An Indian church leader has criticized the chief minister of India's southern Karnataka state for saying that those responsible for a continuing series of attacks on churches should have their hands cut off.
In an apparent exasperation about criticisms of government action following the attacks in Karnataka, its chief minister, B.S. Yeddyurappa, declared at a public meeting this week, "I am telling you, chop off the hands of these people if you catch them."
Yeddyurappa belongs to the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP), which controls the state government. Opponents say the BJP has a Hindu nationalist agenda.
"We do not want hands to be chopped off; we want the government to arrest the culprits and bring them to justice," Methodist Bishop Taranath Sagar, president of the National Council of Churches in India, told Ecumenical News International on January 28, 2010. He added that the "virtual immunity" that existed following attacks on churches was at the root of the continued violence.