary Mathew were those arrested, they said.

They were later released on bail, police said.

This is the second such instance of an arrest of a church priest for conducting a funeral with large people in attendance in Kerala since the government imposed curbs to contain the spread of the deadly virus.

Over 50 people participated in the funeral service held at 11 am at the St Peters church complex amid the complete lockdown in the state.

A case has been registered against the three persons under section 188 (disobedience of government order) of the Indian Penal Code and the Kerala Police Act section 118E (causing danger to the public), police said.

On Monday, a priest, who conducted a holy mass at a church in Chalakudy in which over 100 people took part, was arrested.

He was also later let off on bail.

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