Delhi, Syro-Malabars pray amidst the rubble of a destroyed church (VIDEO)
The Syro-Malabar diocese of Faridabad has appealed to the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to pave the way for the reconstruction of the Little Flower Church in New Delhi, which was demolished last July 12 because it was considered unauthorised despite the fact that it had been operating for almost 15 years.
“We call on you to intervene immediately,” writes Bishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara, “to rebuild and restore the damage caused to the faithful in this place of prayer, which they devastated without any respect”. At the same time, the diocese has also approached the National Commission for Minorities on the issue, while – as the video shows – the community continues to gather to pray amidst the rubble.
Kerala’s local government chief Pinarayi Vijayanha also said he was shocked by the demolition. “Something like this should not have happened, we will see what can be done about it,” he said. Meanwhile, in Delhi, there is a back-and-forth over who ordered the demolition. The Delhi Development Authority, a federal government body, denies responsibility.
The eviction notice to the “illegal encroachers” was allegedly issued by the Block Development Officer of the South Delhi district, which is under the local government’s tax office. The notice, dated July 7, claimed that the area was of public utility and not allocated to anyone, and ordered the “occupants” to clear it within three days, after which action would be taken.
However, Father Jose Kannumkuzhy, the priest of the Little Flower Church, claims that the demolition on 12 July took place without any warning: “There was no discussion,” he explains, “they arrived without warning. I was there when it happened. They destroyed everything: statues, objects used for prayer, the registers, the sound system.