New Delhi : The Delhi High Court, hearing a plea on the security of churches here, on Friday said there “should not be any attack on any kind of religious places” in the country.
Justice Siddharth Mridul said India had survived for thousands of years in harmony and this should continue.
After some attacks on churches, a public interest litigation (PIL) was filed in the court seeking protection of religious rights of Christians and a court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe.
At the hearing, the central government said the PIL was “communal” in nature.
“Why should this (petition) be concerned with churches only? All places of worship should be protected irrespective of religion,” it said.
The court observed that irrespective of religion “all places of worship need to be protected”.
“Whether it’s a church, temple, gurdwara, mosque, we have to make sure that all religious places are equally protected,” the court said.
Advocate Anil Soni, appearing for the union home ministry, asked why the petition was limited to churches.
“There are attacks on temples, gurdwaras and mosques too. No one wants to talk 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 as per Delhi Police statistics. We can’t give preference to one religion. We are for all religious places,” Soni contended.
The court expressed its displeasure over the attacks. “This is something which is agitating all of us. There should not be any attack of any kind on any religious place.
“India is a pluralist society which has survived 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 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 had been vandalised but no arrests had been made.
Saying the government had 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.