K'taka: Committee to foster communal amity

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Mangalore, Sep 19: After the serial attack on places of worship in districts of Southern Karnataka, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad(VHP) and minority organisations have come together to foster communal amity.

District in-charge minister Krishna Palemar took the initiative to bring the groups together as a confidence building measure. The two communities had come to a decision to bury differences and respect each other's religions, the minister said today.

Earlier, at a joint press conference here last night, VHP leader M B Puranik and spokesperson of the minority community, Francis Serrao, said the two communities vowed to defuse the situation and work for peaceful relations.

Mr Puranik said the formation of the committee comprising leaders from both religions was only the first step in the direction and it needed to become broad based.

While complimenting the contributions made by minority institutions in the field of education, he remarked that some incidents made the majority community unhappy.

The issue of religious conversion needed to be clarified as it was believed that both the major sects of minorities had a role in forcible conversion. ''But whatever happened should be forgotten for forging a new understanding between the two communities,'' he said.

While asserting that the minorities never encouraged religious conversions, Fr Serrao clarified that New Life Centres were not related to the sect. Vandalising sacred books and sacrosanct articles in places of worship had deeply pained the minority community.

He said Protestants too must be included in the coordination mechanism.

Representatives from evangelical group New Life, accused of promoting conversion, had not participated in the meeting.


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