In yet another incident of right-wing groups targeting a Christian prayer hall, members of the Bajrang Dal stormed into a prayer hall in Belur in Karnataka’s Hassan district, alleging ‘conversion’. Videos of the incident which have surfaced show Bajrang Dal members wearing a saffron shawl around their necks and shouting at some people from the Christian community. The videos also show some women from the prayer hall in a verbal confrontation with the Bajrang Dal members as another person tries to disperse the crowd.
TNM contacted the Belur police and an official said that a verbal confrontation had taken place between the Bajrang Dal and members of the Christian community. “Both of them (the Bajrang Dal and community members) were arguing when we reached. We reached the place and warned both of them not to create a ruckus and sent them away,” the official said. The official added that no complaints were filed by either the Bajrang Dal or the community members and no FIR has been registered.
This is not the first time that Hindutva activists belonging to right-wing organisations like the Bajrang Dal and Sri Rama Sene have barged into churches and Christian prayer halls in recent times. Such incidents have been reported in several areas including Udupi, Kodagu, Belagavi, Chikballapur, Kanakapura and Arsikere.
Earlier this week, TNM reported on how the Belagavi police had given a so-called ‘friendly warning’ to churchgoers and the Christian community in general to avoid prayer meetings, stating that they could be attacked by right-wing groups.
Several right-wing activists whom TNM spoke to last month in the context of such tensions admitted that the attacks were meant to create an atmosphere against conversion, at a time when the Karnataka government is planning to introduce anti-conversion laws. The controversial anti-conversion Bill is expected to be introduced in the upcoming winter session of the Karnataka Assembly scheduled to take place at Belagavi in December.