STATE TERRORISM-TYRANNY

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STATE TERRORISM-TYRANNY
THE HORRIFYING HUMAN TRAGEDY
CALLED MANGALORE SEZ
DEATH, DESTRUCTION AND RAPE
OF THE PLANET
EXTRACTED FROM
(A REPORT ON THE ATTACKS ON MINORITIES AND
THEIR PLACES OF WORSHIP IN KARNATAKA)
PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY
Conducted at the instance of the
People’s Union for Civil Liberties, South Kanara
And
The Catholic Association of South Kanara
And
Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter
By:
Justice Michael F. Saldanha,
Retired Judge, Karnataka High Court.
President, The Catholic Association of South Kanara.
Chairman, Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter
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Publisher : People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka
First edition : July 2010
Copies : 2000
Contribution : Rs.15/-
Printer : Prasad Printers, Kulshekar, Mangalore-5
For Copies Contact :
P.B.D’Sa Justice M.F. Saldanha
Working President 401, Sillver Crest
PUCL Karnataka 13, Rest House Road
“Pauline” Valencia Bangalore-560001
Mangalore-575002 Tel:25596713/9844028695
Tel: 0824-4252170/9008820186
Suresh Bhat Mr. B.G. Kosky
President Vice-Chairman,
Komu Souharda Vedike Transparency International India
Eesha Vasyam, 2-10-776, 101-A, M.B. Centre,
Near Mangala Gas Godown, 134, Infantry Road,
Bejai Mangalore-575004 Bangalore-560001
Tel: 2225652 Tel:91-80-22868800
Dr.V.N. Laxmi Narayana Dr. Ramdas Rao
General Secretary PUCL Karnataka Secretary PUCL Karnataka
#5598. 5th Cross, Vijayanagara 2 stage, #59, Shivaji Road,
Mysore-570017 Shivajinagar, Bangalore-560051
Tel: 0821-2513121/9480326622 Tel:9449399729
Prof. Y.J.Rajendra Mr. Walter Pinto
Vice president PUCL Karnataka President Catholic Sabha
#40, 8th cross, 5th main, Vishnu Prakash
Sampangi Ramanagar Court Road, Udupi- 575101
Bangalore-560027 Tel:0820/2529063/2630503
Tel: 9449011530 /9845406817
Prof. N Babiah [PDF] Secretary
76, III Stage, Vinayaka Layout Catholic Association of
Vijayanagar, South Canara, Catholic Centre
Bangalore-560040. Hampankatta, Mangalore-575001
Tel:9449904487 Tel:0824-2422059
Pastor Walter Mabeen Catholic Sabha
Chairman, Karnataka Missions, Network, Mangalore Pradesh
‘ELIM’ Mercara Hill, Bishop’s House, Mangalore – 3
Mangalore-565002 Tel: 2427474
Tel:9845083323
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God grant me the
Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change…
Courage to
change the things I can
and Wisdom to
know the difference…

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I have often been asked as to why the SEZ issue finds place in an
incisive report on communal attacks. Obviously, the basis for the
question emanates from the fact that SEZs are related to economic
and industrial development and are far distanced from communal
overtones and sociological issues such as class war not to mention
religious issues. The few of my friends who have read this chapter
raise their eyebrows in shock and disbelief when they found that in
the Indian context and more importantly, under the present
Government in Karnataka, and the religious persecution that has been
let lose in Dakshina Kannada that the euphemism of the term SEZ
turned out to be a horrifying genocide. True, the dominant forces
and the State Machinery did not physically hack the Christians and
the poor tribals to pieces but what they did was even worse. To my
mind, an instant death howsoever horrifying would have been far
more merciful to a horrifying fate ahead.
