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Bishop yells at Yeddyurappa

Karnataka CM B S Yeddyurappa got an earful from the Archbishop of Bangalore minutes after the Karnataka Govt took a decision to invoke the provisions of Goonda Act against those nabbed for vandalising churches, reports BR Srikanth.

india Updated: Sep 23, 2008 00:48 IST
B R Srikanth

Karnataka Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa got an earful from the Archbishop of Bangalore, Bernard Moras, minutes after the Karnataka Government took a decision to invoke the provisions of Goonda Act against those nabbed for vandalising churches on Monday.

The move has come to salvage the government’s image and to instil confidence among Christians.

The CM, his cabinet colleagues — Dr V S Acharya, Home; Shobha Karandlaje, Rural Development and Panchayat Raj; Katta Subramanya Naidu, IT, BT and Excise; and R Ashok, Transport — had to endur some embarrassing moments when they went to call on the Archbishop soon after a meeting of the cabinet.

“Sir, we thank you for coming to the Bishop's house, but the whole church in Karnataka is hurt. I am telling you publicly that we are very hurt. Tell me, will you keep quiet if the garbha gudi (sanctum sanctorum) of a temple is destroyed?" an emotional Archbishop told Yeddyurappa and his ministers.

“For us, the Blessed Sacrament is the living body of Christ and we are ready to shed our blood for it. We can't tell you how much we are hurt because the Blessed Sacrament has been exposed,” he told the chief minister.

To this, the CM uttered: “Sir, we will see that the culprits are punished. Justice will be done after the inquiry.”

The Archbishop, however, handed over a memorandum seeking a change in judicial probe. He demanded it to be headed by a sitting judge of the high court or a retired judge of apex court, but not a retired judge of the high court , as decided by the government.

“Action should be taken immediately and should not be passed off as mere minor incidents of theft and burglary where there is no loss of life or damage is minimal as stated by the Police Commissioner (Shankar M Bidari) of Bangalore, thus trivialising the matter and diverting the attention of people," the memorandum said.

Besides, the Archbioshop sought the release of christians arrested or detained, post the September 14th attack on churches, and scrapping of cases filed against them.

Earlier, the cabinet took a decision to file cases against those who vandalise places of worship of religious minorities under the Goonda Act, under which the attackers can be detained for more than 90 days.