Should not be any attack on religious places: Delhi High Court

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New Delhi, April 24: The Delhi High Court, hearing a plea on the security of churches, said on Friday there "should not be any attacks on any kind of religious places" in the country.

In the wake of attacks on churches, a Public Interest Litigation (PIL) was filed in the high court that also sought protection of religious rights of Christians and a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe.

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The centre told the court that the plea was "communal petition", adding: "Why should this (petition) be concerned with churches only, all the places of worship should be protected irrespective of the religion."

Hearing the plea, Justice Siddharth Mridul said: "Whether it's church, temple, gurdwara, mosque, we have to make sure all the religious places are equally saved."

Advocate Anil Soni, appearing for the home ministry, questioned why the petition was limited to churches only, adding: "There are attacks on temples, gurdwaras and mosques too. No one wants to say about that. You (petitioner) should be concerned with all religions."

"At least 200 temples were vandalised, 30 gurdwaras and 14 mosques were vandalised along with six churches in the national capital last year. We can't give preference to one religion. We are for all the religious places," Soni said.

During the hearing, the court also expressed its displeasure over the attacks and said: "This is something which is agitating all of us. There should not be any attack of any kind on any religious places."

"For over thousands of years, we have lived with harmony with each other. If we wish to survive as a country, we have to continue that harmony," Justice Mridul said.

Saying it was an "important matter", the court transferred the plea to the roster bench of the chief justice, who hears the PILs. The matter would be heard on April 29.

The PIL filed by advocate Reegan S. Bell asked authorities to compensate the places of worship that have been attacked and to ensure they are restored to their original form.

Senior advocate Adish C. Aggarwala appearing for the petitioner, told the court that since December, five churches in Delhi have been vandalised, but no arrests have been made till date except in one and the cases have not been solved.

The plea said the government has failed to prevent such attacks.

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