Rival Christian groups file cases over disputed Gadaguda church

Reported by Simanchal Pattnaik

Phulbani, Mar 2 :

The dispute  between the Christians of Telengia and Gadguda villages over the ownership rights on the Gadaguda church resurfaced today with both sides filing complaint cases against each other with the police,  G.Udayagiri  SDPO  Seshadeb Bariha told OST.

The Kandhamal district administration had sealed the controversial Gadaguda church and imposed Sec 144 in the area on December 14 last year, after both sides claimed ownership rights over it.church photo

While the case over the ownership rights is still pending before the JMFC court in G.Udaygiri, the Christians of Gadaguda had moved the Odisha High Court seeking an order to reopen the church.

The church was reopened on February 24 following a High Court order to keep it open for prayers. The  Christian groups of Telengia and Gadaguda entered into an agreement under which the former would offer prayers in the morning hours while  it will be open to the latter in the afternoon. It was also decided to leave the key of the church with the sarpanch of Gadaguda.

However, the old bitterness came to the fore today when Christian families from Telengia entered the church to offer their Sunday prayers. Angry over the breach of the agreement, Christians from Telengia filed a complaint case with the police. Gadaguda Christians too filed a counter case in the matter.

However, the latest reports from the area indicate  that both sides, following interventions by the administration and the elders,  are contemplating withdrawing the cases filed against each other today and arrive at an amicable settlement over prayer timings until the case over ownership rights is settled by the JMFC court.


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