Don't arrest innocents in church attack cases: Priests appeal to SP

Police are picking up innocent people from different places in Mangalore

In a memorandum submitted to the SP, the leaders stated that the police officers have been arresting innocents (other than those 235 persons against whom the cases have been already booked) thereby creating a fear psychosis among the members of minority community.

Stating that innocents are being picked up from Mangalore Rural, Bunder, Pandeshwar, Kadri, Ullal and Bajpe police station limits, Holy Cross Parish Priest Rev Fr Valerian Pinto appealed to the SP not to harass the innocents. “The recent arrests by the police have hurt the sentiments of Christians,” he said.

Meanwhile, Advocate Ivan D’Souza urged the SP to withdraw all cases with regard to the church attack incidents. “On several occasions like communal violence, cases have been withdrawn in the best interest of the public,” he said and urged the officer to withdraw cases as most of the incidents were an emotional outburst of devotees. He also recalled the assurance made by Home Minister Dr V S Acharya that no person other than those mentioned in the FIR will be made an accused in the church attack cases.

Assurance
In his reply, the SP assured the delegation that he would direct the police officers not to arrest the innocents. At the same time, he said that if the Corps of Detectives (CoD) were making the arrests, then he can not interefere in their investigations as it is entirely a different force. It may be recalled that a few cases have been handed over to the CoD.
The delegation comprised Fr Onil D’Souza, Fr Anil D’Souza, Sr Assumpta, Advocate Mariamma Thomas, leaders Susheel Noronha and Praveen Patrao among others.
The memorandum also stated that cases have already been booked against a total of 235 persons in connection with attack on 28 places of worship on September 14 and 15, 2008 and cases are pending in courts.

Governor appealed
A delegation led by Bishop Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D’Souza and Diocean PRO Fr William Menezes appealed to Governor H R Bharadwaj on Wednesday to withdraw all cases petaining to church attacks. “Though it is the fundamental right of every person to follow any faith of his or her choice, the church attack incidents have created fear psychosis and Christians are scared to go to even churches,” the memorandum stated.

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