Bandh observed in Mangalore on Sep 16

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Mangalore, Sep 16: A bandh was observed in the Karnataka's coastal city of Mangalore with many educational institutions and shops closed down on Tuesday, Sep 16. A Hindu group, Sri Rama Sena called for the bandh to protest the stabbing of one of its activists on Monday, Sep 15 evening. "We are investigating the stabbing incident and are yet to establish whether it was related to the attacks on churches or old enmity," a police official said.

Tight security arrangements have been made in the entire city which witnessed attacks on police personnel for 'failure to prevent attack on religious places.'

Around 10 people were stabbed on Monday, Sep 15 evening on the city's outskirts, some in incidents related to Sunday, Sep 14 attack on churches and prayer halls and subsequent violent protests by Christians.

"The situation was used by some to settle personal scores and not all stabbing incidents are related to attack on churches and the subsequent violence in the city," the police official said.

Around 175 people have been arrested so far, over 50 of them for attacks on churches and prayer halls and the rest for clashes with Hindu groups and police on Monday, Sep 15.

The attack by right-wing Hindu groups was to protest alleged conversion activities by Christians and distribution of literature insulting Hindu gods, specifically by a sect called the New Life Fellowship. The sect leaders have refuted the charges.

Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya, who hails from the region, was in Mangalore holding talks with senior civil and police officials and community leaders to contain the violence.

On Monday, Sep 16 evening, Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa visited Mangalore, the headquarters of Dakshina Kannada district, and the neighbouring Udupi district, where some churches were attacked on Sunday, Sep 14.

Yeddyurappa told Christian community leaders that the government will bear the cost of repair of the damaged churches. He appealed to them to discourage people who indulge in conversion by either force or inducement.

"The constitution guarantees right to everyone to follow their faith but does not allow for conversion by force or inducement," he later told reporters.

"The government will not allow anyone to take law into their hands. If any incident of attempt at conversion is noticed, it should be brought to the attention of authorities," Yeddyurappa said.

Meanwhile, opposition Congress and Janata Dal-Secular (JD-S) leaders visited Mangalore Tuesday, Sep 16. They have called for resignation of the state home minister for failure to protect the minority communities. Teams from the National Commission for Women and National Minorities Commission are visiting Mangalore on Tuesday, Sep 16. Filmmaker Mahesh Bhatt and Abraham Mathai from the National Minorities Commision have already reached Mangalore.

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