The controversy erupted as the church authorities installed two new wooden crosses during procession on April 19.
Idukki: Devotees from all communities visit Panchalimedu in Kerala's Idukki district. The hilltop is known for Bhuvaneshwari temple and St Mary's church.
During Good Friday on April 19, some Christian devotees planted two new wooden crosses, which they had carried as part of a ritual on the hilltop. And that was the beginning of a controversial standoff.
For the first time, some people raised their voice against this ritual since the land is also home to Bhuvaneshwari temple.
The Hindu group immediately installed a trident near the cross protesting against the attempt of the church to encroach the land. The Hindu outfit led by Antarrashtriya Hindu Parishad (AHP) on Wednesday held a Namajapa protest at the entrance.
Within days, the St Mary's church authorities had to remove the wooden crosses on Tuesday as the revenue department officials issued a notice to the church claiming that this land in Panchalimedu belongs to them.
The protesters, however, say that the land is originally owned by the Devaswom board. The board took over the land at Panchalimedu from the state government in 1960. Sources say that the church will then have to remove 14 more concrete crosses erected on the land 65 years ago.
While the church authorities have staked claim to this land when questioned by the Kerala high court, Fr Shinto said to MyNation that he has no idea about the issue of church encroachment in Panchalimedu.
Binil Somasundaram, a social activist told MyNation that the land completely belongs to the Hindus. He further said that he and his group are fighting to reclaim the property. He also added that many other religious groups end up invading various regions in Kerala, but he will fight till his death to recover the land.
Meanwhile, Kerala high court has intervened in the issue and asked whether the land belongs to the state government or the Devaswom Board. On Wednesday, the high court ordered the two parties to submit their response within 10 days.
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Last Updated 21, Jun 2019, 1:04 PM