Monday, February 02, 2015

Church in Delhi Vandalised 5 Days Before Assembly Elections

New Delhi:  A church was vandalised in south Delhi's Vasant Kunj area today, the fifth such incident since December. This comes just five days before elections in Delhi.

According to the members of St Alphonsa's church, unidentified people jumped in from the main gate wall and broke opened the main gate of the church at around 3 am. They ransacked the sacristy cupboards, opened the tabernacle and took the ciborium and emptied it by putting the hosts on the table, the church members said.

Last month, three people were arrested in a case of vandalising church property in west Delhi's Vikaspuri. The arrests were made on the basis of CCTV footage obtained from the church, the police said. Two out of the three accused are seen on CCTV footage; one man is seen coming to the church window at 4.30 am, and punching at something after a short prayer.

"A clear pattern of orchestrated attacks is emerging as more and more churches are targetted, vandalised and set on fire," Delhi's Archbishop Anil JT Couto said.

But the police said that all the people arrested in connection with the attack did not have any connection with any fringe group.

Earlier in January, a minor fire was reported from a church in Rohini in Outer Delhi. The Christmas crib placed outside the building was completely charred.

In December last year, a church in East Delhi's Dilshad Garden area, the St Sebastian's Church, was burnt down in a fire that the police confirmed was a case of arson. A forensic team found traces of kerosene inside the church premises.

Christian groups had held protests and the matter was raised in Parliament. The Home Minister had ordered a special investigation team to look into the matter.

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