Misuse of land granted to the Church. Running resort just 50 feet away from the church.

The erstwhile Kanan Devan company gifted 14.5 acres of land to tea estate personnel for the purpose of cemetery and worship.   An Anglican church, namely Kannan Devan Hills Church was established during 1910 in the land.  Different missionaries were working in the area and churches were established in different parts of Munnar.  When the CSI was established in 1947, this church too was merged with the CSI.  The land was also transferred to the North Kerala Diocese later.


When the KDH Resumption of Land Act 21st day of January 1971 came into force, the above land was exempted from vesting with the government.  This land has no patta and it is a special grand.  As such, the said land is a government lease land given for a specific purpose i.e. to establish a church, cemetery and for conducting any prayer related activities.
But the financial integration of the Munnar churches was made with the North Kerala Diocese only during 1981. The CSI North Kerala Diocese failed to utilize the land for the social development of the people.

A three story complex was built on the land which is adjacent to the church during 2003 without any proper consultations with the local elected bodies.  No proper monitoring committees were formed for the purpose with the elected representatives.  The diocese gave mass propaganda that they would be constructing a retreat centre on the south west of the Munnar CSI Christ church and accordingly foundation stone was laid at that location by the then Moderator Rt. Rev. K.J. Samuel. But later they slowly talked about a commercial complex instead of “CSI Retreat” and they constructed a three storied complex. No study was made as to whether this land can be utilized for commercial purposes when the land was granted specifically for worship and cemetery purposes. 

The Invitation of the laying the foundation stone for CSI Retreat Munnar
Two members of the church filed a case (Civil suit No.14 of 2004) at Devikulam Munisiff court, praying to use the building only for social and religious purposes and not for commercial purposes since the church did not give any clarification as to what they are doing in the building. However, one of the petitioner in the case Mr. Jacob Reginald was debarred from the church assembly for filing the case.  He went on a fast at the Pullivasal Church till midnight insisting the bishop to discuss all matters and to withdraw the order. 

The bishop promised to consult all the elected bodies and general body before taking any decision regarding the complex. Unfortunately, the bishop resigned and the present Bishop K.P. Kuruvialla took over the reins of the diocese.  He did not keep the promise made by the previous bishop. 

In the meantime, under the insistence of Munnar Task Force formed by the Govt., the Munnar Panchayat issued notice dated 6th July 2007 to the church, saying that the complex constructed is illegal and why it should not be demolished.  Immediately, the diocese named the complex as prayer hall and community centre under the advice of the moderator Rt. Rev. Dr. J.W. Gradstone.   Later it was dedicated by Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla as PRAYER HALL AND COMMUNITY CENTRE.  A board was fixed on the top of the building and the building was being used for church functions, marriages, political meetings etc.  official receipts are there. 

The Task force did not proceed with the action as the bishop and the church authorities assured the task force that it is being used for social purposes.  Exactly after one year, the bishop Rev. Dr. K.P. Kuruvilla leased (sub-leased) the Prayer Hall and Community Centre to a third party to convert it into a resort.  

There was no decision to this effect either in the pastorate committees or in the General bodies of the local church.  As a D.C. Member, Mr. Jacob Reginald sent two faxes to the Bishop to make public about the deal with the S.N. Tourist Home.  He did not respond at all.  Till date, the church members do not know what was the deal. 




A section of the of the church members including me went on a fast since 6th July 2008 and remained in the church for four days on tharna to cancel the sub lease.  As the police pressurized and negotiated with the agitating members and on the promise the bishop’s commission comprising of the diocese officers including the present treasurer and clergy secretary that he will have open discussion with all concerned, the agitation was withdrawn. 

The commission’s report was not considered and the bishop continued the work and did not take any action to discuss with the involvement of all concerned. Though he visited Munnar at that time.  This is totally against the wishes of the Munnar congregations, This is just 50 feet away from the church.  A mass appeal was sent by about 800 members of the congregations and the bishop was not listening to the cries of the members.  The appeal was also sent to the Panchayat to stop the conversion activities in the building.   

