After towns and cities Missionaries and Islamists encroach forest lands; Illegal structures brought down after intervention by a vigilant forum
   14-Jul-2019

 
 Two new instances of encroachments by Missionaries and Islamists have been reported, one in Telangana and the other in Andhra Pradesh
 
Hundreds of plots in towns and cities have fallen prey to illegal religious structures constructed by Christian Missionaries and Mullahs. With no dearth in funds, they are on a lookout to encroach lands that does not belong to them and government lands have been their prime target. However, the disease that started in Kerala has spread to other states in the southern India. The Mullah-Missionary nexus is forcing its way into our forest lands thereby endangering the longevity of our natural resources and green cover.
 
Recently Organiser had reported the encroachment of forest land in Kurnool, AP () and how the intervention of Legal Rights Protection Forum forced the forest department to stop the construction of the church. But seems that they have not learned any lessons. Two new instances have been reported of similar encroachments, one in Telangana and the other in Andhra Pradesh.
 
Masjid erected on forest land in Bhadrachalam forest area
 
Manugur forest area in Bhadrachalam is the latest target of the Islamic demagogues. Recently a Makeshift Masjid came up in the forest land in Manugur. After a few day, the Mullahs backed by rabid Islamists in the area attempted to construct a permanent structure. They even named the masjid as 'Masjid Khuba'. Attempts to create a fake narrative about the place were already afoot. Given the Muslim appeasing attitude of the Telangana government, once the structure would have been completed it would have been difficult to take it down.
 

 
Illegal Masjid was erected Manugur forest area in Bhadrachalam 
 
Legal Rights Protection Forum (LRPF) immediately approached the Conservator of Forests of Bhadradri Kothagudem District in Telangana and registered a formal complaint on July 9th, 2019. The complaint provided the details of the location and the photos of the structure. Based on the complaint by LRPF, the illegal structure was brought down by the forest officials on July 10th with police protection. Timely intervention by a vigilant forum nipped the problem in the bud.
 
However, the Mullahs who designed to encroach were not to take this lying down. After the Masjid was brought down, they assembled a mob of Muslims from nearby villages who rushed to the spot and staged protest against the forest officials. They even demanded their arrest for having brought down their religious structure. With law on their side, the forest officials did not budge and the mob was dispersed soon.
 
Missionaries trespass into forest land start constructing a Church 
 
In June, 2019, LRPF learned of a Church being constructed by the Evangelists at Yetapaka village of East Godavari District which is near to Bhadrachalam, a famous pilgrimage for the people of the two Telugu States. A Cross was also installed in front of the Church that was being constructed.
 

 
 Church being constructed by the Evangelists at Yetapaka village of East Godavari District in Andhra Pradesh
 
Initially the Missionaries constructed a roof-top with cement base and erected a Cross in front of it. After noticing this encroachment, LRPF filed a formal complaint to AP Forest Vigilance Department, AP Principal Secretary (Forests) and Divisional Forest officer of Chintur detailing the location and the structure. The complaint sought that these structure be dismantled and the forest land be cleared of such illegal constructions.
 
After continuous follow up, on 9th July, 2019, the AP Forest officials arrived at the site and removed the illegally constructed Cross at the encroached site. The forest officials have also assured that the remaining construction (roof with cement base) would be utilized by Forest department for their official purpose.
 
However, AS Santosh, Working President of LRPF informs Organiser that such construction cannot happen in a day and the Missionaries have certainly cut down many trees to accommodate their illegal structure. Santosh informs us that the audacity of the Missionaries was such that they had even taken electricity connection for the construction illegaly. LRPF mentions the same in their complaint to AP Forest Vigilance Department and also highlights the fact that this shows the strong intention and conspiracy behind such repeated illegal occupation of the forest lands and that they took advantage of the lack of proper monitoring by forest authorities. 
 
Biggest Threat to our Forests
 
Unless strong action is taken against such trespassing and encroachments by the forest department and officials, many others will be inspired to commit similar crimes in the name of religion, says Santosh. There is a doubt whether the forest officials have even registered an FIR in these cases.
 
Forest are our biggest natural resource and provide the much needed green cover. Our forests are already under pressure from the mining and sand lobby. They are now faced with a new enemy - the Mullah Missionary nexus, who are out to encroach our forest lands for their nefarious purposes. If not controlled by law, it can blow our of proportions and threaten our natural resource. Already facing water crisis, our country will be forced to remain in the third world if we lose our forests to such encroachments.