Church Burning in India: Human Rights Commission’s Response

Church Burning
Church Burning

The National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has taken cognizance of the complaints about an incident of arson in the Catholic Archdiocese of St. Sebastian’s Church in Dilshad Garden, East Delhi (India) on Dec. 1, 2014.

Allegedly, according to NHRC, the police turned up late at the site of incident and tried to hush up the matter. But only after strong public protests it started investigating the incident. Request for reasonable compensation had also not been considered by the government, NHRC has observed.

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The incident has led to widespread protests by Christians in India. Over 1,000 Christians participated in a protest in Delhi demanding police action in the case.

Describing the incident as a violation of religious freedom guaranteed under the Indian Constitution, the complainants have prayed for impartial investigation in the matter and compensation for the restoration work.

The Commission observed that any attempt to restrict or deny Right to Freedom of Religion is against the goals and ideals of the Constitution of India.

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Destruction of a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any group is a cognizable offence under the Indian Penal Code.

Accordingly, today NHRC has issued notices to the Union Home Secretary, Chief Secretary, Government of NCT of Delhi, Commissioner of Police, Delhi and DCP, North East Delhi calling for reports in the matter within 10 days.

Photo courtesy: Wikimedia Commons

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Rakesh Raman