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150-year-old church vandalised in Karnataka amid anti-conversion bill controversy

Police reported on Thursday that unidentified assailants vandalised a church in Karnataka’s Chikkaballapur district, around 65 kilometres from Bengaluru.

Before a police complaint was filed, a parishioner reported the damage to a statue of St Antony. A huge stone was found within an enclosure where the statue was stored at the 150-year-old church.

According to the police, an inquiry has been launched. The Chickaballapur rural police station has filed a First Information Report (FIR) against unknown individuals for vandalising St Anthony’s statue at St Joseph’s Church.

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A number of attacks against Christians have occurred throughout the state as a result of supposed conversions. According to a study by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties, 39 hate crimes against the community were registered in Karnataka in 2021. The 39 occurrences were detailed in the study ‘Criminalizing the Practice of Faith’. It went on to say that in certain cases, police and politicians collaborated with right-wing groups to carry out the assaults.

The new assault occurred after the state administration introduced an anti-conversion bill in the Karnataka legislature. Protests have erupted in response to the bill, which has been accompanied by accusations on Christians for allegedly forcing or alluring individuals to convert.


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