New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Last night another Catholic church in New Delhi was vandalized, the Church of Saint Alphonsa in Vasant Kunj, central district of the Indian capital. Fr. Vincent Salvatore, the parish priest, found the tabernacle open and the ciborium missing. The Hosts were scattered on the altar and on the floor. The Archdiocese of Delhi spokesman Fr. Savarimuthu Sankar, said: "We are not sure if it was just a theft case or a deliberate attempt to create mischief " The act of vandalism is the fifth against a Catholic church in the past two months. Police have launched an investigation.
The parish is named after Sister Alphonsa, the first woman saint of Asia. The Franciscan nun of the Immaculate Conception was canonized October 12, 2008 by Benedict XVI.
Diocesan officials have explained that the intruders entered the church after having broken through the lock of the main gate. However, they failed to open the offertory box. Fr. Sarkar noted that the church of Saint Alphonsa had not followed instructions issued by the archdiocese to install CCTV cameras in all the parishes. "Those videos - he admits - would help us identify the culprits".
The first church attack in Delhi occurred on December 1 with the burning of St Sebastian's Church in Dilshad Garden, east Delhi. A week later, unidentified persons threw stones at Our Lady of Fatima Forane Church Jasola, near Okhla in south Delhi, and broke its window panes during the evening Mass.
On January 3, a mysterious fire reduced to ashes a Christmas crib kept inside the premises of the Church of Resurrection in Rohini, north Delhi. The fourth incident occurred when unknown assailants vandalized the Marian Grotto at the Church of Our Lady of Grace in Vikaspuri. In this case, the recordings of the CCTV cameras helped police to identify the culprits.
Since the rise to power of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the ethnic-religious minorities of India speak of an increase in attacks and discrimination against them. Often, the attacks also target the "intimate" sphere of the faith. This is the case of the case Pramod Sahu, the Christian owner of a garage, who January 24 last was attacked by about 25 Hindu extremists because he kept hanging an image of Jesus in his shop. Police have not arrested anyone. "The police reluctance to investigate - Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) told AsiaNews - is a huge problem and a violation of our judicial system. In addition to yet another injustice against the minority Christian ". (NC)