Instead the bishop and his atchens threatened all the people who signed the appeal with action.  On of the women member of church at Kalaar Estate was threatened on the morning of her marriage day (10.10.2008) that her marriage would not be solemnized unless she gives an undertaking against the appeal.  She had issued a lawyer notice to the concerned attchens. The achens apologized (25.10.2008) and found a scape goat, their church worker.  Bishop tried to foil false cases against us. 

The Panchayat issued stop two memos dated 16.7.2008 and 23.07.2008 to the bishop and advised them to demolish the converted portion immediately. 

Several cases were filed in the Hon’ble High Court to implement the order of the Panchayat and to stop the conversion of the building into a resort and to utilize the land and property only as per law and retain the prayer hall and community centre. 

The hon’ble High Court passed the following orders.

WPC. No. 35582/2008 (S) dated 9th December 2008 – The Establishment of a resort or a lodge or the building existing in the land  is subject to the result of the case. 

IA. 16311/08 IN WPC. No. 35582/2008 (S) dated 18th December 2008 – Further construction is stopped until hearing of the writ petition. 

When this case i.e. IA. 16311/08 IN WPC. No. 35582/2008 (S) came for final hearing on 21st January 2009, the learned Govt. Pleader Mr. M.P. Srikrishna submitted to the court under instruction from the government that the Government is considering mass representation filed and it will take appropriate action therefore no further orders are necessary. The case was disposed accordingly by passing judgement dated 21st January 2009. 

The bishop released a circular No.3/2009 dated 22nd January 2009 in which he stated that we are happy to inform you that these cases have now been dismissed by the division bench.  How the bishop is dare enough to issue such a defamatory statement?  Who is backing him?  Contempt notice was issued to him. 

The Bishop debarred 6 petitioners from the Church including myself and Jacob Reginald.  Mr. Reginald was debarred vide letter No.BP/75/2009 dated 2nd February 2009 just before the diocesan council held on 10th February 2009 mentioning utter lies in the letter.  The reason being we approached the Hon. High Court for justice. 

Mr. Jacob Reginald approached the Devikulam Munisiff Court seeking justice to stay the order of the Bishop.

In the above case, a report of Tahsildar dated 30.10.2008 was filed by the government in which it is clearly stated that the land given to the church authorities for establishing a church, cemetery and other allied prayer related activities only.  But the church authorities have seen constructed a commercial building in the property in question which is void (wide) and clear violation of lease conditions. In spite of the above orders and report the government was not taking any action as submitted to the court and the building was being constructed on day and night basis.  We issued several letters to the authorities and they kept mum.

The bishop, with the connivance of political force and government officials, allowed the 3rd party to convert the building into a resort and a restaurant. 

We again approached the Hon’ble High Court vide WP(C) No.8842/2009 (S)  and the court passed two orders

In Interim order WP(C) No.8842/2009 (S)  dated 25th March 2009 – We make it clear that in the meanwhile construction if any undertaken by the 6th respondent (S.N. Tourist Home) will be at his risk. 

In the final order in WP(C) No.8842/2009 (S)  dated 6th April 2009 – It is quoted that Tahsildar has submitted to the court that it is a government lease land and district collector has submitted it is an exempted land.  The court directed the District collector to take appropriate action under law within four months. 

But the district collector dragged on the matter for eight months.  At the first sitting itself he passed an order of status quo but that was ignored by both the Bishop and the S.N. Tourist Home.  They completed the construction and started the functioning illegally.  

The District Collector, Tahsildar and Panchayat are party to this illegal activity.  Now the building is converted as Sujatha Inn and Sri Krishna Gujarathi Marwadi Restaurant and functioning illegally. 

The action of the bishop has brought disrespect to the whole diocese.  It is generally believed that the property has been almost sold to a third party with huge pecuniary benefits by bishop and his close aids.  While the matter is still pending before the government for further action as referred by the district collector the resort is functioning illegally under the guidance of the bishop and SN group.

