03/03/2011, 00.00
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Bishop of Karnataka: Christians want justice for the violence suffered

by Nirmala Carvalho
The Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Moras, criticises the Somasekhara report, commissioned by the Government of Karnataka and entrusted to a single person. Christians demand that the Central Bureau of Investigation carry out a probe into the violence of two years ago, still unresolved. All churches are organizing marches and protests.

Bangalore (AsiaNews) - Christians in Karnataka are still waiting for justice to be done after the attacks of 2008 and 2009, and will continue to protest in defence of their rights, says Mgr.Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, president of the Regional Conference of Bishops of Karanataka, in an exclusive interview with AsiaNews. His criticisms are directed mainly at the findings of the Somasekhara report. "The attacks on Churches in 2008 and 2009 have deeply wounded the secular fabric of Karnataka. When the government decided to create a committee made up of one person, BK Somasekhara, the Christians decided to cooperate. But after reading the final report we were deeply disappointed. Because of its ambiguous language, the Christians decided to reject the report. "

The Archbishop is also chairman of Forum for Human Rights of Christians in the state. All the dioceses and the various denominations have decided to hold demonstrations and protest meetings throughout the area. "The Christian community has been under attack in the last two and a half years, and the report has failed to bring them any justice. No-one has been identified as responsible for the attacks, despite the eye-witness reports of the victims themselves! No one and no organization has been identified as responsible. Is this what you expect from a commission against violations of human rights? We are saddened and dejected. The entire Christian community, unanimously rejects this report. "

The demands of the Christians in Karnataka are summarized in four points. First, that the Government must entrust the investigation to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) to reveal the truth about the attacks on Christians and anti-minority statements contained in the report. Secondly the culprits must be identified, and prosecuted under the law. Thirdly, the state must withdraws legal actions directed against innocent Christians linked to attacks on churches. Fourth, just and adequate compensation be paid to individuals and communities that have been attacked and suffered serious damage.

The Archbishop of Bangalore also stresses the link between state authorities and those responsible for aggression. "The report legitimises the State's position. But it is during these last three years that the state has become a witness to the highest number of attacks on Christians and churches. It is hard to believe that without a deliberate plan without the cooperation of authorities, that the organizations responsible could have triggered attacks of this magnitude and violence. The Somasekhara report absolves individuals and groups indicated as responsible for the attacks by the earlier interim report. "
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