OUR SPECIAL CORRESPONDENT
Calcutta, Nov. 3: Church authorities today demanded immediate steps for the return of their properties that have been “forcibly occupied” by government and private organisations.
They said they would be “compelled” to launch a state-wide movement in February if the government did not meet their demand by January-end. The statement came at a conference attended by more than 250 priests and heads of Christian missionary institutions.
“Government and private organisations are forcibly occupying huge properties owned by churches in Calcutta and the districts. The priests and bishops are running from pillar to post to get them back. But nothing is being done by the government,” said Bishop Brojen Malakar, who heads the Barrackpore diocese of the Church of North India (CNI).
A portion of a 17-acre plot owned by the Baptist Church in West Midnapore has been taken over by a local group to run a school, the church authorities alleged. In Murshidabad’s Jiaganj, the health department has turned a building owned by the CNI into a government hospital.The CNI says it has also lost a plot attached to a school in Dum Dum to a businessman, who has set up a petrol pump there.