Historic church vandalized by unknown perpetrators
According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), a historic church in India’s Karnataka state was attacked and vandalized by unknown individuals days before Christmas. Local Christians have tied the incident to the introduction and passage of an anti-conversion law in Karnataka.
“A statue of Saint Anthony was found broken in St. Joseph Church in Bangalore Archdiocese on December 23 morning,” J.A. Kantharaj, the public relations officer for the archdiocese, told UCAN. “We have no clue who could be behind the attack.”
St. Joseph Church is more than 150 years old and located in Bangalore, the information technology capital of India. Local Christians suspect the attack was perpetrated by radical Hindu nationalists as part of a wider strategy to intimidate the state’s Christian community.
In recent weeks, Karnataka’s BJP-led government has championed the enactment of an anti-conversion law. BJP politicians have publicly used false anti-Christian narratives to justify the need of the anti-conversion law, drumming more anti-Christian violence across the state.
On December 21, the controversial Karnataka Protection of Right to Religion Freedom Bill, 2021, the official name of the anti-conversion law, was introduced to Karnataka’s Legislative Assembly. The bill has since been passed and awaits approval and enactment.
Christians fear the enactment of the anti-conversion law will only increase the high levels of persecution being endured by their community. in Karnataka.