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HC seeks status report on attacks on religious places

By Ians English

New Delhi, April 29: The Delhi High Court on Wednesday sought a status report from the central and Delhi governments on the steps they have taken to protect all religious places in the national capital.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice R.S. Endlaw issued the notice to the union home ministry, Delhi government, city police commissioner and asked them to file the status report. The bench was hearing a PIL seeking protection of all religious places here, including churches.

Read more: Now, miscreants vandalise Agra church, wrap dog chain around statue of Mother Mary

"Issue notice to union home ministry, Delhi government and Delhi police commissioner. They have to file status report with regard to instances of attacks on religious places, and steps taken by them," the bench said, posting the matter for July 1.

After some attacks on churches, the public interest litigation (PIL) filed in the court sought protection of religious rights of Christians and security of churches only, but now it amended the plea seeking protection of all religious places.

During the hearing, appearing for the home ministry, advocate Anil Soni said that FIRs have been registered on the attacks of churches and a SIT has been constituted.

Last week, a different bench hearing the plea observed that there "should not be any attack on any kind of religious places" in the country.

The central government said the PIL was "communal" in nature as it was limited to churches only, whereas "all places of worship should be protected irrespective of religion".

The court had expressed its displeasure over the attacks and observed that irrespective of religion "all places of worship need to be protected".

The union home ministry told the court that "at least 200 temples were vandalised, 30 gurdwaras and 14 mosques were vandalised along with six churches in the national capital last year as per Delhi Police statistics. We can't give preference to one religion. We are for all religious places."

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

Senior advocate Adish C. Aggarwala told the court that since December, six churches in Delhi have been vandalised but no arrests have been made.

Saying the government has failed to prevent the attacks, the plea urged the court to seek action taken report from the central and Delhi governments and Delhi Police regarding the attacks and efforts made by them to secure these places.


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