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Diocese to challenge Somashekhara report

Inquiry into Karnataka anti-Christian violence doesn’t go far enough, it says

A Catholic prays before the broken crucifix at Adoration chapel on the first anniversary of the outbreak of anti-Christian violence in Mangalore A Catholic prays before the broken crucifix at Adoration chapel on the first anniversary of the outbreak of anti-Christian violence in Mangalore
  • Francis Rodrigues, Mangalore
  • India
  • February 3, 2011
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Mangalore diocese says it will challenge a recent government inquiry clearing Karnataka state authorities and Hindu extremists of involvement in attacks on Christians in 2008.

“We will communicate our protest to the president and prime minister,” Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza of Mangalore said yesterday.

He was speaking after a group of legal experts, thinkers and lay and religious leaders met in Mangalore on Feb. 1 to study the inquiry report, released on Jan. 28 by the Justice B.K. Somashekhara Commission.

“We will also file a writ in the High Court as part of our legal battle against the unjust” report, the prelate added.

The Church and social activists accuse Hindu extremists of attacking at least 27 Christian sites in the southern Indian state.

The attacks began in Mangalore after Christians allegedly distributed leaflets which contained derogatory remarks against Hindu gods.

Father Assisi D’Almeida, a lawyer who represented Christians during the commission proceedings, said the inquiry failed to fulfill its main job of finding those responsible.

Melwyn P. Noronha, a lawyer who represented Christians during commission proceedings, urged Christians to accept several of the inquiry’s findings and recommendations.

The commission recommended action against police for victimizing some parishioners in Mangalore. It also blamed one Hindu extremist group for attacks on some of the churches.

It also called for a special prosecutor to investigate an attack on a cloistered convent in Mangalore.

Noronha, however, slammed the commission for recommending an anti-conversion law in Karnataka.

“It has given some sweets before inflicting heavy bitterness,” he said.

Related reports
‘True Hindus’ absolved of violence charge
Violence probe delay dismays Christians
Commission seeks ban on sectarian groups

IB13139.1639
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