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Saturday, June 10, 2023

TN: CSI builds church on govt land given for school, villagers protest

Hindus of a village in Tamil Nadu have alleged the district collector of being pro-Christian in granting permission to build a church. The church is being built allegedly on government land given to run a school earlier. The CSI denomination claims that a church was present on the same land and they obtained permission to build a new one as the old one was dilapidated.

Hindus of Achan Kuttam village in Tenkasi district staged a protest opposing the construction of a new church in the village on March 25. As per a News 7 report, the Church of South India(CSI) built a primary school on the concerned land 60 years ago. Later the school was demolished and built in another place for administrative purposes. 

On the morning of March 25, the CSI administration started construction work to build a church in the same spot. Villagers opposed this and many of them gathered to oppose the construction. They claim that the concerned land is Poramboke (government property). Police arrested more than 80 protesters and locked them up in a marriage hall till late afternoon. They were neither provided lunch nor allowed to go out to buy food. Hindu activists claim that the district collector granted permission to build a new church without considering facts.

A Dinamalar report says that TDTA had obtained permission from the district administration for renovation work in the concerned property but proceeded to build a new church. However, a Thanthi TV report claims that there was a “100 year old” church along with the school and the Tirunelveli Diocesan Trust Association(TDTA) has decided to rebuild it. It appears that Hindus of Achan Kuttam village often face harassment from Christian missionaries. In 2021, a Hindu girl studying in TDTA run Baren Buck school was humiliated by teachers for wearing Vibhuti.

Despite Hindus’ protest against building a new church, construction works resumed the next day and Hindu houses put up black flags to show their discontent with the authorities. Hindu Munnani has petitioned the district administration to relook at its decision to allow church construction. During the protest, Murgesan, one of the villagers, tried to self-immolate , condemning the district administration’s decision to allow the new church. Fortunately, police stopped him in time and he sustained minor injuries.

Hindu Munnani Vice President VP Jayakumar who spoke to the media said that the village panchayat had passed a resolution to not allow construction of the new church as the concerned land is Poramboke and majority of the villagers opposed it. Villagers have requested the government to build a Primary Health Centre(PHC). Dravidianists and other Liberals who are vociferous when it comes to building temples are conspicuously absent now. A detailed article on church land frauds can be read here.

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