04/19/2006, 00.00
INDIA
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Two attacks against Christians in Karnataka at Easter

The attacks targeted Protestants in Bantaguri and Balmatta. The Christian community said the assailants were Hindu fundamentalists active in the area.

Bangalore (AsiaNews/ICNS) – Hindu activists have attacked Christians gathered in two prayer meetings to celebrate Easter in the northern state of Karnataka. The assailants, according to Protestant leaders, are known for their opposition to activities of Christian groups in the region.

The first attack took place on 16 April, Easter Sunday, at 11 am in the prayer hall of the "Believers' Church". A group of around 10 men interrupted the prayer, hit the preacher, Rev. John, who was subsequently admitted into hospital, and ransacked the place. On leaving the church, the fundamentalists attacked the pastor's house and a car parked outside the entrance.

The second incident took place in Balmatta: around 25 people attacked an Easter function of the Christian Student Community, attended mostly by women and children.

Eye witnesses claimed the assailants waited for the men to leave the hall before breaking in. They locked themselves in the hall and ransacked it, threatening those present "with dire consequences" should they report the attack. When they reopened the hall, they fled with objects belonging to the community.

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