Karnataka in overdrive after New Delhi warns on church attacks

September 20th, 2008 - 7:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 20 (IANS) In a swift response to the central government’s advisory following attacks on churches, Karnataka nabbed state Bajrang Dal convener and Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa Saturday directed district authorities to prevent repeat of such incidents.The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government also replied to the union government’s Friday warning giving details of the steps it had taken to protect minorities.

It informed the central authorities of the decision to order a probe by a retired judge of the Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh high courts into Sunday’s attacks on churches and prayer halls in the coastal districts of Dakshina Kannada and Udupi and the coffee-rich Chikmagalur district.

Yeddyurappa held a video conference in Bangalore with heads of civil and police administration in the 29 districts of the state on the situation in their areas and the measures to be implemented to maintain communal peace and harmony.

Nearly 300 people have been arrested in connection with the attacks and the subsequent violence in Mangalore during protest by Christians, the state said in the reply to the central government.

Bajrang Dal state unit convener Mahendra Kumar was arrested late Friday night. He moved a court in Dakshina Kannada district headquarters Mangalore for bail.

Kumar was picked up in Mangalore late Friday night as he was driving down to the city from Chikmagalur, his home district, police said.

He has been held on charges of criminal conspiracy and acts disturbing communal harmony.

Kumar is said to have claimed that Bajrang Dal had attacked the places of worship in response to conversion activity by some Christian groups. However, he told IANS Thursday that he had only said his organisation was with the people who had carried out the attacks.

Yeddyurappa, who had earlier rejected the demand for a probe by a judge of the high court and entrusted the task to Corps of Detectives, announced the enquiry by B.K. Somashekara, a former judge of Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh high courts, late Friday. The announcement was followed by arrest of Kumar.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s government had warned the state governments of Karnataka, as also of Orissa, both ruled by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its allies, that their administrations stand to be dismissed if they failed to act against perpetrators of violence against Christian minorities.

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