Booklet by convert fuels unrest
The precipitating cause that led to the attacks on churches was a controversial booklet written by a recent local convert to Christianity. BR Srikanth reports.Updated: Sep 17, 2008, 00:22 IST
The precipitating cause that led to the attacks on churches and prayer halls in this coastal hub and its adjoining districts was a controversial booklet written by a recent local convert to Christianity which made offensive references to Hindu gods comparing them adversely to ‘the one true god’ of the Christians.
Bajrang Dal sources claimed the booklet, called Satyadarshini (The Truth), written by one Lakshminarayan, had been distributed to parishioners of the New Life Fellowship Trust, part of the Pentecost Mission during the past three weekends. “I joined the worshippers at the church and collected a copy myself,” claimed Sharan Kumar, vice president of the Dakshina Kannada unit.
“No true believer in Jesus Christ would run down other religions,” said pastor Donald Menezes, who heads the local zone of 16 churches, insisting none of them had anything to do with the booklet. “I first learnt about it when some journalists showed it to me,” he told HT.
As this coastal hub, which saw a series of attacks by Hindu mobs on churches and prayer halls for the last three days, remained violence free for the first time on Tuesday, Home Minister V. S. Acharya, who visited the area, declared he would take action against the New Life Fellowship Trust.
“But the Bajrang Dal should not have taken the law into its own hands,” he said. “They could have brought the matter to the government’s notice. We have arrested 53 people for attacks on Christian places of worship.”
Acharya, however, also insisted that Christians were engaging in ‘conversions by deceit’ across the district, a charge Christians denied hotly. “Census figures show that the number of Christians in this district declined between 1992 and 2002,” he noted.