NEW DELHI: The South Delhi district administration on Monday razed a church built upon “encroached” land during a demolition drive in Chattarpur. However, the church members termed the action “illegal”, claiming that notice was not served to vacate the premises.The district administration, in a statement, said the church was built on gram sabha land, which was “encroached by some people by installment of religious structures”.
“Over the time, the encroachment started increasing in the garb of expansion of the religious structure. Therefore, the BDO office tried to undertake the demolition of unauthorised structures,” it said.It added that the matter was earlier transferred to the “religious committee” upon the NHRC’s directive.
“Thereafter, a letter was received from the Home Police-II Department dated 03/03/2021 where they cited the HC order of 2015 in WPC no 5234/2011 wherein it was directed to demolish the entire construction above the ground floor as well as portions of the ground where idols are not installed/placed without waiting for the decision of the Religious Committee,” the statement said.According to a notice dated July 7, the office of the Block Development Officer (South) directed the “encroachers” to remove the encroachment within three days.
Meanwhile, Pastor council member and lawyer John Thomas claimed the church never received any notice. “Neither did we receive any notice, nor were we given time to vacate. The officers came with 150 police personnel and three JCBs and demolished the structure against the high court’s order. We were not even allowed to retrieve our sacred things. This was a completely illicit act and we will take legal action,” he added.
Built on gram sabha land, says dist administration
The district administration, in a statement, said the church was built on gram sabha land, which was “encroached by some people by installment of religious structures”
With PTI inputs