A fact-finding team assessing attacks against Christians in Karnataka has held the state government “directly responsible for allowing violence to spread”.
<b1>The team’s investigations revealed that first churches and schools were attacked, said Harcharan Singh Josh, the fact-finding team and National Commission for Minorities (NCM) member. These attacks were “followed by male policemen beating up innocent women and children (as) the top state officials and ministers remained mute spectators”.
The fact-finding team also found the pattern of attacks similar to those in Orissa.
“The Bajrang Dal’s role has been established and we’d apprise the Centre of our findings,” Josh said.
The observations against Bajrang Dal came on a day when the Centre turned the heat on organisations responsible for attacks on Christians in Orissa and Karnataka.
The report is expected to strengthen the case for a central directive under Article 355 of the Constitution to Karnataka and Orissa. The Centre has been worried at the “inability or reluctance” of the two states to take effective steps, a senior government official said.
Girija Vyas, another team member and chairperson of the National Commission for Women, said the state police’s role was “shocking and shameful”. During its tour of the worst-affected district, Mangalore, the team concluded that “there was no law and order in the state”.
“Violence against a particular community has been allowed to spread to three districts without any provocation. Statues of Jesus Christ and Virgin Mary were desecrated. Could all this have happened without the state government’s role?” asks Josh.
Vyas said the attacks against Christians that began in Mangalore had now spread to Kolar, Dakshina Kannada and Chikmagalur.
The team, which also included National Commission for Minorities Chairman SY Qureshi, will submit its report to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh next week.