Church distances itself from protesters

Church distances itself from protesters

All Saints Church, people oppose tree cutting for Metro Rail project by BMRCL in All Saints Church, near Johnson Market, Vellara Junction, Hosuru road Bengaluru on Friday. Photo by S K Dinesh

Officials of the All Saints Church and Church of South India (CSI) have distanced themselves from the activists protesting the acquisition of church land for a metro station.

The Bangalore Metro Rail Corporation Limited (BMRCL) has acquired 3,618 sqm of land from the church for the construction of the Vellara station on Reach 6 of Namma Metro’s Phase 2 corridor. The authority proposed to acquire an additional 3,797 sqm on a temporary basis for construction activities.

About 20 members of the church have opposed the project, claiming that the temporary land acquisition will result in uprooting of over 100 trees at the church’s ‘Sacred Grove’.

Bishop Reverend P K Samuel, head of CSI’s Karnataka Central Diocese, said some individuals who joined the protest with the church members genuinely concerned over the trees are spreading misinformation. “The church will not be damaged by the metro construction activities as claimed (by the protesters). The officials have accommodated our concerns and changed the plans twice, reducing the area of land acquisition as well as the number of trees. It is a project that will benefit the larger public. We have agreed to the temporary land acquisition, but BMRCL officials will not be allowed to enter the church premises for land and tree survey,” the bishop said.

In a meeting held during the first week of July, the secretary of All Saints Church and four CSI members said those organising the protests and giving statements to the press are “unconnected with the functioning of the church”. 

After activists blocked forest and metro officials on several occasions, the BMRCL has proposed to acquire the land permanently.