Prime Minister Narendra Modi (pictured) on Friday summoned Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi in the wake of the vandalisation of Holy Child Auxilium School, a prominent Christian school in Vasant Vihar in the south of this city, and directed him to come down hard against those involved in such attacks. The PM’s move is seen as a bid to assert his position days after the Aam Aadmi Party’s stunning victory in the Delhi Assembly elections.
The incident follows six cases in which churches in the national capital were vandalised. This is the first time the PM has intervened in such a case.
Following Friday’s incident, Human Resources Development Minister Smriti Irani visited the school, her alma mater.
Around Rs 12,000 was stolen from the school principal’s office. The miscreants had entered the office after breaking open a window and smashing CCTVs.
Expressing “deep concern and anguish” over the rising crime rate in the national capital, the prime minister asked the police commissioner to speedily probe the recent incidents of vandalism and ensure the guilty were brought to book.
Modi also spoke over the telephone to Union Home Secretary L C Goyal and asked him to “address the rising incidents of crime and vandalism and work towards ensuring the safety and security of women in the capital”, said a release.
Days earlier, various Christian organisations had held demonstrations against churches being vandalised. They had also met Home Minister Rajnath Singh, who had assured them prompt action would be taken.
In summoning the police commissioner on Friday, the prime minister bypassed the role of the home minister, as the official press release said nothing of Rajnath Singh’s role in the investigation into the attack.
The central government is responsible for law and order in Delhi.
Chief minister-elect Arvind Kejriwal tweeted he strongly disapproved of such incidents.
On its part, the school said the case related to theft, adding no articles of religious use had been desecrated. However, Christian organisations said it was an act of vandalism directed against a religious community.
Police sources said of the six attacks on churches in Delhi (in one, nothing was stolen, though religious objects were thrown and smashed), they had solved four. They added the cases weren’t related to each other.