Karnataka minister Ashwathnarayan CN Wednesday claimed that there had been no attacks on Christians in the state despite the BJP governing state having seen several attacks by Hindutva outfits on Christians in the last 11 months.
A report by the People’s Union for Civil Liberties on Tuesday listed 39 incidents of violence against Christians in Karnataka between January and November.
When it was pointed out that attacks are real, and videos of them have been aired, the BJP minister told NDTV that “it might be fabricated.”
“We are the most peaceful state — Karnataka. There is no question of attacking churches or Christians. They are part and parcel of our society,” he said to the news channel.
Ashwathnarayan went on to say: “Some people might have created it to create this kind of perception, this kind of campaign. It can be created by anybody… Some people with vested interests are creating this kind of campaign.”
Karnataka has seen a rise in attacks against Christians in October and November after the governing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) proposed an anti-conversion law in the state.
The latest hate crime was reported in Kolar where Hindutva groups set Christian religious books on fire on Sunday.
While 27 attacks against Christians took place during the first 272 days of this year in Karnataka, 12 incidents took place between October and mid-December alone, according to a fact-finding report.
On Sunday, Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai said the bill on forcible religious conversion will be up for discussion in the Winter Session of the state assembly.
“The bill is only to prevent religious conversions by inducements. A majority of people want similar laws to be brought in the state after studying the laws enacted in other states,” Bommai said in a reference to the draconian anti-conversion law in Uttar Pradesh.
Asked if there are any figures on forcible conversions in Karnataka, a senior BJP leader Vaman Acharya said to NDTV that “data is not necessary.”
He claimed that Christian population in the country had increased from 0.5% to 3%, according to the 2011 Census. However, according to data from the 2011 Census, Christians accounted for 1.87% of the population.
Meanwhile, Karnataka Congress state chief D.K. Shivakumar said his party would oppose the proposed anti-conversion Bill, arguing that it was aimed at targeting the Christian community.
“In whatever form the Government introduces the Bill, we will oppose it,” D K Shivakumar said.
“The government is attempting to undermine the contributions of the Christian community in education and other fields by proposing this (anti-conversion) law,” said Shivakumar.
Shivakumar further alleged that this law is being done by the saffron party “with an eye on the 2023 Assembly polls.”