Karnataka church attacks: Two cops suspended, VHP denies involvement (Second Lead)

September 21st, 2008 - 11:04 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 21 (IANS) In the first action against policemen in connection with attacks on Christian places of worship in Karnataka, two constables were suspended Sunday in Kodagu district where window panes of a church were damaged in stone throwing Saturday night.”Two constables, Nandakumar and Shivaram, have been suspended following the incident in Siddapura police jurisdiction (about 40 km from district headquarters Madikeri),” Kodagu police superintendent T.R. Satish told IANS on the telephone from Madikeri.

On Saturday, Karnataka’s first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa had told senior civil and police officials of the districts that they will be held responsible if attacks on Christian places of worship, which began last Sunday, occurred in their areas.

“Strict action will be taken against you without fear or favour,” he told them Sunday morning on receiving reports of fresh incidents of attacks and stone throwing at churches at two places in Bangalore, one on the city’s outskirts and the fourth in Siddapura on Saturday night and early hours of Sunday.

One church in Mariannana Palya in northeast Bangalore was vandalised Saturday by people who entered by breaking open its backdoor, city police commissioner Shankar Bidari said.

A statue of Virgin Mary outside a church in Rajarajeshwari Nagar was damaged in stone throwing Sunday morning. A church at Boonahalli on city outskirts was also stoned Saturday night, police said.

Seven people were being questioned in connection with the Mariyannana Palya incident, they said.

The Karnataka unit of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) Sunday denied that it or the Bajrang Dal were involved in the attacks on Christian places of worship.

“We oppose conversion by force or inducement and will continue to fight against but we do not believe or indulge in violence,” VHP zonal secretary B.N. Murthy told reporters.

Murthy asserted that Karnataka Bajrang Dal convener Mahendra Kumar, who has been arrested, never said his outfit was behind the attacks.

Kumar is in jail in Dakshina Kannada on charges of criminal conspiracy and promoting animosity on the basis of religion.

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