Bengaluru church vandalised over civil dispute

A group of unidentified men barged into the church Thursday midnight and ransacked it.



Tension prevailed at Pillanna Garden in Kadugondanahalli after a group of 20-30 men barged into and demolished a church using earthmovers on May 26 night.

Broken idols and destroyed sacred structures of the Faith Lutheran Church were seen strewn around among piles of debris on a 6,000 sq. feet plot that is under litigation.

It is said that the demolition was triggered by a civil dispute between the land owner and the tenants, the police said.

The owner of the land, Rahim Shariff, had given the general power of attorney (GPA) to one Patrick. Earlier, Rahim had also given the land to Victor and Chakravarthy for use. The duo had in turn rented it to David, Jayakumar, Jeremiah Anderson, Vittal and Dinesh, who ran a catering business since 1993, the police said.

Over the years, the church came up and Jeremiah Anderson became the pastor and director of the church.

Patrick, who is the GPA holder, questioned Jeremiah for building the church on the plot of land. Jeremiah lodged a police complaint in November, saying Patrick was trespassing into the public prayer hall. Rahim filed a counter-complaint against Jeremiah, saying it was the pastor who had trespassed at Patrick’s property.

As it was a civil dispute, the police asked both parties to settle it in court.

Around 10.30 pm on Thursday, the gang barged into the church compound and chased away the caretaker, James. They then started demolishing the church using earthmovers and other tools, the police said.

“It is said that one Stephen, an associate of Patrick, and few others at the behest of the owner demolished the prayer hall,” said a senior police officer.

Fearing communal tension, the police was deployed at the spot to maintain law and order in the area. A fresh case has been registered at the K.G. Halli police station against Stephen and others for trespassing, vandalising and demolishing a prayer hall.

Meanwhile, the church management said that the real estate mafia is trying to grab the land. “Faith Lutheran church has been in this place for the last 30 years. The demolition is the handiwork of the land mafia, which is eyeing the BDA land that was allotted in 1988 to three religions for respective religious structures to come up. We have all the documents to support it and we will ensure that the Sunday prayers go on by setting up a temporary structure after clearing the debris,” Nimalan C, a founder member, told Deccan Chronicle.

Source: Asian Age

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