NEW DELHI: The ban on beef by the Maharashtra government has evoked strong protest and ridicule on the social media, but perhaps the most scathing comment has come from the president of the Catholic Bishop Conference of India Cardinal Basilios Cleemis who said, “we are living in a country with democratic values, where humans should be protected too and not just cows.”

He was responding to the heinous attack on a Christian missionary school and the rape of a 71 year old nun in Ranaghat in West Bengal recently.

Not a single person has been arrested for the crime, with the assailants looting the missionary school, desecrating the chapel and raping the nun with impunity. Media reports suggest that they were in no hurry to leave and stayed back to ransack the refrigerator and eat before leaving.

The police ‘sources’ have been planting all kinds of wild stories but the police officially has not arrested a single person as yet. West Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee who has come under fire for the inaction in Parliament, has now moved to transfer the case ostensibly because of its “sensitive” nature to the Central Bureau of investigation. It might be recalled that Banerjee has not been seen as very sensitive to gender issues, dismissing the rape of young single mother Suzette Jordan as lies.

She visited the school to meet the nun with agitated protesters blocking her convoy for almost an hour, demanding action. As always Banerjee remained in a state of denial insisting that the opposition was organising the protests. "I know political elements are in this crowd. They are ones who are doing this. I challenge the BJP and the CPM. How long will they block me? I am a person who has risen through agitations," she said. She accused the protesters of not wanting the real culprits to be arrested, leading to further acrimony. It took an hour for her to get out of the blockade and move on.

The Christian community, sections of which, had begun a dialogue with the BJP and RSS in the wake of the virulent ghar wapsi program, is now openly angry and upset. The Prime Ministers Office has issued a statement saying, PM is deeply concerned about the incidents in Hisar, Haryana and Nadia, West Bengal.

— PMO India (@PMOIndia) March 17, 2015

There is deep worry amongst the Christians about the continuing attacks on Christian schools and missionaries despite an early assurance by PM Narendra Modi assuring them that he stood on the side of religious tolerance. Senior functionaries of Christian organisations are clear that the assault on the nun and the school was not carried out by “dacoits” as the state police still seems determined to insist, and should be seen in the context of the threats that the nuns had been receiving for a while.

State police “sources” have now again been quoted in sections of the media as insisting that the attack was carried out by outsiders, who had been hired for the job. It is not clear from these media reports what constitutes the basis for this observation by the ‘sources.’ Banerjee is being charged by the Congress and the Left with soft pedalling the issue and not taking firm action at this point. The Congress walked out of the Lok Sabha in protest against her government’s inability to bring the culprits to book.