Karnataka: for the first time the government allocates funds for Christians
Bangalore (AsiaNews) - For the first time the government of Karnataka state has allocated funds for 50 crore rupees (about 7.7 million euro) for the reconstruction of churches and to start development programs for the Christian community. This was recently announced by BS Yeddyurappa (pictured), the state Chief Minister. But Msgr Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore, is very critical of this move: "The Christians want justice, not money. No amount of funding, no matter how much, can ever appease the community." Archbishop Moras, who is also chairman of the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops Conference (KRCBC), said: "The state has never taken any measures against those responsible for attacks on churches in 2008-2009. The culprits must be identified and the necessary legal actions taken against them, as per the law of the country. The State Government must bring out the truth on Church attacks and violence against the innocent personnel of the churches."
Considering the amount allocated by the government, the archbishop says it more an attempt to please the Christians than to help them: “For many long years, we had been requesting for an allocation of minority funds, with were being channelled to other minority communities in Karnataka and not the minority Christian community. Now, the government cannot make it appear that they are in favour of the Christian community by simply doling out funds.”
Of the established fund, 35 crore rupees (about 5.4 million euro) will be invested in scholarships for education, microcredit schemes and the construction of community halls. Another 15 crore rupees (about 2.3 million euro) will be for the reconstruction of at least a thousand churches. "Two months have elapsed since the fund was announced, and a committee which is not functional was formed. Even application forms to apply for the funds have not been yet prepared.”
An independent investigation on the attacks of 2008 led by MF Saldanha, former judge of the Supreme Court, accused the Chief Minister and Home Minister of going along with the atrocities against the Christian community. The investigation started earlier this year, after a commission appointed by the government had absolved the Sangh Parivar and the BJP of all charges.