Bangalore, Feb 18 (IANS) The Karnataka government Friday said it would withdraw cases registered against over 300 Christians when they protested attacks on churches in 2008.
“The government will take steps to withdraw the cases,” Home Minister R. Ashok told a delegation of 18 bishops who met him with the demand for rejecting a judicial panel report on church attacks as it had failed to identify the groups behind them.
The bishops led by Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras staged a sit-in protest near M.G. Road in the city centre and later marched to the minister’s office about 2 km away.
Besides the rejection of the Justice B.K. Somashekara Commission report, the bishops also sought the withdrawal of cases against 338 Christians, punishment to the guilty and compensation for damage to property and churches, Moras told reporters.
The cases were lodged against Christians, mainly in the coastal town of Mangalore, about 350 km from here, as violence had broken out when they protested against the attacks on churches.
Justice Somashekara, a retired judge of the Karnataka High Court, in his report submitted Jan 28 absolved the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, the government and Hindu groups of the attacks.
He said the attacks were carried out by “misguided elements” following circulation of literature “insulting” Hindu gods and reports of conversion activity by some Christian groups.
Justice Somashekara said the Roman Catholic church and its leaders were not involved in conversion.