Attacks ‘hurtful’ but Christians strive to stay neutral

The statue of Our Lady was toppled and the window pane broken.

Written by Sumegha Gulati | New Delhi | Published:January 16, 2015 2:01 am
The vandalised church in Vikaspuri. (Source: Express Photo by Praveen Khanna) The vandalised church in Vikaspuri. (Source: Express Photo by Praveen Khanna)

A day after another Delhi church was vandalised — the fifth such incident in the capital in last two months — the spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Delhi, Father Savarimuthu Shankar, said the police were “downplaying” the attacks. He said a “political angle” could not be ruled out from the latest incident.

“Police have been calling the attacks ‘petty crimes’. The statue of Our Lady was toppled and the window pane broken. Rather than preserving the evidence at the crime scene, police seemed more keen to clean up everything,” Shankar told Newsline.

“We are also not being updated on the progress on investigations into the burning of St Sebastian’s Catholic Church in Dilshad Garden in December. Observing the pattern, it has been noticed that only mainline churches are being attacked. We cannot rule out a political angle in all these incidents,” he said. He, however, did not blame any particular party for the incident.

“When the Dilshad Garden church was burnt, Arvind (Kejriwal) came to see us and blamed the BJP for it. But the CCTV footage is available in this case. So, there is no point blaming any party. Police can now find out the truth,” Shankar said.

He said the community was upset and only wanted the government to ensure law and order.

“We will never tell people to vote for a particular party. The individuals will make an informed decision. However, it is very surprising that the ruling party and senior government officials have been absolutely silent about the attacks. One sentence or word from them would have been enough to reassure us,” Shankar said.

Father Balraj Lourduswamy, the assistant priest of Our Lady of Graces church in Vikaspuri, which was attacked on Wednesday, said he was “shattered” at the developments.

“When I heard about the burning of the church, I rushed to see it. It was hurtful,” he said. Lourduswamy feels the Christian vote does not matter much to any of the mainstream political parties. “Nobody will come and ask us what our demands are. We do not count for any party.”

Mathew Anthony, a Christian voter, said that he was “shocked” by the attacks but the Church does not take a position with respect to political parties.

“In my opinion, polarisation is not sensible. The attacks will not make a difference to me when I go out to vote,” Anthony said.

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