Bangalore, India. More than 500 people gathered together to demonstrate against the Government’s decision to take back most of the land that has been given to the Sumanahalli Society entrusted to the Claretian Fathers, …
… for the care of the leprosy patients at the Town Hall in Bangalore on Monday the 24th of September. The Government had taken a decision in the Cabinet meeting of 21st September to take back 43 acres of the Society leaving it only with five acres.
Most of the people who participated to demonstrate their anger and sadness were the leprosy affected persons themselves, who came from all over Bangalore. More than 100 inmates from the background of leprosy, HIV, disabilities and the orphans, the street boys and the children in conflict with law who are living in the Sumanahalli campus also participated.
His Grace Bernard Moras,Archbishop of Bangalore shared the pain of the patients by addressing the demonstration. He said that the Christian community which responded to the invitation from the Government in 1977 to take care of leprosy affected people has been betrayed.
Fr George Kannanthanam, the Director of the Sumanahalli society said that it was impossible to contain the activities of the campus to five acres where more than 400 people lived. The campus has about 50 building to cater to the medical, educational and rehabilitation needs of the patients and have spent more than 25 crores to build up such facilities. Sumanahalli is the social hub of Bangalore where the poorest poor people found a refuge.
Many of the affected persons shared their journey from the street to the Sumanahalli society and how a new life was started due to the Society’s efforts.
The patients reiterated that they would rather die than leave the land. The slogan of the demonstration was “We came from the Street. Dont throw us back to the Street.”
The demonstration was also represented by various NGO’s in Bangalore and the representatives from different congregations including manay Claretians.
Later the Archbishop and the Director met the Governor and the Chief Minister of Karnataka submitting Memorandum to reconsider the decision.