People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


No. 37

September 21 , 2008


Karnataka Govt Hand In Glove  With Attackers: CPI(M)

IN the background of attacks on Christians and their places of worship in and around Davanagere district in Karnataka, a delegation of CPI(M) leaders led by Maruthi Manpade, state secretariat member visited the places and met the affected people.

During the visit it was found that in Bada village, Bajrang Dal activists demolished a portion of the church and set fire to the furniture etc. They threatened not only the pastor of the church but also his family members. The people belonging to Christian community are living under severe fear.

The police have laid a siege on DHM Prayer House, Nithya Jeeva Devalaya, Yesu Christa Devalaya and other churches in the town and are not allowing the believers to worship. The police have also issued notices to these places of worship questioning whether they have obtained permission to carry on religious activities, thus attacking the freedom of worship.

The CPI(M) delegation found that the police, instead of taking action against the communal activities of Bajrang Dal, are lodging false complaints against the pastors of the churches. On the basis of this, tahasildar of Davanagere Taluk has initiated criminal proceedings against 16 pastors.

Bajrang Dal activists after attacking dalit Christians, threatened them with the dire consequences if they lodge any complaint. However the police have not taken any action against the Bajrang Dal activists at the behest of BJP leaders. This was in spite of written complaint filed by the people belonging to Christian community.

The CPI(M) leaders also found that the BJP-led administration of Davanagere City Corporation has been obstructing the functioning of the churches. The corporation issued notices to the churches asking whether they had taken permission to hold prayers. This clearly shows that both the BJP-led administration and the attackers were colluding and coordinating their attacks on Christians.

After the BJP government assumed office in the state, about 11 churches were attacked and people belonging to Christian community, including the pastors, were threatened in and around Davangere. However, the attackers had protection and many have said that the state agriculture minister Ravindranath has been backing such activities.

The CPI(M) condemned that the ministers, including the chief minister who took oath in the name of secular Constitution were giving protection to the activists of Bajrang Dal and other communal outfits who are brazenly attacking the minorities. The CPI(M) further demanded that the administration must allow the churches, which were laid siege, to function. The government must bear all expenses to repair/rebuild the churches and make arrangements to hold prayer meetings.

Meanwhile the CPI(M) state secretary V J K Nair has demanded that the notices issued by the state government to Christian educational institutes which participated in a protest against the ongoing attacks on Christians must be withdrawn forthwith. “Everybody in this country has the right to protest democratically. Even the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad units in Karnataka had protested against the killing of Swamy Laxmanananda in Orissa. Therefore the Christian institutions have the right to lodge their protest against the killing of innocent people in Orissa. Therefore issue of notice against those institutions is uncalled for and must be withdrawn immediately”, he stated.