10/17/2014, 00.00
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Karnataka's state government rejects (false) report on 2008 attacks on churches

by Nirmala Carvalho
The report by Judge BK Somasekhar exonerated Hindu radicals, despite overwhelming evidence and testimonies against them. For Christian leader, it "is good news, which we hope will soon bring justice and reparations to the victims". During their attacks, fundamentalists destroyed more than 20 churches and Christian places of worship.

Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Yesterday the Government of Karnataka issued a statement totally rejecting the report by Judge BK Somasekhar concerning attacks in 2008 against churches and Christian places of worship in various parts of the state. For state authorities, the report is "politically motivated" and designed "to exonerate the Sangh Parivar" groups.

For Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the decision taken by the authorities "is good news, which we hope will soon bring justice and reparations to the victims of the persecution."

Released on 28 January 2011, the report found that the Bajrang Dal (a youth group within the Sangh Parivar) and its coordinator, Mahendra Kumar, had no responsibility in the attacks against churches and places of worship in Karnataka.

However, from the outset the report has drawn criticism from civil society groups as well as the Christian minority.

In particular, the Church has always stressed the partiality of a document drafted by a single person, who did not take account the evidence and testimonies collected after the attacks.

At the time, the Government of Karnataka was led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), a Hindu nationalist party backed by radical Hindu groups and organisations known collectively as Sangh Parivar. Currently, the State is ruled by the secularist and socialist-oriented Congress Party.

"The Somasekhar commission betrayed its mandate," Sajan George told AsiaNews. "The judge filed this report after 28 months, 30 million rupees (US$ 500,000), 300 hearings and 800 pieces of evidence. Innocent Christians were the systematic victims of a big fraud".

In 2008, Sangh Parivar activists attacked more than 20 churches and places of worship in Mangalore, Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and other districts, including Bangalore and Kolar.

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