07/16/2021, 13.04
INDIA
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Delhi, Syro-Malabars pray amidst the rubble of a destroyed church (VIDEO)

by Nirmala Carvalho

The bishop has appealed to Prime Minister Modi to rebuild the place of worship razed to the ground on July 12. Responsibility is being shifted between public bodies as to who ordered the demolition of the "illegal" building. The local priest said, "There was no warning. In the same area of public property there are also a temple, a mosque and another church that have not been touched.

 

 

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - The Syro-Malabar diocese of Faridabad has appealed to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pave the way for the reconstruction of the Little Flower Church in New Delhi, which was demolished last July 12  because it was considered unauthorised despite the fact that it had been operating for almost 15 years.

"We call on you to intervene immediately," writes Bishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, "to rebuild and restore the damage caused to the faithful in this place of prayer, which they devastated without any respect". At the same time, the diocese has also approached the National Commission for Minorities on the issue, while - as the video shows - the community continues to gather to pray amidst the rubble.

Kerala's local government chief Pinarayi Vijayanha also said he was shocked by the demolition. "Something like this should not have happened, we will see what can be done about it," he said. Meanwhile, in Delhi, there is a back-and-forth over who ordered the demolition. The Delhi Development Authority, a federal government body, denies responsibility.

The eviction notice to the "illegal encroachers" was allegedly issued by the Block Development Officer of the South Delhi district, which is under the local government's tax office. The notice, dated July 7, claimed that the area was of public utility and not allocated to anyone, and ordered the "occupants" to clear it within three days, after which action would be taken.

However, Father Jose Kannumkuzhy, the priest of the Little Flower Church, claims that the demolition on 12 July took place without any warning: "There was no discussion," he explains, "they arrived without warning. I was there when it happened. They destroyed everything: statues, objects used for prayer, the registers, the sound system. The altar is still standing but it is still unusable. It was not a masonry building, but a temporary structure that had been there for almost 15 years. But there is also another church, a mosque and a temple nearby, which have not been touched".

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