After five attacks at churches in New Delhi over the past two months, hundreds of demonstrators today (Feb. 5) gathered outside the capital’s Sacred Heart Cathedral Church.
“Enough is enough” and “I’m proud to be a Christian,” they chanted, as the Delhi police swiftly bundled them onto buses and detained the protestors, which included priests, nuns and children.
Later in the day, home minister Rajnath Singh met with Christian leaders, and assured them that the attacks would be investigated assiduously.
Here are the four key demands of the Christian leaders—and the Modi government’s response to them—according to A.C. Michael, a former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, who was at the meeting.
1. The home minister has sought reports from the Delhi police after which it will decide whether to include Indian Penal Code (IPC) Act 153 and 295A in an FIR relating to the attack on St Alphonsa Church. Section 153 of the IPC refers to provocation of riots, while 295A refers to malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.
2. The home ministry is also expected to decide on setting up an enquiry commission with a former high court judge to probe the five attacks.
3. The minister declined the possibility of any talks between the top leaders of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and the church to chart out future plans. However, he assured them of further support from his office.
4. The ministry assured that a statement on the safety of Christians would be made. But it will only happen after the Delhi elections on Feb. 7, since the election commission does not allow any such announcements to be made prior to a poll under the model code of conduct.