Rajnath orders police to ensure safety of churches

February 06, 2015 02:11 am | Updated November 16, 2021 05:18 pm IST - NEW DELHI:

Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh on Thursday conveyed to a delegation of Christian community leaders that orders have been issued for conducting an impartial inquiry into the recent spate of attacks on churches in the capital.

He then directed the Delhi Police Commissioner “to make proper arrangements for the security of churches and other places of worship,” an official source said.

Community leader John Dayal said following the memorandum, the Home Minister has also directed the police to insert certain provisions of the Indian Penal Code like “provocation with intent to cause riot, hurting religious sentiment” etc in the FIR, in cases of alleged desecration of churches.

The delegation had expressed concern that in the latest attack on a church in South Delhi on Monday morning, the police had registered a case only of theft “and not addressed the issue of desecration.”

The delegation alleged in its memorandum submitted to the Home Minister that “targeted and communal violence continues with its vicious hate campaign, physical violence, police complicity and state impunity” in different parts of the country.

Demonstration Many Christian groups staged a demonstration in the heart of the capital on Thursday, protesting against the series of attacks on churches and efforts by the police to write them off as routine break-ins or accidental fires. The use of force by the police to break up the protest came in for further criticism with people questioning why priests and nuns were forcibly detained during a peaceful demonstration. In all, 150 protesters, including women and a prominent activist of the Aam Aadmi Party, were detained by the police from outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral here.

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.

Union Minister of State Nirmala Sitharaman cited the AAP presence at the protest to accuse the party of polarising voters. However, by all accounts, there was only one AAP activist, Raghav Chaddha, in the gathering.

(With additional reporting by Anita Joshua)

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