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India: Mangalore: Why was the 40-year-old St. Antony Holy Cross prayer hall demolished?

Sunday 13 February 2022, by siawi3


Mangalore: Why was the 40-year-old St. Antony Holy Cross prayer hall demolished?

On January 28, JMFC Court, Mangaluru, had restrained the defendants from demolishing any structure, next hearing is on February 14


07 Feb 2022

A 40-year-old Christian prayer hall in Mangaluru was demolished reportedly by “unidentified miscreants” on Saturday. The Christian prayer hall was also used as an Anganawadi at Urudady Gudde in Panjimogaru, and its demolition has triggered outrage among the Christian community in the city.

According to a report in The New Indian Express, Roy Castelino, PRO, Mangalore Diocese, said the prayer hall was built on 585 sq ft land more than 40 years ago and was managed by the St Antony Building Committee formed by local people of the area. He showed mediapersons documents that stated that this property was in dispute between the Committee and Women and Child Welfare Department (WCD) and it was the latter who had sought its demolition.

However, on January 28, the Fourth Additional Civil Judge and JMFC Court, Mangaluru, had “restrained the defendants from demolishing any structure or building existing in the suit properties, without following due process of law, till the disposal of the interlocutory application. The next hearing of the case is on February 14,” stated the news report.

According to Castelino, some “unauthorised persons started chopping the trees in the prayer hall premises” and the church officials, fearing that those people may also demolish the prayer hall, lodged a complaint with the Kavoor police station. Castelino alleged that the police did not respond to it and on Saturday, “around 11 am when the majority of the people living in the prayer hall surroundings had gone out for work, some unidentified miscreants demolished the prayer hall using a backhoe. Some women recorded the demolition on their cellphones” he recalled.

He has termed it “a clear case of contempt of court and added that they will file a police complaint over the incident”. According to TNIE the Deputy Commissioner of police KV Rajendra told the media that a report from the Deputy Director of Women and Child Welfare Department has been sought. He said, “I received a complaint in this regard after the structure was demolished. Preliminary reports suggest it had gone to PRED (Panchayat Raj Engineering Department) to construct an Anganwadi. But it is not clear who demolished it. I have asked to check whether there was no court stay against demolition and whether the Anganwadi could have been constructed sparing the prayer hall.”

According to a report in the Daijiworld portal, members of the Shri Satya Korddabbu Seva Samithi, allegedly violated the stay order from the court, entered the compound of the prayer centre, and demolished the building, compound wall, and trees. A complaint has been filed by St Anthony Holy Cross Building Committee president Antony Prakash Lobo, Cyprian D’Souza, Francis Pinto, and Valerian Lobo against Shri Satya Korddabbu Seva Samithi at Kavoor police station stated the news report.

“The court has given a stay, preventing illegal entry to our property and harming our building. The deputy commissioner has also issued a stay. But, the opposite party has illegally entered our property and demolished our compound wall and trees inside our compound. They have also prepared invitation cards to organise first-year Nemotsava inside our compound,” stated the complainants adding, “We have been living in this compound for the past 40 years and the city corporation authorities have given us a door number. We had also allowed to run Anganwadi for free. We have always been in favour of peace. But, the opposite party wants to disrupt peace and has done this.”

Daijiworld quoted Antony Prakash Lobo who said, “St Anthony Holy Cross Prayer Centre which is a part of the St Antony Church of Kulur has been functioning for the past 40 years. The city corporation has provided electricity and water. We had allowed the Anganwadi for children here without any charges. The civil dispute matter is in the court. The order copy has been submitted to the deputy commissioner and police commissioner. The local public is claiming that they want to build a ’Daivastana’ here. Though there is a stay from the court, they have demolished the prayer center. We used to celebrate all festivals along with Anganwadi children.”


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