Believers install wooden cross atop Bonacaud hill in Kerala

August 28, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Thiruvananthapuram, August 28, 2017: The protests against the demolition of crosses at a hill in Bonacaud at Vithura took a dramatic turn on August 27, when a section of agitators defied the police personnel to reach the top of the hill and installed a new wooden cross there.

An indefinite agitation was being carried out by local Catholics for a week after five concrete crosses that were installed atop a hill were found demolished on the night of August 18. The area falling under the Palode Forest Reserve was used as a pilgrim station for ‘Way of the Cross’ on Good Fridays by the believers under Neyyatinkara Latin Catholic Diocese.

According to Times of India report, the agitation turned violent around 11.15am on Sunday, when a section of agitators tried to get past the police personnel, who had formed a line to restrict them from entering the forest area. A skirmish broke out between agitators and police, in which three cops suffered injuries.

After successfully crossing the police barrier, the agitators blocked the forest path of over 10 kilometres that led to the hill top with stones and wooden logs so that officials of the forest department could not pursue them in their vehicles.

Once at the top of the hill, the believers installed a nearly seven-foot wooden cross on the spot where one of the demolished concrete crosses stood and held special prayers. They also set up a temporary altar before descending the hill.

The office of the forest minister said that the minister will convene a high-level meeting in his chamber on August 29, Tuesday, at 9am to discuss the issue.

The mystery behind the demolition of the crosses is yet to be solved. Initial suspicion was on the Forest department officials in the area who were facing probe for allowing construction of concrete crosses in a Reserve Area. Since the officials involved have denied any role in the demolition, the suspicion shifted to religious extremists.

In a pastoral letter for the followers of the church, Bishop Vincent Samuel of Neyyattinkara has said that the circumstances under which the crosses were demolished had to be probed thoroughly.

“Events like these were indicators of bigger threats that await Christians in the state in the future. The police, preferably Crime Branch, must launch a probe into the circumstances in which perpetrators could reach the pilgrim spot crossing Forest check post,” the letter said.

– times of india

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