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4 churches attacked in Karnataka

Vicky Nanjappa | September 21, 2008 15:46 IST

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Four fresh cases of attacks on churches, including three in Bengaluru [Images], were reported in Karnataka since Saturday night even as security was scaled up toensure trouble-free Sunday prayers, two days after the Centre asked the state government to rein in communal forces.

Barely a couple of hours after Chief Minister of Karnataka, B S Yeddyurappa issued tough directives regarding beefing up security in churches and mosques, miscreants went on a rampage and desecrated three churches in Bengaluru ahead of the Sunday mass.

The incident occurred in the wee hours of the morning when a group of miscreants entered the church premises at Mariyananagar on Hebbal Ring Road and Rajarajeshwarinagar and broke the doors and window panes of the churches. Police sources said the miscreants had pelted stones at the church buildings and caused damage.

Seven persons have been taken into custody in connection with the latest bout of attacks on churches in Karnataka.

Interrogation of these men are on, but it is not clear as yet as to which group or outfit these men belong to.

Meanwhile, the Bajrang Dal has denied any involvement in this incident.

Sharan, a leader of the Bajrang Dal in Mangalore told that they have abstained from any sort of violence and have nothing to do with the recent attacks.

"It is a ploy by the miscreants to destablise the Bharatiya Janata Party government in the state, which is already under attack from the Centre which had issued an advisory on Saturday," he also added.

Yeddyurappa has convened an emergency meeting of his Cabinet to discuss the latest attacks in Bengaluru. The meeting is underway at his home office in the city.

The CM had on Saturday had directed the police to arrest any person found to be moving suspiciously around churches and mosques in the state. The CM had addressed deputy commissioners and superintendents of police of Mangalore, Chickmagalur and other districts, which were hit by violence saying that there should be no let up in securiy at any cost.

He said that the protection of minorities is of utmost importance and hence, a continuous vigil should be kept around all churches and mosques.

The Karnataka government has ordered deployment of additional forces around all churches and mosques in the state.

The decision to press into service the State Reserve Police was taken at a high level emergency meeting on Saunday morning, following fresh attacks on churches in the state.

The meeting chaired Yeddyurappa also decided to take action against the police officers who were in charge of security at Rajarajeshwari Nagar and Hebbal Ring Road area where two churches were desecrated on Sunday morning ahead of the mass.

The CM warned that the miscreants would not be spared and directed the police force to be tough on this issue.

Law Minister Suresh Kumar had warned that the jurisdictional policemen would be held responsible if any attack took place on places of worship.

Additional Reportage: PTI


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