NEW DELHI:Amid the raging controversy over the alleged attacks on Christian institutions, Delhi Police has told the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) that the majority of incidents are merely theft cases and the crimes concern all religious places, including temples, mosques and gurdwaras. Temples have been the easiest targets for burglars. Delhi Police has registered 206 temple theft cases whereas only three cases on churches were registered in 2014. The report says 14 mosques and 30 gurdwaras were also targeted last year.
“These are not communal incidents but common robberies. It was alleged that the Church of The Resurrection in Rohini was set afire on January 3 but the probe revealed it was triggered by a short-circuit,” the report suggests.
Delhi Police had informed both the PMO and the Home Ministry that in January 2015, at least 14 temples, five gurdwaras and two mosques were targeted by thieves.
“There is no denying that a communal colour was given to these thefts. 21 theft cases at religious places have been registered last month but only one incident was picked up to malign the government and the police. A common robbery incident was used to spread communal hatred by miscreants,” an intelligence officer said, adding the media was used to carry out propaganda while facts were conveniently ignored in this case.
After the theft at Holy Child Auxilium School on Friday, the social media went viral. Later, school authorities clarified that money was stolen and no vandalism took place within the school premises.
Delhi Police said religious places store money received as donations and the lax security make them easy targets. They cited the example of a theft at a gurdwara in Miawali Nagar in June 2014 where a gold-plated dome was stolen. On December 10, 2014, thieves targeted gurdwara Baba Sahib Singh Ji at Madhuban Chowk in Northwest Delhi and stole cash from two boxes. On December 31, burglars targeted Hanuman Temple at Rajendra Place and fled with the donation box. In August, the Kali Mandir in Chittaranjan Park was targeted by thieves. In February last year, thieves robbed gold ornaments from Vaishno Devi temple in Uttam Nagar—the second incident in three months.
However, Christian leaders claim that Delhi Police was deliberately bracketing attacks on its institutions as theft to hide Delhi’s poor law-and-order situation. Recently, a delegation of Christian leaders including John Dayal, Jenis Francis, A C Michael and Vijayesh Lal had told Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh that attacks on the community and their places of worship have increased after the NDA government came to power in May 2014.
“Much of the violence has taken place after the new government headed by Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power. The violence has continued well into the 2015 with more Catholic churches in Delhi targeted as incidents continue in other states,” the Christian leaders’s memorandum to Singh stated.
Delhi Police admitted to a spurt in crime against religious places but mostly of the Hindus and Sikhs. Data since 2012 indicates 36 and 69 theft cases at temples were reported in 2012 and 2013. Similarly, only 19 theft cases were registered against gurdwaras in 2012 and 2013, which substantially rose to 30 cases in 2014. Three mosques were targeted by burglars in 2012-13, increasing in 2014 to 14 thefts. The 325 temples were looted by thieves between 2013 and 2015 in Delhi.