The Delhi police on Thursday detained several protestors here, who were demonstrating against the attacks of churches in the national capital. The police said the protesters were detained as they were marching towards the Union Home Minister’s residence in a high-security zone. Also, the protesters had not taken permission and were slowing down rush-hour traffic in an area where Section 144 of the Cr.PC was in force.
However, those present maintained that the church leaders were picked up as soon as the protesters began to converge with placards that said 'Enough is Enough', 'I Am Proud to be a Christian' and 'Stop Attacking Churches.'
This is the second such protest by Delhi’s Christians in the past two months; the first took place after a church was gutted in East Delhi in December. Thursday’s demonstration was to protest the recent vandalisation of a church in South Delhi.
Apart from the fear factor, what has upset the community is the refusal of the police to take note of the parish priest’s written complaint to register a case under Sections 153(a), 295 and 295(a) of the Indian Penal Code as the tabernacle – ``the holiest symbol of a church’’ – had been broken into and desecrated. Contesting the police decision to lodge a case of break-in and theft under Sections 380 and 457 of the IPC, the community pointed out that the three donation boxes had been left untouched.
Matters came to a head when two election processions of the BJP passed by the area; agitating the protesters further. Sensing trouble, community leaders moved children and women into the church premises while the police bundled those who came in their way into buses.
As the BJP came in for fresh criticism over the police action against the minority community, Union Minister of State Nirmala Sitharaman cited the AAP presence at the protest to accuse the party of polarising voters. However, according to all accounts, there was only one AAP activist, Raghav Chaddha, in the gathering and he claimed to be there in his personal capacity.