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March 27, 2011




Page: 22/36

Home > 2011 Issues > March 27, 2011

Justice Saldanha’s "Independent" Probe
Biased political propaganda

By Dr Hilda Raja

JUSTICE Saldanha’s report reads like a political party’s demands. It is far from an unbiased independent report.

To call this an independent Tribunal Enquiry is far from what it reveals. On the basis of this report, Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) and other NGOs have called for action by the Union Government.

I wonder how ‘independent’ was the People Tribunal Enquiry. Justice Michael Saldanha claims to have visited 400 places and examined 3000 witnesses/victims. Why had justice and the CSF not brought these witnesses to the notice of Justice Somasekharan? Was he showed these victims and evidences? Did the Forum and the NGOs follow critically Justice Somasekharan’s probe and appear before him-place their objections and ‘crucial and critical evidences?

Just going through the ‘Highlights and Conclusions’ of Justice Saldanha one gets the feel that it is not only biased but sweeping and far fetched.

For example, he accuses that the Hindutva brigade was behind the violence and that the CM and the Home Minister implicitly and explicitly abetted the Hindutva criminals.

Justice Saldanha should know that unless criminality is proved the allegations of ‘criminals’ is unjust and far from justice. To smugly point at the Chief Minister and the Home Minister as implicitly and explicitly abetting Hindu criminals questions the fairness of Justice Saldanha in his very approach. He should then have cited the ‘implicit and explicit evidences at least annexed these to his Independent enquiry. May be he has but when one highlights areas these must be highlighted and I found none.

Next he cites the ‘brute force of armed police, State administration and lower judiciary was used against the hapless Christians’. This again calls for concrete proof. Brute force adjective is used in a sweeping manner for the police, administration judiciary et al. The result of this ‘brute force’ should have resulted in the death of hundreds, and brutalisation of the hapless Christians. I suppose Justice Saldanha has counted the dead, enumerated the crippled and those who suffered injuries and other violations from this ‘brute force". This is not highlighted again.

How the lower judiciary used ‘brute’ forced I am not able to gauge.

He then states that ‘religious violence’ was preplanned and executed with great precision for maximum impact and the persecution continued for three years. Reading the media which is already biased against Yeddyurappa one did not get such an impression. Again sweeping statements with no concrete evidence-at least a few instances could have been narrated. How this persecution for three years continued and to what effect? I found that Christian numbers have been growing-they have been able to worship without any hindrance and their institutions have been running smoothly. My friends and relatives quite a few are all harmoniously and happily living in Karnataka and do not report of any anarchy and fear. Is this the picture of a three-year long persecution? Does the peace that prevailed in Karnataka reveal the ‘brute’ force, the pre-planned violence, the precision with which it was executed etc ? What was the impact which such precision and planning wrought ? May be you have information of the pre-plan-a blue print of the plan but do not want to make it public. Then your whole Independent Enquiry crumbles.

Justice Saldanha goes on to point at the ‘flagrant disregard to rule of law and an atmosphere of anarchy prevails. Justice Saldanha are you really honest and truthful? Was Karnataka embroiled in violence except a few stray cases-was there anarchy? These words are loosely used because people lived and continue to live peacefully. If there was anarchy why did we not have people fleeing the State? Justice Saldanha next mentions of non-state and extra constitutional players. May be he is bogged down by the extra Constitution power centre at Delhi and the extra State players there. Hence these words have been thrown in liberally.

The next highlight brings in the Muslims community-‘its stereo-typing and profiled’, its subject to attacks and lumpens all the ‘minorities’ as living in fear.

Is this not an exaggeration? Justice Saldanha is better informed than this writer and hence should remember that when one Muslim doctor(Haneef) was harassed in Australia our poor PM suffered from sleepless nights. Hence had the ‘minorities’ been harassed and forced to live in fear will our PM and the extra constitutional power revolving round Sonia Gandhi just sit back and watch?

To come to the demands made by the CSF over the Justice Saldanha report

Justice Somasekhara needs to withdraw comments regarding conversion. Why should he when it is true? Except the Catholics who do not indulge in wholesale conversion business the other evangelical churches business is nothing but conversion-adding numbers.

The Catholic Secular Forum wants permission from the Governor to prosecute the CM and the Home Minister. The Governor will be too glad because his one motive is to unsaddle the Yeddyurappa Government and that was why he was made the Governor of Karnataka. So the CSF has a strong ally in the Governor. But what made no sense is the statement that these two politicians must be debarred from entering Europe, America and Western nations for abetting hate crimes against fellow citizens and religious minorities.

This calls for special focus. Why has the CSF rushed to extra-territorial boundaries? Do these countries belong to the Indian Christians? Or are the Indian Christians’ loyalties anchored there? Who are they to seek to debar these two politicians? And after all the European countries and America are not heavens and I do not think Yeddyurappa and Dr Acharya are very keen to visit these countries. What do they gain and what do they lose. But what is revealing is how the CSF binds itself and allies with these countries.

The fourth demand shows complete ignorance of those who drafted it All Hindu temples’ monies go to the government but not a pie of the Christian churches offerings, donations; foreign funds go to the State government. Hence all Sammelans and Hindu religious functions must be from public funds because their funds are grabbed by the government. The Hindu Religious Endowment Boards in each State controls the temples and its finances. I am surprised that the CSF did not find this out till date. Lets us be fair and let all the monies of the churches be given to the State and then all the festivals of the churches can be celebrated with the government money. You cannot eat the cake and have it too. One should realise the injustice and bias-one religion is controlled by the State and Christian religion has a free run.

Finally, the suggestion that the CSF intents to take up the cases with the Karnataka High Court and the Supreme Court is very sensible and wise. But make sure that the court verdicts are accepted and not lend itself to other Independent and not so independent probes on religious lines.

PS:-The Catholics are being persecuted in Nagaland. There is large scale human rights violations perpetrated by the Baptists. In States like Andhra Pradesh,Orissa,Tamil Nadu evangelical churches are persecuting the Catholics and poaching among its ‘flock’ I hope Justice Saldanha and the Catholic Secular Forum are aware of this and would recommend the Central Government to probe these Christian churches and their anti-Catholic activities. The Catholic Bishops Conference of India could take the issue to Vatican and internationalise it.




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