Staff Correspondent

‘Strong impression’ of collusion of officials with outfits cited

Somasekhara inquiry panel for withdrawing all cases in ‘public interest’

Report contains 20 suggestions to government

MANGALORE: Justice B.K. Somasekhara Commission of Inquiry, probing the attacks on Christian prayer halls in 2008, has submitted its interim report, in which it does not clearly identify the perpetrators.

It has said that “a strong impression is created” that Sangh Parivar groups are mainly responsible for the attacks and that the top police officials and the district administration colluded with these groups “directly or indirectly.”

The commission has favoured withdrawal of all cases “registered, investigated or charge-sheeted against all persons or institutions for the incidents of attacks” in the “public interest,” citing power of pardon and clemency as embedded in the Constitution. It has also called for a ban on any literature that uses “abusive or insulting expressions, either direct or with innuendo, touching religious interests.”

Justice Somasekhara handed over the 500-page interim report to Abhijith Das Gupta, Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary and State Home Secretary, here on Monday. The 15-page synopsis contains a set of 20 suggestions and recommendations to the government, which he read out. The commission pointed out that “in some incidents there were indications of self-infliction or collusion or make-believe methods to create evidence of attack on churches or places of worship to support such things in other districts or places.”

Conversions

It said “in some incidents, there were indications of massive conversions to Christianity by circumstances and inducements but not by compulsion. Such conversions were only of faith and not of religion in legal or technical sense.”

Stating that the attacks on churches or places of worship had deeply affected the harmony between Hindus and Christians, it said: “A strong impression is created that members belonging to Bajrang Dal, Sri Rama Sene and Vishwa Hindu Parishad are mainly responsible in attacking churches or places of worship mainly in Mangalore and Dakshina Kannada district spreading to Udupi, Chickmagalur, Davangere, Bellary, Dharwad, Bangalore, Kolar and Chickaballapur districts. The other so-called attacks were only make-believe.”

“An impression is given that the top police officers and the district administration and panchayat heads, specially in Dakshina Kannada, Bellary and Davangere, colluded with the members of the Bajrang Dal and Sri Rama Sene.”

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