RELIGION

Indian Catholics Fear Rising Intolerance Is Behind Recent Slew Of Church Attacks

NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 14: A man showing the shattered glass pane outside the Our Lady of Graces Church at Vikaspuri of W
NEW DELHI, INDIA - JANUARY 14: A man showing the shattered glass pane outside the Our Lady of Graces Church at Vikaspuri of West Delhi Area after the alleged incident of vandalism on January 14, 2015 in New Delhi, India. Video footage shows that at 4:19 AM, two persons came on a motorcycle and scooter and broke the glass and pulled down a statue. The incident sparked outrage among the Christian community as it is fourth such incident in recent days in Delhi. (Photo by Sonu Mehta/Hindustan Times via Getty Images)

NEW DELHI — A series of episodes at churches over the last two months has prompted Roman Catholics here to worry about a deliberate campaign of violence, and to call on Prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out against religious intimidation.

At least five Catholic churches in and around Delhi have reported various attacks, including suspected arson, burglary, vandalism and stone-throwing. The latest was discovered on Monday morning at St. Alphonsa’s Church in New Delhi, where a parish employee found the church’s front door broken open, ceremonial vessels missing, and communion wafers strewn about.

The episodes have caught the attention of human rights advocates, who have been alert to any new pressure on religious freedom in India since Mr. Modi and his Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party swept to power in elections last May. But church leaders say that the authorities have not taken the attacks seriously enough.

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