ASIA/INDIA - Vandalism in a Catholic church in southern India

Thursday, 23 December 2021 religious freedom   religious minorities   violence  

Bangalore (Agenzia Fides) - A 160-year-old Catholic church in the Chikkaballapur district, in the southern Indian state of Karnataka was vandalized on the morning of December 22. As confirmed to Fides by Father Joseh Anthony Daniel, parish priest of the Church of San José in Susaipalya, about 65 km from Bangalore, unknown persons entered the church around five thirty in the morning, destroying the rooms and damaging holy objects. The parish priest has filed a complaint with the police who are investigating the events.
In recent weeks, in various districts of Karnataka state in southern India, there have been episodes of intercommunal tension and violence against Christians. At the root of the tensions is the new bill that aims to limit religious conversions, presented in the state parliament assembly in recent days. According to the national government, in the hands of the Bharatiya Janata Hindu Nationalist Party (BJP), the bill entitled “Protection of the right to freedom of religion” aims to prevent “forced conversions”. According to observers, it actually targets religious minorities (Christians and Muslims) and even provides harsher penalties than similar laws in force in other Indian states. There were public protests against the bill throughout Karnataka, with the participation of Mgr. Peter Machado, Catholic Archbishop of Bangalore (see Fides 14/12/2021).
In Karnataka, 84% of the 61 million people are Hindus, while Muslims represent 13% and Christians 2% of the total population. (SD-PA) (Agenzia Fides, 23/12/2021)