Mumbai civic body sends notice to pull down cross in Andheri, residents upset
Mumbai city news: The municipal ward office in Andheri (East) sent notices to demolish five holy crosses and one grotto of Mother Mary on July 15.Updated: Jul 19, 2017, 10:31 IST
After Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation sent a demolition notice to pull down a cross on Andheri Kurla Road , Gundavali, residents associations and catholics said that it was illegal because the cross is a category A structure.
Structures that come under category A cannot be demolished and have to be regularised.
The municipal ward office in Andheri (East) sent notices to demolish five holy crosses and one grotto of Mother Mary on July 15. Calling it a harassment for catholics, residents have demanded that the owners of crosses and BMC should work out a way of shifting the structures instead of demolishing them.
The BMC has identified 221 category A shrines in Mumbai. Only 482 structures under category B can be demolished or shifted.
As the civic body continues to raze illegal shrines in the city, Andheri’s Catholic residents have been called for a meeting with K/East assistant municipal commissioner on Monday, with their ownership papers.
Watchdog Foundation, Bombay Catholic Sabha and East Indian Association and other groups have demanded action against the civic officials for sending a demolition notice for a category A cross.
“All crosses are over a hundred years old. The one on Gundavali road was marked on the city’s survey plans in 1921 and 1955. It is an A category structure and cannot be demolished,” Godfrey Pimenta, trustee, Watchdog Foundation, told HT
Chairman of Gundavali Residents Association and owner of the Gundavali cross, Ladislaus Pereira, said, “BMC has asked for ownership documents about six times before this. They even acknowledged that they received the documents last time. This is nothing but harassment of the Christian community.”
Head of Bombay Catholic Sabha Rita D’sa said, “Of privately-owned crosses, 80% have proper documents. Demolition of these structures will not be tolerated. But, owners and ward offices can work out a way of shifting them. Another meeting will be held at Dadar to discuss the three crosses in that area.”
Acting on a public interest litigation (PIL), the Supremem Court had ordered demolition of illegal shrines in 2011. Following this, the BMC published a list of such shrines, most of which are in public places.
Of the 482 illegal shrines in Mumbai, the BMC has demolished about 210 till date. HC has set the deadline for November 2017.
Assistant municipal commissioner DK Jain was not available for a comment.
Total notices sent to holy crosses- 46
Most number of illegal crosses in- G/North (Dadar, Mahim)
Total illegal shrines to be demolished (category B)- 482
Demolished so far- 210
Total shrines under category A- 221