Angry over a spate of “attacks” on churches, members of the Christian community on Thursday staged a major protest in the city ahead of assembly polls, accusing the government of inaction and wondered why Prime Minister was “silent” on the issue.
Police detained over two hundred protesters from outside the Sacred Heart Cathedral in central Delhi when they tried to march towards the residence of Home Minister Rajnath Singh in a high security area here.
A number of priests and elderly persons including women were picked up by the police and forced into buses. Some protesters, carrying placards, squatted on the road demanding protection to the churches.
“We have detained the protesters and they have been taken to Parliament Street police station. They did not have permission to protest outside the church and we cannot allow them to protest on public roads,” Joint Commissioner of Police Mukesh Meena told reporters here.
Some protesters were critical of the Prime Minister saying though he was speaking extensively on different issues, he did not utter a single word on the “attacks” on churches.
“Why the Prime Minister is silent on the issue. We are very sorry and sad,” said an elderly protester.
Father Savarimathu Sankar, spokesperson for the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, wondered why the administration has been “ineffective” and was not taking action against those allegedly involved in such “attacks”.
“The Prime Minister claims to be a very strong PM. What happens when it comes to ground realities? When you are not being able to protect a small minuscule community, how are you going to protect the whole of India. This is happening right in Delhi,” he said.
In the fifth such incident since November, a church was allegedly vandalised by some unidentified persons earlier this week in South Delhi’s Vasant Kunj area, sparking outrage among the Christian community which alleged that it is part of a “hate campaign”.
Sankar said “We only want justice and we want protection of our churches. We are not demanding it as Christians but as citizens of India.”
“We have given representations to the President and the Prime Minister but there has been no follow up from their side. This is the fifth incident and it is apparent that the incidents were of communal nature,” he said.