Mumbai (AsiaNews) - The arson attack on Saint Sebastian church in Delhi "must be condemned in the strongest possible. am completely shocked and deeply saddened at this arson attacks. While I do not want to attribute communal motives, but this act of deliberate torching of a Sacred Place of worship , is completely unacceptable and cannot be condoned. People are revolted and feel vulnerable, whenever the miniscule Christian community is targeted". This is how Card. Oswald Gracias, Archbishop of Mumbai, reacts to AsiaNews in the wake of yesterday's destruction of the church in the eastern outskirts of the Indian capital.
destroyed the altar, the sacristy and the entire choir of Saint Sebastian's. "The
fire started early in the morning of December 1 - said Fr. Mathew Kojickal, chancellor
of the Archdiocese of New Delhi - in different parts of the church. We found the
cans of kerosene. It is arson". Immediately after the incident, hundreds
of people, Christian and non, took to the streets in protest.
The church of Saint Sebastian, inaugurated in 2001 by the then Archbishop Concessao, is located in the district of Dilshad, where about 1000 Catholic families live. Many of the Christian community work in the large hospitals in the district. "I do not dare to accuse anyone - continues the Chancellor - but what is certain is that the attack was carefully planned and carried out on a place of worship of a religious minority".
The complex borders on a Hindu temple and is guarded during the night, but the guard did not notice any suspicious movement. Parish leaders denounce local police who took ten hours to arrive on site to collect clues for investigation. "We had to organize a protest in the street - said Father. Kojikhal - to convince the police to send an investigation team".
Garcias concludes: "I request the authorities to significantly speed up apprehending those responsible and charge them
under stringent sections of the law All Places of worship in India must be respected in our mutli-religious
society and the authorities must remain on the watch to prevent the recurrence
of such traumatic incidents, which are sources of division and destabilization of the society and
detrimental to national integrity and the harmony of the nation. This
attack on the Place of worship goes against the very progress and development
of the nation"
(Santosh Digal collaborated)