Ban communal outfits: Panel

Ban communal outfits: Panel

Church attacks blamed on Sangh Parivar

Ban communal outfits: Panel

The commission headed by  Justice B K Somasekhara also indicated that senior police and district administration officers colluded with Sangh Parivar outfits when various churches across 13 districts came under attack.

In line after line of the six-page executive summary of the interim report, Justice Somasekhara has used the noun, “impression”, no less than 15 times. So, according to the report, “there are indications of massive conversions to Christianity by circumstances and inducements but not by compulsion”.

BJP takes stock

Soon after the report was released, the State BJP’s core committee, under the chairmanship of K S Eshwarappa, met and discussed the report at length. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa and Advocate General Ashok Haranhalli among others.

The commission said: “A strong impression is created that members belonging to Bajrang Dal, Sri Rama Sene, VHP, etc, are mainly responsible in attacking the churches or places of worship” mainly in Mangalore, but also in the other districts. The commission felt that “as a whole the allegations of attack on several churches...are true and sometime believably probable”.

Justice Somasekhara was also of the “impression” that “top police officers and the district administration and other authorities and panchayat heads...colluded with the members of Bajrang Dal and Sri Rama Sene directly or indirectly in attacking the churches”.

The commission also said the police committed excesses while trying to bring the law and situation when they cane-charged Christian protesters who had taken to the streets as well as “unjustifiably” caused injuries to innocent people, including women and children.

According to the commission, whose term was recently extended, “an impression is given that persons involved in conversions are getting funds from foreign countries and misusing it for mass conversions of innocent and helpless members of the society belonging to weaker sections.

An impression is given that the literature affecting and maligning the interests of Hindu religion and its practices should be banned including banning of conversion said to be practiced by Christian religious people.

The reports says that “the categoric defence in many cases is that the members of the Hindu religion were provoked and angered due to the activities of the Christian leaders and Christians specially regarding conversion etc and might have resulted in attacks inevitably and spontaneously”.

The commission recommended that the government must, in all sincerity and commitment and without politicising the issue, “ensure protection to all religions and their institutions”.

In this context, the reports says that as a “frist measure”, the government “should convince the affected Christian institutions and persons that it shares their miseries and sentiments” they suffered because of the “unpleasant incidents”.

Asking the state to ensure that people enjoyed their fundamental rights as enshrined in Article 25 of the Constitution, the commission suggested extablishing a “Commission of Religions” that would execute policies that would be binding on the government.

Special census

It also asked the state government to conduct a special census of religions and their institutions.

The commission suggested that all criminal cases registered, investigated or charge sheeted against all persons or institutions for the incidents of attacks till December 31, 2008 may be withdrawn or compounded as per law. Justice Somasekhara told press persons that the synopsis released for media and public contains only 90 per cent of the findings in the actual interim report.

“The rest are not being revealed due to their sensitive nature. The commission is supposed to give the final report by March 31, but it would be difficult,” he said.
Additional Chief Secretary of Internal Administration Department Abhijith Das Gupta and Law Secretary Siddalingeshwar received the reports from Justice Somasekhara, to be submitted to the departments concerned.

Commission’s findings

* Impose ban on all communal organisations of all religious affiliations

* Forfeit assets of such  bodies

* Bajrang Dal, Sri Rama Sene, and VHP held responsible for attacks on churches or other places of worship

* Senior police and district officers colluded with Sangh Parivar

* Persons involved in conversions getting funds from foreign countries and
misusing them for mass conversions

* Literature maligning Hindu religion and its practices should be banned

* Suggests establishing a ‘Commission of Religions’ to execute policies

* Recommends withdrawal of criminal cases against persons or institutions for
incidents of attacks till Dec 31, 2008

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