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Row over Priyanka's grandma's funeral

By Vijay George
Last updated on: June 13, 2016 14:58 IST
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Priyanka expressed disappointment that the church denied her nani's last wish to be buried in Kumarakom.

Priyanka Chopra

The church's attitude that denied fulfilling the last wish of Priyanka Chopra's nani has become controversial.

The Bollywood star's family had brought Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri's body to Kumarakom in Kottayam, Kerala, where she was born Mary John in the 1920s.

But the church denied the freedom fighter a funeral because she had married a Hindu and no longer followed the Christian faith.

She was later buried in the church cemetery in Ponkunnam, almost 40 kilometres from Kumarakom.

Priyanka expressed disappointment that the church denied her nani's last wish to be buried in Kumarakom, where her grandmother's parents were buried.

Though the church issued a statement that they could not change its rules because Priyanka is a star, its stance has been condemned in various quarters.

PTI adds:

A senior priest of the Jacobite Church on Friday, June 10, criticised a local church's refusal to permit Madhu Jyotsna Akhouri's burial at the church where she was baptised, describing it as against the Christian tradition.

Bishop of the Kottayam Diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, Thomas Mar Themothios, said the decision of the committee governing St John's Church, Kumarakom, not to fulfill Akhouri's wishes was "not humane". She wanted to be buried at St John's Church as she had been baptised there.

"Burial of a dead person is a sacred act as per Christian tradition. Taking a decision contrary to it is not humane and also against the tradition of Christianity," the bishop told reporters.

It was following the bishop's intervention that Akhouri was laid to rest at the church cemetery in nearby Ponkunnam.

Talking to reporters in Patna June 9, Priyanka had called the church's decision to not allow the burial as 'unfortunate.'

Akhouri, 94, passed away on June 3 in Mumbai. As she had expressed her wish to be laid to rest in her home state, Kerala, her body was brought there for the last rites. A number of relatives, including Priyanka, flew down from Mumbai to perform the last rites.

Born as Mary in the Kavalappara family in Kumarakom, she went to Bihar as a nurse and later married Dr Akhouri.


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