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Hindu extremists attack Catholic church in India

A group of armed extremists of the pro-Hindu Bajrang Dal attacked a Catholic church during a Sunday Mass, injuring seven people including a 4-year-old child.

Seventy men entered into Holy Family Church in nearby Hinkal around 9:15 a.m. shouting anti-Christian slogans and lashing out at the 400-strong congregation with clubs and stones.

The men damaged the windows of the church and ransacked the parish priest's room, sources said. The mob charged the local Christians with converting Hindus to Christianity.

The parish priest, identified only as Father William, said the mob descended on the church while the Catholic children of the parish were attending catechism classes. The activists stormed the church led by some local Hindu leaders, after heated exchanges with the priest. The priest identified one of the attackers as Keshavamurthy, the district secretary of the local unit of Bajrang Dal.

No arrests have been made in the attack. Police have boosted security for the church.

According to local Catholic leaders, the Bajrang Dal group disrupted a carol singing program last Christmas. The Catholic community here believes that the Sunday incident could have been averted had the police taken action against those responsible for the earlier attack. Vijayanagar police inspector Marikale Gowda has promised to take action against the assailants.