Mini Antony Jolly, who runs a tailoring unit at a shop in South Chittoor, has been running from pillar to post to help for retaining her sole means of living. For, the authorities of the Holy Family Church, South Chittoor, has been laying claims on it and have asked her to vacate. But, Mini avers that the shop has been in her family’s possession for about 100 years. Mini says the church authorities were forcing her to vacate the place. She alleged that when she refused to leave, the authorities demolished a portion of the shop preventing her from pursuing her job. She said she tried her best to settle the issue amicably but in vain, so she moved court in 2007.
In 2010, the Additional Munsiff Court restrained the defendants by a permanent prohibitory injunction from forcefully dispossessing the plaintiffs of plaint schedule property and building therein.
“My grandfather ran a teashop at the site before it was handed over to my father years ago. When my father took ill, I set up a stitching unit in the shop as I do not have any other means of living. My husband is a labourer,” said Mini. She added that, “though we do not have any possession certificate, the land has been with our family for years. The church authorities have not bothered the neighbouring shops. The church which should be lending us a support is causing a lot of trauma. It’s not just the shop, the church has alienated me from the choir ever since I filed the case and many people have turned against me as a result,” said Mini. “Singing in the choir for the past 25 years has been relaxing. I get some pocket money too. The church has deprived me of that. I have approached the church authorities and the Women’s Commission,” she said.
When asked, the Vicar of the church, Fr George Mangalath refuted the allegations and reiterated that the shop belonged to the church.
“The shop was given by the church on the promise that it would be returned when asked. We have papers to prove it. We want to demolish the shop to utilise the space for expanding the road to the church. On the choir issue, he said anyone can sing hymns in the church and it is not necessary to join the choir to sing,” he said.