'Attacks created hatred between communities'

'Attacks created hatred between communities'

First day inquiry of Justice Somasekhara Commission

As many as 19 witnesses were put under prosecution on the first day of the three-day inquiry process, of which majority, nearly 16 were Christian memorialists while three were Hindu memorialists.

Deposing before the Commission, Mothers of Sorrows Parish Pastoral Council Vice President Erwin Alva said the attack has created a scary atmosphere among the devotees. Until last year, the midnight prayers were held at churches during the feast. But after the attack, the midnight prayers have been cancelled since the number of the devotees attending the prayers is drastically reduced. Now the prayers are over by evening. Besides, the incident has also widened the differences between Hindu and Christian community. Earlier, both the communities in the district had a cordial relationship, he noted.

One of the witnesses Leslie Coelho from Ambalapadi alleged that the attacks have resulted in hatred among both the communities. The relationship is worsened to the most extent. Damage has been caused, he said.

“The incident has resulted in frightened concerns regarding security. It has added to the psychological fears and one should think twice before stepping out,” said Thomas D’Souza deposing before the Commission. Gregory Andrade said that the children are frightened and are not willing to go to schools, he said. Another witness Maxim Saldanha from Gundibailu informed that he was threatened by a group of 30 on November 2, who forcefully shut down his shop.

Summons will be served to nearly 60 to 70 witnesses and inquiry will be held during these two days. Speaking to Deccan Herald, Legal Advisor Raviparakash informed that the power assigned to him to hold the inquiry in the district was delegated by the Justice B K Somashekara. The provision is entrusted under the Inquiry of Commission Act. The decision was taken to enable the speedy process of recording the statements by the witnesses, he said.

Commission Chief Administrator Thimmavagol, Advocate for Christian memorialists Mary Shrestha, Advocate for Hindu memorialists Nagraj, Suprasad Shetty and others were present.

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