India's justice minister wants federal probe into attacks on Christian churches
January 31, 2011
With Christian leaders in India angrily denouncing a report that absolved local officials from responsibility for the violent attacks on Christian churches in the Karnataka state, the nation’s justice minister, Veerapa Moily, has called for a federal government probe.
The commission of inquiry in Karnataka, under former judge B.K. Somasekhara, has drawn heavy criticism for its report—not only from Church officials but also from media reports. The commission, appointed to investigate the mob attacks that hit dozens of churches simultaneously in September 2008, acknowledged that the attacks appeared clearly to have been planned, but did not identify the planners and ignored criticism that police and law-enforcement officials had failed to respond to the violence.
Angry Christians burned copies of the Somasekhara in Bangalore, the city at the center of the region that had been swept by mob violence. The Karnataka state is governed by the Hindu-nationalist BJP party, and Christians (along with human-rights activists) charged that state officials were stalling a serious inquiry.
The federal justice minister agreed, saying that “truth cannot be buried.” Moily said: “It should come out, and the state government should make a sincere effort.”