Mangalore tense after fresh incidents of attack on churches

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Mangalore, Sept 17 : The situation in Karnataka remains tense after fresh incidents of attacks on Christian places of worship in the State on Wednesday, some unidentified persons burnt religious books belonging to a church in Ujire and also damaged furniture at a church in Chikamagalur district and statue of Mother Mary at Kolar.

According to authorities of the St. George Church in Ujire, a group of miscreants destroyed the Holy Bible, prayer books, statues and icons in the church and poured kerosene over the carpet.

In Kolar, unidentified persons pelted stones at a statue of Virgin Mary, located outside the St. Mary's Church, the police said.

But Bajrang Dal denied their involvement in the incidents.

Meanwhile, Karnataka Home Minister Dr. V. S. Acharya told reporters in Mangalore today that barring these incidents, normalcy returned to the rest of Dakshina Kannada district with business establishments commencing work.

He said since Sunday at least 71 persons, including 45 police personnel were injured and property worth Rs 9.58 lakh damaged in violent protests in Dakshina Kannada district.

Whereas, in Udupi, seven persons were injured at four places and property damaged was estimated to be worth Rs 5.90 lakh while in Chikamagalur property worth Rs 1.02 lakh was damaged.

The Minister said nineteen people have been arrested so far in Chikamagalur.

Answering a question, he said the cabinet would decide on the nature of the probe to be instituted into these incidents on Thursday.

Tension started when suspected activists of Bajrang Dal targeted churches, when Sunday mass was being held at Singtagere, Magodu and Jayapura in Chikmagalur District, and Sirur and Mudur in Udupi District and Kodikkal, Falnir and Alfa Centre in Mangalore.

According to Bajrang Dal sources, it was a coordinated attacks against conversion and no a single Catholic church was attacked. Only prayer halls belonging to the New Life Sect in southern Karnataka were attacked.

Last month at least 16 people, mostly Christians were killed, churches destroyed and 10,000 Christians were forced to flee their homes as violence spread in Kandhamal District of neighbouring Orissa.

ANI

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