Bishops hold dharna on inquiry report; Govt to withdraw cases

Bangalore, Feb 18 (PTI) Eighteen bishops from severalchurches in the city took out a protest march here today,demanding rejection of the findings of Justice B K SomasekharaCommission on attacks on churches in Karnataka in 2008.

The Bishops, led by Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Morasmarched from Mahatma Gandhi statue to the state Secretariatand presented a memorandum to Home Minister R Ashoka on theircharter of demands, which included protection to Christianminorities and their places of worship.

Ashoka promised the delegation that the Government wouldtake steps to withdraw cases against 338 persons in connectionwith violence following attacks on churches in Mangalore andother places.

He said a centralised cell will be set up to receivecomplaints on attack on churches and pass on the informationto the police, to immediately act on such incidents.

Moras, later speaking to reporters, said the agitationdemanding that Somasekhara Commission of Enquiry report berejected will continue till their demand was met with.

He also demanded compensation to those affected in theattacks and for damaged property of churches and that theguilty be brought to book.

On January 28, the Commission in its report, had given aclean chit to the Yeddyurappa government and Sangh Parivaroutfits in the attacks on churches. It had cited circulationof derogatory literature with "insulting attitude" againstHindus and issues of conversion as the main reasons for theattacks.

It also said there were clear indications of conversionsin seven districts by a few organisations and "self-styled orself-appointed Pastors" by "inducements" and as "a commercialbargain using unaccounted local and foreign funds.

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