Crib on church premises found gutted in Delhi

Police say it seems a case of short circuit, church alleges it was a deliberate attempt

January 04, 2015 09:21 am | Updated 10:01 am IST - NEW DELHI:

The place where the crib was found burnt at the Church of Resurrection in Rohini. Photo: Meeta Ahlawat

The place where the crib was found burnt at the Church of Resurrection in Rohini. Photo: Meeta Ahlawat

Almost a month after a church was gutted in East Delhi, a crib kept on the premises of the Church of Resurrection in Rohini was found charred on Saturday morning.

According to the police, it could be a case of short-circuit, the church officials are, however, claiming that someone threw a burning substance on the crib to set it on fire.

“A decorative light was placed around the crib and it is possible that the it caught fire due to a short-circuit bringing down the entire structure,” said a senior police officer.

The officer added that if it were a deliberate attempt, other things near the crib, like a statue of Christ placed close to the crib, could also have been damaged.

“Possibilities of the incident being a deliberate attack on the church are less likely. However, we are carrying out investigation from all possible angles. We are also taking help from the footage of the closed circuit television camera installed inside the church premises,” the officer said.

The head priest of the church, Father Cyril Patrick, was the one to notice the charred crib in the morning. Around 8 a.m. he called the police and investigation was taken up.

Father Cyril Patrick told The Hindu : “This is surely not a case of short-circuit. The CCTV footage recorded at 2 a.m. shows a burning object falling inside the church premises. I do not want to name any person or group, but I think this is deliberate mischief to create panic.”

“If a short-circuit had burnt the crib how are the other lights around the crib still functional. They were all connected to the one around the crib,” he said pointing to the light around the Christ statue.

Meanwhile, prayers were conducted in the church as usual. The devotees who came to the church were, however, scared and insecure. “I am extremely sad about the state of affairs in the Capital currently. Why are people trying to attack our religious institutions,” said Suzzane, a devotee.

“Every time there is a fire in any church, the police say it is due to short-circuit. Why are short-circuits only happening in churches. Who are they trying to fool. We all know it is an attack by miscreants,” said Mathew, another devotee.

Officials at the church say this was not the first time they have had a security issue. A few months ago, a statue was stolen from the church. This is also a sensitive case given the fact that it comes a month after a church in Dilshad Garden caught fire. Lieutenant-Governor Najeeb Jung had constituted a Special Investigation Team to probe the incident.

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