Mangalore Church Attacked Days After PM's Remarks on Religious Tolerance

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A church in Mangalore in Karnataka was vandalised last night

Mangalore: 

A church in Mangalore in Karnataka has been vandalised last night; its window panes and door were damaged, though the statues within remained untouched, said police sources.

The attack comes days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi vowed to protect all religious groups; his comments were seen as a response to a series of attacks on Christian institutions in New Delhi fuelling concerns that minorities are being targeted by Hindu extremist groups.

"I condemn all incidents of violence where religious minorities were targeted," PM Modi had said at an event organised by the Christian community to celebrate the beatification of two Indians by Pope Francis late last year. "No religious group can incite violence... my government will ensure there is complete freedom of faith," he had said, in remarks that were welcomed by the Opposition which has accused him of failing to protect religious minorities.

This week, Mohan Bhagwat, chief of the Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh or RSS, incited fierce criticism after he said that Mother Teresa's service to the poor was pinned on a drive to convert them to Christianity.

The RSS is the ideological mentor of the Prime Minister's party, the BJP. Mr Bhagwat has, in recent months, presided over a series of controversies for declaring India is a nation of Hindus, a descriptor that has been attacked for undermining the equality to all faiths guaranteed by the Constitution.

The PM has been accused by opponents of failing to rein in hardline affiliate groups focused on a Hindu-dominant agenda that includes ghar wapasi - the campaign to  convert Muslims and Christians to Hinduism.

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