The Christian church with the alleged help of the communist government of Kerala is now accused of encroaching the ‘sacred forests’ associated with the Sabarimala temple, known as ‘Poonkavanam’ in Kerala, reported Organiser.
According to the Organiser, a report by the Malayalam newspaper Janmabhumi suggests that there has been a massive encroachment of forestland near Panchalimedu, a part of Sabarimala forests in Idukki district. The entire region has been designated as an ecologically fragile under the Environment (Protection) Act.
Panchalimedu, a sacred place for local Hindus named after Panchali/Draupadi, is believed to be a place inhabited by Pandavas during the 12 years of exile. An ancient Bhuvaneswari temple, under the Travancore Devaswom Board, is also situated nearby the encroached land. It is believed that the church is allegedly replicating their usual strategy to seize government and forestland by occupying it with support of the state.
The worrying issue is that the Church has already established boards and an arch in the forest area claiming it as a Christian pilgrimage centre. The reports suggest that the move is aimed at the Sabarimala temple which has been on the radar of the Conversion lobby for the past seventy years.
Four decades ago, the Christian organisations had made a similar attempt to grab the Sabarimala lands in Nilakkal by claiming that they had unearthed a stone cross established by Jesus’ apostle Saint Thomas in 57 A.D. The priest had brazenly staked his claim, proposing to build a Christian church on the site. Despite strong protests from Hindus, the government has handed over the Catholic Church around 5 acres of land free of cost.
The Kerala communist government has unsurprisingly remained silent on the issue, which otherwise unleashes its forces if the issue is concerned with the Hindus as it was evident during the Sabarimala protests. Reportedly, similar encroachments have been reported from Pappathichola in Munnar, but the revenue officials had removed it. However, the state government had again stepped in and had reinstalled the cross after the Chief Minister Vijayan and other CPM leaders intervened.