A group of members belonging to the Catholic community on Sunday took out a protest march against the managing committee of a Catholic housing colony in Santacruz (West).
Led by the Catholic Secular Forum, a city-based outfit, the protesters alleged that a few committee members of the Bombay Catholic Housing Society, had illegally sold land to non-Catholic builders at a paltry price.
“The colony, which has Catholics as shareholders, was meant to house middle-income Catholic families,” said Joseph Dias, general secretary of the Catholic Secular Forum. “By selling it to people outside the community, the cultural ethos of the place will be lost.”
The protesters alleged that of the total 34 acres, the members had sold 5.5 acres to Sumer Associates for a paltry sum of Rs 70 crore. The actual market value, they claimed, is pegged at Rs 600 crore.
Dias said he feared the builders would desecrate crosses and other Catholic symbols in the colony and would eventually arm-twist senior citizens to part with their property at throwaway prices.
Dias alleged that Sumer Associates had placed goons on the premises and that they were intimidating residents.
“The colony’s residents are miffed some committee members for swindling the community by selling the property to non-Catholics,” said Dias.
Freddie Noronha, secretary of the society, refuted the allegations. “Sumer Associates will be able to accommodate 230 tenants when they build, as opposed to the 69 who currently occupy the land,” said Noronha.