Members of Our Lady of Remedy Church in Kandivli’s Poisar, popularly known as Poisar Church, have placed a cross on a part of the church premises that the BMC sought to acquire. They say the cross has been placed there to “protect their land”.
The civic body has lately issued several notices to the church for acquisition purposes. The notices have agitated the Catholic community because it feels that they were served even when the matter was being heard in the Bombay High Court. Incidentally, on Thursday, the High Court issued an order stating that the status quo be maintained, and that BMC should not ‘touch’ the property.
“The cross is just for praying purposes, and has not been placed as a form of protest. It is Lent season and we wanted to pray for the protection of our land,” said Ramsey Rebello, a member of the church.
Dolphy D’Souza, who had led a protest against the acquisition notices served by the civic body, said, “We are a peace-loving community, but we were not happy that the situation was handled surreptitiously. The BMC issued notices only to benefit a builder”.
Members of the community said that since the area that the BMC is seeking to take control over has hit a dead end, there is no action taken against encroachments in the vicinity. The church members are sceptical of civic body’s motives.
“There are several encroachments on SV Road that cause a hindrance to traffic. Why should the BMC take stock of the matter and sideline other pressing issues elsewhere? They did this to favour a builder, and this is why we were agitated,” said Greg Pereira, a member of ‘Save Our Land’, a group formed to protect church lands by members of the community.
The parish priest said that the High Court’s decision was a victory for them. “God is with us. The court has put a status quo order and asked the BMC not to touch the property,” said Fr Don John, parish priest of Poisar Church.