The vandalism at a church in west Delhi on Wednesday was the fourth such attack in a period of one month. Members of the community claimed that around 12 services had been disrupted during the past month.
A Catholic church was vandalised by two unidentified men in Vikaspuri on Wednesday, weeks after the ministry of home affairs ordered Delhi Police to install CCTV cameras inside and around all religious places.
“It is worrying that suddenly we have become the target of such attacks. This is the fourth incident of vandalism of our churches with disruption of prayers and services having almost become an everyday affair. The attacks and the whole silence of the authorities around it have left the community with a feeling of insecurity,” said Dominic Emmanuel, editor of the magazine ‘Word among Catholics’.
An FIR has been registered against the two men for deliberate and malicious acts to outrage religious feelings at the Vikaspuri police station.
“It was definitely a planned and orchestrated. There is a clear pattern in all these attacks. We expect the police to stand with us during our time of crisis,” said Savirimuthu Sankar, spokesperson of Delhi Catholic Archdiocese.
Ironically, despite the Wednesday’s attack on the Our Lady of Graces church being captured on tape, the police were yet to identify the attackers.
The police had been ordered to beef up security outside all religious places after St Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Dilshad Garden was allegedly burned down last year.
Many religious heads had then opposed the idea of CCTV installations inside the prayer area, calling it to be a ‘breach of privacy of their followers’.
After the order, over 60% of the religious places in the city have already set up CCTV cameras. Security personnel have been mandatorily deployed at the entrances of churches, gurdwaras, temples and mosques.
“The solution we thought was to install cameras in churches. But here a CCTV camera has captured the attack and yet this has not helped in nailing the culprits. The problem here is much more serious. Unless the government and the police stand with us to protect our rights such attacks on our community will keep happening,” said Babin Das, pastor of St Sebastian’s Church.
The community alleged that despite holding protest marches outside the PM’s office and the police headquarters no comprehensive action has been initiated against such attacks.
“We had written a memorandum on behalf of our community to Narendra Modi, for which we received no reply. People have broken down glasses, religious statues and have torn our scriptures. But nothing has been done to protect our interest,” said Archbishop Anil Cuoto.