Early on Tuesday morning, when Chennai Corporation’s enforcement team initiated lock and seal proceedings on a church in Aminjikarai, they faced stiff resistance from local residents.
Following a protest by members of the Church of Indian Apostolic Mission who began gathering there in large numbers for a prayer meeting, the police advised the officials to leave the premises, and the Corporation withdrew the team.
“A notice was issued to the church for violating certain FSI (Floor Space Index) rules. As the church authorities have now appealed to us to re-consider, we stopped the enforcement action,” said Corporation commissioner D. Karthikeyan.
“A team of Corporation officials went to the church at 6 a.m. and asked worshippers to leave. When worshippers asked for a reason, they used bad language and warned them to leave,” said R.M. Glory, a church member.
“When we tried to tell them we were law-abiding people and that this was a place of worship, the officials intensified their aggressive behaviour and readied bulldozers for demolition. As more members began to gather there, they left the place in a hurry,” she added.
Over 300 residents took part in the prayer meeting as a mark of protest .
“The church was being renovated to accommodate all its worshippers during prayer. The old church building was inadequate. So we requested the authorities to reconsider their decision to demolish it,” said E. Jabez, assistant pastor of the church.
“All of us have contributed towards the construction of the new church. So we protested in a peaceful manner against the demolition,” said R. Gopi, a resident of Choolaimedu who participated in the protest.