Bombay court orders interim stay on demolition of cross, cemetery 

Published on: 10:29 pm, April 27, 2016 Story By:

Mumbai: In an interim order, Bombay High Court on Wednesday stayed Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation’s notice for demolishing a heritage cross and a portion of cemetery of Our Lady of Remedy Church, Poisar, Kandivli (west) for widening S V Road.

A bench of Justice V M Kanade and Justice M S Karnik directed notices to be issued to the state government, BMC and the deputy municipal commissioner (zone VII), R South ward and posted the hearing on May 4.

The court heard petition by parish priest Fr Don Dsouza challenging the February 20 notice.

His petition said the church was built in 1555 and the cross has existed since 1932. It also said nearly 40 percent of the church’s land has been taken over the years by the authorities for road-widening and other purposes. However the city survey plan of March 23, 2015 excluded the cross and the cemetery and showed it for road widening, The Times of India reported.

On February 23 a chawl on the church’s property was demolished. On April 21, the sub-engineer came with officers and threatened the church employees. When they met the AMC, he was adamant and told them no action will be taken till April 26. The petition said the city survey plan actually shows that the road widening plan does not affect the heritage cross and the cemetery.

The petition said in the heritage cemetery “the graves are active and cannot be dug up ” as per civic rules. It also added “that there is a religious sentiment as far as the dead are concerned in the graves.” It also added that the “bodies are semi-decomposed and desecrating and opening them on the intended road will disturb the religious sentiments of the families of the deceased and can give rise to law and order problem.”

The petition has alleged that the road widening has been done at the behest of a local politician who is a builder and whose property constructed on the road would be affected.

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