According to reports, the Church with alleged hidden support of the Kerala government is encroaching forest lands associated with the Sabarimala shrine. Crosses are being put up in the acres of sacred land associated with the shrine and Hindu legends.
Panchalimedu, a sacred place for local Hindus named after Panchali/Draupadi, is believed to be a place inhabited by Pandavas during the 12 years of exile. An ancient Bhuvaneswari temple, under the Travancore Devaswom Board, is also situated nearby the encroached land.
Despite media reports, the State Government has been maintaining a stony silence over the issue. The CPM government had let the land grabbers and ‘Cross Farmers’ go scotfree even in the past. In 2017, when similar encroachments were reported from Pappathichola in Munnar, the revenue officials had removed it.
But the cross was later reinstalled after the Chief Minister Vijayan and other CPM leaders intervened. Blasting the officials who razed down the illegal cross, Chief Minister Vijayan had said in a speech, “What was wrong with the Cross, which is the symbol of the belief of a major section of the people? While acting against such a symbol, the officers should have consulted the government.
I asked the District Collector, with whose permission you carried it all out. You should have known a government is here. Why did they take extraordinary preparations as if it were a ‘grave’ encroachment?”