Christians in India’s Andhra Pradesh state have been protesting the demolition of a 100-year-old church by local municipal authorities. Without notice, municipal authorities started to demolish the church as they attempted to widen the road. When local Christians noticed, they started a protest that stopped the demolition. Christians and their places of worship have come under increasing attack in India since the rise of the BJP-led government in 2014. Will public protests be enough to save this 100-year-old church?
8/5/2016 India (Asia News) – The Vijayawada authorities attempted to demolish a portion of ancient St. Peter’s cathedral at Tarapet, in Andhra Pradesh, but were blocked by priests and parishioners who defended their church.
The incident took place on July 31 night, when the authorities came at the spot to demolish the church and widen the road. The next day corporation staff returned to the site to complete the demolition process, but was stopped by the protest of hundreds of Catholics, supported by members of opposition parties. They wondered why the corporation failed to serve a notice on church authorities before embarking on pulling down the structure.
Local sources said Vijayawada Municipal Corporation (Vmc) officials and workers came with earth-movers and demolished a wall and a complex adjacent to the church, built 100 years ago. Catholics opposed the move arguing that the alignment of the road should have been changed as the religious structure, which was built sometime in the middle of the 19th Century, has a historical significance.