A delegation of Christian leaders met Police Commissioner K. Thiyagarajan and expressed their concern over what they said rising attacks on minorities by Hindu right wing groups. They sought protection for prayer groups and other congregation of Christians in the city.

Bishop Derek Fernandes, who headed the delegation, told the Police Commissioner that they were concerned over reports of such intolerant attitude and attacks on minorities. They were particularly concerned about certain media reports about the police advising some Protestant prayer groups to avoid conducting prayers in conventional halls and other public places.

Bishop Fernandes also sought a clarification about the reports and urged the police not to restrain Christians from holding routine prayer services in halls and private places in a legitimate manner.

The Police Commissioner denied that the police had acted that way. He told them that the police will provide adequate protection whenever necessary.

Dr. Thiyagarajan said that he was misquoted by some media persons and said that neither oral nor written orders were issued by the police to any organisation. Officers will provide security to all prayer services that are held as per the traditions and customs of Christians, he said.

“There was a misunderstanding and confusion that was spread among Christians in the city regarding the alleged curbs imposed by the police. While prayers are being conducted in halls as per rights enshrined in the Constitution, we urge the police to ensure the safety of Christians,’’ he said.

“We wish to inform you that like other religions, Christians too hold certain ceremonies and prayer sessions in their houses and elsewhere as per rituals and traditions. Sometimes, however, due to lack of place, some Christian groups are compelled to conduct prayers in rented halls or on private premises. What is more, during the Christmas season some groups will have open air celebrations and services. We requested the police to help observe these rituals peacefully,” he said.

Pastor Nandu Kumar, Fr. Philip Kutty, Fr. Nelson Pinto, Louis Rodrigues, Clara Fernandes and Fr. Pramod Kumar and Louis Rodrigues were part of the delegation.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Vikram Amathe was present.

This story first appeared on thehindu.com