Prime Minister Narendra Modi summoned Delhi’s police chief and asked him to investigate the half-a-dozen incidents of vandalism at Christian institutions in the city over the past two months after a convent school in Vasant Vihar was attacked on Friday.
Unidentified men broke into the Holy Child Auxilium School in the early hours, stole some money, damaged the security cameras and ransacked parts of the building including the principal’s office, sources said.
Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) leader and chief minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal condemned the incident, though police commissioner BS Bassi said it was a case of theft.
“I strongly condemn the attack on Holy Child Auxilium School. These kind of acts will not be tolerated,” the AAP chief tweeted.
The incident raises concerns about growing communal violence in India where Christians and Muslims have come under attack since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) rose to power at the Centre last year, analysts said.
The Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said Modi expressed his “deep concern and anguish” to Bassi over growing instances of vandalism in the Capital.
"Our initial inquiry suggested that it was not a case of desecration. It was a case of theft,” Bassi told the media. “The Prime Minister expressed his great worry and said this case must be solved immediately. He said that security must be foolproof so that attacks don’t re-occur."
The PMO statement also said Modi spoke to union home secretary LC Goyal and asked him to pay special attention to rising incidents of crime and vandalism and to work towards ensuring the safety and security of women in the Capital.
Father Savarimuthu Sankar, spokesperson for the Delhi Catholic Archdiocese, said this was an attack on the minority community.
“The principal's office has been totally ransacked. The miscreants even knew where the CCTV was and tampered it first,” he said.
HRD minister Smriti Irani, an alumna of the school, visited the institute and assured the management of a speedy inquiry.
Religious intolerance in India would have shocked Mahatma Gandhi, US President Barack Obama said last week following his Republic Day visit when he said the country’s success depended on its not splintering along communal lines.
Hardline Hindu groups allied with the ruling party have conducted a series of ceremonies across the country over the past few months to convert members of minority communities to Hinduism, terming it “ghar wapsi”, or homecoming.
A senior home ministry official said following Modi’s instructions a thorough probe will be ordered into the attacks, as the ministry is unconvinced about a Delhi police report that said there was no pattern to the incidents.
Sources said the government top brass was not satisfied with Bassi’s performance, as he was also pulled up during the communal tensions in Trilokpuri and other parts of the Capital last year.Watch: Christian school vandalized in South Delhi Embed -