Indian police behaviour at cathedral protest slammed by Church leaders

Indian Church leaders have criticised the heavy-handed tactics of police who arrested almost 200 protestors assembled at New Delhi’s Sacred Heart Cathedral to protest against recent attacks on churches.

Among those arrested were the archdiocesan vicar general Fr Susai Sebastian, civil rights activist and former All India Catholic Union president John Dayal, and Divine Word Father Dominic Emmanuel, who was held for two hours at a nearby police station and who has described the police as “swooping down” on the protestors, heckling and dragging them onto police buses, not even sparing nuns.


Five churches in Delhi archdiocese have been attacked since early December, one being burned down while other attacks involved windows being smashed, a crib being burned, the theft of a monstrance and the Eucharist being desecrated. 

Archbishop Anil Couto of Delhi described as “shocking” the absence of arrests following the attacks, contrasting the willingness to use force to silence protests with how “the government has done nothing to arrest those [who] desecrated and attacked churches”.

According to an archdiocesan statement, Delhi’s Christian community “has lost faith in Delhi police, which has failed to solve the conspiracy that has led to the vandalism, arson and desecration of churches”.

In the aftermath of the protests, a Christian delegation met with Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who has assured India’s Christians of their security and promised to examine the affair.