In Judgment after Judgment, I had struck down the misuse of
acquisition powers by the State Machinery through coercive steps
for the benefit of the richest of the rich and the most powerful in the
land. It is this fattest class who are given prime land at insane prices
and all the possible tax concessions even to the extent of feeding
them lavishly with scarce commodities such as power and water by
physically throwing out lakhs of tribals and farmers from their little
holdings because they have no power to resist. We are told that the
Central and State Governments have strictly instructed the SEZ to
concentrate on barren land and not to touch green areas such as
paddy fields, farm lands, forests, lakes, rivers, wells and the like. The
authorities contend that they have not touched any such areas. The
truth of the matter is that the Mangalore SEZ does not cover even
one square centimeter of barren land. Every single piece of land had
FOREWORD
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paddy fields, vegetable and fruit gardens, fruit trees, small farms, lakes,
rivers and wells. The Lokayukta has convicted the Land Acquisition
Officer and several of the Revenue Officials all of whom were heavily
bribed by the SEZ Authorities to forge and fabricate the revenue
records and convert them to read that paddy fields and farm lands
were barren areas. When I visited Mangalore, in connection with the
Church attacks, I was informed that the entire area covered by the
SEZ consisted of over 70% Catholics, all of whom grew paddy, organic
vegetables, they owned fruit trees and this fertile belt was well irrigated
by little rivers and thousands of wells have provided the highest quality
of water. All these little hamlets had virtually hundreds of chapels,
grottos and little prayer centres, all of which have been bulldozed by
the SEZ authorities. It was this complaint which took me to the area
after visiting Bajpe.
The villagers themselves met me and requested me to come and
see for myself as to whether the horror story was true and I found
that the reports were a gross understatement. On 8th November
2008, I personally witnessed the SEZ Officers led by a barbarian by
the name of Raghavendra Holla who was strutting around like a badshah,
a bunch of dangerous looking thugs who were designated as
the SEZ Contractors and a whole lot of earth moving machinery all
of which was being protected by the local police. The paddy fields
that were ready for harvesting were being covered with two feet of
soil and thereafter levelled out and photographed to give the
impression that it was barren land. The vegetable gardens which
provided Mangalore with the choicest of organic vegetables were
first bulldozed and then levelled under several feet of mud and again
photographed to give the impression that this was a barren area. I
told Holla and the Contractors that the wells, the streams and the
little lakes were precious and that they should not be destroyed.
Holla who claimed that he was the full brother of the then State
Advocate General – Mr. Udaya Holla, a Senior Counsel of considerable
merit, displayed his arrogance and if I may add, contempt for the
High Court because I had told him that the Judges would take a
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serious view of what he and his hire links were doing there, ordered
the machinery to be brought out again, all the wells, the streams and
the two small lakes were filled with debris and levelled and
photographed and he told me that nobody will believe that they ever
existed. An elderly Christian lady who was a neighbor and outside
the SEZs designated zone told Swamiji and me that on the previous
night, the Contractors led by one Kotian who was an extremely
dangerous looking man and threatened to kill me if I opened my
mouth, had encroached into her little farm and taken away the cows,
goats, four pigs and all the poultry and sold them to the butchers
there itself. Merely because she came to complain, Holla sent the
Machinery to her farm and within 15 minutes, all the fruit trees and
vegetable gardens were destroyed and she was told that she should
move her belongings out before afternoon as the house was going to
be leveled down. All these under protection from the Police Officers
of the Bajpe Police Station who were also armed. Holla and his mafia
got the police to threaten the media persons and all of us including
Swamiji who was present that we would be arrested on the spot,
taken to the police station and beaten unconscious if we did not
leave. This is the summary of how the SEZ claimed to have acquired
the barren land.
This particular spot was farmed by tribals who formed the
poorest of the poor. In their own small way, they had set up a small
prayer shed which was like a chapel and some grottos which had
statues in them. There were also two or three similar religious
structures put up by persons professing the Hindu faith. These were
raised to the ground in our presence and Holla instructed the
demolition squad to drive the earth movers over the debris, so that
it was completely crushed and could never be recognized as being
the remnants of religious structures. What almost created a riot was
the fact that one small area was apparently used by the Christians as
a burial ground and there were several graves and crosses there.
When Holla had these demolished, sentiments ran high and the
persons present reacted violently. There was a joint operation by
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the mafia and the police, I would equate one with the other who
mercilessly beat the poor villagers and drove them away. This is the
kind of respect that the BJP Government in Karnataka has for places
of worship and even for sacred spots like burial grounds. Not only is
it deplorable, unpardonable, but shameful to the worst degree. All of
this has been recorded by me in my letters to the SEZ Authorities, to
the Chief Justice of the High Court and to the Human Rights
Commission.
