(Vatican Radio) The Archdiocese of Bombay is very concerned about the demolition of the cross in Bandra, said the archdiocesan spokesman Fr. Nigel Barrett expressing the Catholic community’s sentiments follwoing the demolition of a century-old cross on Saturday in the Western Indian city of Mumbai. “In fact, the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias described the destruction of this historic roadside cross ‘deeply disturbing’”, Fr. Barrett told Vatican Radio. “Officials of the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC), the civic body that governs Mumbai, the capital city of Maharashtra state, pulled down a cross near Bazar Road in Bandra on April 29, on directives from Bombay High Court. Not long after, local Catholics put up a makeshift cross amid the rubble to “reassure” the community.
The removal of the cross was part of the directive of Bombay High Court asking BMC to demolish all illegal religious structures that have come up after September 29, 2009. As many as 32 temples and 6 crosses from H west ward were deemed against the Development Plan of the city. However, Catholic Church officials, local Catholics as well Bombay Catholic Sabha, the lay Catholic association contend the cross was erected around 1895 on private property, and the BMC action amounts to insulting the religion.
Well over 1,500 people protested on Wednesday in Mumbai, demanding the BMC re-build the cross, Fr. Barrett said. He said the Catholic community feesl the BMC "misinterpreted the High Court order" in tearing down the cross. Everything asked for by the BMC was presented by the Catholic community. Despite all this, the bombay archdiocesan spokesman said, the Assistant Municipal Commissioner went ahead witht he demolition. This "shows a highhandedness in the individual's part," Fr. Barrett said.
Here is an excerpt of what Fr. Nigel Barrett told Vatican Radio on Wednesday: