A day after miscreants vandalised a grotto and damaged a statue of Mother Mary outside Our Lady of Graces Church in West Delhi’s Vikaspuri, police have arrested three persons in connection with the case. Police said footage from the CCTV camera installed outside the church recorded the incident and helped identify the accused.
The men — Harpreet Singh alias Kaka (28), Narender Singh alias Raja (30) and Ravinder Singh (25) — were arrested from their homes in Tilak Nagar after a case of hurting religious sentiments and vandalism was registered against them.
Police claimed that the attack was not politically motivated and none of the accused had any political affiliations.
According to police, the main accused Ravinder is seen breaking the glass of the grotto with his fist and then damaging the statue of Mother Mary, in the CCTV footage. Police said Ravinder’s friend Harpreet, also a Sikh, is seen witnessing the act of vandalism in the footage.
Police said Ravinder was instigated to vandalise the church in order to prove his loyalty towards his religion — Sikhism. Harpreet reportedly accused Ravinder of being disloyal to his religion and needled him to prove that he was a devout Sikh.
“Harpreet told Ravinder that he is not a Sikh but a Christian since he had cut his hair and said Ravinder is one of the many Sikhs who embraced Christianity in Punjab. This enraged Ravinder and he said that he can do anything to prove he is a true Sikh. Harpreet then challenged him to vandalise a church to prove himself,” police sources said. Police said Narender was a witness to the conversation and seconded Harpreet.
Police said all three accused were under the influence of alcohol. They had downed two bottles of liquor before they went to the church. The CCTV footage shows Ravinder getting off his bike outside the church at 4.18 am and breaking a glass panel using his fist. Within 30 seconds, he returns with Harpreet — who is also on his bike — damages the statue of Mother Mary and pulls off the rosary.
Police have recorded detailed statements of all the accused. Further investigation is on.