15 Sep 2006

Fiji police want harsher sentences for those who attack places of worship

9:46 am on 15 September 2006

Fiji's deputy police commissioner has called for harsher sentences for those who attack places of worship.

Radio Legend reports that Moses Driver made the call when giving official statistics for sacrilege.

He revealed that last year alone 36 Hindu temples, 10 churches and 4 mosques were attacked.

Mr Driver said the maximum sentence for sacrilege is 14 years but no one has been given half that time behind bars.

The Fiji Labour Party leader, Mahendra Chaudhry, says there should be zero tolerance for such crimes and has called on the courts to deal harshly with offenders.

Mr Chaudhry says he is saddened that most of these attacks are on Hindu temples and hopes there is no specific agenda against them.

He was responding to the latest such incident this week during which statues and religious books were destroyed and the temple was set on fire, leaving only charred remains.