The Catholic Church has encroached the whole hillock, making it inaccessible for Hindus to worship Lord Shiva on the hilltop.
While the Tamil Nadu Government allows places of worship of minority religions built on encroached land, it has demolished over 150 temples in the last seven months citing flimsy reasons. One such thing has seen the light. The Catholic Church has encroached forest land on top of a hill in Thiruvannamalai.
Elayankanni hamlet is located 150 feet above the hill, spread across 160 acres under the TN forest department. Over 4,500 people reside in that area. In 1961, some Christians who came to this hilltop occupied 2 acres of forest land and built a church called Caramel Mountain Matha temple. They converted the hapless and socially weaker locals into Christianity. The missionaries erected a cross at first and later built a church in 1982 with the locals' support. They took five more acres to build infrastructure facilities like car parking, etc. Bhoomi Pooja was performed three months ago in the presence of Chengam DMK MLA Mu Pe Giri to make the mud road into a pucca roads at an estimated cost of Rs.30 lakhs (government funding).
The Collector of Thiruvannamalai Murugesan came to the hills for a tree-planting ceremony on 19th December and was shocked to see that almost 5 acres of land on the hill was levelled and construction was underway. He ordered the Revenue Department to enquire regarding this issue and learnt that no lease has been given to anyone for this government land.
Hindu Munnani sources said Church run by the Vellore Diocesan Catholic Church has occupied an entire hill. Notice has been sent to the Church administration to evacuate all the areas they occupied, except the land where the Church is built. Similarly, another hill in Saveriya Palayam near this village has also been encroached on and a cross has been erected. It is learnt Hindu Munnani district general secretary Arunkumar brought it to the attention of the district administration with a petition saying prayer halls have begun on lands that were sought for permission to build houses. He complained of conversion activities in that area and urged the administration to initiate action against such illegally run Churches and Prayer Halls.
A couple of months ago, Madras HC slammed a tahsildar and revenue officer for siding with a pastor who encroached government land, saying people had no problem with the Church. Organiser has been reporting such illegal places of worships at Thiruparankundram, Dindigul, the Malai Mazhai Matha church encroaching the hillock in Acharapakkam near Chennai and Sholingur hills, which has not been properly surveyed even after the Madras High Court's directions. The Catholic Church has encroached the whole hillock, making it inaccessible for Hindus to worship Lord Shiva on the hilltop. Protests by Hindu Munnani, VHP and devotees helped some action by the government.
DMK and CM Stalin never extend greetings on Hindu festivals but attend iftar parties, Christian functions for the minority votes and Christians are accommodated in various important government bodies in a quid quo for their votes. Fearing of losing their votes, the government doesn't take action on encroachments by other religious minorities on Hindu temple properties.
Recently in a pre-Christmas eve function, Indian Pentecostal Assemblies ministry (IPA) president David Prakasam promised 60 lakh votes to Tamil Nadu CM MK Stalin if he helps them to build more churches and complete the ones under construction. He said there are 50,000 churches with 60 lakh followers under the Pentecostal denomination and drew parallels between the CM and the Biblical king Kores. The pastor assured that the Pentecostal Christians would support DMK in the upcoming local body elections. IPA is an FCRA NGO and received Rs.10.8 crores between 2015-2021. Prakasam and his family run another FCRA NGO, Bethel Fellowship Trust, which received nearly Rs.11.8 crore from foreign donors in the same period.