The Congress government in Karnataka has rejected a final report of the Justice B K Somashekhara inquiry commission into a series of attacks on churches and Christian institutions in coastal Karnataka in September 2008 shortly after the BJP came to power in the state.
The decision to reject the final report of the Justice B K Somashekhara commission was taken by the Siddaramaiah government at a Cabinet meeting on Thursday evening. Law minister T B Jayachandra stated after the meeting that the inquiry commission’s report was rejected on account of a disparity between an interim report of the commission and the final report.
In its final report, the Justice B K Somashekhara commission had exonerated right wing groups like the Bajrang Dal of involvement in the attacks. In its interim report the commission had stated that there was evidence to indicate involvement of the right wing groups in the attacks.
The law minister stated that the state government had decided to accept a report on the church attacks made by the National Human Rights Commission following an inquiry where it found right wing groups to be involved. The government would order prosecution of those involved in the attacks on the basis of the NHRC report the cabinet had decided, Jayachandra said.
The church attacks in coastal Karnataka occurred shortly after the BJP came to power in Karnataka in May 2008. The BJP government lead by B S Yeddyurappa had set up the Justice B K Somashekhara commission to investigate the attacks.
In an interim report placed before the government in September 2009 the commission found involvement of right wing groups like the Bajrang Dal in the attacks since Bajrang Dal leaders had held a press conference to claim responsibility for vandalizing churches in the Mangalore region.
In its 2011 final report the Justice Somashekhar commission changed its stance and stated that an impression of Sangh Parivar involvement in the church attacks was falsely created to tarnish the image of the BJP government.
While accepting the NHRC report on the church attacks the state cabinet has also accepted nine recommendations in the NHRC report including payment of compensation to those injured in the attacks and protection for places of worship of minority communities.
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