Police were called to Saturday’s meeting of the Kerala CSI Synod in Thiruvanthapuram, when arguments over ammendments to the church’s constitution led to a melee that shut down proceedings.
Passions were high at Saturday’s meeting of the Kerala CSI Synod in Thiruvanthapuram, when arguments over amendments to the church constitution led to a brawl.
On 27 June 2015 delegates from the six dioceses in the Indian state of Kerala were meeting in the state’s capital debating proposed amendments to the CSI’s constitution. The church is in the midst of a debate over proposals for raising the retirement age of clergy to 67 from 65 and strengthening the powers of the church’s moderator and executive synod at the expense of the dioceses. Opponents of the measures have taken to the press in India, writing the changes are part of a power grab by the national church. In exchange for allowing bishops to remain in office for two more years, the bishops are said to have agreed to ceeding some of their authority to the moderator.
According to sources in the CSI, tempers flared when votes in favor of the amendment were forced through the synod without allowing the opponents a fair opportunity to speak. Shouts led to shoves, which led to a brawl between the two factions. The police were called and the District Collector was able to mediate the dispute, suggesting the synod be prorogued until 17 July 2015.
However, later that day opponents of the amendments marched upon the Bishop’s House and staged a protest. Complaints of disturbing the peace and assault have been lodged by both sides of the dispute, and two cases have been registered by the police.