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Police silent on giving protection to other religious places, alleges PIL in Delhi HC

New Delhi: The Centre today told Delhi High Court that the city police has taken steps to ensure safety of churches and institutes run by missionaries but was "silent" on the issue of protection to
PTI September 02, 2015 22:38 IST
PTI

New Delhi: The Centre today told Delhi High Court that the city police has taken steps to ensure safety of churches and institutes run by missionaries but was "silent" on the issue of protection to other religious places like temples, mosques and gurudwaras.

The submission was made by the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) before a bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath which was hearing a PIL, filed in the wake of several attacks on churches in the national capital, seeking protection of religious rights of Christians.

Central government standing counsel Anil Soni, appearing for MHA, while referring to a joint affidavit filed by Delhi Police and the ministry, said the report was satisfactory with regard to the protection given to churches, but was silent on what has been done to secure other religious sites.

In his oral submission, the counsel also asked why there was "discrimination" with granting protection to the sites of other religions.

Soni said that according to the police, last year there were "106 incidents relating to the trespass, theft, vandalism or destruction at temples, two cases in relation to mosques and 10 in connection with gurudwaras", whereas there were only five attacks on churches in the same period.

The bench, thereafter, said it will dispose of the PIL after looking into all facts and circumstances before it. To this, the MHA's counsel urged the court the Delhi Police should at least be directed to take measures with regard to other religious places.

In the joint affidavit, the ministry and police had said that every church and minority-run schools and educational institutes have been provided round the clock security through "dedicated deployment".

The affidavit had been filed in the PIL by advocate Reegan S Bell who had also sought a status report from the Centre, Delhi government and police on action taken by them regarding the church attacks and efforts made by them to secure these places against such incidents in future.

The plea had said that since last December, five churches in Delhi were vandalised but till date no arrests have been made except in one case, while no case have been solved yet.

The government has failed to prevent such attacks, it had alleged.

The Delhi Police rejected the petitioner's claim, saying "by carrying out physical visit to each police station in Delhi, the data related to incidents reported in church premises in last five years was gathered".

It had also said that there are 240 churches and 91 Christian-run schools in Delhi.

"The DCP and police station staff have also been directed to make surprise visits to the churches/Christian missionary schools.The directors and management of these institutions have been requested to instal CCTV cameras and deploy guards for safety and security of these places. At present, 161 churches and 69 schools have installed CCTV cameras and 15 schools have got installed cameras on the insistence of police," it had said.