On Wednesday, the district administration removed an illegal Christian Cross and a statue of Jesus Christ, which was put up, on Susai Paliya Hill in Chikkaballapur in Karnataka. The action was taken, following the order of the Karnataka High Court in response to a Public Interest Litigation (PIL).
Police oversaw the operation of the district administration
The mammoth-size Cross and the Statue was illegally placed on government-owned pasture land, also known as gomala, to facilitate encroachment. The operation was executed by Assistant Commissioner Raghunandan, Tehsildar Tulasi under the watch of Superintendent of Police (Chikkaballapur) Mithun Kumar.
While confirming the administrative action, Raghunandan informed that the operation was conducted on the orders of the Karnataka High Court after it was found that the Statue and Cross were built on the government land, without seeking prior approval of the authorities.
Christian protestors resisted against the clearance operation
Hundreds of police personnel were deployed to control the law and order in the area. Reportedly, hundreds of Christian protestors held demonstrations at the site against the operation of the district administration.
They also engaged in sloganeering against the officials and the Karnataka government. The cops took the matter into their hands and ‘pushed back’ the local Christians who tried to obstruct the administration from implementing the orders of the Court.
Church-sponsored land encroachment in Kerala
Last year, the Christian church, with the alleged help of the communist government of Kerala, was accused of encroaching the ‘sacred forests’ associated with the Sabarimala temple, known as ‘Poonkavanam’ in Kerala. A report by the Malayalam newspaper Janmabhumi suggested that there was a massive encroachment of forestland near Panchalimedu, a part of Sabarimala forests in Idukki district. The entire region is designated as an ecologically fragile under the Environment (Protection) Act.
The worrying issue was that the Church had established boards and an arch in the forest area claiming it as a Christian pilgrimage centre. The reports further suggested that the move was aimed at the Sabarimala temple which had been on the radar of the Conversion lobby for the past seventy years.