Within hours of reports that a prominent Christian school in South Delhi had been “vandalised”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday summoned Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi and directed him to take strict action against perpetrators of such attacks.
Even as the police and the management of Holy Child Auxilium School in Vasant Vihar clarified that it was a robbery case — about Rs 12,000 was found to be missing — HRD Minister Smriti Irani, who is an alumnus of the school, visited the campus and met the principal. She also called up Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who has sought a report from the Delhi Police.
While there have been six other suspected attacks on Christian institutions in the Capital in the last few months, Bassi clarified that today’s incident was not a case of desecration. He said according to preliminary investigations, it was an incident of robbery.
However, home ministry sources said the Delhi Police chief has been asked to examine whether there was a “design” behind the recent attacks. “Though the Delhi Police has maintained that some of the incidents of attacks on religious places pertained to thefts, we are not satisfied with the reply. We have asked them to probe if there is a design behind the incidents. We have asked them for a thorough report,” said a top home ministry official.
“I was summoned by the PM. He called me to inquire about the Vasant Vihar incident. He was anguished about the recent attacks on places of worship of the Christian community. I first briefed him on the case that was reported today and then gave him an update on the previous attacks. I assure the Christian community that we will provide sufficient security to them and they do not need to be scared. The PM has been assured that the security of churches will be increased,” said Bassi, who is scheduled to meet Union Home Secretary L C Goyal on Saturday.
“In the case reported on Friday from a school in Vasant Vihar… our probe reveals that it was a case of theft. However, the investigation is on and we hope to crack the case soon,” he said.
On the status of the previous cases, he said: “In the Vikaspuri incident, three men have been arrested and investigations revealed they are not a part of fringe elements. In the Rohini incident, it was a case of fire. In the Vasant Kunj incident, a probe is on and the investigators are working on it. In the Dilshad Garden church fire incident, we have formed an SIT and the Crime Branch is investigating the matter.”
Bassi and his senior officials also held a meeting at the MHA on Friday evening, where they discussed security for churches. Sources said there are plans to deploy armed guards round-the-clock outside Christian schools and churches, along with a permanent police picket 100 metres away with five personnel on duty.
The police have drawn up a list of churches and Christian schools where they need to step up security. Senior officers have called a meeting with the SHOs, who will be directed to keep a strict watch on all activities near the Christian institutions. There are plans to sensitise the local beat officers also.
Meanwhile, reacting sharply to the incident, Chief Minister-designate Arvind Kejriwal said: “I strongly condemn the attack on Holy Child Auxilium School. These kind of acts will not be tolerated.”