Villagers of Gatti Ippalapally in Talakondapally Mandal have lodged a formal complaint with the Additional Collector of Rangareddy District against the illegal construction of a church on occupied public land. They allege violations of Government Order (GO) Ms 35 and inaction by concerned officials.
Telangana: Villagers of Gattu Ippalapalle of Talakondapalli Mandal, RR District lodged complaint with Addl Collector seeking action against Panchayat Secretary & MPO for intentional inaction in a matter of illegal Church construction in occupied public land near Govt School pic.twitter.com/xjk7lHV2O0
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The dispute centres around a plot of land designated as Gram Kantam, considered public property belonging to the village. Villagers claim a few local residents from the Scheduled Caste community who converted to Christianity have begun constructing a church on this land without proper authorisation.
They further accuse the Church construction of contravening GO 35 issued by the Panchayat Raj and Rural Development Department. This order amends existing rules concerning building construction, including places of worship. Specifically, it mandates:
Telangana had passed a GO Ms 35 making amendments to the existing Rule No. 26 of the Andhra Pradesh Gram Panchayat Land Development (Lay out and Building) Rules, 2002 which clearly states as below: “ — (2) in Rule 26 of the said Rules, for the Para substituted in G.O.Ms.No.376, PR&RD (Pts.Iv) Department, dated.29.11.2012, the following shall be substituted, namely:
- Minimum distance: New religious structures must be at least 100 meters away from existing places of worship
- Land ownership: Construction requires clear and undisputed land title
- Noise regulations: Statutory noise pollution norms must be adhered to
The villagers highlight that the church construction lacks Gram Panchayat approval and violates the stipulated conditions. Firstly, the land belongs to the public domain (Gram Kantam), and secondly, the construction site falls within 100 metres of both a Zilla Parishad High School and a Government Primary School.
In addition to seeking action against officials allegedly involved in the unauthorised construction, the villagers plan to approach the Panchayat Raj & Rural Development Department of Rangareddy district. They claim negligence on the part of concerned officials and elected members for failing to convene regular meetings as required by law.
Although historically people were not concerned about churches being built in their communities, the negative experiences with Christians and their treatment of non-Christians, as well as their exploitation or insulting of Hindu faith and beliefs, have led some to question their intentions. It is no longer a covert plot for Christian evangelists to convert Hindus or alienate themselves from their roots.