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CM Promises to Withdraw False Cases Against Christians

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altBANGALORE, OCT 28 (daijiworld): Three years after the series of attacks against Churches and Christian places of worship in Mangalore, Udupi and other parts of Karnataka and the filing of cases against more than 150 innocent Christian youth, Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda on Friday promised Bangalore Archbishop and other 12 Bishops from the State that he will personally write a letter explaining the latest position on withdrawal of cases by Saturday.

The Chief Minister, who had assured the Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras and the Mangalore Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza when they called on him soon after his assuming office after the resignation of the former Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa on withdrawal of cases, gave the promise when a delegation 12 Bishops called on him under the leadership of the Archbishop.


Archbishop Moras, who is also the President of Karnataka Region Bishops’ Council and the Chairman of the Karnataka United Christians Forum for Human Rights, demanded that the cases should be withdrawn immediately as “over 150 innocent Christian youth are still made to suffer by going to the courts and also being harassed by police investigations.”


When the Chief Minister mentioned that steps are being taken on withdrawal of cases, the Archbishop reminded Gowda that the Home Minister R Ashok in consultation with the then Chief Minister had promised on March 18 that the process of withdrawal of cases would be fast-tracked and concrete action would be taken within 45 days but unfortunately no action had been initiated by the Government till date. The Archbishop urged the Chief Minister to take up the issue at the State Cabinet meeting scheduled to be held later in the day on Friday and take immediate steps for withdrawal.


“I can understand your anguish”


“I know and can understand your anguish. You want results in action to convince the sincerity of the Government,” the Chief Minister said and assured the delegation of Bishops that he would ensure that the matter is taken up for discussion in the Cabinet meeting and also promised to write a personal letter to the Archbishop detailing the position.


“The report of Police authorities has to be vetted by the Director of Prosecutions and the State Cabinet has to take a final decision on withdrawal of cases. We need to follow the procedures and the process takes time,” he explained.

The delegation of Bishops comprised of: Archbishop Bernard Moras, Archbishop of Bangalore; Bishop Aloysius Paul D’Souza, Mangalore; Bishop Lawrence Mukkuzhy, Belthangady; Bishop Joseph Arumachadath, Bhadravathi; Bishop Gerald Isaac Lobo, Shimoga; Bishop Henry D’Souza, Bellary; Bishop Derik Fernandes, Karwar; Bishop Peter Machado, Belgaum; Bishop Thomasappa Anthonyswamy, Chikmagalur; Bishop Robert Miranda, Gulbarga; Bishop Geevarghese Mar Divannasius, Puttur; and Bishop George Njaralakkatt, Mandya. Rev Fr Jayanathan, Vicar General of Bangalore Archdiocese and Secretary of KRCBC, and Rev Fr Faustine Lobo, PRO of KRCBC, accompanied the delegation. Ports and Fisheries Minister Krishna Palemar and Derrick Fullinfaw, MLA, were present during the hour-long inter-action of the Chief Minister with the Bishops.


Christian Development Council to be formed within a week


In response to the demand of the Bishops for immediate establishment of the proposed Christian Minority Development Council for the welfare of the Christians and grant of adequate powers to decide on the allocation of funds for the development of the Christian community, the Chief Minister said the Government was in the process of constituting the Council ``in a day or two.”
Representatives of the Christian community from Bangalore, Mangalore, Hubli and other cities are being appointed, he said adding that it will definitely come into being within a week.


To another demand of the Archbishop to ensure that the chairmanship of Minority Commission be filled up by rotation from among the minority communities in the State and for framing a roster system on the pattern of one existing for rotation of posts in panchayat raj and civic bodies in the State among different communities and women, Gowda agreed to consider the demand.


Sumanahalli Project Problem will be solved


The Chief Minister promised to consider the request of the Archbishop to ensure that the Sumanahalli project on the Magadi Road for the rehabilitation of leprosy patients as well as HIV/AIDS affected people and their families was not disturbed. He asked the authorities to look into the entire issue and submit a report to him for finding a permanent solution.

The other demands were: Adequate Steps of stop continued attacks on Christians and their places of worship; give adequate and just compensation to all victims and the churches or places of worship even though monetary compensation could never compensate the hurt feelings and religious sentiments; rejection of the B K Somashekara Commission report;  Entrust the investigation in the Church attacks to CBI to punish the culprits and instill a sense of confidence among the Christians; Grant of adequate representation to Christian community in all Boards, Corporations and Commissions based on its population percentage; grant necessary permissions for construction of prayer halls, churches or other related institutions without harassment and delay and prevent disturbances to Christian prayer meetings and worship activities.


In response to a specific demand from the Karwar Bishop Most Rev Dr Derik Fernandes regarding the refusal of the local authorities in granting permission for construction of church buildings in Karwar held up due to political pressure from local leaders, the Chief Minister promised to immediately write to the Uttara Kannada Deputy Commissioner to sort out the issue and ensure that the clearances were given forthwith.

He assured the Puttur Bishop Geevarghese Mar Dionasius that the Government has already given a temporary halt to the Pushpagiri Wildlife Sanctuary project in view of the likely adverse impact on the local people, especially tribals of Sullia and Puttur, on their livelihood. “The Government will write to the Centre to cancel the project altogether,” he said pointing out that he was personally familiar with the situation.

The Chief Minister assured all the Bishops that they can directly contact and report to him or approach the Deputy Commissioners concerned whenever they faced any serious problems in their respective dioceses.

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