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Church questions govt move to take away society land

Bangalore, Sep 24, 2012, DHNS :
Archbishop Bernard Moras addresses the media at his residence in Bangalore on Monday  regarding the government’s move to take back the land given to Sumanahalli Society. The  Society’s director Fr George Kannanthanam is with him. dh Photo

Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore has questioned the State government’s intention behind taking away 45 acres of land from Sumanahalli Society and leaving it with only five acres.

Expressing anguish over the September 21 Cabinet decision to acquire the Society land, Moras told reporters that the Church had been serving leprosy patients, destitutes and beggars on the facility for the last 35 years. And the government “rewards” the Church by taking away its land, Moras said.

Recalling the government’s move to given away 123 acres of the Beggars’ Colony land for commercial development, till the court pulled it up last month, the archbishop said, “We were requested and invited to take up the work of serving leprosy patients, destitutes and beggars. For doing our work, we did not demand any land from the government. This is a betrayal of the Christian community by the government.”

‘Possible move’


Father George Kannanthanam, Director, Sumanahalli Society, said several correspondences were made to the State government as well as the governor against the possible move to take away the Society land.

Even the State Human Rights Commission and the State Minorities Commission passed orders in favour of the Church, but the government did not take anything into consideration and went ahead with its agenda.

He said the land was given to the Church by the Mysore Maharaja in 1944. The Church started the leprosy centre on a request by the then chief minister Devaraj Urs.

The archbishop and Fr Kannanthanam said they would fight the government’s decision legally.

Later in the evening, nearly 500 people gathered at the Town Hall to protest against the government decision to take away the Society’s land. The participants included schoolchildren, leprosy patients, and Church authorities.

Moras told the gathering that the government’s decision would be challenged at every level.

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