Asked to explain the recent spate of thefts and attacks on churches in the Capital, Delhi Police commissioner B S Bassi has told the Home Ministry that more cases of thefts were reported from temples, gurdwaras and mosques.
Bassi presented the data at a meeting with Home Ministry officials after he was summoned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. According to the data, 206 temples, 30 gurdwaras, 14 mosques and three churches were burgled in 2014.
However, Bassi was told by Home Secretary L C Goyal that in the wake of the recent cases, there was a perception that a particular community was being targeted. The ministry asked Bassi to solve cases of alleged vandalism of five churches and a Christian school on an urgent basis since such incidents create animosity between different communities.
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At a function on Monday, Home Minister Rajnath Singh said that such incidents “dent the image” of the police. He added that though providing security to a diverse city like Delhi was a difficult task, the Delhi Police had to do it.
“The police chief was asked to solve on priority basis the Dilshad Garden case where the entire church was gutted down. Though the police says that most attacks were cases of thefts, they have not been able to solve this particular case of arson,” said a senior ministry official.
The ministry also told the Delhi Police that police personnel must be posted outside churches and other Christian establishments. It also told the police to act against fringe elements and provide a sense of security to minority communities.
The Delhi Police has also been told to install CCTV cameras at minority institutions and raise the height of boundary walls.
Sources said details of the action plan have been sent to all police stations. There are about 220 churches in Delhi, 50 of them Catholic.
There have been five attacks on churches in Delhi in the past two-and-a-half months, wherein religious items were destroyed, leading to protests. Unidentified persons had also vandalised a prominent Christian school in South Delhi’s Vasant Vihar on February 13.