Giant metal cross put up on ‘encroached’ land removed

A 30-feet tall metal cross was pulled down on Thursday as part of an official anti-encroachment drive in the hill station of Munnar with Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressing strong displeasure over the act.

Vijayan said the government’s “displeasure” has already been conveyed to the Idukki district administration.

“The steps taken by the district administration have resulted in some misunderstanding. A cross which was there was destroyed as part of an anti-encroachment drive,” Vijayan said at a function.

The government viewed the matter “very seriously,” he said.

Reacting cautiously to the incident, Syro Malabar Church spokesman Fr. Jimmy Poochakkatt said that there was no issue in removing a cross erected in an encroached land but questioned the manner in which it was demolished.

“Cross is a very important holy symbol in Christian faith. We have reservations in the manner in which it was demolished”, he said.

“At the same time we are of the opinion that any such symbol –whether it is religious or political –situated on an encroached land should be removed,” Poochakkatt said.

He also said the government should take steps to see that the anti-encroachment drive in Munnar is not stopped in the name of such incidents.

“Some people try to rake up religious sentiments to sabotage such moves by the government. Authorities should be beware of such forces,” the priest said.


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