An unidentified man attacked a Catholic priest with a knife in the southern Indian state of Karnataka.
As Fides learned, on December 11 an unknown person entered the church of St. Joseph the worker in Baibhav Nagar, in the Belagavi district, and, for no reason, tried to attack the parish priest, Father Francis D’Souza. The incident took place at the residence of Father D’Souza, a Catholic priest of the diocese of Belgaum. The attacker, who was hiding near the house, tried to hit the priest with a large blade as soon as he left the house. Father Francis fled, while the attacker tried to chase him. In the hustle and bustle, the people of the neighborhood rushed to the place, and at that point, the man disappeared. The police have started an investigation after obtaining the images from surveillance cameras. Investigators have identified the defendant and searches are underway to arrest him.
The defendant, according to the first reconstructions, seems to have mental problems.
“I went outside when I heard the dog barking nervously, and I noticed that the front door was open. I went out to close it when a man, armed with a long knife, tried to attack me. I fled and called for help”, said Father D’Souza, after escaping from danger. In another episode of violence, radical Hindu groups set fire to Christian religious books in Kolar, also in Karnataka, accusing a local Protestant church of proselytizing. The incident occurred while representatives of the Christian community were going door-to-door as part of a preaching campaign. According to the Commission for Religious Freedom of the Indian Evangelical Association (EFI), the Kolar incident is the 39th episode of violence against Christian religious minorities in Karnataka in the past 12 months. According to local sources of Fides, there has been an increase in such incidents since the state government led by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) began considering a bill to ban forced religious conversions. In Karnataka, Christians make up 1.87% of the population of the vast state of southern India (2011 census), which has 61 million people, 84% Hindu, and 13% Muslim.