Navi Mumbai: The Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation (NMMC) has demolished the St Bethel Church in Navi Mumbai after a priest was accused of sexually assaulting four girls. On Friday (November 2, 2022), the salmon kept inside the church was taken out before it was destroyed by a JCB.
NCPCR chief Priyanka Kanungo informed about this action of the Municipal Corporation. Kanungo tweeted about this on Saturday (3 November 2022), ''Based on recommendations by @NCPCR_ after investigation of complaints of sexual abuse of children in illegal children home run by Bethel Gospel Church in Navi Mumbai The house was destroyed by bulldozers. 45 children have been rescued from here. After the incident of sexual exploitation of girls here by the priest of the church came to light, the women's wing of BJP raised its voice against it.'' In August this year, the Thane District Child Protection Unit along with an NGO raided the church. 45 minor boys and girls were found on the church premises.
As a result of the raid, it was found that these children were being kept in very unhygienic conditions on the church premises. The rooms where these children lived were very small and dark. There was no arrangement of ventilation in those rooms. Not only this, they were given stale food to eat. After the raid, all the children were rescued and sent to various children's homes in Thane district. A week after the raid, the 55-year-old pastor of the church was arrested by the NRI Coastal Police on charges of sexually abusing minor girls. After the matter came to the fore, questions started to arise regarding the church as well. The Navi Mumbai Police informed the Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation that it was illegal. Thereafter, the corporation officials sent a notice to the church, but no action was taken.