Minister apologizes for cross demolition

Cardinal says he is 'hurt, embarrassed and angry at the developments'

Minister apologizes for cross demolition
Cardinal Oswald Gracias at the rally reporter, Mumbai, India

March 7, 2011

Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan has apologized to the Bombay archbishop for the demolition of crosses in a Catholic stronghold in the state capital. “The chief minister rang me up and apologized for the demolition of crosses,” said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Bombay and the president of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India. He said the chief minister has also instructed the civic authorities of Mumbai to stop razing crosses in Bandra, a suburb. The chief minister’s apology came after Christians in the city organized a protest rally against the Mumbai civic body’s decision to demolish crosses. The Brihanmumbai (greater Mumbai) Municipal Corporation cited a 2009 Supreme Court directive that all illegal religious structures obstructing vehicular traffic be removed. The cardinal had expressed his anguish at the March 4 rally saying, “I am hurt, embarrassed and angry at the developments and would meet the state chief minister on the issue.” The cardinal was scheduled to meet the chief minister today to urge him to restore the demolished crosses. He said he hoped the government would heed to “our request and not hurt the religious sentiments of Catholics.” ID13545.1644