Mangalore, Dec 6, 2011: In a recent press release, the PUCL has demanded compensation for each person against whom cases were registered following the church attacks of 2008.
P. B. D’Sa, the president of PUCL Mangalore, has issued a press release, in which he has stated that Justice Michael F. Saldanha has been relentlessly demanding that the state government should withdraw all the 338 false cases filed against Christian youth, following the church attacks of 2008.
Worth noting is the fact that around 35 percent of the accused were students who had been picked up from places far away from the disturbed areas. Owing to the pendency of criminal charges against them, they were not even allowed to appear for their examinations and 38 of them had to give up their studies.
65 percent of the accused were beaten up mercilessly by the police, taken into custody, tortured, refused bail, and remanded to judicial custody for 2 – 3 months. It is a little known fact that, under the orders of Dr. V. S. Acharya, the then home minister, they were all taken to prisons in different parts of the state and could not even be contacted. More than 300 people lost their jobs because of these government moves, and most of them were carpenters, mechanics, self-employed people, or petty businessmen. While the judiciary goes out of its way to please politicians, not a single of these poor people were granted exemption from attending the court on even one day of hearing.
On the contrary, when they could not attend court owing to poverty and inability, more than 1980 non bailable warrants were issued against them, and they could not afford the cost of getting these warrants cancelled. In 60 such cases, the businesses have collapsed and families have been ruined. Mr. D’Sa demanded to know if the state government can ever think of compensating these victims.
He demanded to know why it took the state government 3 years and 2 months to withdraw these cases when Dr. V. S. Acharya had withdrawn 224 cases that were filed against the aggressors within just two months on grounds that they were political workers belonging to the BJP and not criminals. He refused to withdraw the 338 false cases filed against the Christians although law is supposed to be equal for all according to the Indian Constitution. Justice Michael F. Saldanha has examined each of these cases and recorded them in his report, he added.
During a press conference organized in Mangalore on Oct 16, 2011 and Nov 29, 2011, Justice Saldanha had given an ultimatum to the state government that if the cases were not withdrawn by Dec 5, 2011, at the latest, he will take the case to the High Court. This message was conveyed to the government through a legal notice, after which the government withdrew the cases. He said that this is an act of goodwill on the part of the CM and the government.
After the church attacks of 2008, Justice Saldanha had pointed out that the government’s failure to protect the life, property, and rights of Christian minorities has resulted in loss, damage, and injury. The state government has not provided the required compensation although it had promised to do so. Now, the CM has stated that the government will compensate the victims for damaged property.
The PUCL has demanded that the state government should evaluate the actual loss caused by registration of false cases on an individual basis for each of the 338 cases and provide ample compensation within 30 days as a legal requirement and not as an act of graciousness.