Press Note With respect to the demolition of the Holy Cross in Bandra, on April 30, 2017.
May 1, 2017
The following is the information that we have in hand:
From the information we have received, we understand that the BMC had a meeting on April 3, 2017, with the local communities. The concerned Officer made the community members aware of the Supreme Court decision regarding unauthorised religious structures on roads. The representatives of the community then presented to the BMC official their legal position and were asked to submit their statements in writing.
The Holy Cross, which was demolished, is situated on a private land being Plot No.38 situate at C.S. No.A/650 near D'Monte Street and Bazaar Road, Bandra West Mumbai 400 050. This particular Cross was erected in or around 1895, 122 years ago, and has both religious and historical significance.
The notice issued on 26th April 2017 by Assistant Municipal Commissioner, Sharad Ughade, gives reference to Public Interest Litigation No.104 of 2010 pending before Hon'ble Bombay High Court. This PIL only relates to religious structures on public property. As such, the notice in question was invalid with respect to the Cross that was demolished, as the said Cross was on private property. In addition, the Owner / the Community Organisations had written/replied in time to the said notice and had even met Shri Sharad Ughade with documentary evidence, including Revenue Plan/Property Card. There can be no doubt that legal position was explained very clearly to Shri Ughade, with all the supporting documents.
It disturbs us that the Holy Cross was demolished without due process, despite the clarifications and dialogue with the officials of the BMC. This insensitive and callous manner in which the Holy Cross was demolished, has deeply hurt the religious sentiments of the Christian community. We hope and we pray that the BMC will take cognisance of this and initiate appropriate action.
Archdiocese of Bombay
1st May 2017
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