Bonacaud Cross demolition issue sees an amicable end

August 31, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india

Thiruvananthapuram, August 30, 2017: The meeting called by Forest Minister K.Raju on Aug 29 between church representatives and forest officials arrived on a consensus to resolve the issue of the destruction of concrete crosses at Bonacaud.

The Minister agreed to the request of the church representatives to retain one wooden cross at the spot. The believers would also be allowed to conduct pilgrimage and prayers atop the hill, twice a year like in the past.

The Minister said no other construction activity, including concrete structures, would be allowed in the vicinity of the cross in the forest land.

It was also agreed to remove the debris of demolished concrete crosses.

Action would be taken against those found to have demolished the crosses. The cases against priests and believers as well as against forest officials would be withdrawn.

The Minister said that there would not be any restriction for the believers to offer their prayers at the Boncaud church.

“The government is not against any kind of religious beliefs. Our policy is to equally protect the freedom of religious belief of those belonging to all religions,” said Mr.Raju.

Those who participated in the meeting representing the church include Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India President Cardinal Mar Baselios Cleemis, Kerala Catholic Bishops’ Council president Archbishop M. Soosa Pakiam, Bishop Samuel Vincent of Neyyattinkara and other representatives of the Neyyatinkara Latin Diocese, under which the Boncaud church falls.

With the meeting arriving at a successful settlement in the morning, the day-long protest that the Neyyatinkara diocese had planned in front of the Secretariat was called off.

The Cardinal, Archbishop and Bishops later gathered at the St. Joseph’s Metropolitan Cathedral at Palayam and addressed the believers to convey the messages from the meeting.

“We are glad that we could peacefully arrive at a settlement to this issue,” said Archbishop Soosa Pakiam in his address. Believers held celebrations in Vithura in the evening.

It was on August 18 that the crosses atop a hill in Bonacaud were found to be destroyed. The believers here accused the forest officials of destroying the cross.

The Forest officials, meanwhile, denied the allegations.

The diocese had claimed that the cross was installed there more than 60 years ago. The past few days witnessed several rounds of protests and attempts by the believers to march to the top of the hill and reinstall a cross there.

– the hindu

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