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Civic officials, Catholics peacefully shift cross inside Andheri church 

Mumbai: In an exemplary move, civic officials and members of the Christian community from Andheri East shifted a stone cross located on the road opposite Holy Family Church inside the premises Tuesday.

The move follows the Bombay high court’s order to remove wayside shrines.

The 75-year-old church at Chakala gives its name to Holy Family Junction. Approximately 200 parishioners offered prayers before the 8 ft tall relic was carefully lifted and relocated inside.

Parish priest Vincent Vaz said, “We had prepared a place for the cross inside our premises, but we had two demands before we would have shifted it there. The first was that the authorities should grant us the TDR due to us since we handed over a portion of our land for road widening 10 years ago. The second was for a traffic chowky to be built at this accident-prone junction. Several parishioners have suffered injuries here.”

The priests along with Godfrey Pimenta and Nicholas Almeida of the NGO Watchdog Foundation met with ward officials at the church Monday. They received written assurance that this would be done, reported The Times of India.

Assistant municipal commissioner of K East ward Devendra Jain said, “The Christian community is sensitive to the needs of the city and its leaders cooperated well. The cross was relocated with mutual consent. We held marathon meetings with the priests and assured them that their TDR concerns are being addressed and a traffic chowky will be installed at Holy Family Junction.”

The policemen that was present on site was impressed by the dignity of the exercise. Senior inspector of Andheri police station Pandit Thorat said, “It was an emotional moment.
Such an old church, such an old cross – the manner in which they prayed before it and performed rituals before it was shifted was so dignified. I thanked the priests for their excellent cooperation.”

Meanwhile, in Andheri West, a wayside cross outside Andheri post office has been rebuilt after being demolished. The structure was razed a few months ago following the high court order on illegal religious structures.

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3 Responses to Civic officials, Catholics peacefully shift cross inside Andheri church

  1. Paul Dominic

    Whereas in Mumbai the wayside shrines are removed even if they are old, in Secunderabad, Telengana State, new Hindu shrines crop up even in the newly broadened roads–one in front of Rail Nilayam, another near Sangeet Junction, and another near EFLU and another still at one corner of Tarnaka junction.

     
  2. chhotebhai

    A noble gesture

     
  3. Ladislaus Louis D'Souza

    This is sheer nonsense! What need have we for a cross inside church premises? We remove a concrete sign of witness from public glare and relocate in the church compound! Its like lighting a lamp and putting it under a bushell! And all this under the ruse of road widening, High Court orders etc., even as the number of illegal wayside hindu shrines are on the increase all over the city. Take the Hanuman temple opposite Malad Station West. Structures around it have been broken down but the temple which grew to its present size from a kennel size structure under a tree has been given police protection with support from the BMC.

     
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