Parsi experts tell Christian community that tunnelling work will affect St Teresa’s Church too

Members of the Parsi community have snubbed their high priests’ assurances that Metro III project will not affect the structural stability and spiritual sanctity of their fire temple at the Princess Street junction in Girgaum. The community has decided to launch its own separate peaceful agitation by seeking support from the Christian community.

Members of Parsi and Christian communities met at the St Teresa’s High School on Charni Road on Sunday, where Parsi experts told the Christian community that the St Teresa’s Church will also be affected as the tunnel alignment for Metro III line will pass under the centre of the church.

On November 10, two Parsi high priests, Dasturji Khurshed Dastoor, and Mumbai’s high priest Dasturji Dr Feroze Kotwal, met Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis. They were convinced by the explanation of Mumbai Metro Rail Corporation Ltd (MMRC) that the structural stability of their 187-year-old Wadia Atash Behram (one of the most revered fire temples) at the Princess Road junction won’t be affected by the tunnelling work of Metro III.

This change in stance by the two high priests has irked the laity who have decided to overlook their decision.

Hanoz Mistry, a community activist, said that the Parsis are not supporting the high priests’ decision.

“The community in general is unhappy with the turn of events. The government has assured that all aspects of the structural stability of the Wadia Atash Behram are being taken care of. But what about the spiritual sanctity?” said Hanoz Mistry, the community activist.

Pervez Cooper, another activist, said that the community has decided to go ahead with the agitation despite assurances from their high priests and the CM.

“First, our high priest Dasturji Dr Feroze Kotwal advertised in our Jame Masjid paper on a Sunday that he was in favour of the Metro realignment. Then he turned his back on us and turned tables suddenly. This is unacceptable to us. We seek to have a common platform with Christians who will learn through our findings that their church will also be affected,” said Cooper.

Jamshed Sukhadwala, an expert and structural engineer, said that the issue did not just concern the structural stability but Parsi sentiments as well.

Published on Mumbai Mirror