Protest over demolition of houses on Hyderabad church land

April 4, 2017 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-india, Persecution

Hyderabad, April 4, 2017: Locals along with members of St John’s church in Secunderabad held a protest on Mar 28 against demolition of houses on church land by district authorities. The protesters demanded that the victims be relocated in new houses.

As many as 16 people were rendered homeless after the revenue department demolished their homes behind the Civil Court in Secunderabad the previous day.

The affected residents claimed that the land belonged to the Marredpally church, built in 1813, and they had been living there with permission from the Anglican church.

“We are completely helpless. We have small children, where does the government expect us to go?” said Mathilda, a beautician who was ousted from her house. According to her, the authorities did not issue any prior notice before the demolition drive.

Another resident, Assunkossu, said, “I not only have an ailing father-in-law but also two children to take care of. Without a roof over my head, where do I go now?” The homeless had to turn to their neighbours for shelter for their children. The adults spent the night in the open. Most of those evicted deliver newspapers to run their household.

“We have been living here for the last seven decades. How can the government evict us from our own house all of a sudden?” Matilda said. “We were having our lunch on Monday when the officials suddenly barged in, packed our stuff, threw them into a van and told us to leave,” she said.

Lashing out at the government, senior advocate Bhaskar Benny, who has been fighting to get back various church properties in the state, said: “The land belonged to St John’s church. There is a clear ruling by the Supreme Court, which states that no land belonging to a religious trust must be acquired. This move shows that there is a nexus between officials and the land usurper.”

Without mincing words, he accused the Churches of South India Trust Association, which manages the land, of conniving with revenue officials to carry out the demolition.

– times of india

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