The Christian community in Mumbai on Wednesay took out a silent protest outside the BMC 'H' ward office in Bandra West for demolishing the 100-year-old cross in Bandra's Bazaar road.
The protesting members had crosses in hand and plaque cards and were seeking justice condemning the BMC action. More than 1000 members of different Christian community groups gathered outside the BMC's H ward office.
On April 29, the BMC demolished the cross in Bandra saying it's an illegal religious structure. Residents are now demanding that the BMC should reinstate the cross within two weeks. The Bombay Catholic Sabha termed the removal of the structure as 'insult' to the community.
"Whatever happened is really unfortunate. We never expected this from civic authorities. If residents are claiming that they have got papers which show legality of the cross, then why didn't BMC wait for before removing it?" questioned Asif Bamla, an activist supporting the silent protest.
The BMC had taken a demolition drive against illegal religious structures throughout Mumbai. The BMC was acting on orders of the Bombay High Court. Till now it has demolished more than 100 illegal regious structures, which were on public roads. But Bandra West residents are quite angry as they claim that this particular cross was on private land and was not illegal.
"We have this map that was made in 1948, showing that the cross was on Pvt land and not on public land. Today in the meeting with BMC officials, we showed them all the documents again but they were not interested in it," said David Cardosz, a local resident of Bandra Bazar area.
The members were asked to approach the court by the BMC.
BMC CLEARS STAND
Clarifying it's stand on the illegal religious structures, the BMC also issued a statement.
According to the statement, "Before demolishing illegal religious structures made after 25 September, 2009, the BMC had asked for reservation and suggestions from people. For this in 2012, the BMC had given advertisement in newspaper too with a list of such religious structures. After that 482 religious illegal structures were finalised to be demolished. The court had given the date of November 17, 2017 to demolish these illegal structures, thus BMC is conducting this drive. These illegal structures were finalised after receiving reservation - suggestions by public. All relevant documents related to these illegal structures are with the BMC. If anyone wants to approach the court, then the BMC will give the concerned papers related to these illegal religious structures."
The community has now decided to approach the court.