Move to clear encroachments sparks tension

Several people from the locality and a few Christians gathered at the spot and staged a protest. Once the police arrived and cleared the air over the ‘litigation’ the rented (private) property is involved in, the situation turned normal.

A Banaswadi police officer explained the turn of events to Deccan Herald: “A plot of land measuring 40X80 was enmeshed in a series of litigations. The land originally belonged to Abdul Jabbar and he had sold it to Kupendra in 1952. Later, with some dispute over papers and payment terms, the two went to court. Then in 2005, Kupendra managed to get a court stay.”

Meanwhile, a prayer hall on the adjoining site, which attracted many devotees, decided to erect temporary structures on the disputed land. This irked Kupendra (the land owner), who after a series of requests and warnings, went ahead and cleared encroachments on his land.

But mischief mongers spread rumours that the prayer hall had been damaged, leading to a tense situation in the area.The police have filed separate cases based on a complaint lodged by Kupendra and a counter-complaint filed by Raphael.

Interestingly, the Bruhat Bangalore Mahanagara Palike is in the process of acquiring the entire stretch of land, including the disputed plot, for its road-widening project.

Reacting to the incident, Home Minister R Ashoka said  it was not a case of dispute between two religions.

“The problem arose because of some land dispute where a private land owner near the prayer hall cleared the site of alleged encroachments,” he added.

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