Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday summoned Delhi’s top policeman after a sixth attack on a Christian building in the capital in the last two months, fuelling concerns that religious minorities are being targeted.
Suspects broke into a Christian school in south Delhi on Friday, stole some money, damaged closed-circuit television cameras and ransacked parts of the building. Police say they suspect the case is one of burglary rather than intimidation.
“The prime minister expressed his concern and said this case must be solved immediately,” said Delhi’s police commissioner, B. S. Bassi. “He said that security must be foolproof so that attacks don’t re-occur.”
Political rivals have accused the ruling Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of exploiting religious divisions since taking power last May. Hundreds of Christians clashed with police last week, demanding better government protection.
Religious intolerance in India would have shocked freedom fighter icon Mahatma Gandhi, U.S. President Barack Obama said last week. India’s success depended on its not splintering along religious lines, Obama said on a visit last month.
Even after a spate of attacks, Modi, a self-proclaimed Hindu nationalist, has yet to publicly comment on the violence.
In a statement on Friday, Modi said he summoned the Delhi police commissioner to express concerns over the “rising crime rate in the capital.” There was mention of attacks on churches.
Incidents of arson, vandalism and burglary have been reported from at least six Christian buildings since December.
The most serious incident was a fire that gutted a church in north Delhi, which church leaders said had been set deliberately, because of a strong smell of kerosene.