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Mob Disrupts Prayers at Bengaluru Church, Attacks Worshippers

A mob targeted a church in Bengaluru on 19 December and asked the worshippers to stop prayers.

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Three days before the Karnataka Assembly passed the controversial anti-conversion bill, a church in Bengaluru was targeted by an angry mob that disrupted prayers and attacked worshippers on 19 December.

Heaven's Kingdom Church in Bengaluru was targeted and the mob engaged in a scuffle with worshippers, including women, asking them to stop prayers.

The Quint visited the church a day after the attack and spoke to the worshippers who were in a state of shock after the disturbing incident.

Speaking to The Quint, Pastor Ramesh GB said that the mob demanded permission to offer prayers at the church.

"Our brother was attacked by the mob for recording the incident. The mob also attacked women who tried to intervene, used vulgar language and threw chairs," he said.

The Pastor also said that the attackers suspected them of forcefully asking people to come to church.

"We have not done any such thing," he added.

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"Three to four people attacked me, pushed me, and hit me from behind. My nose was injured," Prasanna Kumar said.

The mob allegedly abused, targeted women during the argument.

"Attackers did not realise that there are ladies. One of the attackers grabbed my hand and asked me to delete the video of the attack," Pramila Prasanna said as she narrated the incident.

"I want to follow this with my own will, nobody has forced me to do this. Freedom of worship is mentioned in the Constitution," Pramila added.

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The attack at the Bengaluru Church took place a week before Christmas. Worshippers had informed the police, however, the attackers were let off after a 'compromise'.

The police told The Quint that the incident was a 'minor scuffle' between two groups over complaint of 'loud music'. The visuals, however, suggest otherwise.

A slew of attacks on churches and the Christian community in the state have been documented.

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Karnataka has reported at least 39 incidents of hate crimes against the Christian community in 2021, a report by People's Union for Civil Liberties revealed.

The attacks and wave of violence are on the rise after the state Assembly gave a nod to the anti-conversion bill.

The Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, or the 'anti-conversion bill' aims to prevent “unlawful conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, undue influence, coercion, allurement or by any fraudulent means or marriage”.

However, while the legal validity of the ‘freedom of religion’ bill remains largely questionable, with the Opposition, activists and residents in the state calling it unconstitutional and an attempt to 'promote hate politics'.

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