02/21/2011, 00.00
INDIA

Mangalore Christians march to demand justice in attacks on churches

Tens of thousands of Christians of every denomination marched wearing gags to reject the Somasekhar Committee report. Bishop D'Souza: "We are here to show our pain and resentment for the injustice suffered by Christians." Demands for an investigation carried out by the Central Bureau of Investigation.

Mangalore (AsiaNews / Agencies) - More than 50 thousand Chr istians, belonging to 45 different congregations demonstrated in Mangalore yesterday against the Somasekhar Commission's “distorted report” the on attacks on churches in 2008. The demonstration, one of the largest in recent years, was attended by several bishops of five denominations. A memorandum was handed over to Prime Minister Yeddyurappa, demanding that the State Government entrust the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), and reject the “distorted” Somasekhar report. (02/18/2011 Fasting and sit-ins, bishops and faithful reject false report on Karnataka violence).

The demonstrators marched in silence, dressed in black and with their mouths covered by a gag, and waving black flags, for more than two kilometres. The march arrived at Nehru Maidan, where several Christian leaders, including the Catholic bishop of the Diocese of Mangalore, Aloysius Paul D'Souza, asked the state government and the governor to reject the report and to entrust investigations to a CBI survey. "We are not here to impose our will on the government or society, but to show our pain and resentment for the injustice suffered by Christians because of the report, which hides the true perpetrators of the attacks on churches," said Msgr. D'Souza.

The memorandum highlights the flaws of Somasekhar report. "The report gives only district-wise incidents of church attacks; it has failed to give a statewide picture. There were systematic attacks at the same time in an organised manner in Karnataka, which is not explained by the commission. The commission accepts the excess of force by police in places like Permannur and Kulashekar in Dakshina Kannada district. The commission admits the lapse of officials in number of places. Yet the commission gives a clean chit to the officials and police personnel, which was contradictory.”

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