What I need to highlight is the fact that when arrogance reaches
demonic levels, public servants such as Holla rise to horrifying heights
or rather, sink to disgusting depths. This man who was dressed like a
cowboy wearing Rayban glasses with a string of gold chains dangling
from his neck and sporting a two lakhs rupee watch, had four mobile
phones with him which were being used constantly. For our benefit,
these were kept on the speaker mode, so that, all could hear his
conversations with two of his top officers by the name of Prasad and
Pai, as I understand, these two fellows were the SEZ’s big bosses.
Holla was reporting his every movement to them and they were
actively encouraging the fellow even to the extent of telling him that
money is no consideration and that he should call in additional
machinery and level the whole hamlet to the ground within the next
three hours. They also told him to get the police and the revenue
authorities to make an inventory that it was a completely barren
area, devoid of human habitation and even any water source.
Not one of my letters to the SEZ Authorities was either replied
nor have any of the above facts been disputed. The Judiciary of-course
is so very busy that even when I reported atrocities of these horrifying
dimensions to the Hon’ble Chief Justice, was any cognizance taken.
Essentially, the atrocities was part of the SEZ mafia in collaboration
with the police and the revenue authorities all of whom would have
normally come in for severe action had the High Court taken
cognizance, but this did not happen. It pained me to read in the papers
that the High Court was celebrating some kind of Centenary for
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which the State Government had sanctioned over a Crore of rupees
which excluded a Centenary Arch costing Rs.68.00 Lakhs which to
my mind has disfigured the period building. The State Government
was also kind enough to make a gift to the High Court of a fleet of
expensive new cars. I did not feel sad because I spent fifteen long
years using a broken down Ambassador Car that was sent to the
garage on every working day. In my last year, I was thrilled to receive
a substandard brand new Ambassador Nova which I used for six
months and the log book showed that it had made 100 trips to the
Dealers in 180 days and the cost of replacements exceeded the value
of the car. When I took up the issue with the Vehicle Department, I
realized that the purchase of these vehicles is intended to feed a
large number of parasites starting from the High Court Department
to the State Government and the Dealers.
Later on, in this Chapter, I have dealt with the human trauma
and what has happened to the human beings who occupied this area
and what is to be done with that part of the District which is being
turned into a new Hiroshima. The irony of the matter is that the
media by and large fully supports the SEZs which regularly hold cocktail
parties and other enjoyable functions for them apart from which, ads
worth Crores of rupees are released. The entire population of the
area as also the State and the country have been indoctrinated with
the cheerful news that huge chemical complexes will generate
immense wealth and employment and prosperity to the region and
that even if it is at the cost of raping the earth, it is still worthwhile. I
would like the population of the sub-continent and of the earth to
whom thousands of acres of prime, fertile agricultural land has been
gifted for one thousandth the market value to know who the stake
holders in these SEZs are and how poor they are that the Central
and State Government should be kind and charitable to them. One
of the stake holders is the Oil and Natural Gas Commission, among
the biggest and richest Corporations in the sub-continent to whom
these concessions are being extended. I wrote to the Chairman of
the Commission recording the atrocities, the man probably threw
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the letter into his waste paper basket, never even acknowledged it,
but obviously could not dispute one syllable of the horror story.
The most unpardonable and utterly disgusting fallout of the
SEZ Operation is that it has become a REAL ESTATE
GOLDMINE OF UNIMAGINABLE DIMENSIONS.
In terms of sociological consequences, approximately 3.00 Lakh
tribals and subsistence level farmers aged between 1 month and 80
years have been physically uprooted and thrown out of their lands
and homes. The Law requires that if any such person is required to
be uprooted, that they have to be rehabilitated. When I was Advocate
General of Maharashtra, in the famous Nhavaseva Port Trust case,
where thousands of acres of lands were acquired to set up a multi
billion dollar port, it was at my instance and for the first time ever in
this country that the Central and State Governments followed a broad
formula that is set out below:
(a) That every single family who was required to move because
of acquisition of their lands was shifted into permanent
alternate accommodation that was made available before
they were divested of their possession. This was because
citizens at this economic level would be forced to migrate
to the closest city to die on the footpaths and the
compensations would be pocketed by the Project Officers
and the other officials after fabricating bogus documents. It
was therefore necessary that they be around and available
to receive their compensation. Several safeguards were
observed to ensure that the compensation does not get
diverted to Government Officers, Activists, Social Workers
and Lawyers.
