On camera, a man armed with a machete walks into the Karnataka church and pursues a priest
A man armed with a machete broke into a church in Belagavi in Karnataka yesterday afternoon and pursued the responsible priest.
CCTV footage of the incident shows the man, machete in hand, following Father Francis D’souza, head of the church. On seeing him, we see the priest walking away. The armed intruder follows him a bit but runs away later. The man is also seen carrying a thread, but it is not known why he brought it.
– NDTV (@ndtv) 12 December 2021
The incident occurs the day before the Assembly meeting for the winter session in Belagavi. A bill against religious conversions, which the opposition and Christian organizations oppose, must be tabled in the Assembly this session.
Following a police complaint about Sunday’s incident, security was assured at the church and an investigation was launched.
A senior police officer told NDTV: “Security blanket has been put in place around the church. We have the CCTV footage. The investigation is ongoing.
JA Kanthraj, spokesperson for the Archdiocese of Bangalore, called the incident a “dangerous and disturbing development”.
In September this year, following a meeting with 30 Hindu religious leaders, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj S Bommai said that the state would soon have a law against religious conversions and that the government was planning to such laws in other states to frame the legislation.
This decision was challenged by the opposition Congress. The head of state party, DK Shivakumar, said the law was aimed at targeting Christians and would prevent investment in the state.
Opposing the move, the Archbishop of Bengaluru, Peter Machado, wrote to Chief Minister Bommai and urged him not to promote the legislation.
“The entire Christian community of Karnataka is united in opposing the proposed anti-conversion bill and questions the need for such an exercise when sufficient laws and judicial guidelines are in place to monitor any aberration of existing laws, “he wrote.
Citing articles 25 and 26 of the constitution, the archbishop said the introduction of such laws would violate the rights of citizens, especially minority communities.
“The anti-conversion bill would become a tool for fringe elements to do justice for themselves and to vitiate the atmosphere of community unrest in an otherwise peaceful state,” the Archbishop wrote.
He also questioned the order of the Karnataka government to conduct a survey of official and unofficial Christian missionaries and institutions and establishments operating in the state.