Karnataka minister denies religious angle to attacks on Christianstext_fields
There was no record of targeted attacks on the Christian community apart from what may be personal issues Karnataka Minister Dr Ashwathnarayan CN told NDTV. His remarks came after a CCTV video of a man wielding a machete chasing a Catholic priest went viral.
That the churches are being attacked is a "baseless allegation," Dr Ashwathnarayan told NDTV. "We are the most peaceful state -- Karnataka. There is no question of attacking churches or Christians. They are part and parcel of our society," he said. Any such attacks were probably made for personal reasons and could not be attributed to religious targeting.
Videos could have been fabricated by people with "vested interests" who had the intent to create dissent said Dr.Ashwanthnarayan.
A fact-finding report documented by the United Christians Forum, Association for Protection of Civil Rights and United Against Hate, from January to September this year, 32 attacks on churches and the Christian community have taken place. Between October and December, six attacks have been reported, the NDTV report claimed.
While reports have emerged of the attacks increasing after news of a stringent anti-conversion bill to be placed in the Winter Assembly of the Karnataka Parliament, the minister rubbished such claims, stating that the bill was only being considered and had not been formulated yet.
Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the bill on forcible religious conversion will be up for discussion in the Winter Session of the state assembly and this was meant to avoid the forced conversions that are rampant in the state.
The NDTV report also quoted senior BJP leader Vaman Acharya who said that "all conversions were illegal" and that "data is not necessary because it's evident" that Christian population was increasing in the state. Last available data from the Census of India shows that the population of Christians in Karnataka has fallen from 1.91% in 2001 to 1.87% in 2011.