More cases of encroachments by Church come to light

via Pioneer News Service | Kochi published on June 7, 2007

Chief Minister asks special task force to probe deals


Close on the heels of a media revelation about land grabbing by a powerful church congregation in Munnar several other instances of land grabbing involving the Church are coming to light and the Government has directed the police and the State Vigilance Department to probe into the antecedents of these land grabbers.
 
 


 
It is learnt that the Chief Minister’s office has given a directive to the special task force head Suresh Kumar to conduct a thorough investigation into the details of land grabbed by these Churches and to produce a list of the offenders who are involved.
 


 
The intelligence wing of the State police is also keenly probing the matter and there are reports that a Christian priest who was associated with the grabbing of huge tracts of land in Munnar is already on the run with the police and the Vigilance breathing down his neck.
 


 
It may be recalled that The Pioneer had carried a story on the number of churches which had grabbed Government land and with the disclosure by the police intelligence about the king pin of this whole move the issue is getting hotter .
 


 
There are serious efforts on the part of the clergy to come clear on the issue and to prevent the Government from taking further action. With the Chief Minister Achuthanandan giving full support to his team of officers in dealing with this issue there is nothing much for the Church to do and this is also creating anxious movements for a section of priests who had been involved in this..
 


 
Highly placed sources in the State intelligence and Revenue department said that two church congregations in central Travancore are actively involved in land grabbing and the department is conducting a detailed study into the total area of Government land grabbed by them .
 


 
The officials also said that both the groups are being monitored by the Union Home Ministry for reported violation of foreign exchange rules.
 


 
The officials also said that one of the groups is being closely watched by the Revenue Department for the huge tracts of land which they have procured in areas close to the Hindu pilgrimage centre of Sabarimala.
 


 
There are also reports that one of the priests associated with this land grabbing deal is on the run and that he is not getting support from even the congregation to which he belongs .
 


 
The recent issues of the Abhaya case ,Divine Retreat Centre and the present land grabbing episodes are giving a bad reputation to the other wise noble face of the Church. Sources in the Church while speaking to The Pioneer said “The recent phenomenon has indeed brought disrepute to our community at large .
 


 

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