KARNATAKA STATE HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION

KARNATAKA  STATE  HUMAN  RIGHTS   COMMISSION

4th  Floor,  5th  Phase, Multy  Storeyad Building,

Dr. B.R.  Ambedkar Veedhi, Bangalore – 560001

No.HRC/3101/08                                                                              Dt: 24-09-2010

From

The   Registrar,

Karnataka  State  Human  Rights  Commission,

Bangalore.

To

Sri  P. B. D’Sa

President- PUCL,

Rathen  Muller  Road,Valencia

Mangalore-575002.

Sir,

Sub: HRC No.  3101/08  and  connected  cases-regarding  attack  on                                            Churches  etc.

          Please  find  herein  enclosed   a  copy  of  the  common  final  order  dated  02-09-2010  passed  by  the  Commission  in  the  above  cases  for  your  information.

                                                                                        Yours  faithfully,

                                                                                           Assistant  Registrar,

                                                        Karnataka  State  Human  Rights Commission,

Bangalore

Before  the  Karnataka  state  human  rights  commission,Bangalore

Dated  this   the  2nd  day  of  September,2010

Present

Dr.justice  s.r.nayak,chairperson,

Sri r.h.raddi, member,

Sri b. parthasarathy, member.

Complaint :          Suo  Motu  taken  up  cases

                             by  the  Karnataka  State  Human  Rights  Commission.

COMMON  FINAL  ORDER.

          There  are  the  complaints  registered  by  the  commission  suo  motu  on  the  basis of  the  reports  that  appeared  in  the  media,  electronic  and  print  as  well  as  the  written complaints  received  from  various  NGOs  and  individuals  with  regard  to  large  number  of   attacks  on  churches/places  of  worship  by  the  members  of  fundamentalist  groups  like  VHP  and  Bajaranga  Dal  etc.

2.   The  Commission  after  coming  to  know  of  the  attacks  on   places  of  worships,  mainly  on  churches  by  fundamentalist  groups  on  14th  and  15th  September,  2008,  at  several  parts  of  the  State,  particularly  ,  in  Dakshina  Kannada  and  Udupi  districts  of coastal  belt,  visited  the  affected  areas  in  Dakshina  Kannada  and  Udupi  district  on  25th  , 26th  and  27th  September ,2008  to  have  first  hand  appraisal  of  the  situation.  During  the  said  visit,  the  commission  received  number  of  complaints/representations  etc.  from  the  affected  persons  and  church  authorities.

3.  The  Commission  directed  the  chef  secretary  to  the  government,  government  of  Karnataka,  and  the  district  administration  of   the  concerned  districts  and  send  detailed  reports  with  regard  to  the  attacks  on  churches/places  of  worship  in their  respective  districts.  All  of  them  have  sent  reports.

4.   There  is  no  need  to  deal  with  each  and  every  individual  attack   on  places  of  worships/ churches  in  various  districts  of  the  State  during  the  past 2-3  years.  Suffice  it  to  state  that  these  attacks  have  been  taking  place  consistently  and  repeatedly  despite  the  claim  put-forth  by  the  state  authorities  that  they  have  taken  all  possible  steps  and  measures  to  contain  such  incidents  and  to  prevent  recurrence  of  such  incidents.  In  the  reports  of  the  Government  of  Karnataka  resting with  the  Commission  ,  it  is  stated that  the  Government  of   Karnataka  had  directed  formation  of  a  Peace  Committee  in   every  district  headquarters  headed  by  the  Deputy  Commissioner  and  consisting   of   the  Superintend  of  Police,  Members  of  Legislative  Assembly, and  leaders  from  backward  and  minority  communities.  It  is  also  claimed  that  the  Government  has  directed  the  district  administration  of  all  districts  to  provide adequate  security  and  protection  to   he  places  of  worship  like  Churches  and  Masjids. 

5.  The  Commission  having  taken  cognizance  of  the  attacks  on  Churches  and  Masjids  and  other  places  of worship  in  Dakshina  Kannada,Udupi,  Chikmagalur,Mysore, Kolar, Kodagu, Davangere  and  other  districts  and  in  the  course  of  the  proceedings  had  directed  the  Government  to  furnish  details  of  number  of  attacks, number  of  crimes  registered  , number  of  persons  arrested  and  prosecuted  etc.  in  the  report  submitted  to  the  Commission,  it  is  stated  that  a  total  number  of  83 cases  have  been  registered  in  various  districts.  The  report  has  given  split  up  details: in  Dakshina  Kannada  72, in  Kolar 01, in  Chickmagalure 05,  In  Davangere  01,  And  In  Udupi  04  crimes  have  been  registered.  It  is  reported  that  total  number  of  214  accused  persons  were  arrested  and  sent  to  judicial  custody  and  that  in  most  of  the  cases  charge  sheets  have  been  filed  and  in  the  remaining  cases  the  police  have sought  approval  of  the  Government  to  file  charge  sheets.  As  could  be  seen  from  the  reports  from  the  State  Government  and  the  district  administration  of  the  concerned  districts,  in  number  of  cases  it  is  reported  that  accused  could  not  be  traced   and  the  crimes  registered  by  the  police  went  undetected  etc.

