Hit by demolition, Church says being discriminated against – New Delhi

Hit by demolition, church says being discriminated against

Written by Somya Lakhani, Indian Express | New Delhi | Published: March 17, 2018 5:45 am

 According to Pastor-in-charge N C George, the demolition began at 2 pm, and the raised cemented area at the Church’s entrance, which was built five years ago, was razed to the ground by two bulldozers

Outside the church on Friday. Amit Mehra

A demolition drive by the North Delhi Municipal Corporation in Mukherjee Nagar on Thursday has turned the front of a Methodist church into rubble, causing an uproar in the Christian community living in the area. According to pastor-in-charge N C George, the demolition began at 2 pm, and the raised cemented area at the church’s entrance, which was built five years ago, was razed to the ground by two bulldozers. “We were not given any notice, and no court order or any kind of written document was presented to us, despite requests. The temple adjacent to us has a shop outside but that was not demolished. We feel like we are being targeted because we are a minority community,” he alleged.

Madhup Vyas, Commissioner of North MCD, said, “This demolition drive to decongest the area has been instructed by the High Court and Lieutenant Governor Anil Baijal. Removing encroachments is very time-consuming and due process will be undertaken with the temple too. We can’t be and won’t be partisan.”

Santosh Kumar Rai, assistant commissioner, North MCD, said, “High Court has identified 29 no-tolerance zones in Delhi, and two of them fall under Civil Lines zone of North MCD. Twice a week, Tuesday and Thursday, we take this action. This lane where demolition was done falls under that category. Work is pending in that area and will be continued next week. There is no religious angle to this.”

Members of the church gathered near the steps of the church to discuss the way forward. Rajeev Rao, a member of the church, said, “The entrance pavement was built by the church using its own funds, to make it easier for the elderly to enter the church. Also, water would enter the church regularly and with this pavement that stopped.”

The church community has reached out to the Delhi Minorities Commission (DMC). DMC member Anastasia Gill said, “I visited and inspected the site and believe that this is a discriminatory practice. It has disturbed religious sentiments and is an attack on the Christian community. The rights of the minorities are under threat. The area outside the temple next door has not been touched. Is the system working towards maintaining harmony or disturbing it?” Gill also said that “a notice will be sent to the North MCD”.

The Church community has also written a letter to CM Arvind Kejriwal. The letter reads, “We being minority, feel the Church has been targeted and harassed by this illegal act at the time of our festival season.” With Passion Week beginning on Sunday and Good Friday on March 30, the church is set to be busier than usual. Ramps of two homes in the lane were also demolished.

Source: indianexpress.com

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