Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Methodist Church land dispute- a rejoinder to CSF


Your call to protest against the BJP MLA and his ‘hoodlums’ for usurping the Methodist Church land in Belgaum reminds me of what Jesus tells us: “Do not look for the mote in the eyes of your neighbor when we may have a pillar stuck in our sclera”.

Following are a couple of instances in which the Judases of the Christian community sold/usurped the Church land for just thirty pieces of silver.

1. 15 acres of Bangalore YMCA land has been sold to a Hindu real estate developer for Rs. 9 crores. Transparency International Karnataka Chapter headed by Justice M.F. Saldanha discovered that the land was worth a minimum of Rs. Rs. 32 crore. Who pocketed the kick-back. Those involved in it are all Christians – including a former Catholic Christian minister/MLA. Mind you, YMCA is a Protestant, evangelical organisation where the Catholics should not have a say at all.
2. The plan to sell about 7 acres of land of Vishranthi Nilayam belonging to the Order of Sisters (nuns) of the Church of South India in the heart of Bangalore City – just a kilometer away from Raj Bhavan Bangalore and in the neigbhourhood of Malayala Manorama- The Hindu- Indian Express- Coffee Board – Police Commissioner’s HQ – was foiled for the time being by the timely intervention and protests of 33 elderly nuns in April this year. Don’t you want to know who were behind this move? They were two respectable Christian leaders and friends of CSF! The land were to be sold to a Muslim land developer!!! The same vultures are still eyeing the property.
3. The 150-year old CLS Press ( Methodist Press) on Dickenson Road was usurped by a Christian Congress leader, former minister and today sitting MLA. He built a huge shopping center, that encroached upon about 80 feet into the adjacent property where stands the British Methodist Bishop’s House which is today occupied by Mr. John Zac, Bishop Cotton Boys’ School Principal. It belongs to CSI. No one protested. This property known as 4 M.G. Road has been eyed by several land developers many of whom are Muslims. However, it cannot be alienated because there’s an undertaking by the diocese in the High Court of Karnataka that the land can be used ONLY for educational purposes.
4. The same Congress leader and family have cornered the priceless Bangalore Tract & Book Society property adjacent to the Bible Society – Karnataka Auxillary. The place where Bibles were sold since 1912 has been converted into lounge bar and dance hall for the rich and powerul. No Christian leader protested.
5. In 1990s, the CSI Karnataka Central diocese entered into an agreement to lease out the East Parade Church property for 99 years to a German Bank( Deutche Bank) or to be precise a Muslim builder. But, sustained public protests, write-ups in news papers, and a petition signed by almost 2,000 members of the East parade Church Malayalam Congregation and general public forced the diocese to beat a hasty retreat. The ‘reigning’ moderator of the Church of South India was the vice president of the diocese, And fortunately, I led the campaign against commercialisation of East Parade Church.
6. It is to my credit – sorry for patting on my own shoulders – that several Church properties have been saved in the last 20 or 30 years because of the campaign I unleashed against commercialisation with the support of the enlightened public opinion expressed through the newspapers.
7. The historic Trinity Church land which was leased out to build a thirteen storeyed shopping complex was stopped midway by a writ petition filed by the late Rev. C. Arangaden and me .The late Barrister Balakrishna Rao in late 1980s presented the case free of charges. The stay continues even to this day and no portion of any Garrison Church can be commercialised today.
8. The alert public opinion mobilised by me through news papers and other sources has helped preserve and save several church properties in Bangalore, including the St. Anrews Church on Cubbon Road.
8 In 2008 about 60,000 sq. ft. of YMCA land on on Nrupatunga Road was sold to a Hindu – not BJP - land developer by the help of the same Catholic YMCA President – Congress leader and DCC president . The property is adjacent to the Police HQ and abutting into the Cubbon Park. Here again, I led the charge against the move with the help of the media and forced the YMCA to withdraw from the deal. But, the same Catholic president and Congress leader is back in the saddle and the property is not safe.
9 There are several other land grabs by Muslim land grabbers of Catholic diocesan property ably supported by friends of CSF. For instance, the precious land on Residency Road that housed an old age home has been converted into a commercial hub with the help of a former archbishop of Bangalore.

If you need documentary evidences, please feel free to get in touch with me. In the meantime, let us urge the churches to allot/distribute the excess lands in their possession, including the Methodist land in Belgaum, to the poorest of the poor in Christian community, especially the Dalit Christians.

How many among us know that the Idgah maidan in Hubli was originally belonged to the Basel Mission? We have no guts to reclaim it.


No comments: