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Christians report attacks in Mangalore

Unidentified assailants burned nativity crib, pelted prayer hall with stones

A nativity crib burned in an attack in Karnataka yesterday A nativity crib burned in an attack in Karnataka yesterday
  • Francis Rodrigues, Mangalore
  • India
  • December 29, 2011
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Catholic authorities in Mangalore yesterday reported two separate attacks on Christian buildings in which a prayer hall was damaged and the crib of a nativity scene was burned.

Fr Ivan D’Souza, a parish priest in Karnataka, said he suspected Hindu extremists were behind the burning of a community crib built during a parish-wide holiday competition.

He said they were likely trying to “disturb the peace of the place.”

Regina Fernandes, who lives near the site of the attack, said she heard dogs barking at about 3am yesterday morning.

“We saw the crib on fire and rushed outside and tried to put out the fire. In the morning we saw kerosene and petrol bottles in the crib.”

Meanwhile in Haleyangad, a group of about 12 unidentified people hurled stones and broke window panes at a Protestant prayer hall belonging to Hebron Church.

ID Prasanna, the local pastor, said the attackers also damaged three motorbikes parked near the church, and that closed circuit cameras had recorded the attackers fleeing the scene.

He added that local police commissioner Seemanth Kumar Singh had visited the hall and assured him that a complete investigation would be conducted.

Yesterday’s attacks follow an assault on a group of Christians on Christmas Day.

Donald Menezes, head pastor of the New Life Fellowship in Karnataka, said about 15 people attacked members of the fellowship while they were dining in a private home.

One of the victims sustained a fractured leg in the attack, he said.

“We condemn the continued attacks on Christians,” he said following the incident.

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