Christians and Jews march to save cemeteries in Mumbai
Mumbai: The Christian and Jew communities took out a candle prayer march today evening from St. Peter’s Church Square to Seaside Cemetery in a show of solidarity to protect their cemeteries that the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has moved to acquire.
The Bombay Catholic Sabha and the St. Peters Church Community today demanded the unconditional withdrawal of what they called an “unjust” notice from the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) to acquire St. Peter’s Sea Side Cemetery. They also demanded the withdrawal of the Amendments to the Development Plan (DP) of the Government in September 2022, which requires the taking over of cemetery land for road widening when “alternate options” were available.
Abraham Yehuda representing the Jewish Cemetery thanked the Christian Community for standing in solidarity with them as the Jewish Cemetery has also received a similar notice.
“There are available options like developing the existing partly developed 18.3 metres ( Nirmala Colony DP Road ) behind the Jewish Cemetery by clearing any bottlenecks as the same is also meeting the Kadeshwari Mandir Marg and parallel to this Marg,” the Bombay Catholic Sabha and the St. Peters Church Community stated.
The marchers termed the BMC move as to acquire the land of cemeteries as “unjustified”, and displayed placards with slogans such as “We stand united to protect our Christian & Jewish cemeteries”, and, “We will not allow you to rest till you have withdrawn the ‘grave’ notice unconditionally.
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Fr. Reuben Tellis, Parish Priest of Mt. Carmel Church said the opening prayers at the beginning of the march. Fr. Lancy Pinto said the prayers at the cemetery. Fr. Frazer Mascarenhas, Parish Priest of St. Peters Church gave a brief background of the issue and why they should unite and raise their voices.
The gathering resolved that they will not allow the BMC authorities to rest until this unjust ‘Grave’ notice and the amendments to the DP plan are not withdrawn unconditionally.
“We will keep a watch and urge the concerned authorities to immediately resolve the issue. Otherwise, we will explore options to agitate with other citizens and communities across Mumbai City,” Dolphy D’souza, president of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, and Godfrey Pimenta, Founder and Trustee of Watchdog Foundation, said in a joint statement.
– global bihari bureau