Mumbai (The Hindu): The Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation on Saturday relocated a 110-year-old holy cross in Mahim that had been removed due to the ongoing excavation work for the Colaba-Bandra-Seepz Metro 3 corridor.
Though the new location is about 20 metres away from the original, the Christian community members from Mahim are happy that the Metro authorities kept their promise to relocate the structure of religious importance.
According to 47-year-old Mahim resident Dominic Rodrigues, the cross was removed on June 8. “The Metro officials first got in touch with St. Michael’s Church and some activists in the community. They assured us that the cross would be relocated with due diligence,” Mr. Rodrigues said, adding that the residents were happy that the Metro authorities ensured that their sentiments were not hurt in any way.
Another resident of the area, advocate A. Sodder, said they were glad the authorities were clear about their intentions. Several residents had gathered at the spot when news of the cross being removed spread. A priest had been called to perform prayers before the cross was removed. On Saturday, the priest again performed prayers before the cross was installed at the new location.
“There was some uncertainty in our minds because of the entire tree issue that has got the residents and Metro authorities at loggerheads,” said Mr. Rodrigues, who is also a part of the Association of Concerned Catholics.
The Metro officials have been facing the ire of environmental activists and residents, most recently from south Mumbai, where several trees that were more than 50 years old were chopped off. Residents gathered for candle light vigils, hugged the trees and protested in different ways, but the tree-felling continued. In turn, the Metro authorities hired bouncers to keep the protesters away. The activists are still up in arms over the Metro car depot planned inside Aarey Colony in Goregaon.
“But in the case of the cross, they were clear not to attract any problems,” said Dolphy Dsouza, a member of the Bombay Catholic Sabha, which interacted with the Metro authorities. He said the cross is a stone structure, and the excavation could have damaged it with the vibrations. “We are pro-development. The community only wants to ensure that the sentiments are not hurt in any way. Therefore, all the work related to the cross was agreed upon mutually,” Mr. Dsouza said.
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