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Christians protest after church was gutted by fire in Delhi


NEW DELHI – Hundreds of Christians protested on Tuesday in New Delhi after a Catholic Church was gutted by fire and badly damaged.
Leaders of the Christian community said the St Sebastian’s Church in east Delhi was gutted in an alleged arson attack on Monday.
They said the protesters had gathered outside the Delhi police headquarters demanding a full investigation and more security for churches in the city.
The Delhi archdiocese said the fire destroyed most of the building including its prayer hall and altar, and that traces of fuel oil had been found inside the building.
Anil Couto, Delhi Archbishop, called for a judicial inquiry.
The Delhi police said they had registered a case of arson and it would release its report after a forensic team completed its work.
The protesters believe the apparent attack was part of an attempt to polarise voters before Delhi state polls, expected early next year.
Christians make up 2 per cent of secular India’s 1.2 billion populations, while 80 per cent are Hindus.
One of the protesters said the relations between the communities were largely peaceful, but there were reports of violence by radical Hindus over conversions by Christian missionaries. (dpa/NAN)

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