Shimla: Police intervened to stall forcible possession of a prime Church property in the tourist township of Dalhousie even as the Bishop of Church of North India (CNI)threatened to resort to a hunger strike unless the trespassers were booked for criminal offence.
Director General of Police Daljit Manhas let Hill Post know that status quo had been restored over a Church property dispute in Dalhousie.
He said that the people who had forcibly tried to occupy the heritage property known as Khyber House on Friday evening were evicted and possession of the property was restored to Diocese of Amritsar, CNI.
Earlier in the day reverend Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy, the Bishop of Amritsar Diocese met chief minister Prem Kumar Dhumal and apprised him of unknown intruders having trespassed into the churches property, kidnapped the chowkidar, vandalized antique furniture and plundered the place.
Talking to reporters, later in the day, Samantaroy alleged that forcible occupation of the prime property in Dalhousie could not have been done without connivance of government officials.
Demanding criminal actions against the trespassers, he said that the property also has an old chapel where prayers are regularly held.
The Bishop and other church members who are here to attend to an investiture ceremony of new priests, “I will undertake an hunger strike, should the property not be vacated and restored to the church.
Legal advisor to diocese Daniel B Dass, said “the attempt to take over forcible possession the property was a case of highhandedness that had hurt the minority community.”
Sources claimed there was a ownership dispute between the Amritsar and Lucknow branches of the Church and the Lucknow branch was behind the attempt to take possession of the prime property.
The prime property spread over a hillock at Dalhousie consisted of Khyber House, Tagore Bhavan, Sadhu Sunder Singh Memorial Chapel and other buildings. Rabindra Nath Tagore is said to have stayed in one of the buildings and composed poetry.