This is the 40th attack in 2021 in this Indian state, where anti-Christian intolerance has reached a peak, fuelled by an anti-conversion bill the state government tabled in the local legislative assembly for discussion in January.
Bangalore (AsiaNews) – A church was vandalised early this morning in the Indian state of Karnataka, in what is the latest act of intolerance towards Christians.
Coming on the eve of the Christmas holidays, the incident involves the Church of St Joseph in Chikkaballapur, a town located some 65 kilometers from Bengaluru (Bangalore).
The vandals damaged the statue of Saint Anthony, which is located in square in front of the church. The parish filed a First Information Report with police.
This episode of intolerance is highly significant since it took place in Karnataka, where the state government introduced an anti-conversion bill, similar to the infamous laws already in force in other states ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
Earlier this week, the bill was tabled in the state’s legislative assembly for consideration in January.
Propaganda by extremists around the bill has led to a peak of violence against Christians in Karnataka. To counter this, 40 local organisations held a protest yesterday in Bengaluru in opposition to the anti-conversion bill.
“This is the 40th anti-Christian attack in 2021,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), speaking to AsiaNews.
Now “Karnataka stands third in the number of attacks on Christians. The minuscule Christian community routinely faces vandalism, false accusations, and arrests,” he explained.
In Chikkaballapur, “Christianity began with French missionaries who came here during a deadly plague,” bringing “medicines, food and shelter”. Eventually, “they built this church and called it Susaipalya, (Susai means Joseph and palya means village in the Tamil language).
Now, many years later, “not only are we facing COVID-19 with the Omicron variant, we also have the virus of intolerance towards the Christian faith,” fuelled by the “Karnataka anti-conversion bill”.