Three Karnataka churches attacked, Yeddyurappa talks tough(Second Lead)

September 21st, 2008 - 5:19 pm ICT by IANS  

Bangalore, Sep 21 (IANS) Three churches have been attacked in Karnataka, including two in Bangalore, in continuing attacks on Christian places of worship that began last week, police said Sunday. A rattled Chief Minister B.S. Yeddyurappa threatened action against the police for failing to check such incidents.”This is a clear case of failure on the part of the police,” he thundered after meeting senior civil and police officials here Sunday morning as Christians in northeast Bangalore took to the streets, set up road blocks and staged demonstrations protesting the attack on a church in Mariyannana Palya.

“A group of people used iron rods to break into a church in Mariyannana Palya Saturday night, desecrated the holy communion, broke the chest containing donations and damaged furniture,” Bangalore Police Commissioner Shankar Bidari told reporters.

“The damage in the attack is around Rs.18,000, including Rs.1,000 taken away from the donation chest,” Bidari said. “We are investigating whether it is the work of professional robbers or religious bigots,” he added.

The second attack took place in Rajarajeshwari Nagar in west Bangalore Sunday morning. The statue of Virgin Mary outside a church in the area was damaged as some people pelted stones, a police official said.

This is the first attack on Christian places of worship in Bangalore since such incidents rocked the state a week ago when a number of Christian places of worship were attacked in Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Chikmagalur districts.

A church in Siddapura, 40 km from Madikeri, the headquarters of Kodagu (formerly Coorg) district, also came under attack late Saturday, the police said. Its window panes were found damaged in the morning by church authorities who lodged a complaint, a police official said from Madikeri.

The fresh attacks have brought further pressure on the first Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in Karnataka and in south India. The central government has already issued two advisories to check violence against minorities in the state.

The central government issued the ‘advisories’ Thursday and Friday under a rarely invoked constitutional provision. An advisory under the provision, Article 355, is seen in political circles as an indication that the central government may take over the state’s administration under Article 356, if the situation does not return to normalcy soon.

The fresh attack came just hours after Yeddyurappa directed civil and police officials across the state to take additional precaution during Sunday prayers. He had also said that the police in charge of the area would be punished if disturbances occur.

He has already yielded to the demand of opposition and Christian community leaders for a judicial probe into the last Sunday’s attacks and the violence that followed.

The state Bajrang Dal convener Mahendra Kumar was arrested Friday night in Mangalore and charged with criminal conspiracy and promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion, caste, region and language.

He has been jailed till Oct 1 and a Mangalore court is expected to decide on his bail plea Monday.

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