Kerala priest Fr Shaiju Kurian expelled from church duties after joining BJP

| Updated: 05 January, 2024 7:37 pm IST

PATHANAMTHITTA: In a move that has sparked controversy within Kerala’s Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church, Fr Shaiju Kurian has been relieved of all his official duties in the Nilakkal Diocese. The decision follows the priest’s recent acceptance of membership in the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) from Union Minister of State for External Affairs, V Muraleedharan.

According to a spokesperson for the church, Fr Shaiju has been stripped of all the positions he held within the institution. However, the priest himself contends that he has taken a leave of absence, emphasising that it is customary to vacate official roles during such periods.

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The development unfolded a week after Fr Shaiju Kurian, along with 40 families from the Malankara Orthodox Church in Pathanamthitta, joined the BJP in the presence of senior state leaders, including V Muraleedharan and other committee members. BJP State President K Surendran alleged that since joining the party, the members faced threats and abuse through social media.

Responding to the situation, higher authorities within the Malankara Orthodox Church have established a commission to investigate allegations of misconduct against Fr Shaiju. The commission is expected to submit its findings within two months.

Recent events prompted members of the laity to stage a protest in front of the ‘Nilakkal Bhadrasanam Aramana’ (office of the secretary) three days ago, calling for Fr Shaiju’s resignation from church-related posts and official duties. Protesters voiced their displeasure over a church official simultaneously holding a party membership.

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Meanwhile, Prime Minister Narendra Modi, addressing the ‘Mahila Sammelanam’ in Thrissur, acknowledged the contributions of the Christian community towards the country’s development. However, the Congress leadership criticised the Prime Minister for not addressing the violence in Manipur during his speech. CPI state secretary Binoy Vishwam, speaking to The New Indian, accused the Prime Minister of making empty promises, asserting that the BJP thrives on propaganda without fulfilling any guarantees.

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