In fight over plot, man sets church on fire

In fight over plot, man sets church on fire

A man and  his associates set fire to a church at Narasipura in Vidyaranyapura in the early hours of Saturday to avenge his neighbours.

Three persons were detained in connection with the incident. Later, it was found that the building owner, along with his security guards and a few of his associates, had planned the entire incident to take revenge on his neighbours.

According to the police, the suspects are Krishnappa, 67, a resident of Narasipura and the building owner and Balakrishna, 32, a native of Hassan, working as a security guard in the building.

A few associates of Krishnappa have been also detained and questioned.

Krishnappa, owner of a two-storey building, had rented out the second floor to Taberah Full Gospel Church. The first floor housed a few shops, while his family lived in the ground floor. The church was started around 11 years ago and pastor Raj Rajan was in charge of the place of worship, said the police.

Opposite Krishnappa’s building is another complex and behind it is a vacant plot. An aged couple, Shardamma and Yellappa, had erected a shed and were staying there and claimed that the residential plot belonged to them. But Krishnappa claimed he was the actual owner of the disputed plot. They had fought over the issue several times. A few weeks ago, Krishnappa went around the area saying he will start construction of a building in the plot and asked the couple to vacate, added the police.

A senior police officer said, “Krishnappa wanted to take revenge on Sharadamma and Fayaz, one of the neighbours, as they had lodged an attempt-to-murder complaint against him in the Vidyaranyapura police station in September 2014. So, he planned to teach them a lesson and set fire to the church in the early hours of Saturday. Later, he lodged a complaint against Sharadamma and Fayaz accusing them of setting fire to the church.”

On suspicion, the police picked up Balakrishna and questioned him. He revealed that he, along with Krishnappa and his associates, set fire to the church and blamed it on Sharadamma and Fayaz, the officer said.

Krishnappa was also questioned and he confessed to committing the crime.

The police arrested the duo and have detained a few others for questioning, the officer added.

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