Dias called for the immediate dismissal and the incrimination of Karnataka’s prime minister and interior minister for “having endorsed violence and crimes against defenseless citizens.”
Dr. Abraham Mathai, who is the president of Indian Christian Voice and vice-chairman of the Maharashtra Minorities Commission, also called for a rejection of the Somasekhara Report.
He also warned of the “dangerous trend” of parts of the judiciary who give the impression that charges of forced or suborned religious conversions can be used as an alibi to attack Christians, even when there is no evidence of unethical conversion.
The Karnataka government should consider Justice Saldanha’s report the more credible one and act on it, Mathai commented. He also called for the withdrawal of false charges against over 300 Christians and for adequate compensation to the victims of violence.
Fr. Irudayam, secretary of the Indian bishops’ conference Commission for Justice, Peace and Development, said that the Catholic bishops and faithful, all Christians and human rights organizations have protested against “sectarianism” and the “lies and prejudices” contained in the Somasekhara report.
“All Christians and honest people have rejected it without hesitation,” he continued, noting the “overwhelming evidence” of Hindu extremists’ responsibility for the violence.
Tens of thousands of Christians rallied on Feb. 21 against the Somasekhara Report, calling it “distorted” and “anti-Christian.” People from 45 different denominations marched through the streets of Mangalore, some with gags covering their mouths.
On Feb. 18 at St. Mark University of Bangalore protesters held a silent fast which involved 18 bishops, including Archbishop Bernard Moras of Bangalore, Vatican Radio reports. The bishops, the Global Council of Indian Christians and Christian leaders in Karnataka had presented the state’s governor and the chief minister their own counter-report on the attacks.
Kevin J. Jones is a senior staff writer with Catholic News Agency. He was a recipient of a 2014 Catholic Relief Services' Egan Journalism Fellowship.