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Churches attacked in Karnataka
BANGALORE, SEPT 14 (Agencies):
Published on 15 Sep. 2008 12:38 AM IST
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The BJP ruled Karnataka today witnessed attacks on 14 churches by miscreants, suspected to be Bajrang Dal activists, to protest against alleged forcible conversion of Hindus into Christianity. Seven persons, including two pastors, received minor injuries and two vehicles were set ablaze by the motorcycle borne attackers, who also ransacked furniture in some places, Western range DIG A M Prasad said. “Miscreants numbering about five to 20 riding a motorcycle barged into prayer halls between 9 a.m to 10.30 a.m and went on a rampage,” he said. Prasad said nine churches belonging to Pentecostal and Catholic faiths were the target of attacks in Dakshina Kannada district and three each in Udupi and Chikmagalur district The places where the attacks occurred include Kodiabail, Milagis church, Kankanady, Mastikatte, Shaktinagar, Mehana, Mudantyar, Uppinangady (Dakshina Kannada district), Byndoor, Maddur Halli, Udupi town (Udupi district), Jayapura, Singatage and Magodu (Chikmagalur district). The district administration in Dakshina Kannada has clamped prohibitory orders under section 144 for three days from today as a precautionary measure. In all eight persons -- three in Bydnoor and five in Mangalore, have been taken into custody for questioning, Prasad said. The attacks, coming even as fresh sectarian violence were reported in Orissa, has shaken the people and drawn a sharp reaction from the opposition Central minister Oscar Fernandes, who hails from the region, visited some of the damaged prayers halls Sunday evening. Meanwhile, C.S. John, founder of the Mission Church in Karnataka, which has around 200 churches in the state, said one of the churches in a village was attacked Sunday morning, the second attack in eight days. The first attack took place Saturday at a village in Chikmagalur district, he said. “The attackers manhandled priest Sunil Kumar,” John said. Later, Kumar’s house was also attacked and household articles damaged, he added. Meanwhile, in a terse reaction to attack on nine evangelist churches in Karnataka today, the opposition Congress said the incident had brought to the fore, the “hidden agenda” of BJP and alleged that the “Gujarat model of rule” has come into place in the state. Congress, which blamed the BJP government for the incidents and demanded the resignation by the state Home Minister Dr V S Acharya. Acharya claimed that the situation was under control and that the government has directed the police to initiate stringent action against the culprits.

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