Special Correspondent

Bangalore: Residents of Bada village in Davangere district, where a prayer hall was torched on September 7, 2008, deposed before the B.K. Somashekhara Commission of Inquiry on Wednesday and said that “forced conversion” by the missionary over a period of time had led to the incident.

As many as 10 members, who testified before the commission constituted to probe the attacks on places of worship in several districts of Karnataka, made identical allegations and said that the missionary at Yesu Krupalaya prayer hall at Bada was targeting “vulnerable” people such as lower castes, poor and widowed women for conversion by offering incentives.

Spontaneous

They described the incident in September last year as “spontaneous” because the pastor had given “arrogant replies” when asked why so many Hindus were at his prayer hall. They said that there were no “original Christians” in the entire Bada village and it did not require a Christian prayer hall.

There was an extended debate on Wednesday on whether newspaper articles could be marked and submitted. Mr. Somashekhara ruled that they could be accepted for the purpose of scrutiny.

Threat

Paravastu Satyanarayana Rao, author of “Satyadarshini,” who hails from Andhra Pradesh told the commission on Tuesday that he was scared of the BJP Government, the party leaders and workers, the State police and the Hindu activists.

In a letter submitted to the commission by Ronald Raj, advocate, Mr. Rao cited this as the reason for not coming to Bangalore.

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