New Delhi, Sept 19 : After issuing an advisory to Karnataka Government to bring the situation under control following attacks on churches and prayer halls, the Home Ministry on Friday put the state on alert and directed it to report to the Centre on the steps taken to deal with the situation. Warning the state to put a stop to these attacks or face the consequences, Home Secretary Madhukar Gupta said that the Home Ministry was closely monitoring the Karnataka situation and added that the State Government has been told to report back to the Centre on the steps to check these attacks.
In the wake of reports that the VHP and the Bajrang Dal activists are carrying out these attacks with the tacit approval of the State Government, the Centre has issued these warnings under Article 355, an emergency provision that says that it is the duty of the Union Government to protect states against external aggression and internal disturbances.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Home Minister V S Acharya said that State Government would endeavour to maintain law and order and ensure safety of everyone including churches and Christians in the state.
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 on September 14.
According to Bajrang Dal sources, coordinated attacks were mounted against conversion, not 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 Orissa.