Bangalore, Sept 20 : Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa has instructed the District Collector's and Superintendents of Police of all Districts of the State to increase the vigil and patrolling from Saturday night itself on the occasion of Sunday prayers in churches.
Through a video conference on Saturday's evening he instructed them to arrest suspicious elements and take stringent action against peace breakers.
The Chief Minister also directed them that rallies and protest marches should not be allowed till the situation normalizes.
In the wake of reports that the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) and the Bajrang Dal activists are carrying out attacks on churches 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.