Masked men attack Mumbai church: Reports

NEW DELHI (AFP) - A church in Mumbai was attacked by masked men Saturday, local media reported, the latest in a series of attacks on churches in Hindu-majority India.

Closed-circuit camera footage captured three masked men hurling stones at a church early Saturday in the state capital of Mumbai, prompting city police to file an initial case against the "unknown people".

"The miscreants had thrown stones at the church entrance from the roadside and later fled from there. A case has been registered... for further investigation," senior Mumbai police official SB Suryavanshi told The Times of India.

Suryavanshi told NDTV news channel that no arrests had been made so far.

The latest attack comes a week after an elderly nun was raped at a convent school in the eastern state of West Bengal, which triggered protests across the country over the high levels of sexual violence and rise in attacks against churches.

Last month, Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged a crackdown on religious violence and to ensure freedom of worship for all faiths in the wake of a wave of attacks on churches.

Priests and other Christian leaders have blamed the attacks on religious hardliners who have become emboldened since Modi swept to power last May.

Modi had been heavily criticised for not speaking out earlier against religious violence and has also faced flak for remaining silent about a spate of mass "re-conversions" of Christians and Muslims to Hinduism.

Around 80 per cent of India's 1.2 billion population is Hindu, but it is also home to large numbers of Muslims, Christians and Buddhists.

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