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Churches in Karnataka under attack again

September 17, 2008 16:38 IST

In fresh incidents of attacks on Christian places of worship in Karnataka, 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.

'We are against forcible conversions'

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.

Police said in Kolar, unidentified persons pelted stones at a statue of Virgin Mary, located outside the St Mary's Church. The incident occurred between 4 to 5 am.   

'State must ensure reconversion is not forced'

However, Bajrang Dal, which was earlier accused of the offence, denied their involvement in the incidents.

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

Giving details of damage to property and injury in the violent incidents that occurred in Dakshina Kannada district since Sunday, the minister told reporters that 71 persons, including 45 police personnel, were injured and property worth Rs 9.58 lakh damaged.

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.

Nineteen people were arrested in Chikamagalur, he said.

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

The ministry's immediate concern was to create an atmosphere of safety and security to the people, Acharya said.

He also came down heavily on forcible conversion and enticing people to get them converted and dubbed it as an offence. He also called for ban on the New Life Organisation, which has been the target of attack following allegations that the organisation was indulging in forcible conversions.

He said a peace meet would be convened this evening to enable people to air their views.

In Kolar, Religious Endowment Minister Krishnaiah Shetty visited the site and held a peace meeting. He directed the local administration to repair and restore the damaged statue that was nearly eight decades old.

The local Christian groups staged a protest and submitted a memorandum to the Deputy Commissioner.

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