Anti-Christian Article Evokes Strong Reaction in Mangalore

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Mangaluru, Oct 17: Various organizations staged a huge protest in front of the office of the district deputy commissioner (DC) here, against an article that appeared in a Kannada daily, on Thursday Oct 16.

The article written by renowned Kannada novelist S L Bhyrappa of Gruhabhanga (1970), Parva (1979) and Aavarana (2007) fame. Bhyrappa is widely regarded as one of India's foremost modern-day writers. His novels are unique in terms of theme, structure, and characterization. He has been among the top selling authors of Kannada, Hindi and Marathi for the past several years.

The present article which has become an apple of discord now was published in a leading Kannada daily on Thursday October 16. The article dwells largely on conversion, which he claims as one of the major problems of the society for centuries together. He has presented certain facts and figures to support his argument. The article right from the word go dwells only on criticizing Christians and nowhere the article does highlight the contributions of Christians. He even goes on stating that UPA chairman Sonia Gandhi has indirectly been supporting conversion. At one point he even refers that people glorified Mother Theresa for her social work while they ignored several swamijis who had been engaged in similar kind of work. This article has surely not gone well with Christians all over and evoked strong criticism almost immediately and a protest was organized on the very evening.
Advocate Ivan D'Souza, addressing the protestors on the occasion, charged writer S L Bhyrappa, who is also a renowned Kannada novelist of the present era, of donning the role of a BJP agent, inflicting pain to people of other religions including Christians. He would not have written this article, if he had respect for the Indian Constitution, he felt.

'Ahinda' district unit general secretary K Vithal Bhandary said that the contents of Bhyrappa's articles are far from truth. This article is a blemish on the entire society and the newspaper which has published the article, has lost the credibility in the eyes of its readers, he said.

Karnataka State Muslim Council president Haji Hamid Kandak argued that the Christians would have become a majority in the country, if they were involved with large-scale religious conversions as alleged in the article. He asked every one to condemn the impugned article.

Corporator Mariamma Thomas said “The celebrated writer has lost senses. It is tragic that Bhyrappa used the writing skills the God armed him with, in this way. Such articles will not be appreciated by not only Christians and Muslims but also the Hindus. The DC and the superintendent of police (SP) should initiate steps against the newspaper which published the article. The figures cited in the article are imaginary," she fumed.

Merchants Association president Hassan Ali said that many innocent lives are lost, in the name of castes and religions and that it is the responsibility of responsible citizens to stop such activities and harmoniously live together. The policemen, who are expected to protect people, harass them sometimes, he rued.

Karnataka Christian Association Mangalore unit secretary Walter Maben and Balkunje parish priest Fr William Martis too condemned the article.

A memorandum was later submitted to the DC, SP and inspector general of police, demanding for booking of criminal cases against the newspaper and the writer of the article.

Corporator Gretto Rebello, Ashraf Pandeshwar, Ahmed Bawa etc. were present on the dais.

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