Two unidentified men were caught on camera vandalising a church in west Delhi early on Wednesday, a little over a month after a Catholic church in an east Delhi neighbourhood was destroyed in a suspected case of arson, officials said.
Security camera footage shows the men arriving on a scooter before they shattered the Vikaspuri building’s window panes and fled, only to return minutes later to damage some of the statues, said church member Balraj.
The incident raises concerns about growing communal violence in India where Christian and Muslims have come under attack since the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) came to power at the Centre last year, analysts said.
Hardline Hindu groups allied with the ruling party have conducted a series of ceremonies across the country over the past month to convert members of minority communities to Hinduism, terming it “ghar wapsi”, or homecoming.
In another sign of growing religious tensions, a Catholic church in the Dilshad Garden area was consumed by a mysterious fire last month, sources said. A forensic team found traces of kerosene inside the premises.
Hundreds of Christians peacefully protested outside the police headquarters after the incident, following which the home minister announced a Special Investigation Team (SIT) would probe the case.
Analysts say religious minorities in the country, especially Christians, are on edge with increased attacks on them, as several pastors have been arrested on charges of forced conversion and some local governments have made Christian activities illegal in the past six months.
Caught on camera: Church being vandalised by unknown miscreants in Delhi