India: Nuns, priests and children forced onto buses by police during protest against church attacks


Police forced nuns, priests, and children into buses during a protest by Christian groups against church attacks outside the Sacred Heart cathedral in central Delhi on Thursday.

The policemen, who outnumbered the protesters, arrived on the scene and manhandled the activists into buses.  Some were allegedly attacked with batons. The protesters' bags, shoes, and other belongings were left scattered on the road, according to NDTV.

Among the protesters was Father Dominic Emanuel, spokesperson of the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese. The furious priest expressed his disgust at how the authorities had handled the situation.

"Shame on the police. We were only trying to highlight the attacks on churches. The Prime Minister speaks on everything, why not on this?" the priest told the press.

According to NDTV, Christian groups were apparently marching through the streets in protest of the recent attacks received by the churches. The protesters were holding crosses and rosaries and holding up posters that said "Stop violence against Christians" and were chanting "We want justice."

Various Christian groups took part and were heading towards the Home Minister Rajnath Singh's home when the police stopped them. The commotion caused traffic jams in one of the capital's busiest commercial areas.

"We are detaining people. No one has the right to protest on the road. They can't just march to the home minister's residence. We have to protect the residence of VIPs," said senior police officer Mukesh Kumar Meena.

There were reportedly 350 people who were initially detained and 200 were arrested, according to reports of the Wall Street Journal.

However, a delegation of Christian leaders managed to meet with the minister to address the attacks on churches in Delhi. There have been five incidents reported in December and recent vandalism on churches in Vasant Kuni and Vikaspuri.  The Christian groups think the authorities are downplaying the incidents.

According to the Christian Post, the minister said that an investigation would be launched but denied any accusation that the government discriminates against religious minorities.