Wednesday December 19, 2018
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After 200 temples, 30 gurdwaras,14 mosques and 6 churches vandalised last year, Delhi High Court says no religious place should be attacked

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Amidst the intensified attacks on churches and places of worship in general, the Delhi High Court while hearing a plea on the security of churches has come out with a conciliatory statement saying, “There should not be any kind of attack on any kind of religious place in the country.”

Expressing its displeasure over the attacks, the court said, “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.

The court also 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.

This statement comes after a public interest litigation (PIL) that was filed in court for seeking protection of religious rights of Christians, was termed as “communal” by the Centre.

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.

The plea urged the court to seek action-reports from the central and Delhi governments and Delhi Police regarding the attacks and efforts made by them to secure these places.

A court-monitored Special Investigation Team (SIT) probe was also announced at that time.

While asking why the petition was limited to Churches, Advocate Anil Soni, appearing on behalf of the Union Home Ministry said, “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,” he contented.

The court has transferred the plea to the roster bench of the chief justice who hears the PILs. The matter is scheduled for hearing on April 29.

According to Senior advocate Adish C. Aggarwala, six churches have been vandalised in Delhi since December but no arrests have 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.

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Hindus In Delhi Push For A Temple On The Ruins Of a Mosque

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

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Supporters of Vishwa Hindu Parishad gather during a rally in New Delhi, Dec. 9, 2018. The group gathered thousands of supporters to demand the construction of a Hindu temple on a site where a mosque was attacked, demolished in 1992. VOA

Tens of thousands of hardline Hindu protesters marched in New Delhi on Sunday, calling for a grand temple to be built on the ruins of a destroyed mosque in a flashpoint Indian city.

Trident-waving devotees clad in saffron filled a huge parade ground in the Indian capital under tight security, where speakers warned Prime Minister Narendra Modi they would not let up until the temple was sanctioned.

Some of Modi’s supporters feel the Hindu nationalist leader has not done enough to raise a shrine at a site in Ayodhya, a city believed by many to be the birthplace of the deity Ram.

The site was home to a medieval mosque for 460 years until Hindu zealots tore it down in 1992, kicking off riots across India that left thousands dead, most of them Muslims.

Its future has been tied up in courts for decades but some hardliners want Modi, who is seeking reelection in 2019, to push parliament to guarantee the temple by law.

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Hindus don’t oppose anyone, don’t aspire to dominate: RSS chief

“The gathering here is telling you that Hindus won’t sit back until the temple is built, and our wishes are respected,” said Champat Rai, the leader of the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) group that organized the protest.

Demonstrators chanting “Praise be to Ram” packed the Ramlila Maidan, a vast ground capable of holding more than 50,000 people, and filled the surrounding streets.

Some carried maces and tridents — weapons traditionally wielded by Hindu gods — and traveled great distances by train and bus to reach the rally.

“We have come here to protect our religion and Hindu pride. We want a temple for our Lord Ram,” Hitesh Bharadwaj, a teacher from Delhi’s satellite city Noida, told AFP.

The hardline VHP has applied pressure on Modi in recent weeks, staging a huge show of force in Ayodhya itself last month.

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Photo credit: theguardian.com

A close ally of Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the group is spearheading a push to raise the Ram temple, and is calling for more protests as the premier prepares to go to the polls by May.

The BJP was on the margins until the 1980s when its top leaders, including Modi, backed a growing movement for the construction of the Ram temple.

Its advocates want parliament to introduce a law bypassing legal hurdles blocking the temple before Modi’s term ends.

Also Read: Delhi’s Air Quality Leads To Ban On Trucks And Construction

The Supreme Court has delayed hearings into the disputed site but hardliners have vowed to lay a foundation stone next year regardless.

“We don’t care about the courts. A grand temple will be constructed in 2019,” Sushil Chawdhary, a VHP leader, told AFP. (VOA)