Somasekhara Commission reserves orders

Special Correspondent

MANGALORE: The B.K. Somasekhara Commission of Inquiry, looking into the attacks on Christian prayer halls and churches in 2008, has reserved the orders on the request of advocates assisting the court to provide copies of the controversial book Satyadarshini.

Alleged to be containing material hurting the sentiments of Hindus, the book has been kept sealed by the Commission.

When the demand for the copies of the book surfaced during the Commission's sitting on Friday, government advocate T.P. Srinivas said releasing of the copies might lead to unwanted consequences for society.

Advocate for the Christian memorialists Francis Assisi Almeida said the book had been in circulation and the Government had not banned it and that it should be made available to advocates without any hesitation.

The judge said his concern was to ensure that the book did not land in wrong hands. He expressed his desire to part with the copies under the condition that they would be used only for the work of the Commission and not any other purpose or circulation.

When Walter Maben, president of Karnataka Mission Network, was deposing before the Commission on Wednesday, advocate B. Ibrahim had sought the copies of the book before he could cross examine the witness.

On Friday, Mr. Srinivas insisted on summoning the ailing author of the book Paravastu Suryanarayana Rao at Government's cost, to depose before the Commission.

Mr. Somasekhara said he was more concerned about the health of the author, who is in Hyderabad than getting him to further cause of the Commission. “Life of an individual is important,” he added. He pointed out that the author had not directly participated (in the attacks).

The Commission has completed examination of 712 witnesses.

As many as 307 other witnesses have been partly examined. In addition to completing their examination, the Commission will summon witnesses for further clarification under section 8B of the Commission of Inquiries Act, 1952.

The Commission will have to give opportunity for advocates to put forth their arguments. The Commission head said he would need about a month's time to write the final report. The term of the Commission is to end on March 31 which it wants to be extended by the Government.