Saturday, January 29, 2011

Law Minister slams probe report on attack on Christians in Karnataka

New Delhi:  Law Minister Veerappa Moily has slammed the probe report on church attacks in Karnataka and called it a "failure."

In some good news for the beleaguered BJP government in Karnataka, the commission set up to investigate a series of attacks on churches in 2008 said on Friday that neither the government nor the police can be faulted.

The report submitted by the one-man commission states: "There is no basis to the apprehension of Christian petitioners that the politicians, BJP, mainstream Sangh Parivar and state government directly or indirectly, are involved in the attacks."

That leaves Karnataka wondering who exactly vandalized its churches in eight different districts. The report dodges that bullet, stating, "The attacks are indulged in by misguided fundamentalist miscreants of defined or undefined groups or organisations against Christians and Christianity who have mistakenly presumed that they would be protected by the party in power with their policies at the relevant time."

In September 2008, churches were vandalized in different parts of Karnataka like Mangalore, Udupi, Kolar, Bellary. 

BK Somasekhara, a former judge, was assigned to investigate the attacks by the newly-elected BJP government which was confronting its first major crisis. 

"This is not an attack on Christians. This is an attack against conversions, against those who hurt Hindu feelings," Mahendra Kumar had said at the time. He was then the convener of the Bajrang Dal and he seemed uninhibited about justifying the offense.     

Christians in the state describe Somasekhara's findings as a please-all pardon.  "It has given a clean chit to everybody. As you are aware, our churches were attacked, innocent people were attacked," said Father Jayanathan, Vicar General, Archdiocese of Bangalore.

The Chief Minister, BS Yeddyurappa, is currently dealing with multiple allegations of corruption and persistent demands for his resignation by the Opposition. There's also a public and shrill war between the government and the Governor of the state, who has sanctioned the Chief Minister's prosecution. So he was cautious in discussing the developments.

"The Home Ministry will examine what the government should do further in this regard. Till then, it's not appropriate to discuss any other point at this stage," he said.

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