Catholic priest, 21 others violate Covid protocol; arrested

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Kochi, May 31 (PTI) A Catholic priest and 21 others were arrested on Monday for allegedly organising the first holy communion for children at a church in Ernakulam district, violating COVID-19 protocol, police said.

The vicar of St Joseph Church, Poovathussery, Fr George Palamattom and 21 others, including the parents of three children and relatives, were arrested for organising the function violating lockdown rules and charged under relevant sections of the Epidemic Diseases Act.

They were later released on station bail, police said.

A Church official said some of the parents had come to India from abroad to attend the function and wanted to return as their leave had ended. So it was organised on Monday after twice being postponed earlier due to lockdown restrictions, he said.

He said the arrests were made when the first holy communion, one of the most important occasions in a Roman Catholic's life, was being organised for the three children.

The Kerala government on Saturday announced one more week extension of the statewide lockdown till June 9, to contain the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. PTI TGB APR ADMINISTRATOR APR ADMINISTRATOR