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’True Hindus’ absolved of violence charge

Commission clears government, police in anti-Christian violence

St. Anthony of Padua Shrine damaged by Hindu radicals on Sept. 15 in Mangalore, southern India St. Anthony of Padua Shrine damaged by Hindu radicals on Sept. 15 in Mangalore, southern India
  • Philip Mathew, Bangalore
  • India
  • January 28, 2011
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A government commission that investigated anti-Christian violence in Karnataka today reported that “no true Hindus” had a role.
The southern Indian state had appointed the one-man commission in 2008 after mobs attacked Christians and Church institutions.
B.K. Somashekhara, a former judge who conducted the investigation, said the government and its police were not responsible for the violence.
Church and secular groups had blamed Hindu radicals for the attacks and alleged the state’s pro-Hindu government tacitly supported them.
The commission submitted its final report to state Chief Minister B. S. Yeddyyurappa in Bangalore, the state capital.
It said “misguided fundamentalist miscreants of defined or undefined groups or organizations against Christians and Christianity” indulged in the attacks “mistakenly” presuming that the ruling party would protect them.
The report also noted large number of Hindus indicated that Christians indulged in religious conversions and circulated derogatory literature with “insulting attitude against Hindus.”
The commission noted the Catholic Church did not indulge in conversions except in cases for marriages or when people voluntarily sought to become Catholics.
It also noted “clear indications of conversions to Christianity” in several districts by a few organizations and “self-appointed” pastors.
They use inducement and unaccounted local and overseas funds, “not necessarily compulsion or fraud or coercion,” as alleged by Hindu radical groups.
The commission said such conversions have damaged the Christians’ reputation as people who serve society and contribute to the nation building.
It also called for some laws to regulate some organizations that indulge in conversion “uncontrolled by any law.”
The report regretted the attacks have “deeply affected” relations between Christians and Hindus who now suspect each other.
The commission rejected some Hindu groups’ demand to ban Christian literatures, including the Bible, that are “anathema to Hindu practices.”
It asked the government to seek the help of all religions and political parties to convince Christians that it is sensitive and sympathetic to their miseries.
Christians form less than 2 percent of Karnataka’s 52.8 million people. Hindus number 44.3 million.
The commission collected 2,204 exhibits and 30 materials relating to the attacks and conducted 25 spot inspections.
Its term was extended 10 times after it was constituted for three months.
 
Related reports
Violence probe delay dismays Christians 
Commission seeks ban on sectarian groups 
Karnataka commission to report in three months
 
IB13079.1638
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