The Archdiocese of Bangalore said that the Justice B. K. Somashekar final report on the church attacks of 2008 is “unfair” and has “not done justice” to the minority..." />
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Somashekar Commission’s final report evokes strong reactions

Somashekar Commission’s final report evokes strong reactions


Mangalore Today News Network

Mangalore, January 29: The Archdiocese of Bangalore said that the Justice B. K. Somashekar final report on the church attacks of 2008 is “unfair” and has “not done justice” to the minority community. Archdiocese Vicar General S. Jagayanathan said that the commission has let down the Christian community very badly, adding that the community feels disappointed and that the report is unfair.


SomShekhar report

pic: Thehindu


He wanted to know why the commission has not named those responsible for the attacks although it has definitely stated that “some of the attacks are true.” He also said: “And, also to say that ‘it was self-inflicted, some make believe, some blown out of proportion, and some totally politicized’ is indeed very painful and has also hurt the sentiments of the Christian community.” He charged that the commission has failed to bring the culprits to book in spite of video clippings and various evidences presented to the commission.


He also said that top church leaders and associations will study the report and decide on a future course of action.


The Final Report

The Justice B. K. Somashekara commission said in its final report: “There is no basis to the apprehension of Christian petitioners that the politicians, the BJP, mainstream Sangh Parivar, and the state government directly or indirectly are involved in the attacks.”


The panel also stated in its report: “In fact, no politician or representative of any political party in the state, who politicized the incidents of attack for their benefits, immediately come before the commission with their affidavits or to give evidence or opinion in the matter.”


The final report was submitted to the chief minister and the home minister of Karnataka on Jan 28, Friday.


The report further stated: “The true Hindus have no role to play in any attack directly or indirectly, but the attacks are indulged in by misguided fundamentalist miscreants of defined or undefined groups or organizations.”


The report has also given a clean chit to the police department. The report said: “The impression and allegations that the top police officers and the district administration had colluded with attackers in attacking the churches or places of worship has no merit.”


The final report, however, expressed criticism of the civil administration and the police for not being sympathetic toward the protesting Christians.


Although it gave a clean chit to the Bajrang Dal, the commission has held Mahendra Kumar, the previous convener of the group, guilty of justifying the church attacks. The report said: “The plea of the Christian community to take action according to law against Mahendra Kumar, the then convener of the Bajrang Dal, who publicly sought to justify the attacks on churches, is totally justified.”


The report also stated: “Not all attacks were spontaneous or accidental. Some were deliberate, well planned communal antagonism with fundamentalism brewing since several years.”


The panel has reported a total lack of evidence pointed to the Roman Catholic Church’s involvement in conversions. It stated: “There appears to be no conversion at all by Roman Catholic Church or its members except for routine purposes such as marriage or voluntary instances.”


It further stated: “But there are clear indications of conversions to Christianity in the districts of Bangalore, Kolar, Chikkaballapur, Bellary, Davanagere, Chikkamagalur, Udupi by a few organisations and self-styled or self-appointed pastors continuing.... using unaccounted local funds and funds of the foreign countries but not necessarily by compulsion or fraud or coercion but definitely by inducements.”


Strong Reactions

C. T. Ravi, the spokesperson of the BJP state unit, said that the commission has brought out the truth, adding that the opposition parties should stop blaming and criticizing the BJP.


K. S. Eshwarappa, the state BJP leader, told reporters in Gulbarga that the opposition was attempting to the destabilize the BJP-led state government by blaming the Sangh Parivar and the BJP for the attacks, adding that the Congress and the JD-S should have learned their lessons by now.


However, the opposition parties say that the “government got what it sought” and demanded that the state government should not accept the report.


B. Janardhana Poojary, the former union minister and senior Congress leader, said that the Justice B. K. Somashekhar commission’s final report is “biased.” Speaking to reporters, he said that the commission has contradicted its own interim report by giving a clean chit to the Sangh Parivar.


Poojary said that the commission had alleged that the police and the Bajarang Dal were responsible for the attacks in its interim report submitted on February 2010 and that even Mahendra Kumar had publicly confessed involvement in the attack, adding that it is now surprising that the commission has given a clean chit to all the organizations responsible for the attacks.


M P Noronha flays

In a separate press release, M P Noronha, the main advocate for Christian memorialist, said that it is deeply disappointing that a Commission after working for two years has no strong conclusions on key questions such as “why the attacks happened,” “who was behind it” and the question of the responsibility of the State government for the attacks.


Stating that the report has failed in establishing the “whole truth” with respect to the church attacks and uncovering the role of the miscreants inspite of ample evidence before it, Noronha expressed apprehensions about the credibility of the entire report.


Meanwhile, Noronha clarified that as per the Supreme Court ruling, the report of the enquiry commission is only of recommendery in nature and it is not binding either on the Government or on the parties to the enquiry commission. “Hence findings of the Commission cannot be treated as a court judgement.”


Key witness regrets

Rev Fr Valerian Pinto, the parish priest of Cordel church and one of the key witnesses to the church attacks, said that though the Bajrang Dal role was clearly evident in the attacks, it was unfortunate that no action has been proposed against the association.


On the other hand, despite the fact that the police themselves have agreed in the Court of Inquiry for using excess force, the Commission has failed to propose any action against the police.


Pejavar seer hails

Pejawar Mutt seer Vishweshatheertha Swamiji while welcoming the report, said that the report has proved that Sangh Parivar members do not indulge in violence. “The report might help in overcoming the false propaganda against the Sangh Parivar,” he said and added that contrary to the allegations levelled by the members of Shiv Sena and Ram Sena that the VHP and Sangh Parivar have failed in protecting the interests of the Hindus, the Commission report has strengthened the belief that VHP and Sangh Parivar will not indulge in such incidents. While RSS State leader Dr K Prabhakar Bhat termed the report as a victory to the justice, MP Nalin Kumar Kateel termed it as an answer to the Opposition criticisms. “At least henceforth, let the Congress and the JD(S) quit cheap politics and react after learning the truth,” he said.


Far from truth

Christain Federation (Udupi) President Louis Lobo said the report is ‘partial’. Referring to the clean chit given by the Commission to the Bajrang Dal, he said the Commission might have been pressurised by the BJP government. “Owing to the pressure from the government, the Commission has submitted a report which is far from truth. We will not accept the report,” he said.


Terming the attack on churches as “organised,” Minorities Forum (Udupi) Vice President Dr Cyril Mathias said that everyone knows that Bajrang Dal members were behind the attack. “However, the government has withdrawn all the cases against Bajrang Dal members, while it has retained cases pending against Christian youth.”


Meanwhile, Vincent Alva of International Christian Federation said that the Federation had expected a similar report. “It is a joke to say that Sangh Parivar and the BJP were not part of the attack,” he said and added that they must have fabricated the report according to their wish as the BJP government is ruling the State.

 

Opposition Leader in the Legislative Assembly Siddaramaiah on Friday here alleged that the Justice Somashekar Commission that was set up to probe into the church attacks in the state has failed to dig out the truth.


Speaking to media on the sidelines of 175th anniversary celebration of Maharaja’s Junior College here, Siddaramaiah rebuked a point in the report submitted to the government giving clean chit to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangha (RSS). The Commission has completely failed to crack down on the forces behind the attacks, he said.


“The Commission in its interim report had confirmed the handiwork of RSS and its outfits behind the incidents. It’s vice-versa in the final report”, said Siddaramaiah.


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