ASIA/INDIA - Attacks on churches: Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, promises security to churches

Friday, 6 February 2015

New Delhi (Agenzia Fides) - The Indian Union Home Minister, Rajnath Singh, has ordered an inquiry into the recent attacks on Catholic churches in the last two months (see Fides 02/02/2015), starting from the desecration of Saint Alphonsa church.
As Agenzia Fides learns, the decision was communicated by the Minister to a delegation of Christian leaders who met him after the demonstrated organized by Christians yesterday, February 5, in Delhi to protest against the inaction of the government. During the protest in the street, the police impeded the demonstrators from proceeding towards the headquarters of the Ministry, because "unauthorized". Women, nuns, men and priests who demanded protection for the Christian communities were stopped, shoved and forced to get on the buses. The delegation received by the Minister included leaders like Don Sebastian Susai, Vicar General of the Archdiocese of Delhi, and John Dayal, member of the National Commission for Minorities, other lawyers and Catholic representatives.
As reported to Fides, Minister Rajnath Singh has rejected the charges of "complicity and indifference of the police", stressing that "the government does not discriminate on the basis of religion, caste or community".
The delegates said they had "lost confidence in the police", given that "the crimes of hatred and desecration of sacred places have so far gone unpunished". The latest incident that shook the community was the desecration of the Eucharist, carried out by unknown persons who broke into the church of St. Alphonsus. Nothing was stolen and therefore, according to the pastor, "it was a gesture to hurt the feelings of the community".
The delegation gave a memorandum to the Prime Minister demanding security for Christians and their places of worship and gives details of the wave of violence against Christians in the last year. "Also in other parts of the country targeted violence continues, with its vicious campaign of hatred, with the complicity of the police and the impunity guaranteed by the State", says the Memorandum, sent to Fides. "Much of the violence took place after the new government, led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, came to power in May 2014. Violence reached it highest level between August and October, with 56 cases, and has continued in 2015".
The document points out that "the Indian Constitution is the holy book of democracy. It is a guiding star for the socio-economic transformation of an India that celebrates pluralism, tolerance and harmony". The government is asked to take urgent measures in order to put an end to the protection of communal violence and set up "a special inquiry team" to investigate on the five attacks in Delhi. (PA) (Agenzia Fides 06/02/2015)