Bishops to hold dharna tomorrow

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Bangalore, Feb 17: Bishops of various churches will hold a dharna here tomorrow to express grievances of the Christian community and to voice their demands. Including a CBI inquiry into attacks on Christian communities and places of worship in Karnatka.

Talking to reporters here today, Archbishop of Bangalore and president of Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops' Council Bernard Moras said the community has rejected the findings of the Justice B K Somasekhara Commission, that probed attacks on churches in parts of Karnataka in 2008.

"We want the state government with all its force at its command to reject the one-sided. Totally unjust and biased report and demand that the entire series of attacks must be entrusted to CBI for a comprehensive probe," he said.

It was surprising even after confirming the attacks, the commission failed to identify the culprits, he said.

"We also demand that over 150 cases lodged against Christian youth and women must be unconditionally withdrawn forthwith and adequate. Only the compensation or restitution must be done to individuals and institutions that were attacked and subjected to great loss," he said.

Their demand also included that the culprits in attacks be identified.

Condemning the report, he said despite the fact that the community had served and contributed significantly to the state "our voice is not heard", he said.

"We demand that we be allowed our constitutional right of being able to practice our religion," the Bishop said.

They would submit a memorandum to the Governor HR Bhardwaj enlisting their demands after the dharna, he said.

He said he had earlier met Bhardwaj over the issue and he had expressed "sadness" that culprits had not been identified.

The Bishop said he had personally sought an appointment with the Chief Minister which had not been granted.

However, he said he had written a letter to the Chief Minister expressing the community's feeling on the issue.

Priests, pastors, nuns and community members in Bangalore and surrounding areas would also hold a meeting-cum-protest rally to voice their grievances on Feb 21.

He said a statue in a shrine was damaged by unidentified persons in Hennur today. "The culprits should be identified", he said.

PTI

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