Around 25-30 people allegedly barged into a Christian place of worship in the national capital on Sunday morning, chanting “Jai Shri Ram”, and attacked the gathering with sticks before ransacking the hall, sources said.
The sources variously described the place of worship as a church and a prayer hall run by a pastor.
When the pastor and members of the Christian community rushed to the nearby GTB Enclave police station to complain, around 80-100 people, said to be from the Bajrang Dal, RSS and the VHP, allegedly assembled outside the police station and shouted “Jai Shri Ram”.
One person has been arrested.
“We are examining the CCTV cameras to arrest others who were involved,” a Delhi police officer said on Tuesday.
The police officer added: “An FIR has been registered and a police picket team deployed outside the church.”
“Members of the Christian community have alleged that the mob belonged to the RSS and the Bajrang Dal and shouted slogans like ‘Hindu Rashtra banayenge’. A probe is underway to identify the background of the attackers,” said a police officer.
According to the FIR lodged by the pastor, the mob had barged into the hall at Tahirpur shouting slogans, attacked the faithful and vandalised the prayer hall, damaging pictures of Jesus Christ and musical instruments. The vandals tried to tear up the Bible, before dragging some men outside and beating them with sticks.
The police said they had registered a case and booked the trespassers under charges of destruction of a place of worship, disturbing religious assembly, promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and using assault or criminal force against women.
The police added that some members of local Hindutva groups had alleged that the place of worship was part of a conspiracy to convert Hindus.
Members of the local Christian community said they are living in fear. “If violent mobs can attack our religious place in the capital, then one can well imagine the safety and security of religious minorities in other parts of the country,” a member of the community said.