The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) yesterday demolished a cross in suburban Bandra on the order of the Bombay High Court directing the civic body to remove unauthorised religious structures, an official said today.
The demolition of the cross evoked sharp reactions from the Christian community, with the Bombay Catholic Sabha terming the action as an “insult” to the community.
The HC had recently ordered removal of as many as 32 temples and 6 crosses from H west ward, which fall under ‘B’ Category.
The Category B structures are the ones which did interfere with the DP (Development Plan) of the city.
“The letters of the court order were sent to the concerned people and they were requested to remove these religious structures. Also, a meeting was arranged with the representatives of the religious structures along with local councillors,” the civic body official said.
He said that during the meeting, the court order was explained and another request was made to remove the unauthorised religious structures.
“Accordingly, six temples were found to be removed by themselves. Today (April 29), action was started on the remaining structures,” according to the official.
He said a temple and the cross, which were on the road and obstructing traffic movement, were removed yesterday.
“Action will continue in the next week on remaining structures of ‘B’ Category. Police has been providing good support to us,” the official added.
However, Rita D’sa of Bombay Catholic Sabha termed the demolition of the 19th century cross as an “insult” of the Christian community.
“This PIL (in the high court) only relates to religious structures on public property. The notice issued has no application to the said Holy Cross since it was constructed on a private property,” D’sa claimed.
The court had directed that all illegal religious structures that have come up after September 29, 2009 should be demolished.
A May 2011 Government Resolution (GR) had divided illegal religious structures into various categories. Category B pertains to illegal shrines that interfere with the city’s development plan.