Another Church Vandalised In Karnataka Amid Row Over Anti- Conversion Bill

Bengaluru: A church has been vandalised in Chikkaballapur district in southern Karnataka. The 160-year-old St Joseph’s church has a broken statue of St Anthony. The police came and took away the statue for further investigation. A first information report, or FIR, has been filed.

The priest of the church, Father Jospeh Anthony Daniel, told NDTV that the church in Susaipalya, some 65 km from state capital Bengaluru, is believed to have been damaged around 5.30 this morning.

A parishioner saw the damage at 5.40 am and immediately called the priest, who came to the spot. Father Joseph filed a complaint with the police.

He said this kind of vandalism had never happened before.

In recent weeks, there have been disturbances in Christian prayer meetings in different parts of Karnataka. A new bill has been introduced in the ongoing session of the state assembly in Belagavi, called the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill.The government says the bill is aimed at preventing forced conversions, but critics say it is targeting minorities in the state and is harsher than similar bills in other BJP-ruled states.

Protests against the bill have been held, including one in Bengaluru yesterday in which Archbishop Peter Machado participated.

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