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Giant cross demolished, tension at Kerala’s top tourist spot 

By Matters India Reporter

Munnar: Tension prevailed at Munnar on April 20 when a demolition team razed a massive cross as part of a drive to make Kerala’s top tourist location encroachment free.

Police have arranged tight security cover for the eviction team and imposed prohibitory orders in some parts of Munnar in Idukki district as a precautionary measure to avoid trouble.

However, hundreds of villagers flocked to Pappathichola, a village in Devikulam division, where the 25-feet tall cross (Bheeman Kurisu) was pulled down. Authorities alleged that religious groups had encroached more than 120 hectares of land in that village in the guise of spiritual tourism. The team also removed a number of temporary sheds that had come up on revenue land.

Munnar, a hill station located around 1,600 meters above mean sea in the Western Ghats, is more than 125 km east of Kochi, Kerala’s commercial capital. It attracts most of more than 1 million people who visit Kerala a year.

On April 19, Idukki district collector G.R. Gokul decided to remove unauthorized structures in Munnar after discussions with Devikulam subcollector Venkitaraman Sriram. Sriram would submit a list of major encroachments to Gokul within a week.

The team led Sriram reportedly reached the spot around 7:30 am started pulling down the cross.

Some local people tried to block the team by leaving their vehicles on the road. The administration used excavators to clear the blocks while the police removed the protesters.

Kerala Revenue minister E. Chandrasekharan too approved the evacuation.

The administration has asked its officials to submit a report on encroachers at places such as Pallivasal, Chithirapuram, Pothamedu and Lekshmi and constructed resorts and cottages.

Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan has called a high-level meeting to discuss the eviction on April 21.

According to television reports, the cross was erected by a neo-Christian group called Spirit in Jesus. This is the revenue department’s third attempt at razing down the cross. Protesters had prevented the officials during the previous two attempts.

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6 Responses to Giant cross demolished, tension at Kerala’s top tourist spot

  1. Mathews

    The cross should have been removed in an honourable way. Those who erected it there should have been summoned and the cross handed over to them. If they don’t turn up it should have been handed over to any Christian denominations to whom a cross is precious. I strongly condemn the approach of some Christian groups and their leaders disowning the cross and interpreting it as a symbol of encroachment and colonisation. What the communist Chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan said is absolutely admirable. The cross is precious to millions and it is a symbol of relief and hope. On this count Pinarayi’s stand should be considered better than the pseudo revolutionary stand of many Christian leaders

     
  2. Nirmal James

    You are trying to create a tension which never existed. It’s true that people are protesting but not against the removal of the cross, but against the CM who opposed the removal of the cross.
    Church spokesman Fr Jimmy Poochakkatt told that there was no issue in removing a cross erected on an encroached land
    He also said “any such symbol, whether it is religious or political, situated on an encroached land should be removed,”
    So Christians are not opposed to this, and as you have rightly said, this cross was erected by a sect which exist only in Keral.

     
  3. K K Korah

    I agree….religion must be practised in our hearts. Christ never planted crosses wherever he preached.

     
  4. chhotebhai

    From various media reports it would seem that this was a general demolition drive of illegal structures and encroachments.The Christian community in India must lead by example in respecting the law of the land.

     
  5. silverius/felicia fernandes

    letc practice our religion in church and not erect crosses on the road where people throw garbage and urinate at the Base of the cross as happens in Mumbai.

     
  6. Jacob

    Absolutely no hard feelings at all. The law of the land MUST prevail. Religions cannot take the law of this land, on a ride.