Bandra Catholics take to the streets for two churches and an agiary

Updated: Jun 23, 2018, 12:08 IST | Suyash Karangutkar | Mumbai

A delegation also met with H-west ward's Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sharad Ughade

Catholics protest outside the H-west ward office on Friday. Pic/Suresh Karkera
Catholics protest outside the H-west ward office on Friday. Pic/Suresh Karkera

The Catholic community yesterday slammed the authorities for "playing politics" and "targeting heritage religious structures" ahead of the upcoming LS and assembly elections. Blaming Bandra MLA Ashish Shelar and the BMC for the directions given to two churches and an agiary in Bandra to return their land to the corporation, the members said they won't let go of the plots "till their last breath". A delegation also met with H-west ward's Assistant Municipal Commissioner Sharad Ughade.

'No notice from us'
Ughade, however, said no notice has been issued to the two churches or the agiary from his office. "Our priority is to ease the bottleneck and shift stalls on Hill Road causing a hindrance to traffic. In the case of the religious structures, we have not issued any notices," he added. Despite attempts, Shelar remained unavailable for comment.

Election ploy?
Community members had gathered outside the H-west ward office yesterday to register their protest against civic body's move to acquire parts of land on Hill Road, where St Peters Church, St Andrews Church and an agiary stand. A member, Greg Pereira, said, "We think this is a ploy in the wake of the election. We have not really received any handwritten notice from the civic body, just a verbal one."

'Don't touch heritage'
"What is heritage, sacred and original should not be touched. Nobody is against development, but it should be equal and just, not by robbing people. Churches and cemeteries are sacrosanct. Authorities must find alternatives," said Father Austin Norris, parish priest, St. Vincent De Paul Church.

In the past
In 2007, BMC had ordered the three places to give up their land for the purpose of road widening. Annoyed locals had protested then, driving the civic body to go back on its decision.

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