Karnataka: Most Persecuted State – Attacks in Coorg, Hospet & Mulbagal
Karnataka, November 24, 2012: Alleged Hindu extremists attacked a worship meeting, tore Bibles and beat up a pastor in Kulshalanagar, Coorg district. Some angry extremists barged into the worship meeting conducted by Pastor Koshy, hurled verbal abuses against the congregation, accused Pastor Koshy of forceful conversion and proceeded to beat him up.
“The radicals tore one Bible inside the church, broke three Church windows and the roof tiles”, Pastor Koshy said. One church member alerted the Kushalanagar police station. The Sub-Inspector Chikkaswamy along with few constables visited the spot at about 12 noon and held an inquiry about the attack.
The police filed First Information Report against five extremists under Sections 295 A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs and other various Sections of the IPC.
Pastor Lewis Mascarenhas , a member of the Church of South India (CSI) is an evangelist based at Hospet in Bellary district of Karnataka. He lives with his wife Bhabitha Mascarenhas , at Shanthinagar in Hospet and has been sharing the message of Christ at Hospet and in the surrounding villages, during the last 5 years.
On 23-11-2012 Friday, at about 5 in the evening, he came across some Muslims in the town who struck a friendly note with him and expressed their desire to know more about Jesus Christ as per the belief of Christians in the teachings of Christ. In response to their curiosity he gave them a couple handbills dealing with the Christian faith and also tried to explain to them what exactly the gospels say about the birth, life, death and then of the resurrection of Christ. As he was answering some of their questions about Christianity, the news spread like wild fire in the town that a Christian was trying to forcibly convert Muslims to Christianity. Immediately a crowd gathered and began attacking the pastor without trying to know exactly what was happening.
The enraged Muslims then dragged the profusely bleeding pastor to the Hospet Rural police station at Chithodagi and filed a case against him alleging that he was forcibly trying to convert Muslims to Christianity. The police after a brief inquiry rushed the pastor to the B.C. Acharya Hospital at Hospet and got him admitted as an in-patient. He is under the police custody in the hospital as the police have filed a case against him for insulting the religious sentiments of Muslims as well as for forcibly trying to convert them to Christianity.
As a sequel to the incident the Muslims have begun attacking the churches and the institutions run by Christians in Hospet by pelting stones and destroying the church property. Muslims were also contemplating upon calling for a Hospet Bundh as a protest in this regard, which, as we have learnt, is being prevented after discussions among the concerned senior leaders of different communities in Hospet. Anticipating further trouble, police protection is being provided to Churches and Christian institutions in Hospet.