Kochi: The Jacobite devotees have blocked the Orthodox Ramban, Fr Thomas Paul from entering the Mar Thoma church here in Kochi. A massive protest and clashes were witnessed at the church in Kothamangalam between Orthodox and Jacobite groups on Thursday morning over the incident.

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The Jacobite group was upset after the Kerala high court's decision to dismiss the petition filed by it on Tuesday. Jacobite devotees filed a case against the Muvattupuzha munsif court order granting police protection to Fr Paul to enter the Mar Thoma church. The Jacobites are against his entry into the church.

Fr Paul was set to perform a holy mass on Thursday in the Mar Thoma church. Several other Orthodox devotees also tried to enter the church and offer prayers with Fr Paul. However, all of them were blocked by the Jacobite groups. Later, the police reached the spot and they brought the situation under control.

The police arrested around 20 devotees including women from the church premises for staging protests. Some other protesters started another protest demanding the release of the arrested. 

Earlier, the Vicar appointed in 2008 by the Orthodox church was also not allowed to enter the church by the Jacobite groups.

Similarly, on December 10, a massive protest was witnessed when the police tried to implement the Supreme Court verdict in St Mary’s Jacobite Syrian Cathedral in Piravom Valiyapally.

The Jacobite community protested against the Kerala Police. Some of the protesters climbed to the rooftop of the church and blackmailed the police by threatening to commit suicide.

Later, the police left the Piravom church. According to sources, many other believers stood beside the church and shouted slogans. The Jacobite believers told that they would commit suicide if the police implement the Supreme Court verdict which permits Orthodox believers to enter the Piravom church.