Mangalore: ‘Bajarang Dal Behind Church Attacks,’ Deposes Cop

| July 17, 2010

Mangalore Jul 17: Personnel of the police department deposed before Justice B K Somashekhara Commission of Inquiry probing church attacks in the state, which took place on September 14 and 15, 2008, at the Commission’s sitting in the city on Friday July 16.

In reply to questions posed by advocate for Christian witnesses, M P Noronha, police sub-inspector of Mangalore Rural, Prakash, said that “It is observed through verification of documents available with our station and investigation that Bajrang Dal activists were responsible for the incidents occurred on September 14 and 15, 2008. The attacks on churches in Mangalore might have been carried out by the Bajrang Dal activists.” Further, Prakash stated during the cross examination by advocate for Christians M P Noronha that no cases of forceful religious conversion were registered in Mangalore Rural Police Station.

Talking about the controversy related to Kursugudde near Pachanady, he said that "A government site in Pachchanady in the city where dispute had arisen between two communities during the above period, fell within the jurisdiction of his police station. While admitting that a few crosses had been erected at the site in question, he said he was not aware that it was a place where Christians used to offer prayers. “On Augurst 23, 2008, I went there after someone called the police station, informing that a few saffron flags had been installed at this place by using iron rods. On reaching there, I found some saffron flags in the place that had boundary wall around it."

He said the call was not received from the priest of Bondel church, but from someone else. He confessed that he had not taken steps to clear the saffron flags from the site, as both Hindu and Christian community members had gathered there, and the situation was tense. He said, a man named Antony Serrao had filed a complaint in the police station, after his visit. He admitted that the complaint had as its enclosure, a booklet on happenings in Orissa. He felt that in his opinion, there was no crime involved, and hence said, he did not register any case, although he had questioned a few persons on the basis of the complaint, and assistant sub-inspector of the police station, Vishalakshi, had conducted investigation into the matter.

During his cross examination by advocate Ibrahim, Urwa Store sub-inspector of police, Kiran G, said the policemen filed affidavits about the incidents with the Commission with delay in February, 2009, as they were busy otherwise. He disclosed that he had sent an affidavit by post on February 12, 2009and submitted another affidavit on the 18th of that month to the Commission, as he was unsure as to whether the earlier affidavit had reached the Commission or not. He admitted that he visited the spot after getting message that disturbances were on at a church.

“I posted a policeman there, admitted an injured constable into the hospital. I did not try to nab the trouble makers. Our personnel tried to nab them, but failed. On September 15, five suspected hooligans were arrested. Even though I know about the existence of an organization named Bajrang Dal, I do not know whether those involved with the disturbances belonged to this organization”, he claimed.

He said he knew that Adoration Monastery was attacked on September 14, and asserted that he had properly followed the instructions contained in a notification issued by the superintendent of police on September 13, 2008. He said that Christian community people had gathered near Lady Hill on September 15, which was not a peaceful protest, and that the policemen succeeded in dispersing the crowd by holding dialogues with the protestors.

In reply to questions directed at him by advocate Narayan Reddy, Kiran G said that the case 124/2008 registered by him pertained to untoward incident. He said the policemen did not resort to caning in the above incident, as they thought it would disrupt peace. After Ibrahim objected to this statement, the Commission heard arguments on the issue and felt that both the reply furnished by the witness and the question raised, were not appropriate.

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Category: Church Security

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