Delhi police appoint nodal officer for Christians

Story By: reporter

New Delhi: Delhi Police have appointed a nodal officer and launched a Facebook page to address the grievances of Christians in the capital city.

Joy Tirkey, a Deputy Commissioner of Police, has been nominated as the nodal officer to redress the problems of the minority community. He will operate from the police headquarters.

The appointment of the Catholic officer comes in the wake of a series of attacks on churches and Christian institutions in the city.

According to Delhi Police, the new Facebook page, ‘Delhi Police Minority Brethren,’ has been created on February 22 and it can be used for posting problems related to any institution or school.

On the page timeline, Delhi Police wrote, “Dear Christian brothers and sisters, this page has been designed by Delhi Police to add a forum for all Christian people in Delhi to put across their views regarding law and order situation in Delhi with special reference to the security of our churches and educational institutions.”

Police claimed that security has been beefed up at all the churches and frequency of patrolling in the area has been increased.

In February, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said his government would not allow any religious group to incite hatred and would strongly act against any religious violence.

The prime minister had also recently summoned Delhi Police Commissioner B S Bassi in the wake of vandalisation of a prominent Christian school in South Delhi’s Vasant Vihar area and directed him to come down hard against those involved in such attacks.

Christians in social media groups have welcomed the police’s new initiatives.

John Dayal, a Catholic lay leader, said the appointment and the Facebook page are good news.

“The police guards at some big churches are temporary as Delhi Police expect the Christian community to protect churches and institutions with blade wire-topped high walls, Close Circuit TV cameras, and private guards,” he wrote in an email discussion group.

Dayal, however, wondered how pastors of small and independent churches would find the resources to protect their prayer room and worshipping communities as neither the federal home minister nor the Prime Minister’s Office have instructed other states to take similar steps.

He ended his note by invoking God’s blessings on the Delhi police.

Pramod Singh, another Christian leader, welcomed the news as “a good development” and urged the group to try to secure similar relief for Christians in the central Indian states of Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh, where Christians reportedly face harrassment and oppositon.

Capuchin Father Nithya Sahayam questions behind the government instructions to the Delhi churches. “If the police expect us to protect our churches with blade wire topped high walls, close circuit TV cameras and Private Guards, then we do not need police or any other government mechanisms for any security,” he wrote in the group.

The priest also wondered if the police expected individuals to safeguard their houses.

“In this case, do the police expect us to protect ourselves without their presence or their support?” he added.

A C Michael, a former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, who informed the group about the new appointment, urged Christians to visit the page and comment and share.

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