Daily News & Analysis
The following article appeared in the newspaper DNA on 21/06/2010
|East Indians oppose illegal sale of church land|
|Taking a cue from their Anglican brethren, who have launched a full-throttled war against the illegal sale of church land, the influential East Indian community, too, has decided to knock on the doors of the archbishop of Mumbai, Oswald Gracias, demanding that church land should not be handed over to developers and realtors.
If the archbishop pays no heed to their demand, the community outfits will take out a protest march, spearheaded by the Mobai Gaothan panchayat, on Saturday. Mobai Gaothan panchayat is a citizen activist outfit comprising representatives of gaothans across the city. The protesters will demand that church land be used for constructive work only. Along with the gaothan activists, Bombay Catholic Sabha, Mumbai Easter Association, National Association of Fishermen and Dharavi Bet Bachao Samiti, too, will join the march.
Ladislaus Pereira, a sarpanch of Gundowli in Andheri, said that land donated to the church for evangelical purposes have been sold off without the consent of the Catholic community. “Sacred Heart in Santa Cruz, Holy Family in Andheri, St Johns in Thane, Marinagar in Mahim are the parishes that have been sold off to realtors,” he said.
Gleason Baretto, a member of Gaothans Active Residents Association of Juhu (Garaj), said that the group was disappointed with Bishop Bosco Penha, who kept overlooking the needs of the community. “We are not against the church. But we have been let down by the church hierarchy. It is high time we speak up for community welfare.”
Garaj claimed that it had tried to put forth its demands cordially, but the archbishop refused to budge. Roney Corriea, a sarpanch of Dharavi, said, “Money earned from the sale of land has not been channelised for any constructive work. It gets deposited straight into the pockets of the c and the b.”
The East Indian community is surveying how many acres of land have been disposed of to developers.