INDIA: The destruction of the Siddha Hospital and the Immaculate Conception Sisters in Madurai District by the Revenue Department officials

Dear friends,

The Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has received information from the People’s Watch-Tamil Nadu that the Immaculate Conception Sisters in Thirunagar, Madurai District was demolished by the Revenue Department officials on 24 January 2004. The institution has not received any prior notice of the eviction from the Revenue Department. Since 1982, the Immaculate Conception Sisters have provided several services for the poor people in Thirunagar, Madurai. Your urgent action is required to request the local authorities to correct this matte immediately.

If you have any question, please do not hesitate to contact the People’s Watch-Tamil Nadu. 

Urgent Appeals Desk
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)


Based on the report by a fact-finding team of People’s Watch-Tamil Nadu who visited the incident spot on 25 January.


The Immaculate Conception Sisters have been serving the public through various programs on the Thanakkankulam road in Thirunagar of Madurai since 1982. They have been reaching out to all the villages in Thirunagar locality. Their services have reached the Sri Lankan and Burmese refugees, both socially and economically through tailoring classes, small-scale skills training, training in herbal medicines and training in the life skills. Besides all this, they have helped poor girls and boys by offering free tuition in the evening and also have conducted some government training programs in the field of education.

In 1980, the then District Collector Mr. Cyriac Indian Administrative Service (IAS) donated 1.94acres on Thanakkankulam Road to carry out for this service. Out of this, 60 cents of the land were provided by the sisters towards the pathway from this institution. In 1993, the then Collector Mr. Aludiapillai IAS had cancelled the said allotment. But the sisters have continued to provide the services to the poor local people. They have regularly paid the property taxes, the land tax and all the other related bills and taxes for the institution. 

The Immaculate Conception Sisters house demolished:

At 6:30 a.m. on 24 January 2004, 25 Revenue Department workers, three police officers and several hoodlums led by Mr. Rajaram the Thasildar, Madurai South Taluk and the Village Administrative Officer Mr.Krishnan went to the Immaculate Conception Service Centre in vans, jeeps, two wheelers along with a bulldozer. Upon Arrival they said that these buildings were illegal and demolished five buildings including the tailoring unit, the Siddha clinic and the chapel with the bulldozer. 

During this process an elderly sister named Jesu Sheela, 70, begged them with folded hands not to destroy these buildings declaring that the buildings are the training centres for the poor young students and free Siddha clinics for the local people. However, the revenue officials threatened her saying that if she did not leave the place, they would beat her then two men physically threw her out of the compound. Fr. Albert, who heard the incident came to the place and appealed to Mr. Rajaram not to destroy the structures. However, Mr. Rajaram abused him in filthy language and the other revenue department workers reacted violently to the people. The destruction had lasted until 8:00 a.m. Mr. Periya Pandian, who was a paralytic undergoing treatment at this Siddha clinic for the past two years, was also attacked by these officials. 

The institution has not received any prior notice of the eviction from the Revenue Department and it looks a pre-planned attack on the minority institution on a Saturday morning, just prior to three holidays so that no legal action could be taken to prevent the eviction. Any process of eviction can only be carried out after due course to law and through due process of law. Law prohibits forceful and arbitrary eviction. Article 21 of the Indian Constitution guarantees right to life and right to life implies right to peaceful life. The act of forceful eviction is a clear violation of human rights and the fundamental rights guaranteed by the Indian constitution. 

Therefore we urge you to request the Indian government to:

– To inquire into the incident and to punish the officials who are responsible for the arbitrary act especially the Tahsildar Mr. Rajaram and other senior officials who are involved in the incident.
– To create an impartial committee to study the situation in detail and to find means to immediately restore the House and its activities to normalcy.
– Immediately create the High Level Committee to study the situation in detail after a visit to the area and report on the true situation to the Government.

– Appeal to the State Minority Commission to immediately to intervene in the issue and initiate action to settle the matter. 

Send a letter to:

Shri. A.P.J. Abdul kalam, President of India, Rashtrapathi Bhavan, New Delhi ?110001 India, Fax: + 91 11 23017290, E-mail: 

Justice A.S.Anand, Hon’ble Chairperson, National Human Rights Commission, Sardar Patel Bhavan, Sansad Marg, New Delhi ?110001 India, Fax: 011-23340016 / 23366537, E-mail : 

Dr. J. Jayalalitha, Hon’ble Chief Minister of Tamilnadu, Fort St. George, Chennai Tamilnadu, India, Phone No: 25670132 Fax no:- 044- 25671441, E-Mail : 

Mr. Sayed Munir Hoda, IAS, Home Secretary, State Government of Tamilnadu, Fort St. George, Chennai, Tamilnadu, Fax: 044 ?256 70 596 

Justice Pratap Singh Maaligai, Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Human Rights Commission,
2F, Room No. 35, Thiru Vi. Ka. Salai. Royapettah, Chennai – 600 014, INDIA

Chairperson, Tamil Nadu Backward Classes Commission, 212, Ramakrishna Mutt Road, Chennai-4. Tel: 91- 44-24349235

Thank you.

People’s Watch-Tamilnadu
No.6-A, Vallabhai Road, Chokkikulam, Madurai 625 002.
Tel: +91-452-531874, 539520 Fax: +91-452-531874


Thank you.

Urgent Appeals Programme
Asian Human Rights Commission (AHRC)

Document Type : Forwarded Urgent Appeal
Document ID : FA-02-2004
Countries : India,
Issues : Land rights, Poverty & adequate standard of living,