Incidents of communal divides and religious intolerances against the minorities in Delhi in the last few days have cast a cloud over the BJP government ahead of the Assembly polls on Saturday.
More than one lakh Christians marched to the Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s residence on Thursday expressing their protest against the attack on churches in the capital and asking for government protection. The minorities are wary of the growing bigotry and took to the streets accusing the BJP government of inaction and PM Modi’s silence on the issue. The demonstrations led to clashes with the police. Five churches have been attacked in Delhi since the last two months and the Christian groups accuse the hardline Hindus of carrying out the attacks. But the police said that the attacks were not religiously motivated as no evidence could be found and dismissed the attacks as cases of thefts. The Home Minister has said that an independent inquiry into the case would be carried out and asked the police to ensure the security of churches and other places of worship. The police reportedly have offered security to more than 225 churches in the capital, but it was later withdrawn. In last December, St Sebastian's Church in Dilshad Garden was set on fire leading to widespread protests by the Christian minorities. Attacks were also directed against the Syro-Malabar Catholic church in Jasola and another church in Outer Delhi’s Rohini area. A church in West Delhi’s Vikaspuri was allegedly vandalized by two men.
The Human Rights Commission has written to the Home Ministry to submit a report on the attacks, within ten days. The church heads and the minorities think it as a deliberate attempt to target the Christian community. John Dayal, former president of the All India Catholic Union said that the attacks had ‘another dimension’ given the looming elections. The BJP has once again been accused of exploiting religious divides due to the polls on Saturday. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Arvind Kejriwal has strongly critisised the Modi government for its ‘subtle but pernicious signals of intolerance’ since it came to power. The BJP had assumed a smooth victory over Delhi. But it was far behind in the opinion polls and Modi had rubbished the pre-poll surveys that showed that the party was not getting a clear majority to form a government in Delhi. The BJP had made efforts to win the hearts of people by providing benefits. While a section of government servants were announced a hike in salary before the elections, around 300 unauthorised colonies were regularized by the Union Cabinet. The Chad festival was recently declared a public holiday. But all the efforts of dividing the society along sectarian lines seem to go in vain. Minor conflicts are usually reported behind the BJP victories, the recent one being before the parliament elections. The ‘clear pattern in all the attacks’ as claimed by the minorities and their heads, certainly point a finger towards the BJP and its allies.