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KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • A man named Devadasa Desai, age 62 years, was arrested for dropping used condoms in an offering box at a temple in Mangalore.
  • It was confessed by him that he did this heinous act in a total of 18 places.
  • Also, there are two similar events like this where used condoms and in one place condoms plus fake currency notes were found.
  • For religious offences, punishment is given under sections 295, 295A, 296, 297, and 298 of IPC.
  • India is a secular country and every person has the freedom to choose his religion.
  • Articles 25, 26, 27, 28,29, and 30 of the Constitution of India give every person the right and freedom to practice their own religion.

INTRODUCTION

A 62-year-old man named Devadas Desai was arrested by the Mangalore South Police on 29th December 2021 as he was involved in desecrating places of worship. A complaint was made by the devotees after which the Police checked the CCTV footage where it was clear that he kept used condoms near the Daivastana’s offering box. He came on a bicycle and kept condoms in daivastana. He admitted before the police that he desecrated a total of 18 places where people worship, however, no complaint was made by anyone regarding these 18 places. He’s a native of Unkal in Hubballi, currently staying in Kotekar.

The police informed the reporters that on questioning it was found that he has done similar acts of discretion in another four places of worship from 2nd January to 25th February 2021. Also, letters were put by him to hurt the religious sentiments of the devotees. He also disfigured the images of politicians and put them in offering boxes at some of the places.

FURTHER DETAILS

Desai used to live in Kotekar in his house alone and earned his living by selling some scrapped packaging material. On asking about the reason for doing such acts, he replied that he did so to make people follow the religion he desired. He also said that he was gifting impure things to impure places. He used to work as an auto-rickshaw driver for a decade and used to visit different places of worship where he desecrated them.

The police further reported that Desai alone was involved in all the acts and no one was with him. He was collecting the used condoms which were abandoned near State Bank Circle. He has been found mentally fit still the police said that they will make him go some tests to check his mental health condition. He was taken into police custody for investigation on his acts of desecration.

SIMILAR INSTANCES

Used condoms thrown in Koragajja Katte temple by two persons.

On 1st April 2021, two people were arrested in Mangalore for throwing objectionable things into the offering box of a temple named Koragajja Katte. Names of the accused were Raheem and Taufiq aged 32 to 35, they were from Jokatte. The devotees of the temple handed them to the police where they both surrendered and accepted their deed.

Their friend Nawaz was also involved in this heinous act. After some days his health deteriorated and he passed away. After this incident, Taufiq also started facing some health issues after which he and Raheem directly contacted the priest of the temple and apologized for their actions.

The police reported that the reason behind this act is not yet known and they are trying to find the same. Moreover, in the last three months, almost five cases have been registered in various police stations regarding dropping of inappropriate things in the places of worshipping.

Fake currency and used condoms found in temple hundi (donation boxes) in Mangalore.

In three of the temples in Mangalore, fake currency notes with abusive scribbles on them and used condoms were found in the hundi of these Hindu temples. Two of these temples are situated in the Attavara area of the city.

On one of the notes of Rs 200, Mahatma Gandhi’s image was disfigured. On another Rs20 note, it was written that “Hindus and pig-like Muslims should be beaten and killed. Lord Jesus Christ should be worshipped by all as only he is worthy.”

Religious leaders and the staff of temples have shown their anger and demanded that the culprits should be arrested as soon as possible.

PUNISHMENT IN INDIAN PENAL CODE FOR OFFENCES RELATED TO RELIGION

Religious rights are protected in Indian laws. Chapter XV of the IPC, 1860 states the offences related to religion. It contains five sections- section 295. 295A, 296, 297, and 298. These are classified into three different categories.

A. Section 295 and 297 talk about defilement in places of worship or places which are of great respect.

As per section 295 of the IPC, if any person damages or destroys any worship place or insults any object which is said to be holy with an intention to hurt or insult the religious beliefs of any other class with the knowledge that the certain class is likely to get hurt and fell insulted about their religion, then such person will be imprisoned for a term of two years or will be liable to pay fine or both. Hence section 295 enforces people to respect each other’s religious beliefs. And to not be a barrier in place of funeral ongoing.

Hence a person doing the aforementioned activities will be punished under section 297 of IPC.

B. Section 295A and 298 talk about hurting or outraging religious sentiments of people.

Section 295A talks about spiteful and intentional activities done in order to outrage religious sentiments of other people with an intention to insult their religious beliefs by words spoken or written or by any other methods shall be held guilty and will be imprisoned for a term of three years or with fine or both.

Hence a person saying anything verbally or doing any visible action to outrage the religious beliefs of any other person with an intention to insult him will be punished under section 298 of IPC, 1860.

C. Section 296 talks about disturbing religious assemblies.

This section talks about the disturbance of religious assemblies by any person. Any individual who wilfully creates a disruption to any assembly (which is legitimately engaged in the performance of worship) or religious rites is subject to the provisions of this Section and may be sentenced to one year in jail, a fine, or both. Special protection is given to assembly worship by this section.

CONCLUSION

Religion is about having faith or belief. In many of the cases, Hon’ble Supreme Court has stated that the basic structure of the Constitution is secularism. It was also stated in the Kesavananda Bharti case. India is a secular country and every person has the right to practice their own religion. Article 25(every person has freedom of religion), Article 26 (freedom to the management of affairs related to religion), Article 27 (people have the freedom to pay taxes for promotion of any religion), Article 28 (In certain educational institutions, students have the freedom to attend religious instruction or worship), Article 29 (interests of minorities are protected) and Article 30 (minorities have right to establish an educational institution of their choice) of the Indian Constitution provides every person the freedom and right to practice the religion of their choice.

One’s religion should be used for his own betterment and should be used to deal with the problems and situations he faces in life. To prove our religion is the best, we often forget that “Religion is made for people, people are not made for Religion”. There is a strong urge within many people to prove that their religion is superior and is the best. This is completely irrational. Many innocent people have lost their lives for fighting against and for religion. People need to understand the meaning of religion.

India is a diverse country when it comes to religion. Being a secular country, it does not have a religion of its own and every person is free to choose their religion and also to change their religion. However, these rights are also somehow restricted as a person should not promote any kind of disturbance in the name of religion.


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