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Steps to withdraw cases against Christians in AP
Bangalore, Feb 18 (Agencies)
Published on 18 Feb. 2011 11:51 PM IST
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: The dramatic and unprecedented gesture of all the 13 Bishops of Roman Catholics, including Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras, and another six Bishops of various protestant denominations of staging a symbolic dharna in the St Mark’s Cathedral campus opposite Mahatma Gandhi statue in the morning, and later travelling together in a bus to Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa’s office in Vidhana Soudha on Friday morning, literally forced the BJP Government to concede most of the demands of the aggrieved Christian community.
Though the Chief Minister had avoided meeting the Bishops and instead, reportedly, advised the Archbishop through his office that they can meet Home Minister R Ashok and submit their memorandum, the Archbishop, who is also the President of the Karnataka United Christian’s Forum for Human Rights and Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council, insisted that he would lead the delegation to the Chief Minister’s office in Vidhana Soudha and submit the report to the officers concerned, if necessary, forced the government to immediately rush Ashok to the Chief Minister’s office in Vidhana Soudha to meet the visiting prelates.
Ashok, who was accompanied by the State Principal Home Secretary Shiva Kumar, newly appointed Director General of Police S T Ramesh, the Chief Minister’s Private Secretary Lakshminarayana, Personal Secretary Dayashankar and other senior officials in the Chief Minister’s office, patiently heard all the 19 Catholic and Christian bishops for over half an hour and promised to take immediate steps to withdraw all the 36 cases against 338 innocent Christian youth lodged in connection with the series of attacks against Churches and places of worship in September 2008 by moving the necessary papers for such withdrawal before the State Cabinet.
The Home Minister also asked the DGP to examine and take immediate steps for setting up an exclusive high power cell headed by senior police officials, who can be contacted 24x7, whenever any attacks against Churches took place anywhere in the State and also to sympathetically consider the demand for paying adequate and just compensation to the victims and institutions involved in the Church attacks.
However, with regard to the main demand of all the 19 Christian Bishops for rejecting the Justice B K Somashekara Commission’s report in toto for being partisan, biased, prejudicial and incomplete besides being communal and propagandist and also for not doing justice either to the Christian community or the terms of reference entrusted to it for inquiry and ordering a CBI inquiry to bring out the truth, identify the culprits and take necessary legal action, the Home Minister made it clear that the Government had its own reservations with regard to CBI.
‘’The Home Secretary has been asked to examine the report para by para and submit a detailed opinion. The report has to be discussed in the State Cabinet and may have to be tabled in the State legislature, if the State Cabinet decides to do so. We are yet to make up our mind. Therefore, there is no justification to nurse any apprehensions on this score,” he clarified.
Later, all the 19 Bishops went to Raj Bhavan to meet Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj and submitted a memorandum on the grievances and demands of the Christian community.
The Archbishop also clarified that the mass protest rally and prayer meeting along with candle light vigil organized under the banner of Karnataka United Christians’ Forum for Human Rights at St Francis Xavier’s Cathedral, at Coles Park Road, in Bangalore on Monday, February 21 from 4 pm to 7.30 pm would be held as scheduled. ‘’We are organizing the mass protest rally to register our hurt feelings and voice our protest,” he said.

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