The CSF calls for central probe into new persecution highlighted by Justice Saldanha

December 11, 2011 by  
Filed under Church, India, Karnataka, newsletter-lead

Justice Saldanha

Justice Saldanha

Bangalore, December 11, 2011: Here are serious Karnataka atrocities that the union government needs to take serious note of and which the Church, minorities, secular citizens, civil society and human rights activists need to look at:

At the recent Davanagere Pastor’s Conference, Justice Saldanha re-emphasized the fact that the Supreme Court of India and the High Courts have awarded exemplary compensation in all cases of malicious prosecution and infringement of basic human rights by way of refusal of Bail, custodial torture and wrongful detention.

All these ingredients being present in the 337 false cases filed against members of the Christian community, the State Government is legally and morally bound to compensate everyone of the over 3000 victims. He also pointed out that as Head of the Human Rights Committee in the Karnataka High Court, Justice Saldanha had awarded compensations totaling Rs.6.8 crores to all the poor villagers who had been detained and tortured, raped and even murdered in so-called encounters by the Special Task Force set up under Shankar Bidari, the present Director General of Police. 

The audience was shocked when a number of pastors pointed out that these are apart from another category of cases relating to false prosecutions, which commenced since the attacks began in Karnataka in October 2008 whereby priests, pastors, nuns and religious persons are falsely dragged to police stations.  They are regularly harassed, confined, beaten up, illegally arrested, retained in custody without any justification and made to attend courts indefinitely – persecution an end to which is not in sight.

Not one of these cases which are over three years old have been taken up for hearing and if the Accused is absent, a Non Bailable Warrant is issued. The subordinate Judiciary is totally on the side of the police in matters of refusing Bail and issues Non Bailable Warrants. If at all the Accused is not traceable, it is used as a ground for cancellation of Bail. Even more alarming is the fact, that these false arrests which were undertaken on the special instructions of the then Home Minister, Dr. V. S. Acharya and number over 3416 cases.

Further, on an average at least 30 to 40 new prosecutions are instituted every month. The situation is so bad that even when there are attacks on Christians and Prayer Groups and when they go to the police to complain, it is they who are the victims that are locked up on false charges.  There is no provision of Law under which a Licence/Permission has to be obtained for conducting prayers in a residence or a Chapel or a Church but the Police Authorities have locked up as many as 37 Prayer Halls – some of them for as long as 3 years on this ground and neither the local administration, nor the Courts have granted any relief in this regard.

– joseph dias

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