(b) That at-least one member from each family was given
permanent employment in the new project, so that, they
did not have to starve. (irrespective of when the project
was completed, they would receive an equivalent of
subsistence allowance till their salary commence).
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(c) Steps were taken to ensure that in not a single case, was the
education of the children disrupted even for a day.
(d) More importantly, the principles of the Land Acquition Act
were not followed and the concept which later years as a
High Court Judge, I incorporated in 17 of my Judgments was
used for purposes of fixing the scale of compensation. The
market value of the land at current rates in the hands of the
new project was the barometer and this amount was
computed. Undoubtedly, it came to much much more than
the stingy impractical and disgusting levels fixed a hundred
years back under the Land Acquisition Act (where the value
of a yielding mango tree is Rs.18/-) and the bulk of this amount
was really invested under a deferred payment scheme so
that the beneficiaries did not blow up the money nor were
they deprived of it by unscrupulous elements as always
happens and it was equally convenient for the project
authorities to pay the higher amount on a deferred payment
scheme over a prescribed period of time.
In the case of the Mangalore SEZ, none of this has happened.
Under the so-called rehabilitation scheme, the SEZ Officers have sold
the plots for payment in cash to the highest bidders, as a result of
which, these colonies have been fully populated by outsiders and the
Officers of the SEZ have become Crorepathis overnight. One of the
very convincing methods used by these corrupt officers is to arm
each of the occupants with a false affidavit which can be executed for
a hundred rupees stating that the person concerned was earlier
residing at so and so place and has been rehabilitated. We cross
checked 93 such cases and found that the results were 100% in that
the documents were fabricated and the persons were total outsiders.
As far as the Padav area is concerned, the position is even worse
because the fields in question were sought to be converted into a
kind of a temple colony. A large number of extremely suspicious
looking thugs were present there and they stated that they were
reconstructing temples belonging to family gods that were shifted
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from elsewhere and each of these institutions is an extremely lucrative
money centre.
What is the impact on the women and children? All those who
were earning their livelihood by growing healthy crops, organic
vegetables, fruit and farm products have had to work as coolies and
construction labourers and sleep on the footpaths or slums of the
cities. Not a single one of over one lakh children has been able to go
back to schools and they will go back as beggars, criminals and drug
addicts. The men who cannot work as construction workers will
turn into beggars, petty criminals, alcoholics and die a quick death.
The very worst consequence of these SEZ operations is that
since the nearby towns and cities cannot absorb the uprooted human
beings as every field right down to prostitution, crime and drug
addiction is beautifully saturated in the sub-continent. They are
required to migrate into the hills, forests and barren areas and live
like wild animals. This is the transformation that the SEZs have achieved
by converting a sizeable part of the population into so-called Naxalites
and Maoists. They are desperate human beings, their days are
numbered and their lives mean nothing and all they want is to settle
score with the forces that reduce them to this position and that is
why they are driven to violence. Once the situation gets as bad as
this, the Law Enforcement Agencies brand them as Terrorists and
are heavily rewarded and complimented for shooting them down.
Unfortunately, the sociological problem has not been understood
and is worsening and the Mangalore SEZ is one of the most shameful
and horrifying examples of precisely this.
(Justice M. F. Saldanha)
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If any state can lay claim to be “Gandhi’s own country” it is
India, and sadly enough instead of venerating and perpetuating his
sacred principle of ahimsa, on his death anniversary this year, the
Home Minister of the country announced that every Maoist and
Naxalite will be shot dead. Nobody protested – these human beings
are regarded as dreaded terrorists and we are all led to believe that
they are “anti-social, a menace and a danger”. Would Gandhiji
have categorised them as pests to be eliminated at sight, but more
importantly, would he have approved of the violence on either side?
Many a time, he was quick to point out that an eye for an eye would
leave the whole world blind! The real tragedy is that he is not here to
stop these State atrocities.
