Christians in India say incidents of discrimination have been on the rise since Narendra Modi became prime minister this year, but there has hardly been an incident as dramatic as the one that took place this week.Share
St. Sebastian’s Church, which is situated in a crowded middle class area of New Delhi, burned down Monday morning. The interior of the church, including the altar, statues, chairs and the entire balcony, had been gutted. And people are convinced it was no accident.
Father Stanly Kozhichira told Aleteia that kerosene jars were found on the terrace of the church and that “I could smell kerosene inside the church” after fire was put out.
Thousands of Catholics, along with other Christians, led by Delhi Archbishop Anil Couto and other leaders choked the busy roads around the Delhi Police Commissioner’s office hours after the church was burned.
“We are shocked. The fears in the Christian community are growing,” Archbishop Couto [pictured] told Aleteia. “There have been no threats or tension in the area. The church torching is a mystery. This aggravates fears in the (Christian) community to what is happening in other parts of the country,” he said.
Though the Delhi government has formed a high level team to investigate the torching, Catholic activist John Dayal told Aleteia that, “Our fears are far from over. They are worsening.”
“We cannot see it in isolation from other attacks on Christian targets. If churches can be burnt in other places, they could do it Delhi also,” Dayal noted. (Read more.)