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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Wednesday, 17 September 2008 16:35 UK

More church attacks in Karnataka

A church attacked by a mob in Karnataka on 14 September 2008
The attacks have been blamed on radical Hindu groups

Two more churches have been vandalised in the southern Indian state of Karnataka, police say.

They say that a prayer hall was damaged by unidentified men in an attack at Ujjre near the city of Mangalore and a church attacked in the town of Kolar.

Police have arrested more than 170 people for violence in the state which injured at least 40 over the weekend.

The right wing Bajrang Dal group claims that Hindus are being illegally converted to Christianity in the area.

Riots

More than a dozen churches have allegedly been ransacked by Hindu radicals in Karnataka.

Tension in the coastal city of Mangalore has diminished after three days of riots in which churches and clergymen were attacked.

Recent anti-Christian violence in Karnataka - and in the eastern state of Orissa - have led to calls for a ban on Bajrang Dal and another militant Hindu organisation, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP, World Hindu Council).

Karnataka's Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa, said the attacks were provoked by conversions of Hindus to Christianity by some Christian groups.

He blamed a Protestant group for triggering the disturbances in the state by distributing literature which insulted Hindu gods.

Christian leaders have denied the charge and said that Mr Yeddyurappa's Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) was inciting violence instead of calming the tense situation in the state.

Christians say lower-caste Hindus convert willingly to escape the Hindu caste system.

Orissa has seen anti-Christian violence for several weeks now.

At least 20 people - most of them Christians - were killed after a Hindu religious leader there was shot dead.


SEE ALSO
Arrests over India church attacks
15 Sep 08 |  South Asia
Riots grip India's Orissa region
26 Aug 08 |  South Asia
Indian police shoot three dead
28 Dec 07 |  South Asia

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