As the Centre sent out a harsh message to Karnataka — and milder versions to Orissa and Madhya Pradesh — to act decisively against continuing communal violence, fresh attacks on minorities rocked Karnataka and MP on Friday. The earlier attacks claimed 30 lives and damaged 173 churches.
The directive was issued a day after the 150-year-old St Peter and St Paul Cathedral were set on fire in Jabalpur in MP. The Jabalpur attacks coincided with fresh attacks on Karnataka churches, in Moorje in Chikmagalur and Chikaballappur, 50 km from Bangalore.
The Centre was categorical in pointing out that communal violence amounted to a "breach of Constitution" and directed Karnataka to deploy force to prevent any further violence.
The state was told to make preventive arrests and ensure violence, vandalism and intimidation stop.
The BJP reacted angrily: Spokesperson Ravi Shankar Prasad said the situation was normal in these states.
Gujarat Chief Minister Narendra Modi branded the advisories as a bid to deflect attention from terrorism. He accused the Centre of targeting states where the Congress was not in power.
Friday's advisory to Karnataka was the second in the less than 24 hours. Karnataka had dismissed the earlier one as “routine”. The directive demanded a situation report, an action-taken reports and another on what the state proposed to do.
The directive said “continuing violence”, intimidation of minority-community members, and that those behind such incidents remain free “are a matter of serious concern”.
The Centre opted for the harshly-worded directive to Karnataka — and not just a “caution” — which would need to cite and invoke provisions under Article 355.
The Orissa government was asked to ensure against recurrence of violence; MP was sent a separate message. A general advisory asking the states to maintain communal harmony has also been sent.