Karnataka Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyurappa today blamed an “organised group” for the twin attacks on churches in the state, saying it was an attempt to tarnish the BJP government’s image.

Governor Dr H. R. Bhardwaj called for dealing with the forces disturbing communal peace and harmony with a “heavy hand.”

“I am aware of the incidents. Since these incidents have happened before Republic Day, I suspect some organised group is trying to tarnish the image of the government which is working for the welfare of the people,” Yeddyurappa, who is facing flak over the attacks, said after the Republic Day parade.

Yeddyurappa’s comments came after the Governor said in his Republic Day address it was the constitutional duty of every government to deal with heavy hand forces disturbing communal peace and harmony.

“I have no doubt that the concerned law enforcing agencies will act with promptitude against the offenders”, Bhardwaj, who in the past was critical of the law and order situation in the state and government’s handling of flood situation, said.

Bhardwaj said the founding fathers had a vision to build a secular, united democratic society with people of all faiths and religions enjoying basic freedom and right to practice their religion.

This is the basis of our democracy and there is no room to violate this fundamental principle of governance in our society,” Bhardwaj said, assuring “every Kannadiga-Hindu, Muslim, Christian, Sikh, Jain, or others-that they are secure in this land and their life, faith and property will be protected.”

Bhardwaj said secularism was the basic structure of our constitution and “it is my duty to ensure that the constitution principles are followed by all concerned in letter and spirit.”

“We are committed to protecting the interest of the minorities,” Yeddyurappa, whose government had come under fire over a spate of attacks on churches last year, said.

The Chief Minister said he had spoken to the police on the attacks on churches in Mysore and Bhatkal and assured that action would be taken against the culprits.

Miscreants had attacked two churches and damaged a statue of Mother Mary in Mysore and Bhatkal in Uttara Kannada district yesterday.