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Probe 'whitewash' protests grow

Christians demand a full investigation into attacks on their churches

Probe 'whitewash' protests grow
Christians rally in Bangalore against commission findings
Philip Mathew, Bangalore

February 22, 2011

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Over 50,000 Christians braved heavy rain to take part in a rally in Bangalore to protest against an enquiry commission’s report on the 2008 church attacks in Karnataka. The protesters demanded the state government reject the B.K. Somashekhara commission report for not identifying people who attacked the churches. The rally was organized by the Karnataka United Christians Forum of Human Rights. Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore and the forum president called on the Christians to “boldly profess and propagate our faith.” He noted that so far there have been 300 attacks on churches in the state since the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (Indian people’s party) came to power in 2008. Bishop Vasanth Kumar, moderator of the Protestant Church of South India, said Indians have the right to practise, preach and propagate their religion. At a similar protest in Mangalore on February 20, more than 100,000 people held a silent march. Eighteen Protestant and Catholic bishops had on February 18 submitted a memorandum to chief minister B.S. Yeddyurappa and the governor demanding withdrawal of cases lodged against over 150 Christian youths in connection with the attacks. State home minister R. Ashok had in turn announced that the government would take appropriate steps to withdraw as many as 338 cases filed against Christian youth. The ecumenical forum is planning protest rallies in various parts of the state in the coming days against the probe report. IB13386.1642
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