The very Politicians who go around in Khadi and precariously
climb ladders to garland statutes of the Mahatma are totally committed
to the so-called policy of development which sanctions Industrial Areas
and Special Economic Zones. Nothing wrong in the policy as long as
it is properly executed- not the way a lethal gas plant was located in
the midst of the city- in the USA Union Carbide had to observe a 90
mile radius of a “no habitation zone” as the gas was so lethal- in India
life is cheap and happily NO POLITICIAN OR BUSINESSMAN DIED
OR WAS MAIMED! There is a mad rush to create the show-pieces
called SEZ’s on the graves of the villagers and by turning all the fertile
green areas into disgusting concrete jungles and factories. My
research indicates that not even one single SEZ in this
country has observed the basic norm that no green areas
such as forests, no water bodies such as lakes and rivers and
no human habitations such as villages and hamlets can be
touched and that all these SEZs must be set up in the area
comprising of the country’s 39.68% of barren areas. The truth
is that on an average 93% of the land that is forcibly acquired
using muscle power and the state machinery riddled with
INTRODUCTION
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corruption comprises of villages and green areas as also
water bodies. IN THE CASE OF THE MANGALORE SEZ,
THE FIGURE IS AS HIGH AS A DEPLORABLE 97%.
Shamefully enough, we have the country’s so-called richest and finest
corporate bodies such as ONGC involved in the Mangalore SEZ – in
West Bengal, it was the Tatas who were beaten back for the first
time, but were welcomed in Gujarat. The wild life has been annihilated,
the cattle has been butchered, the livestock has been eliminated, the
villages have been bulldozed, the water bodies have disappeared and
above all, the whole of the population has either been killed or driven
into the barren hills and what is left of the forests. It is these
desperate human beings who are labeled as Maoists and
Naxalites because, like the proverbial wounded serpent, they
have decided to hit back at the very forces that reduced
them to this condition. Recently, when Arundati Roy told the
Central Government that the Adivasis and Tribals and the poorest of
the poor who have been consigned to the wilderness and whose
homes have been given to the industrialists and the richest of the
rich are not to blame for this human tragedy, that there must be a
stop to the insanity of locating SEZs in the wrong areas and that
rehabilitation and welfare measures required to be undertaken for
these desperate human beings, instead of shooting them, she received
strong criticism from the Media for “siding with the Terrorists.”
I revere Gandhiji for many reasons, the most important of which
was that he had compassion for the weak, he took up the cause of
the underdog and he had his sense of values well grounded. We were
brought up to believe in survival of the fittest- I ask, what about the
survival of the weakest? When he spoke of wiping every tear from
every eye, he referred to this strata of human beings and not to the
political class or the rich and famous who do not know what it is to
shed a tear, but who reduce the lives of the poorest of the poor to
an unending saga of endless misery and tears. Though he left us more
than six decades ago, his ideals are good for all time and if the insanity
of SEZs which he would never have approved of, is to be at all
curtailed, it will be through a return to the Mahatma. Below is an
extract from an inspiring publication “Gandhi’s Outstanding
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Leadership” authored by my esteemed and exceptionally brilliant
friend Allan P. Nazareth, which I consider to be most appropriate:
“Because we are “The finite created for the infinite”, the
leadership we need, and deserve, has to be rooted in immortal
values. In the final analysis good and trustworthy Leadership
calls for moral judgments on what is right action, because history
has amply demonstrated that in the long run Truth alone
triumphs. Decisions based solely on technical knowledge do
not require leadership. To make right choices leaders need to
have deep understanding of the lives and ideas of the world’s
great moral philosophers and of those who have applied them
to solve some of its most difficult problems.
Leaders who inspire, and command universal respect, are those
who espoused Right rather than Might, and truth, justice and
non-violent conflict rather than hate, violence and war. Lincoln’s
words “Let us have faith that right makes might, and in that faith
let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we understand it” are
still as powerfully inspiring as they were a hundred and forty
years ago when they were spoken. Napoleon’s words, uttered
at his remote St. Helena prison are significant. “Glory is fleeting,
obscurity is forever …. There are only two powers in the world
– the spirit and the sword. In the long run the sword will always
be conquered by the spirit.”
