After Chief Minister Sets Deadline, 4 Arrested for Mumbai Church Attack

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Three masked men on a motorcycle were caught on CCTV hurling stones at the church.


Mumbai: 

Four men have been arrested for this weekend's attack on a church in the township of Navi Mumbai, just outside the financial capital.  Maharashtra chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis had given the state police till tomorrow to track down the suspects.

On Saturday, a group of masked men were caught on security cameras throwing stones at the  church in Navi Mumbai. Days later, nobody had been arrested, provoking the Chief Minister to declare a 48-hour deadline yesterday for the police to deliver those wanted.  The men arrested are locals and are not affiliated to any political or religious group, said the police.  One of them suspected church officials of having alerted the police to an illegal club that he allegedly ran; as revenge, he reportedly hired three friends to stone the church.

The incident was the latest in a series of attacks on Christian buildings, convents and churches across the country.  Last month, Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged he would not tolerate any religious violence and said his government will ensure freedom and equality of all faith. But just days later, a 72-year-old nun was raped at a convent in West Bengal, triggering protests by Christians and others in different cities.

"If Prime Minister Modi wants to be an effective leader, then he should take his assurances to minorities  to their logical consequences," said Cardinal Oswald Gracias, the Archbishop of the Bombay Diocese, to NDTV before the arrests were made.  "The government is not acting swiftly and strongly enough. I don't want to say the  BJP has an anti-Christian agenda, but one cannot close one's eyes to fact that these attacks have multiplied after they came to power," he said.



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