Kochi: The Syro Malabar Church Thursday reacted cautiously to the incident of pulling down of a 30-foot tall metal cross as part of an official anti-encroachment drive in the hill station of Munnar in Idukki district.
Church spokesman Fr Jimmy Poochakkatt opined that there was no issue in removing a cross erected on an encroached land but questioned the manner in which it was demolished in Munnar by the Idukki district administration as part of its anti-encroachment drive.
"Cross is a very important holy symbol in the Christian faith. We have reservations on the manner in which it was demolished.
"At the same time we are of the opinion that any such symbol, whether it is religious or political, situated on an encroached land should be removed," Poochakkatt said.
He also said the state government should take steps to see that the drive in Munnar is not stopped in the name of such incidents.
"Some people try to rake up religious sentiments to sabotage such move by the government. Authorities should beware of such forces," the priest said.
His statement came after chief minister Pinarayi Vijayan expressed strong displeasure over the act by the Revenue officials.
Vijayan said the steps taken by the district administration has resulted in some misunderstanding among a particular section of society.
"A cross which was there was destroyed as part of an anti-encroachment drive. The government viewed the matter very seriously," he said in Kottayam.
The cross, set up under the garb of spiritual tourism atop a hilly area, was brought down with the help of earth movers this morning, the officials said.
It was set up on a 30-acre piece of land allegedly impinged by a group of people calling itself, Spirit of Jesus, they said.
Besides the cross, some thatched sheds and a prayer hall too were also demolished, they added.