I would recommend the book to every right thinking Indian or
for that matter human being, but it would be difficult to put its contents
across to the political and business community neither of whom is
amenable to the art of reading. To those who receive this booklet,
another extract from the same book is worth reproducing:
“The prime component of Gandhi’s leadership was his elevated
vision that humans, the highest manifestation of God’s creation,
can and would live in harmony and peace, firmly adhering to
Truth, Justice, Love and Non-Violence. “Non-violence is the law
of our species as violence is the law of brute. The spirit lies
dormant in the brute and he knows no law but that of physical
might. The dignity of man requires obedience to a higher law –
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that of the spirit… It is the law of love that rules mankind. Had
violence i.e. hate rules us, we should have become extinct long
ago. Mankind has to get out of violence only through non-violence.
Hatred can only be overcome by love.
In his historical perspective, he saw dictators and tyrants
maintaining their fearful sway only temporarily. All empires built
with the sword end up in the dustbin of history; only those built
on the spirit with Truth, love and self-sacrifice by the great seers
and prophets have survived and flourished. Since humans are
created “in the image of God” and are imbued with the “Divine
Spark” they have to be led by Truth and love, not by fear and
hate. One has to live, and if necessary to die for Truth, but never
to hurt or kill anyone.
For Gandhi, Truth (Satya) was as real and omnipotent as God
himself. In fact, Truth is God, as Truth is what is and God is the
only reality that always is. “The world rests upon the bedrock of
Satya… which being what it is it can never be destroyed. This is
the doctrine of Satyagraha in a nutshell.” Truth is the ‘Right Path’
and it is ‘Right that is Might’ not its opposite. He often quoted the
Bhagwad Gita’s core philosophical assertion ‘Satyanasti pao
Dharma’ (There is no greater duty than adherence to Truth).
Truth implies Justice, and both are essential requisites for the
attainment of peace. “Peace will come when Truth is pursued,
and Truth implies Justice”. Justice requires that the adversary’s
views and requirements be given due consideration. “Three fourths
of the miseries and misunderstandings in the world would disappear
if we step into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their
standpoint”. Justice also requires that the final agreement made
be acceptable to all concerned.
Whereas Gandhi was passionately dedicated to Truth even as a
youth, particularly after he learnt about Harishchandra’s
unshakeable adherence to it despite innumerable hardships, his
deep commitment to non-violence came only in his early thirties
after he read Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and Tolstoy’s The
Kingdom of God is within you. The strong non-violent traditions
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of the Jain community of his native Gujarat had of course mentally
prepared him for this. Non-violence thus became his immutable
path for realization of Truth. For him it meant complete abstention
not only from all physical, mental and emotional injury to others
but also cleansing oneself of all hatred and desire for revenge.
One had to hate and confront evil but nonetheless love the evil
doer because even he is endowed with the Divine spark which
love can ignite and induce his conversion. “Non-violence is based
on the assumption that human nature in its essence is one and
therefore unfailingly responds to the advances of love… The
hardest metal yields to sufficient heat. Even so, the hardest heart
must melt before the heat of non-violence and there is no limit to
the capacity of non-violence to generate heat.
For him: “The objective of all non-violent activity is always a mutually
acceptable agreement, never the defeat, much less the humiliation
of the opponent” and “A non-violent revolution is not a programme
for seizure of power. It is a programme for transformation of
relationships ending in a peaceful transfer of power.”
Gandhi’s vision, though considered utopian by some and arcadian
by others, was actually an elevated, wide spectrum, deeply spiritual
yet practical one. Like the tall redwood tree, which views the
farthermost horizon, yet is fully aware of every environmental
nuance around its sumptuous girth and at its deepest root, Gandhi
perceived the macro and micro effects of human behaviour in
diverse fields. His vision can justifiably therefore be described as
extraordinary.”
Ultimately, the return to sanity and Gandhiji’s principles is the
only answer to the problem. As the subsequent events in Central
India have indicated, state violence has resulted in a backlash and the
consequences will be horrifying if it spreads. The Mangalore SEZ is a
horror story to beat all others and that is why, it is necessary to let
the world know the truth. It does not make pleasant reading but like
the bitter pill, if we are aiming at saving the sub-continent, it is a
must.
