Evangelists illegally constructing a Church on forest land adjacent to the hills of Lakshmi Jagannatha Gattu in Kurnool, AP
Evangelists have had a free run to construct religious structures on lands that do not belong to them in Andhra Pradesh. Now, the Evangelists seem to be under the impression that Jagan's victory is a free pass to further intensify their illegal activities. The CM should prove them wrong.
Cross erected illegally on forest land adjacent to Lakshmi Jagannatha Gattu in Kurnool. A Church is now being constructed near the Cross.
A new government has taken oath in Andhra Pradesh. The Jagan Reddy led YSRCP came to power in the state with a thumping majority. Jagan’s and his family’s identity as Christians is no secret. His brother-in-law, Anil Kumar, is a known Evangelist. Consequently, the Evangelists in the state who almost had a freerun under the TDP rule, now seem to have gone on a overdrive as soon as Jagan took oath as the new CM.
Forest lands adjacent to famous Hindu pilgrim sites have been under the radar of the Christian missionaries. The temple and the land in question which has been the target of the missionaries is the forest land adjacent to the famous historical and puranic temple of Shri Lakshmi Jagannatha Gattu in Kurnool district. The historic temple is between several hills which are considered sacred by the Hindu devotees and pilgrims. The annual fair of the temple is famous throughout the district and the state which is attended by lakhs of devotees.
First came a cross, now a Church!
It was on this forest land that the missionaries had planted a huge cross 4 years ago. The TDP was in power then and CB Naidu was the CM. The illegal construction on the forest land was not opposed adequately by the administration then. The leeway given to the missionaries has only emboldened them now.
Last week after Jagan took oath on 30th May, it has come to notice that a huge Church is being built besides the cross for which the construction has started. The entire area of the Jagannatha Gattu and adjacent hills falls under the purview of the state’s endowment department. Photos from the site clearly indicate the earlier cross and the new church being built nearby. However, a notice board nearby the site indicates that the land belongs to the forest department (see images below).
A forum of concerned citizens has complained to the Forest Protection Division which has taken cognisance of their complaint and has forwarded the same to the Forest department of the district. The citizens forum is working to eradicate the huge cross and church through legal means.
Careless Attitude of Government officials
It is indeed concerning that neither the officials of the forest department nor the endowment officials took cognisance of the illegal cross all these years. This lackadaisical approach of the officials give credence to the allegations that Christian missionaries are having a free run in Andhra Pradesh. Concerned people hope that it will not be the same under Jagan. It can be recalled that Jagan’s father YSR Reddy was a darling of the missionaries in the state and he had bestowed upon them largesse after largesse from the state coffers. Infact, the missionaries had the temerity to demand one of the seven hills of Lord Venkateshwara in Tirupathi to build a church. The record of TDP in appeasing the Christians is not any better.
People hope that Jagan will not walk the path of unduly appeasing the evangelists at the cost of peace and bonhomie in the state. Locals are also demanding that the area that has been illegally occupied near the Jagannatha Gattu be cleared as soon as possible and strict punishment be given to those who attempted to encroach the land.
Notice board indicating that the land belongs to the forest deparment of Andhra Pradesh
Photos from the site from different angles prove that a church is also coming up illegally