Bangalore: Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa, who has been criticised for vandalisation of churches in the state, on Wednesday said hands of those who indulge in such acts should be "cut off".
"I am telling you chop off the hands of these people if you catch them," Yeddyurappa told a public meeting in Karwar in Uttara Kannada district.
"You may wonder why a Chief Minister is saying such things. But what can be done when people try to hit at the very basis of our society, that of peace and brotherhood?" he said.
And he repeated: "cut off those hands".
On Monday, a statue of Mother Mary in the premises of Holy Family church at Hinkal, about 10 km from Mysore, was broken and the glass casing of a grotto of St. Mary at St. Antony's Church in Teranmakki village, 10 km from Bhatkal city, in Uttara Kannada district, was vandalised.
Governor H R Bhardwaj referred to the incidents in his Republic Day address Tuesday.
"Karnataka has long been distinguished for its tolerant and peace-loving citizens. People from all communities and faiths have lived here for centuries in harmony. The fresh attacks on churches are regrettable," the governor said in the presence of Yeddyurappa, his cabinet colleagues and top civil and police officials at the Republic Day function in Bangalore.
"It is the constitutional duty of every government to deal firmly with the forces which tend to disturb communal peace and harmony," Bhardwaj said.
Yeddyurappa said Monday and reiterated the next day that the frequent attacks on churches was a conspiracy to bring bad name to his government.
"The fact that these took place on the eve of the Republic Day clearly showed it was a conspiracy to tarnish the image of my government," he asserted.