Ensure safety of all religious places: Centre to HC

New Delhi, July 1 (IANS) The central government on Wednesday questioned the Delhi Police move to provide safety to churches only and asked Delhi High Court that efforts should be made to protect other religious places also.

A division bench of Chief Justice G. Rohini and Justice Jayant Nath was informed by advocate Anil Soni, appearing for the Centre, and churches and minority-run institutions, that police should ensure safety of other religious places like temples, mosques and gurdwaras.

“They (police) have done a commendable job by providing safety to churches. But efforts should be made to protect other religious places also,” Soni argued.

He said through the Centre’s affidavit that there were 106 incidents of trespass, theft, vandalism or destruction at temples, two cases in mosques and 10 in gurdwaras, whereas there were only six attacks on churches in the same period.

The court was hearing a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking protection of all religious places, particularly churches.

The bench asked Delhi Police to file a status report in four weeks on the steps taken to protect other religious places.

The court would hear the matter next on September 2.

“Steps have been taken for the security and safety of the churches and minority-run institutions through wide publicity including media with an aim to reach the masses,” the police affidavit said.

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

The plea said that since December 2014, six churches in Delhi were vandalised but no one has been arrested.

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

The court had earlier also observed that there “should not be any attack on any kind of religious places” in the country.

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