Attacks on Christian groups expose fault lines in Karnataka


Bengaluru: Karnataka has witnessed at least 39 incidents of attacks on Christian community members this year till November, according to data compiled by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), a human rights body. While official figures on attacks of Christians last year are not available, several activists have claimed the cases have increased this year.

Activists have also drawn a parallel between the rise in attacks on the Christian community and the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party’s (BJP) push for an “anti-conversion” bill in the state. The chief minister Basavaraj Bommai-led Karnataka government has created a draft “anti-conversion” bill to check “forced religious conversions” in the state, activists argued.

“Compared to now, there were fewer attacks. The increase in these attacks has happened especially after the new chief minister (Basavaraj Bommai) took over. The CM giving assurance to pass the anti-conversion bill has made it seem like Christians are a threat to the Hindu community,” said B Rajasekhar, president of the Christian Forum for Human Rights.

Rajasekhar had filed multiple cases against the state government led by former chief minister BS Yediyurappa, for not taking action against multiple cases of attack on Christians between 2003 and 2018.

The Archbishop of Bengaluru, Peter Machado, also claimed the attitude of the government was a reason for the “increase in attacks” on the Christian community. “Certain behaviour or certain utterances from the government, certain attitude from the government is the reason that this (attacks) is allowed and tolerated. This can go on and is sad for us,” said the Archbishop.