Churches under fire! A list of recent church attacks in the country
There is a feeling of uneasiness and fear amongst the Christian community in the country. With attacks on churches in the recent past the minority community in the country feels threatened. [Church attacks: Not a single case of religious hate crime, says Delhi Police report]
The latest in the spate of church attack comes from Hisar, Haryana where an underconstruction church was vandalised and the cross was replaced with a Hanuman idol. [Haryana church vandalised, cross replaced with Hanuman idol]
While no arrests were made in the case, the attack on places of worship raise a lot of questions. Meanwhile, Delhi bore the brunt of this where over 5 churches were attacked since December 2014. Here is a list of churches that were attacked in since December, 2014:
1) Attack on Our Lady of Fatima Forane Church, South Delhi
Incident of stone pelting at the Our Lady of Fatima Forane Church in Jasola, South Delhi was reported last December. The incident took place during the evening mass.
2) Attack on St Sebastian Church, Dilshad Garden
St Sebastian Church in Dilshad Garden was burnt down by miscreants on December 1 last year. The fire gutted the prayer hall, bibles and even the statues.
Pastor Anthony Francis had said that the 'attack on the church was deliberate.' He had said that the church was smelling of kerosene afterwards pointing towards a deliberate act of arson.
3) Christmas crib burnt at Church of Resurrection
On January 3, a Christmas crib set up at 'Church of Resurrection' in outer Delhi's Rohini area was found torched.
4) Break in at St Alphonsa Church
A break-in was reported on Feb 2 this year at the St Alphonsa Church in New Delhi this year. While the police said that the attack was a case of theft, Father Vincent Salvatore said that the motive was anything but theft. Salvatore claimed that the chalice and the collection box was untouched. "All they took was the vessel which is used to store the Holy Eucharist," he said.
5) Attack on Our Lady of Graces Church
Our Lady of Graces Church was attacked on Jan 14 and the act of vandalism was caught on the CCTV. Following the incident the police arrested three people who were said to have had a bet with each other to attack the church.
In the CCTV footage the miscreants are seen smashing window panes and even pulling down a statue.
6) Church attack in Mangaluru
Mangaluru that has witnessed church attacks in the past, saw another incident of a church being attacked in Februrary this year. Stones were pelted at the St Joseph Vaz church that left the church with a few broken window panes.
Police officials had said that the incident may have been an isolated one since there were no indications that a group was behind the incident.
Narendra Modi finally speaks
In the midst of all these attacks, Christian groups and even the Opposition questioned PM Narendra Modi's silence on these attacks and alleged that various Hindu groups were behind these attacks. But Modi spoke in February and said condemned the church attacks.
"Government will not allow any religious group belonging to majority or minority to incite hatred against others overtly or covertly", said Modi. [Church attacks: Not a single case of religious hate crime, says Delhi Police report]