A pastor has encroached on the property of a Hindu family worth Rs.12 crore in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. The family members after trying and failing to get it back protested on their knees while petitioning CM’s special cell to help them recover the property. The pastor rented the property 42 years ago, built a church on it, and refuses to either pay rent or move out of the property now.
Gothandaraman, a native of Selayur in Chennai had given his 8,063 sq.ft property on Strahan’s Road in Otteri. Pastor John Venkatesan rented a part of it the property in 1980 and built a prayer house. As it is in a prime location it is valued at around Rs 12 crore now. Gothandaraman’s family accuses the pastor of gradually encroaching on the whole property and usurping it.
Gothandaraman’s sons Saravana Perumal, Dhanasekar, Dhananjeyan, and Dasarathan petitioned Chennai Police Commissioner and CM’s Special Cell to help recover their property. They have alleged that despite sending petitions to the Chief Secretary, Home Secretary, CM’s Special Officer, and the DGP no action was taken to retrieve the property.
Vexed by this indifferent attitude Saravana Perumal and 5 women folks of his family went to the Secretariat on April 29 and walked on their knees to give the petition to the CM Special Cell seeking to resolve the issue. Lamenting that the local police has colluded with the pastor and filed cases against them, they requested a CBCID inquiry.
It is not a new thing for independent or denominational pastors to get involved in such unlawful activities. the church as an institution is one of the major land grabbers in Bharat. In February a Syro Malankara bishop and 5 priests were arrested in an illegal sand mining case in Tamil Nadu after encroaching riverbed properties illegally. In Tamil Nadu’s Tiruvannamalai district a church has been built on a hilltop by encroaching 5 acres of forest land.
Christian Revival Church in Arunachal Pradesh encroached on government land in Tawang district and built an illegal church. 2 pastors had encroached on the Hindu SC lBudaga Jangala Community’s land in Andhra Pradesh to build a church. Another pastor from Kerala was arrested for encroaching government land in Jarkhand for church planting and forcing Sarna tribals to convert.
This article shows how encroachment and land grabbing by the church have resulted in destroying urban public spaces and nature in Chennai. Despite being, reportedly, the second-largest landholder in Bharat, thanks to the British government’s benevolence, the church continues to grab lands from innocent individuals and the gullible government.