Courtesy: Jacob Reginald, Munnar

13 comments:

Anonymous said...

Where are you heading to? Where is all these gonna end. I guarantee you that the money from this deal will never satisfy you. Shame is from within and no one can teach that. Even politicians would feel shame seeing these acts of yours

Christhomas79 said...

After all these facts have come out. Our great Bishop is still mum. All these properties and assets was not brought from kodukulanji. If there is any misunderstanding like that then i would suggest your left hand Mr. Ronny and Your right hand Mr. Earnest to kindly advice some good things to you. Its hard, but try you might be able to do that some day. Its really bad to say that our bishop is not just corrupt but also a evil minded administrator. God save CSI.

Anonymous said...

Who is responsible for this bishops activities?

yahia balu,munnar said...

It is good for the church bringing out all these goonda vilayattam.But I still wonder why our own chaps elected to the committees are keeping dead and cold silence.
Only some from munnar,kalamassery.ilamkulam and puthiyara are making noise.
What happened to our brothers in the premier churches like ernakulam,trichur,catheedral calicut and cannanore? Are they alive or the churches have been closed down by the Bishop and his episcopal goondaas?

Anonymous said...

Everybody including kids are equally responsible.
We have given full freedom to Bishop,he is simply enjoying.It is as simple as that.

Anonymous said...

CHURCH members fighting for the prayer hall definitely they will honoured by the God.This Bishop is a maffiya person.He is not interestted in God.

lazar,selvapuram said...

Being the members of csi we are prepared to collect some money and give bishop as bribe.
We beg you kuruvilla to please leave the office and save our next generation.We are prepared for any thing including begging in the streets to collect money for you.
Brothers in future this type of videos are not required.our ladies may commit 'THARKOLAI'.PERIYA VAMBU,padikka mudiyale.

csipass,puthiyara,calicut said...

When some of our members asked the bishop about the Munnar issue two years back, two of our activists were sent out from the church.one of us got an explanation letter.
The comment of MR.Earnest Edapally was as follows;
"Why you are worried about munnar church.You are not supposed to interfere in other matters other than yours".
A diocesan council member can raise any matter related to any church under the diocese.The bishop and his men were much worried to see that puthiyara members joined hands with the poor munnar believers.
Very cleverly they tried to keep away one of our diocesan council members out of the council meetings.
But we are very happy to note that not only munnar but all other church members also started joining hands with us.It has become an ocean of truth and committment.
Man proposes,God disposes.csipass

Anonymous said...

GOD really DISPOSED!!

Nithin Satyapal said...

How could we call him a Bishop anymore. I think K P Kuruvilla has lost is morale. Its high time that we think about a different person to lead the church. I've heard a 101 complaints about him and now everything i coming up. What all truths are gonna come and i hope ugly things dont come up.

Anonymous said...

Bishop has taken no corrective measures so far.I strongly believe that he is not interested in churches.As one person commented he will keep on applying the divide and rule policy till the last day of his regime.
We have to find out alternatives for the smooth running of churches.Now it is like a family property of jacob mathew,arnest idapalli and david paul.savecsi movement should arrange public programmes to save our churches from the black hands of these people.Jacob mathew is the gang leader.Arnest and others are only commission agents or local b brokers.Bishop is another street broker gets only nominal share.

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saju cheriyan said...

I happened to visit this website through facebook.
While appreciating your efforts I must request you to learn about the struggling of our missionaries in northern states.
They have no properties,no air conditioned cars and bunglows.
If you have money help them to make the poor educated,to have a shelter for the homeless and medicine for the sick.
your bishop is ruling like a medieval king.
All churches are now establishments.He is a part of this establishment.
So find out some other method to supress this medieval king.

Anonymous said...

I congratulate India vision for the wonderful coverage of the whole issue. The resort is functioning so close to the church and how could people worship? I appreciate the believers revolt and action

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