Indian government wants investigation into church attack

NEW DELHI – For the fifth time in the past two months a church has been vandalized in India's capital. 

According to the local news agency Press Trust of India, the government has requested an investigation into the Monday attack on the St. Alphonsa church in South Delhi.

The monstrance and the ciborium, ornaments considered sacred by Christians, were stolen along with a DVD player.

The unidentified people scaled the church wall and broke open the main gate at 3 am.

Delhi police has registered a robbery case, though church members contend it was an act of ‘desecration.’

“It is a clear case of desecration of the church. It has been happening for the last many months. It happened in St Sebastian’s Church in Dilshad Garden, then in Vikaspuri and in Jasola. This is the fifth church,” Father Vincent Salvatore, priest of St. Alphonsa church, was quoted by the Hindustan Times as saying. 

A member of parliament from northeastern state Assam quickly urged the government to react, referencing the quick condemnation released by India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the killing of 12 people at the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo early January. 

"Similar to the Paris attack, will PM Modi's media machinery be quick to issue a statement on the fifth attack on a church in 2 months?" posted Gaurav Gogoi on Twitter. 

The recurring incidents have worried many Christians in the city who feel they are targeted by right-wing groups.

“There is a clear pattern being followed by the attackers,” a Delhi resident told Anadolu Agency on the condition of anonymity. He said police must provide adequate security to Christian places of worship.

Delhi police is examining the CCTV footage from an adjacent road.

In January, police arrested three people on the basis of CCTV footage for vandalising church property in west Delhi. 

India is a Hindu-majority country with significant Muslim, Christian and Buddhist communities, alongside numerous other religious and ethnic minorities.

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