Christian school ransacked in south Delhi, many condemn the attack
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 13
An unidentified group Friday ransacked a Christian school here, police said. Staff members of the Holy Child Auxilium school in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar told police that a few CCTV cameras installed in the school premises were damaged and the office of the principal was ransacked.
“Some CCTV cameras were damaged and the office of the school principal was ransacked by some unidentified people early Friday,” Delhi Catholic Archdiocese spokesperson Father Savarimuthu Sankar told IANS.
Sankar said school children have been sent back to their homes after the incident came to light.
Leaders of the Christian community said some members of a group have been intentionally targeting the community and this is the sixth such attack within 11 weeks. Sankar claimed that the attack sent a clear message that a group is trying to “fill fear” among the Christian community. He said that five churches have been attacked since December 2014 and this is the sixth such attack.
“We see a clear pattern in all the attacks. Earlier we thought that these attacks have a connection with the Delhi polls,” said Sankar.
“Now it has been clear that this is a handiwork of some fundamentalist group whose motive is to fill fear among the Christian community,” Sankar said.
Father Mahew Koyickal told IANS: “The intention of the attackers is to unnerve the Christian community. Since December, five churches have been targeted on regular interval. We demanded that the case should be investigated from all angles,” he said.
Few items and a DVD player have also been stolen from St. Alphonsa’s church in south Delhi’s Vasant Kunj Feb 2. Three people have been arrested Jan 15, a day after a church in west Delhi was vandalised.
Earlier in January, a minor fire was reported from a church in Rohini, west Delhi. The Christmas crib outside was charred.
Some unidentified people threw stones at Our Lady of Fatima Forane Church at Jasola in south Delhi in December and broke window panes. St. Sebastian’s Church, a Catholic church at Dilshad Garden in east Delhi, was torched in December. Police confirmed it was a case of arson.
According to the 2011 Census report, the number of Christians was around 130,000 in Delhi, home to about 17 million. The Christian population in India is 24 million among the total of 1.2 billion.
Modi summons Delhi police chief, orders strict action
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday summoned Delhi Police Commissioner BS Bassi after a “theft” at a convent school in south Delhi.
Expressing “deep concern and anguish” over the rising crime rate in the capital, the PM directed Bassi to come down hard on those involved in such attacks.
The Prime Minister further asked the Police Commissioner to speedily investigate the recent incidents of vandalism and ensure that the guilty are brought to book.
Modi also spoke over telephone to Union Home Secretary LC Goyal and asked him to “pay special attention to the rising incidents of crime, and vandalism, and to work towards ensuring the safety and security of women in the capital,” an official release said here.
The PM summoned Bassi hours after Human Resource Development Minister Smriti Irani, an alumnus of the institution, visited the Holy Child Auxilium School in south Delhi’s Vasant Vihar and urged Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh to look into the matter.
Delhi Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal has also condemned the attack.
Talking to reporters, Bassi said: “The Prime Minister told me to take strict action against the perpetrators of such attacks.”
Meanwhile, HRD minister Smriti Irani, who is an alumna of the same school, visited the campus around noon and met the school principal.
She, however, did not respond to queries from the battery of reporters outside the school premises.
MHA may order probe in attacks on churches, school
NEW DELHI, FEBRUARY 13
In the backdrop of attacks on some churches in Delhi and vandalisation of a Christian school today, the Home Ministry may order a thorough probe into all these incidents to find whether any particular group or organisation was involved in it. Apparently unconvinced by the recent report of the Delhi Police, which suggested that the attacks on churches in the national capital had no “pattern”, a senior Home Ministry official said deliberations were on whether to order a probe to find the reasons and who could be behind the attack on religious places and institution of Christians. “We do not know who is behind the incidents but we have to analyse if there is any pattern in the series of incidents in recent past,” the official said.
Interestingly, the Delhi Police in its report, which was submitted after the vandalisation of a church in Vasant Kunj area, said that there was no particular “pattern” linking the five incidents of “vandalisation” of churches. The incident at Vasant Kunj was just a “stray” case of theft, it had said.
While reasoning out its conclusion, the Delhi Police also conveyed to the Home Ministry that the national capital had also seen thefts in 265 temples last year.
Political parties condemn incident of vandalism at Christian school
Cutting across party lines, leaders today denounced the alleged vandalisation of a prominent Christian school in South Delhi with Aam Admi Party saying both the Centre and the state have to think about how to prevent such “unacceptable” incidents.
“This is an incident which cannot be accepted. Society can’t stand like this. Everyone has to think about this including the Centre and the state,” AAP leader Manish Sisodia told reporters here.
“Something needs to be done about it because such incidents have been continuously increasing. It can’t be left as a small incident…. People belonging to a religion are praying and others who are not following it are throwing stones at them.
“Let tomorrow’s programme happen. We will discuss this with police that how such actions can be controlled because society needs to be kept together. If it is divided then it is a danger for the nation,” he said.
Congress leader Arvinder Singh Lovely also condemned the incident saying, “It is a matter of deep concern the way minorities are being attacked continuously. It shows the failure of police and government in maintaining law and order situation.”
BJP’s spokesperson Sambit Patra, however, said that the incident should not be viewed in religious context.
“I don’t think this is a targeted attack on a community. The principal has also come to the forefront and maintained that no religious item was attacked and it’s a case of theft. Even police commissioner has come out with the same comments on the matter. I think it’s unfair to mix religion into every issue,” he told reporters.