BJP-ruled Karnataka on Sunday witnessed attacks on 14 churches by miscreants 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 am to 10.30 am and went on a rampage," he said.
Prasad said nine churches belonging to Pentecoastal 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 Sunday 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 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.
Opposition Congress leader in the state assembly M Mallikarjun Kharge alleged that the incidents had brought to the fore, the 'hidden agenda' of BJP and that the Gujarat model of rule has come into place in Karnataka.
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