MUMBAI, (Joseph Dias CSF) — Justice Michael Saldanha, the former judge of the Bombay and Karnataka High Courts, stirred a hornets nest, when he said that he had evidence of a thousand cases of religious liberty violations in Karnataka alone, where the State Minorities Commission members, rather than helping the victims, asked them questions like – How many lakhs had they been given to convert? and You don’t know the teachings of Jesus, because you complain and don’t forgive?
Justice Saldanha whose report on the Karnataka anti-Christian violence is the last credible and authoritative word on the subject, was speaking at the release of The CSF (Catholic Secular Forum) 2011 India Persecution Report, which highlighted that there was at least one attack a day on Indian Christians and also described other freedom of faith issues. He therefore called for effective minority fora, which help the community, rather than cover-up the misdeeds of the culprits in cases of persecution of minorities, as is the case in Karnataka and elsewhere too.
Justice Michael Saldanha: Karnataka – Rogue State No.1
Justice Saldanha said that The CSF 2011 Persecution Report rightly accords Karnataka the Rogue State No. 1 status, even though it did not have any recorded or direct killing, as happened in Orissa, which is place second in the report. However, with all its grim and harsh reality of persecution, The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report still does not fully capture the full and comprehensive extent and impact of the attacks in Karnataka against the community. To begin with, the Hindutva war cry “Phele Kasai, Phir Isaai” (First Muslims; Then Christians) was less heard, but more practiced in the state. Both minorities were being targeted, but Christians are more severely attacked.
He said if according to The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report the national average was one attacks a day, then Karnataka with a minimum of 3 – 5 attacks can correctly claim the dubious distinction of being the worst in the country. He called for the report to be circulated widely not just nationally, but also internationally that the true plight of Indian Christian be known.
He said that the race for the notorious top spot seems to have won by Karnataka largely because State Terror is what singles out this state. Though no direct murder as yet, but the very large scale on which persecution is conducted almost daily by official agencies, even beats other BJP ruled states, like Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, etc. The police, bureaucracy and lower judiciary give the impression of having abdicated their duty and allowing themselves to be slaves and arms of their political masters who rule the state.
The communal pogroms unleashed by the fundamentalist forces is unheard of in any other state. Thousands of false cases are registered with the alleged connivance of the authorities, at the instance of the politicians to consolidate the majority vote. Justice Saldanha concluded that The CSF 2011 India Persecution Report is a potent weapon in the fight against communal forces and in a way expose the grave threat Indian Christians are exposed to.