More churches attacked in Bangalore

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Bangalore, Sept 21 : In fresh incidence of violence on churches in Bangalore, a mob attacked three churches in the city early hours of Sunday.

The incident is not a stand-alone act of vandalism against churches in the State.

On September 14, suspected activists of Bajrang Dal attacked at least nine churches in the state, protesting alleged conversion of Hindus to Christianity.

The incident in Bangalore comes on the heels of a series of attacks against churches in Madhya Pradesh and Orissa.

In Rajarajeshwari Nagar of the city, some miscreants pelted stones at a statue in a grotto outside the Holy Name of Jesus Church.

"We condemn their act as Christian Catholics. Their intelligence, their mind is not grown. So, we pray to the Lord, that Lord bless them, bless their families, and give them right understanding," said Father Terence Matthew of the Holy Name of Jesus Church.

Two more churches were attacked in the city in separate incidents.

Some miscreants entered the St. James church and vandalized church property. Clothes and other paraphernalia were found strewn around on the floor, forcing community members to protest outside the church.

The police said, they were investigating the case with an open mind, but did not rule out religious hatred as one of the main motives behind the attack.

"We are investigating with an open mind. There can be both the possibilities. One maybe because of religious hatred, another may be professional offence. But only after the investigation is completed, we can tell. Until such time we have got an open mind, we explore all possibilities, we'll pursue all clues," said Shankar Bidari, Commissioner of Police, Bangalore.

Meanwhile, blaming the attacks on the churches as laxity on the part of police, the Karnataka government announced its decision to take strict action against the police officials if any more such incidents took place in the state.

"We don't tolerate even that small interference, attacks on these prayer hall and all that. So we have taken a decision, responsible officer, responsibility has to be fixed and then we will take action," said V.S. Acharya, State Home Minister of Karnataka.

Hindu groups accuse Christian priests of bribing poor tribes and low-caste Hindus to change their faith, while Christians say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape discrimination.

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.

Meanwhile, former Prime Minister H. D. Deve Gowda on Sunday demanded dismissal of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka.

He also demanded a ban on Bajrang Dal and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) in a letter to the Centre today, blaming them for the recent attacks on churches in the state.

Speaking to reporters after visiting a religious place at Mariyannapaly which was attacked by some unidentified persons on Sunday morning, he accused the BJP government led by Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa is responsible for the attacks and termed it "anti-Christian".

The Janata Dal Secular chief said his party would soon launch a statewide agitation under the leadership of his son, former Chief Minister H.D. Kumaraswamy against the attacks.

Meanwhile, security has been beefed up all over Karnataka following incidents of attack on two churches in Bangalore today.

Seven people have been arrested in connection with the incidents so far.

ANI

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