NEW DELHI, India - The Indian government said on Wednesday it had boosted security around hundreds of churches in New Delhi after a spate of attacks on religious institutions unnerved minority Christians .
Days before, hundreds of Christian protesters had clashed with police on the streets of New Delhi to demand government protection following concerns that minorities were being increasingly targeted by Hindu extremist groups.
Since December, five churches in the capital have reported incidents of arson or theft. On Wednesday, a church in the southern state of Karnataka was vandalised, a police official in the city of Mangalore told Reuters.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a declared Hindu nationalist, vowed earlier this month to protect all religious groups at an event organised by the Catholic community -- a long-awaited reassurance widely seen as a response to the violence.
After Modi came to power last May, systematic campaigns by conservative groups to convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism, as well as acts of vandalism and theft at churches, have outraged religious minorities.
About a fifth of India's 1.27 billion people identify themselves as belonging to faiths other than Hinduism.