New Delhi: Hours after a terrorist attack at a church in Cairo, vigil around churches in the Capital was stepped up, keeping in mind the approaching New Year celebrations.
Last year, a number of churches in the Capital had witnessed vandalism and robbery around the same time. In an advisory issued by intelligence agencies, the police and other security establishments have been asked to ensure effective preventive measures against suspected threat perceptions are taken.
On Friday, at least nine people were killed after a gunman opened fire at a church in Cairo, Egypt. The incident sparked serious concerns over security of religious places in Delhi, as the senior police officers said that these places are frequented by locals on New Year’s Eve.
“We have special arrangements for religious places. Our Police Control Room vans and Parakram vans will be parked at such places and an adequate number of armed men will remain in the vicinity to be able to reach the spot in case of an emergency. Some areas, which lie in sensitive zones, have been sanitised in advance and a strict vigil is being maintained,” a senior police officer said.
In July 2016, the Home Ministry had sought a report from the Delhi Police following a number of robberies, vandalism cases at few churches in the national Capital. However, no communal angle was found in these incidents.
One of these attacks took place in December 2016 at the St. Sebastian Church in Dilshad Garden. In another incident reported from Jasola, miscreants allegedly rained stones at a church, but no evidence of any communal angle was found in the case. One of the incidents was also reported from Rohini where the Christmas crib was charred. However, police later found it happened because of an electrical short circuit.
Earlier in 2015, in Vikaspuri, a group of drunken men allegedly vandalised a church following a brawl. Since the ruckus was caught on CCTV cameras, the men were soon arrested and no communal reason was found behind it. Apart from this, one church in Vasant Kunj witnessed a burglary, while another in Vasant Vihar reported a theft of some cash.
Quick Response Vehicles to be deployed in vicinity
Armed plainclothes men to keep vigil
Adequate deployment to tackle any emergency
Additional traffic arrangements to ensure smooth flow
Barricades and pickets to man vehicles and keep tight vigil