Police detain dozens protesting attacks on Churches in Delhi

New Dellhi (Matters India)– A large number of policemen today swooped down on activists protesting in the heart of Delhi against attacks on churches, and forced them into buses.

The protest outside the Sacred Heart cathedral in central Delhi was “unlawful”, said the police, who were seen dragging even women and children, leaving bags and shoes scattered on the road. An elderly woman activist, who lay on the road to resist the police, was picked up by four policewomen and bundled into a bus.

A disproportionately large number of policemen were later seen outnumbering protesters outside the church. The commotion caused traffic jams in one of the busiest commercial areas in the capital.

“We have detained people on the road are we are taking them to the police station. They had no permission to protest there,” said senior police officer Mukesh Kumar Meena. But he admitted there were no prohibitory orders in place, reports ndtv.

Activists chanted “We want Justice” and held up posters that said: “Stop violence against Christians.”

Christian groups had announced a silent protest march against recent attacks on churches and said they would march to Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence.

There have been five attacks on churches since December.
In the latest incident earlier this week, the St Alphonsa’s Church in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj was vandalised. The police called it robbery.

A church in west Delhi’s Vikaspuri was vandalized last month. The police said three men caught on camera and arrested were drunk and attacked the church on a dare.

Delhi’s Archbishop Anil JT Couto had said, “a clear pattern of orchestrated attacks is emerging as more and more churches are targeted, vandalised and set on fire.”

The home ministry recently asked for a report on the status of security at religious places.


Police crack down on Christian protesters

UCAN Report

Priests, nuns among those detained during peaceful demonstration in Delhi.

Police surround demonstrators protesting outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral in Delhi on Thursday

New Delhi: 

Delhi police on Thursday detained more than 100 Christian protesters, including priests and nuns, who were dragged into police buses during a demonstration against the most recent in a string of attacks on churches.

Holding placards and shouting slogans, approximately 500 protesters gathered in front of the Sacred Heart Cathedral to demonstrate against what they said was increasing incidents of Christian persecution in the national capital.

Fr Savarimuthu Shankar, spokesperson of the Delhi archdiocese, said the police treated the protesters ruthlessly.

“They did not even spare the women and the elderly. They were even kicking the people who fell down on the ground after the crackdown,” he added.

According to Fr Shankar, who was present at the protest, the group had been behaving peacefully — singing hymns and offering prayers.

Samuel Jayakumar of the National Council of Churches in India, who was also one of the protesters, told ucanews.com that a delegation from the community has gone to meet federal home minister Rajnath Singh to bring to his attention the concerns of the Christian community regarding the recent attacks.

The protest, which was staged following a February 2 attack on a church in south Delhi, comes just two days before the Delhi assembly elections.

The attackers broke the tabernacle of the St Alphonsa’s church and scattered the host. They also entered the Sacristy of the church.

It was the fifth attack on a church in Delhi in a span of two months. The community has been facing such incidents since December 1, when fire engulfed the St Sebastian Church in the Dilshad Garden area of Delhi.

A few days after the church-burning incident, a Catholic Church in Jasola area was stoned by unidentified people. A crib was allegedly burned earlier this month while a service was being held in a church in the Rohini area of Delhi. On January 14, a Catholic church was attacked and its grotto damaged by three unidentified men.

Fr Dominic Emmanuel, one of the protesters detained by police, called the crackdown “brutal and illegal”.

“We have all the right to make our voices heard. We were legitimately protesting against the harm done on our churches,” he told ucanews.com from inside the police station.

Police officials were not available for comment on Thursday despite repeated attempts by ucanews.com.

NDTV quoted senior police officer Mukesh Kumar Meena as saying the group had “no permission to protest on the road”.

“They can't just march to the home minister's residence. We have to protect the residence of VIPs," he reportedly said.

Source: ucanews.com

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