In two seemingly disconnected incidents, prayer meetings conducted by Christian groups were disrupted on Sunday in different parts of Karnataka.

At Bhovi Colony in Sira taluk of Tumkur district, the police entered a prayer meeting of a Pentecostal mission and detained the priest, besides confiscating musical instruments, around 1 p.m. While the police maintained that the prayer was causing nuisance, the priest and his followers claim that the police were acting at the behest of local Hindutva outfits.

Earlier, in Belgaum, activists of Sri Rama Sene, led by Ramakantha Konduskar and City Corporation councillor Deepak Jamkhandi, stormed into a prayer service being conducted by the New Life Fellowship at Kala Mandir in the Corporation building at 11.30 a.m. They roughed up the believers and intimidated them. Timely intervention by the local police saved the day.

“This is part of a larger pan-Karnataka phenomenon in which the Sangh Parivar is trying to polarise votes by stoking communal passions. In a majority of anti-Christian attacks since 2008, we have seen that the police and the bureaucracy have acted as extended arms of Hindutva organisations,” said Anand Kumar, State coordinator of the All India Christian Council.