01/25/2010, 00.00
INDIA

Two churches attacked in the State of Karnataka

Hindu extremists are blamed for this morning’s attacks in the dioceses of Mysore and Karwar. The Holy Family Parish Church was attacked in Inkal (Mysore diocese); it had been also attacked by a group of 70 Hindus in 2002. Christians are increasingly worried.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) – The Indian State of Karnataka was the scene of new anti-Christian attacks when two churches were desecrated and damaged. The first incident occurred after midnight in the village of Thernamakki (diocese of Karwar). Unidentified people vandalised the grotto of the local church, and broke its windows. The second incident took place in Inkal, a village in Mysore diocese, where someone desecrated the statue of the Virgin located in the compound attached to the Holy Family Parish Church. Another attack occurred on 22 January when members of the Sri Rama Sene, a rightwing Hindu party, tried to desecrate the cross of a church in Mundalli (diocese of Karwar), but were chased away by members of the congregation. Police arrested eight of them the next day.

According to Mgr Derek Fernandes, bishop of Karwart, this morning’s attack was the work of Hindu activists. Recently, a local Hindu leader made threats against Christian buildings in retaliation for the mistreatment of Indians in Australia.

“Attacks against religious minorities are up,” said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christian (GCIC). “We are very concerned about the continued attacks against Christian communities in Karnataka.”

“The greatest tragedy caused by such attacks against innocent Christians is the lack of justice,” he said. “This happens in Orissa, Karnataka and other Indian States.”

So far, no Hindu leader has ever been jailed for the violence. In both Orissa and Karnataka, local authorities have refused to stop Hindu groups that continue to incite violence against Christians, George said.

The Holy Family Parish Church had suffered another attack, on 27 February 2002.  

At that time, some 70 Hindu activists armed with blades, knives and iron rods stormed the building during Mass and attacked women and children. They accused the local Christian community of forcibly converting local people.

Police arrested the attackers but later released them on bail. (N.C.)

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