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Karnataka church attacks probe slammed

Disgust at commission’s failure to name those responsible for violence

Karnataka church attacks probe slammed
A woman prays before a broken crucifix after the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Mangalore
Church groups and political parties have criticized a judicial commission for failing to name those responsible for a spate of church attacks in Karnataka.

“The entire Christian community is disappointed,” Monsignor S. Jayanathan, vicar general of Bangalore archdiocese told on Jan. 28 soon after the commission submitted its final report to the state government.

The Karnataka government appointed Justice Banavar Krishnamurthy Somashekhara, a former judge, to investigate attacks on 57 churches in various parts of the state in 2008.

Its 1,000-page final report said “no true Hindus” had a role in the attacks. It also said the government and police were not responsible for the violence.

The pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Indian people’s party) assumed control of the state government a few months before the attacks.

Monsignor Jayanathan said the ecumenical Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights would press the government to reject the report.

Bishop Henry D’Souza of Bellary called the report “an utter failure,” pointing out the commission had in its interim report a year ago blamed Hindu extremist groups for the attacks.

The National Council of Churches in India, an association of Protestant and Orthodox Churches, said the report was not acceptable to Christians.

Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, called the report “a travesty of justice” and “an attempt to hoodwink the people of Karnataka.”

Janardhan Poojary, former federal minister and leader of the opposition Congress Party, called the report “biased.”’

Federal Law Minister Veerappa Moily has asked the Karnataka government to turn the probe over to the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Moily accused the state government of putting pressure on the commission to clear the BJP and Hindu extremists.

The commission, established in 2008, questioned nearly 800 witnesses, including representatives of Hindu and Christians organizations.

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

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