Tuesday, October 07, 2008

NCM for ban on Bajrang Dal

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, October 5
The Bajrang Dal has come under further pressure with the National Commission of Minorities (NCM) suggesting a ban on it, saying such organisations were responsible for the “breakdown of communal harmony” while seeking a judicial enquiry into the violence against the Christian community in Karnataka.

The commission in its report submitted to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh a few days back said, “The state must keep a close watch on the activities of all such organisations that have contributed to the breakdown of communal harmony there. Remedial action, including a ban and prosecution, should be initiated.”

Terming the violence as gross violation of human rights, the NCM sought a judicial enquiry into the attacks on churches there. An inquiry commission headed by a sitting judge of a high court should be instituted, the commission said.

The NCM’s suggestion comes in the wake of a visit by its team to BJP-ruled Karnataka, where churches have been brunt down.

While the commission has rubbished allegations that large-scale conversions of Hindus to Christianity was the reason for the violence in the state, it recommended a thorough enquiry into the origin of the pamphlet denigrating Hindu gods, which is said to have acted as the immediate provocation for the violence. There was no evidence of even a single conversion, it added.

Noting that the attacks on Christians and their institutions appeared well-planned, the commission suggested the state government to pay special attention to build an effective intelligence unit.

The commission headed by Mohammad Shafi Qureshi visited Mangalore, Bangalore and Udupi last month to assess the situation after the attacks on Christians and their places of worship.

According to the report, the Bangalore administration told the NCM that of the 83 persons lodged in judicial custody in connection with the communal clashes, 36 belonged to the Bajrang Dal.

The report said the District Magistrate and the SSP of Udupi district told the NCM that all 17 persons arrested in the district for violence belonged to the Bajrang Dal. The NCM team also took up the statements of Bajrang Dal’s Karnataka chief Mahendra Kumar, who reportedly claimed that he damaged the prayer halls in the state.

The NCM has said Mahendra Kumar had not been arrested so far and he should be arrested and serious action be taken against him as well as other persons responsible for the acts.

The commission has already submitted its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. The report suggests remedial action, including a ban and prosecution, should be initiated. Communal harmony should be maintained at all costs. The NCM has also asked for action against policemen, who allegedly brutally thrashed 25 Christian women at Mangalore. The NCM said it also visited a Christian school in Mangalore, where around 25 women in the age group of 26 to 75 years showed injury marks on their bodies. The women alleged that policemen beat them up with canes and lathis in the prayer hall of the school. Separately, the commission has demanded a flexible approach in giving compensation to the victims of communal clashes in Orissa.

Underlining the problem faced by those whose kin have died without their bodies being recovered, the commission asked the BJD-BJP government to give compensation to their families by relying on the testimony of eyewitnesses to the murder or even by taking an indemnity bond from the compensation recipients.

Bajrang Dal denies role in violence

Bajrang Dal's National Convenor Prakash Sharma today ruled out the involvement of his organisation in the recent violence in Orissa. “The violence in Orissa is not a good sign for the country and the Dal has no link with those incidents”, Sharma told reporters here. He also criticised the comparison of Bajrang Dal with the Students Islamic Movement of India (SIMI) and said such propaganda was being done to appease the voters. Sharma said Bajrang Dal was observing its silver jubilee this year and to mark the occasion a convention would be held in December in Ayodhya. Besides, Bajrang Dal would also organise 'Jan Jagaran Yatra' to unite the youths, Mr Sharma added. — UNI

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