Christian cleric accuses India PM of inaction after Agra church attack

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been asked to prevent Hindu mass conversion ceremonies.Reuters

A priest in India has accused the government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi of inaction after a recent attack on St. Mary's Church in the tourist city of Agra.

On April 16, unknown assailants broke into and vandalised the 100-year-old St. Mary's Church by beheading the statue of the infant Jesus and tying a dog chain around an image of the Mother Mary.

No suspects were identified, but church officials suspect Hindu hardliners to be behind the attack.

Agra city police spokesman Nirmal Singh told UCANews that five teams of policemen were detailed to investigate the attack, but police officials failed to produce any suspects so far.

According to IBTimes UK, church officials are accusing the Indian Prime Minister of "turning a blind eye" to the continued attacks against Christian minorities, particularly those carried out by "extremist movements" affiliated with Modi's Bharatiya Janata Party.

"Fringe elements are thriving because the Prime Minister doesn't utter a word against them," Father Santosh, secretary to the archbishop of Agra, said.

"They need to speak up," the priest urged. "We didn't have this [situation] with the previous government."

Prime Minister Modi's government has faced criticism locally and abroad for its inaction against growing attacks targeting minorities in India, including Christians.

Modi spoke out against these attacks during a gathering of Indian Christians to celebrate the canonisation of two new Indian saints in February.

"My government will not allow any religious group, belonging to the majority or the minority, to incite hatred against others, overtly or covertly," Modi told the attendees of the event.

"I strongly condemn such violence. My government will act strongly in this regard," he promised.

While Modi's statements were welcomed by opposition leaders and heads of the Christian church in India, the Prime Minister was also urged to "walk the talk" and show solid action against the continuing attacks against Christians and other minorities by Hindu hardline elements.