Karnataka: Bajrang Dal Men Barge into Christian Prayer Meet in Belur

In recent times, there has been an increase in the number of such incidents in Karnataka wherein the right-wing elements are creating troubles to break the communal harmony.

Activists of Bajrang Dal interrupt Christians' prayer meeting at Belur, Hassan

In what is seen as yet another attempt by the right-wing elements to create communal tensions in the society, a group of men with affiliations to the Bajrang Dal barged into a Christian prayer hall as they interrupted the prayer meet and forced people to move out of the prayer hall in Belur city of Hassan district in Karnataka.

However, in a video that captures the incident, it can be noticed how the right-wing activists have got into a verbal altercation with the women who had gathered at the prayer hall. The men who were in saffron dresses can be seen in the video where they are quarreling and having a heated argument with the women.

Reporting about the incident Telegraph has noted that Pastor Suresh Paul, who is in charge of the prayer hall informed them that, around 30 Bajrang Dal activists stormed in at around 12.30 PM on Sunday. The hall is run by the Life to the Nation’s Ministries, a Christian organization, the paper reported.

The Telegraph and Indian Express have reported that the right-wing Hindutva activists jostled with women at the prayer hall and were engaged in a verbal duel as well. The video shows women in a verbal duel with the men in saffron scarves.

In the incident, the locals have accused that the Bajrang Dal members to have been deliberately making efforts to disturb communal harmony by targeting the Churches under the pretext of religious conversions.

It was with this objective that they tried to forcibly enter the Church, but it is reported that the women prevented them and scolded the men. Also, the video of women who had gathered for the prayers at the hall, retaliating against such attacks and questioning the Bajrang Dal activists has gone viral.

Paul and the other people who had gathered said that” The activists alleged the Christian community was involved in religious conversions and they had illegally acquired the land. The activists who were shouting slogans of ‘Jai Shri Ram’ entered the Church only to create trouble”, Paul said.

Later, speaking to media persons, Raghu Sakaleshpur, State Convener of Bajrang Dal alleged that some people informed them that the Hindu Gods were being portrayed inferiorly in the Church. Meanwhile, the Police have informed that no complaint was filed from either side.

It may be noted that in the month of October also, a few members of Vishwa Hindu Parishat had barged into one of the Churches in Hubballi.

Also to be noted is that the Archbishop, Reverend Peter has reportedly written a letter to Chief Minister, Basavaraj Bommai against the possible tabling of Bill to ban religious conversions in the upcoming winter session of the state assembly. It is said that the BJP government is making all efforts to table the Bill in the session in order to bring in a law against religious conversions.

In recent times, there has been an increase in the number of such incidents that are being reported from Karnataka wherein the right-wing elements are creating troubles to break the communal harmony to create an environment to legitimize the anti-conversion law that the government intends to bring in. While the attacks against the Muslim community continue across the country in times of heightened radical Hindutva-ization of the society, the attacks on the Christian community, in particular, have also been on the rise.

In October, a fact-finding report Christians under Attack in India was released jointly by the Association for the Protection of Civil Rights, United Against Hate, and United Christian Forum to shed light on the growing menace of hate crimes against Christians in different parts of the country, especially northern India, by right-wing Hindu nationalist groups and the police’s blatant complicity in the same.

Even in the state of Karnataka, one can witness an increasing amount of communal attacks on the Christian community. Just last week, the Belagavi police had ‘advised’ Pastors in the district not to hold prayer meetings till the assembly session in Belgavi’s Suvarna Soudha be concluded. Read about the same below.

Even, the Tulunadu also known popularly as Dakshina Kannada, a steep rise in the communal policing incidents was documented in a recent report that was released by the joint report released by Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties – Karnataka, All India Lawyers’ Association for Justice (AILAJ), All India People’s Forum (AIPF) and Gaurilankeshnews.com.The report titled From Communal Policing to Hate Crimes: The Attack on Ambedkar’s Dream of Fraternity analyzed the communal incidents reported in the region between January and September of 2021. A total of 71 cases of communal incidents were reported during the period which has been identified into six different types of communal incidents.

They are; implementing social discrimination, controlling friendly relations, social boycott, attacks in the name of cow, controlling religious freedom, and giving inflammatory speeches.

The report also elicits the potential role that the police can play in controlling the spread of communal hatred. However, with detailed evidence, the report elicits how Police have failed to initiate actions against those involved in attacks and violence, but also morally police the victims instead of providing them with the required support.

In most cases, the police have not filed any case against those who have created trouble in inter-religious relations. Instead, they have called the inter-religious friends or couple to the police station, the report notes. The reports state clearly that the police are acting like the associates of people who are trying to forcibly separate inter-religious couples.

In such a situation, Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai who is supposed to be curbing such incidents and elements has been justifying the act by stating that ‘actions will see reactions’ openly in the media.


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June 2024


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