A break-in and theft in a convent school principal’s office in New Delhi prompted Prime Minister Narendra Modi to summon the Delhi Police Commissioner B.S. Bassi on Friday morning and direct him to take action with regard to the series of attacks on Christian institutions.
The Holy Child Auxilium School was vandalised in the early hours of Friday in the sixth attack on Christian establishments in the city in three months. Though the Delhi Police are under the Union Home Ministry, it is rare for the Prime Minister to summon the Commissioner directly.
The action comes after a series of attacks on churches and Christian leaders, resulting in accusation of Delhi police inaction despite representations to the Prime Minister and the Home Minister. The attacks and the allegation that the government did little to assuage the feeling of fear among the community are suspected to have contributed to the BJP’s rout in the recently concluded Assembly elections.
Home Minister Rajnath Singh was in Manipur on Friday. Mr. Modi spoke on the phone with Home Secretary L.C. Goyal, virtually directing him to personally monitor the Delhi police action. “The Prime Minister asked the Home Secretary to pay special attention to the rising incidents of crime and vandalism and to work towards ensuring the safety and security of women in the Capital,” a senior Ministry official said.
Home Secretary to monitor all cases
Union Home Secretary L.C. Goyal has summoned Mr. Bassi and will be closely monitoring the progress in the six cases so far as well as the security provided to religious places of minorities.
The Ministry is likely to direct the police to form a single team to investigate all six cases and report back in a time-bound manner, a senior official said. “We need to know if there is a pattern and what measures have been taken so far,” a top ministry official said.
The official added that the Prime Minister asked Mr. Bassi “to speedily investigate the recent incidents of vandalism and ensure that the guilty are brought to book.”
Mr. Bassi said, “I was summoned by the Prime Minister, who asked me to enquire into the Vasant Vihar school incident. He felt anguished about the recent attacks on places of worship of the Christian community.” He briefed Mr. Modi on the progress made in cases of previous attacks on Christian institutions in Delhi.
Kejriwal condemns attack
Reacting to the incident, AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal, who is set to take oath as the Chief Minister of Delhi on Saturday, said, “I strongly condemn the attack on Holy Child Auxilium school. These kinds of acts will not be tolerated,” Mr. Kejriwal tweeted.
The latest attack on a religious institution is likely to form an important part of the dialogue between the AAP and the Central government on giving full statehood to Delhi, a move that will bring law and order under the control of the State government.
The AAP’s newly elected MLA from R.K. Puram Parmila Tokas, the constituency under which the school falls, met with the Principal to assure her of the party’s assistance. “The safety and security of all communities in Delhi is an essential part of the AAP’s agenda in Delhi. For our part, we will do whatever we can to ensure that such incidents do not occur,” Ms. Tokas said.