6.  One  thing is  certain  and  the  Commission  can  take  judicial  notice  of  the  sane  that  is  phenomenon  of  attacking  places  of  worship  particularly  on  churches  and  mosques  by  fundamentalist  groups  is  of  recent  origin.  The  situation  that  we  notice  in  the  immediate  past  was  not  at  all  a  situation  that  existed  before  2006  or  2007.  In  that  view  of  the  matter,  it  is  absolutely  necessary  for  the  State  Government  and  all  law-enforcing  agencies  quite  honestly  and  seriously  to  search  for  the  causes  and  factors  for  the   emergence  of  this  phenomenon  and  take   all  possible  effective  measures  and  steps  to  nip  this  menace  in  the  bud.  The  Commission  is  not  satisfied  with  the  Government’s  action  in  registering  the  crimes  and  making  a  few  arrests  here  and  there.  What  is  important  is  that  the  State  and  law-enforcing  authorities  should  see  that  such  incidents  do  not  take  place  in  the  State.  Otherwise,  well  designed  and  thought  secular  fabric  of  the  polity  of  the  nation  would  be  torn  into  pieces  and  disharmony, distress  and  hatredness  would  be  the   order  of  the  day  resulting  in  chaos  and  disharmony  in  the  society.

7.  Article  25  of  the  Constitution  guarantees  that  every  person  in  India  shall   have  the  freedom  of  conscience  and  has  a  right  to  profess, practice  and  propagate  religion  of  his/her  choice, subject  to  restrictions  imposed  by  the  State  on  the  grounds  of (i) public  order, morality  and  health; (ii) other  provisions  of  the  Constitution, (iii) regulations  of  non-religious  activity  associated  with  religious  practice; (iv) social  welfare  and  reform  and (v) throwing  open  of  all  Hindu  religious  institutions  of  public  character  to  all  classes  of  Hindus.  This  freedom  belongs  to  every  person; but the  freedom  of  one  cannot  encroach  upon  a  similar  freedom   belonging  to  other  persons.

8.  According  to  some  persons  and  Hindu  organizations  as  highlighted  in  the  press, fraudulent  and  forcible  induced  conversions  are  taking  place in  some Churches.  No  doubt, forcible, fraudulent  and  induced  conversion  undeniably  would  be  violate  of  Article  25  of  the  Constitution  of  India  and  is   punishable. Even  assuming  that  the  above  version  is  correct, even  then,  it is  impermissible  for  private  persons  to  raid  or  attack  places  of  worship  and  damage  the  properties  or  harming  persons.  Ours  is  a  polity  governed  by  the  Rule  of  Law, the  Constitution  and  the  various  public  laws  to  deal  with  all  violations  of  law.  Ours is  not  an  anarchy.  Inasmuch as fraudulent or forcible conversion is an offence and punishable under the law, it is for the law-enforcing authorities to take action against the concerned church authorities and punish them, and it is not for private persons to take law into their own hands and indulge in moral policing. It is the bounden duty of the State to prevent the private persons from taking law into their own hands and attacking places of worship, mosques, Gurudwaras and temples. But, as pointed out supra by the Commission, despite the claim made by the State Government and the districts administration that they have taken all possible steps and measures to prevent attacks on places of worship, they have failed to prevent occurrence of such incidents in the last three years. The steps and measures taken by the State Government and the law-enforcing authorities should achieve results, otherwise, the Commission tends to think that the steps and measures taken by the State Government are not effective and result oriented. One of the best and most effective measure is to identify each and all persons who are involved in the attacks of places of worship and punish them with iron hand and with promptitude. Recurrence of such events takes place, because, most of the culprits are not made accountable or punished due to loopholes and defective investigation and prosecution of the crimes registered after attacks on places of worship.

9. As could be seen from the representations made by persons belonging to minority communities and their religious organizations as well as other Non-governmental Organizations [NGOs], the people of minority communities strongly feel insecure and threatened, and that they are not in a position to enjoy freedoms and rights promised to them under the Constitution of India and other public laws.

10. in the result and for the foregoing reasons, the Commission by virtue of the power conferred on it under Sec. 18[e] of the Protection of Human Rights Act, 1993, makes the following recommendations to the Government of Karnataka:

I. to make the superintendent of police of every district and every Commissioner of Police accountable for any attack on places of worship withim their respective territorial jurisdiction.

II. To form a Committee at the headquarters of every district headed by the Deputy Commissioner and consisting of Superintendent of Police, all Members of Legislative Assembly and MLCs hailing from the district and representatives from minority communities charging it with a duty to continuously monitor and oversee any and  every situation of communal disharmony that may arise within their jurisdiction and to empower that Committee to take all steps and measures to deal with any such situation effectively.

III. Furthermore, the Commission directs  the Principal Secretary  to the Government,Home Department,Government of Karnataka, to send a detailed report with regard to the results of the crimes that have been registered with regard to the attacks on places of worships, year-wise and police station-wise for the years 2007,2008, 2009 and 2010 and outcome of the investigaton and the prosecution in those crimes, within two months from the date of receipt of this order. The report should also include the details of receipt of this order. The report should also include the details of those accused who have been absconding and the steps taken by the police to trace them.

          HRC No.3101/2009 and other connected cases are disposed of in the above terms.

                                                                                       (Dr. Justice S.R. Nayak )                                                                                                        chair person.

                                                                                              (R.H. RAddi)

                                                                                                Member

                                                                                         (B. Parthasarathy)

                                                                                                Member

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