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Syro-Malabar church demolished in Indian capital

Authorities claim the structure was illegally built and gave no notice of its demolition

Syro-Malabar church demolished in Indian capital

Little Flower Church, managed by the Syro-Malabar Church in Lado Sarai, was demolished by the Delhi Development Authority on July 12. (Photo supplied)

A Catholic church in India's national capital has been demolished on grounds that it was an illegal structure.

Little Flower Church, managed by the Syro-Malabar Church in Lado Sarai, was pulled down on July 12 following an order from the Delhi Development Authority (DDA).

“We have been running this church for the last 13 years and there was no such problem until the DDA claimed it was an illegal building. We will seek legal help and will take further action,” Father Ginto K. Tom, public relations officer of Faridabad Diocese, told UCA News.

“We are shocked and saddened because the authorities did not give any prior notice of demolition. They came this morning and asked our staff to vacate the place, then they demolished the entire church.

“It is very unfortunate that the government has to take such a step. If there was any issue, it could have been solved according to the law. Demolishing religious places is always painful. It looks like the DDA took the action on its own, but we are in touch with higher authorities and will take steps accordingly.”

According to DDA officials, the church's construction was illegal.

The diocese covers 950,000 square kilometers and has 150,000 Catholics.

The Syro-Malabar Church, based in Kerala, has 35 dioceses across the world, but most of them are in Kerala.

Faridabad is the 16th diocese established outside Kerala, the base of the Syro-Malabar Catholics.

The diocese comprises the national capital of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab and Himachal Pradesh states, the districts of Gautam Buddh Nagar and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh and the union territories of Jammu and Kashmir.

The diocese covers 950,000 square kilometers and has 150,000 Catholics.

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The Catholic Church in India comprises the Latin rite and two Oriental rites called Syro-Malabar and Syro-Malankara.

The Latin rite follows the Roman liturgy introduced by European missioners in the 16th century, while the two Oriental rites, both based in Kerala, follow Syrian Church traditions and trace their origins to St. Thomas the Apostle.

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