The action reminded Babri Masjid demolition, which could have been avoided: Kerala Catholic Bishops' Conference
Even though the Catholic Church in Kerala backed the Munnar eviction drive in principle, the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council (KCBC) is not happy with the removal of the cross from the land illegally occupied in Pappathichola near Munnar by Spirit in Jesus, a prayer group. The KCBC equated the removal of the cross to Babri Masjid demolition by Sangh Parivar.
It's not relevant who planted the cross there. But it is still a cross: KCBC spokes person
KCBC spokesperson told media that the council was not against the anti- encroachment drive. But the removal of the cross could have been made with more humility, without hurting sentiments. "It's not relevant who planted the cross there. But it is still a cross. The action reminded Babri Masjid demolition, which could have been avoided," he opined.
Thamarassery Diocese Bishop Remigiose Inchananiyil also criticised the government for 'denigrating the cross.' “We are not against eviction of illegally occupied land. But insulting the cross in the name of the eviction drive cannot be tolerated,” he said.
Jesus Christ must be the happiest person to know that the cross was removed: Geevarghese Mar Coorilos
But not all church heads subscribe to this view. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos, Metropolitan of the Niranom diocese of the Jacobite Syrian Christian Church, backed the eviction. "The cross in Munnar was the most recent symbol of invasion," he said after enumerating instances of colonial misuse of the cross and the Bible to grab land and to invade. "Jesus Christ must be the happiest person to know that the cross was removed (from Munnar)," he wrote on his Facebook page. "Hats off to Munnar drive. We have a Revenue Minister, at last," he added.
The Cross should not be erected in such places: Paul Thelakkat
KCBC former spokesperson Fr. Paul Thelakkat also backed the removal of the cross from illegally occupied land. "I don't support placing cross in occupied land. Cross should not be erected in such places," he said.
The CPI assistant secretary Prakash Babu warned against using the cross as a cover to land grab. "The cross is a symbol of supreme sacrifice. It should not be used as a cover for illegal land grab," he said.
Meanwhile, the BJP leadership has sought intervention of the Union Govt. in Munnar. "The BJP will not allow land encroachments in the name of religion," state president Kummanam Rajashekharan said.