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India: Catholic church demolished by Delhi authorities

by Heather Preston
Little flower thumb.PNG - Banner image

A Catholic church in India's capital has been demolished by authorities for being an 'illegal structure'.

Little Flower Church, in Lado Sarai was pulled down on Monday, following an order from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

Civic authorities claimed the structure 'encroached' on government-owned agricultural land.

Church leaders have condemned the move as 'sad and shocking', claiming they were given no prior notice of the demolition.

"They came this morning and asked our staff to vacate the place, then they demolished the entire church," Father Ginto K. Tom, public relations officer of Faridabad Diocese, told UCA News.

"We have been running this church for the last 13 years and there was no such problem until the DDA claimed it was an illegal building. We will seek legal help and will take further action," he said.

The land where the church stood was donated 12 years ago to the Diocese of Faridabad Syro-Malabar Diocese, to serve some 1,500 local Catholics.

Catholic Bishops in the Northeast say they have witnessed similar incidents throughout the region. 
The North East India Regional Bishops' Council (NEIRBC) has questioned why such an established place of worship was destroyed so quickly.

Archbishop John Moolachira of Guwahati, and the president of (NEIRBC) said: "The Municipal Corporation should have given sufficient time to the Church personnel to take legal recourse before the demolition.

"We appeal to the government and the municipal corporations not to violate the religious sentiments of the people and not disturb the religious harmony of the country," 

According to the South District Delhi Magistrate, notices were 'duly served' and the demolition was in accordance with a 2015 Delhi High Court order.

 

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