Ayurveda practitioner Joseph Konur who hanged himself on Tuesday became an atheist five years ago after confrontation with the Church over collecting hefty amounts from the faithful. Konur, a booth-level Congress leader, hit the headlines three years ago when he dug a grave in his courtyard at Munithandu in Idukki district.
Joseph’s family friend Ramani Kumaran said: “Konur had been a staunch Christian believer. But he had a confrontation with the Church authorities over the practice of collecting hefty amounts from the faithful. He believed some of the priests were misusing the donations collected from the faithful and leading a luxurious life. He stopped the practice of giving donations and that forced him to skip religious events at the local church. Eventually, he became an atheist.’’ The book, Sathyathinte Vazhikal (The Ways Of Truth), which Konur, 70, had published last year, was a recollection on atheism.
Joseph did not prevent his wife and three daughters from practising religion. Three years back, Konur realised he would not get a decent burial at the church cemetery.
“He feared that a person who had abandoned religion would not be buried at the church graveyard….Hence, he decided to dig one for himself in the courtyard of the house. He wanted to defeat organised religion,’’ said his neighbour, K M Haneefa.
With the grave ready on the premises of his house, Konur was firm he would not lead a life with the helping hand of another person. He decided to end his life when he became almost bedridden. A suicide note said: “The pain is insufferable. Hence, I am going. Bury my body as per my wish.”
A day before he decided to kill himself, Konur asked his younger brother to turn up at his house the next morning.
A police probe has revealed Konur had telephoned his brother after preparing the hook at the staircase of his house to hang himself.
He had also asked a local mason to lift the slab of the grave the next morning. He had not revealed his plan to hang himself that night.