India Gov't Criticizes States amid Anti-Christian Attacks

Following the persecution of Christians in Orissa and Karnataka, the Government of India on Thursday criticized the state governments for their failure to control the violence by Hindu radical groups.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a warning under Article 355 that it would be compelled to take action against the state governments if violence did not cease.

Article 355 of the Constitution enjoins the Union to protect every State against external aggression and internal disturbance and to ensure that the government of every State is carried on in accordance with the provisions of the Constitution.

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According to reports, the VHP and Bajrang Dal groups have persecuted Christians in various parts of the country.

After the Orissa violence where hundreds of churches were burned and Christians were murdered, Bajrang Dal and VHP groups shifted their attention to South India, where the ongoing violence in Mangalore and other areas have been deplored countrywide.

In Mangalore, schools and shops remained shut and vehicles kept off the roads following group clashes and demonstrations by Christian groups that protested attacks on them.

The National Commission for Minorities said that there are "serious lapses" on the part of the Karnataka government in controlling the attacks on churches and prayer halls throughout the State.

It has sought the arrest of Bajrang Dal State convener Mahendra Kumar, who has claimed responsibility for many of the attacks, and action against the police personnel, who allegedly abetted violence.

Recent anti-Christian violence in Karnataka and in the eastern state of Orissa have led to calls for a ban on Bajrang Dal and the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, another militant Hindu organization.

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