Over 55 parishioners of St Anthony’s Church, Mettuguda, and the parish priest Father U.J. Chinnappa Reddy got into an ugly brawl with allegations of corruption and rude behaviour being hurled at the priest.
However, the priest strongly refuted all the allegations saying that the protests were stage-managed by two employees of the church. Father Reddy said the protest was planned by two employees of the church, Mr. Peter Mellon, the clerk and Mr Sunil, catechist. A section of church members also alleged that the priest was trying to replace the service staff with his henchmen to take control of donations and monthly subscriptions.
During a heated argument that broke out on the church premises on Tuesday, it was alleged that the priest had reportedly manhandled a women parishioner who was part of the protest.The parishioners agitated in front of St Anthony's shrine raising slogans: “Chinnappa, down down!” against the priest. It was around this time when the woman was manhandled by the priest. But all efforts to connect with the woman proved futile as she refused to respond.
Meanwhile, Mr. Paul Anthony, a parishioner, explained, “Father U.J. Chinnappa Reddy has been the parish priest for St Anthony’s for over 3 years now. As a religious head of the church he is responsible for its welfare and the grievances of the parishioners, but when he is approached by the parishioners, his behaviour is awfully cruel; he humiliates the parishioners.”