Mumbai (AsiaNews) - For India's Christians, 2015 began with a bleak note. Last Saturday, a fire destroyed a crèche in a New Delhi Catholic church in the early hours of the morning.
After investigating the case, police said an electrical short circuit caused the fire, and closed the case. However, for the local parish priest Fr Cyril Patrick, who was the first on the scene, the fire was deliberate, set to damage the church.
"I do not want to blame anyone in particular," the priest said, "but CCTV videos show something being poured [on the Nativity Scene] from the top."
Speaking to AsiaNews, Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said that what happened is "a serious violation of the secular credentials of the Indian Constitution."
In addition to last year's cases of re-conversion to Hinduism (Ghar Wapsi or 'return home'), the fire "portends hard times for the Christian minority, which already feels vulnerable by a nation-wide anti-conversion law proposed by the Janata Bharatiya Party (BJP)".
The BJP, a Hindu ultra-nationalist party with close ties to Sangh Parivar radical groups (responsible for attacks and violence against minorities), now controls the central government.