Justice Michael F. Saldanha
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The greatest legal fraud and the social atrocity that has taken
place in the last decade has been the setting up of Special Economic
Zones by the Government of India and the State Governments, both
shamelessly acting as the agents of the vested interests. A large amount
of publicity is done creating the impression that the SEZ in question
is an unmixed blessing because it will provide jobs and economic
prosperity to the entire region. All the big and small businesses pour
money into the SEZ Company which in turn does high power publicity
and the first casualty is the Media. Huge unnecessary expenditure on
meaningless advertisements is undertaken and the whole of the media
regularly invited for so-called briefings at Five Star Hotels, after which,
the region is brain-washed into believing that the SEZ will create a
paradise on earth in that region. WE HAVE THE CLASSIC
EXAMPLE OF BHOPAL WHERE THE WHOLE WORLD
COULD NOT UNDERSTAND AS TO HOW A PLANT
USING LETHAL CHEMICALS WAS SET UP RIGHT IN THE
HEART OF BHOPAL CITY AND THE DISASTER HAS
RIGHTLY BEEN DESCRIBED AS THE HIROSHIMA OF
INDIA. THIS HAS NOT HAPPENED IN ANY OTHER
COUNTRY ON THIS PLANET.
The SEZ story has been a uniform social disaster all over the
country because the first thing that the vested interests do is to ask
for land which is extremely well situated i.e. close to all the facilities
and further more, where there is the best infrastructure such as
rivers, water supply and the like. The Central and State Govts. provide
prime land belonging to the poorest of the poor to the richest of the
rich as an INCENTIVE at 1868 acquisition rates in 2010 and all of
these end up as Corporate Assets worth thousands of Crores of
Rupees. To compound it all, the public are told that they will provide
Revenue whereas the fraud is that they are given TAX HOLIDAYS!
Next comes the Mega Fraud of providing jobs responsible research
THE GORY EPISODE
OF THE MANGALORE SEZ
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evidences that not even 1% if those who have LOST THEIR
EVERYTHING get employed! The harsh truth is that these
so called SEZs are the biggest real estate scam of the
Century. Judging from the dangerous Chemical units
proposed for the Mangalore SEZ, this is another MEGABHOPAL
in the making.
All these prime lands in this sub-continent are occupied by
villagers and they are all under cultivation producing different types
of ORGANIC crops, fruits and vegetables and other farm products
like milk, eggs, chicken, sheep and goats, pigs, cattle and the like. This
is the normal structure all over the country. Whereas prior to the
Mangalore SEZ the satellite images of the area reflect a total canopy
of dense green resembling a rain forest area, after the butchering of
over 30,000 trees by the kind-hearted officers of the SEZ today it
compares with the SAHARA DESERT. The occupants are Adivasis,
Tribals, Dalits and the poorest of the poor. None of these people
have any fighting power and taking advantage of the situation, the
following pattern emerges:
(a) That the local leaders are bought over and they are asked
to get the consent letters from all the villagers which are
obtained virtually at knife point. The few who resist
DISAPPEAR. While the SEZ officials naturally do nor admit
that as many as 427 persons have been murdered, they
politely contend that they have LEFT. (for their heavenly
abode!) I am not impressed by their honesty. It defies logic
and human intelligence to contend that every villager would
give up their everything for a pittance of money- whom
are they fooling?
(b) That documents are fabricated showing the receipt of so
called payments which are usually in cash. In the case of
the Mangalore SEZ, in many of the cases, bank accounts
were created and the so-called compensation was
deposited without the villagers even knowing about it.
Thereafter, the same persons who created the Bank
Accounts have withdrawn the money.
-20-
(c) Documents evidencing surrender of possession were also
fabricated by the local mafia and a record created that the
villagers had not only agreed to give up their lands, that
they had been paid compensation and that they have
surrendered the possession VOLUNTARILY AND
WILLINGLY- the SEZ Officers forgot to add the word
HAPPILY! The whole operation virtually stinks.
(d) The same mafia provided the so-called contractors who
were a bunch of thugs accompanied by musclemen and
the local police all of whom are on the payroll of the SEZ.
Bulldozers are brought, the entire village is demolished
within an hour usually at night, trucks of soil and debris
are kept ready, all the fields, farms and vegetable gardens
are buried under two feet of soil, all the trees are cut and
by the next day, before anybody can even raise a protest,
the area looks exactly like a barren piece of land. I HAVE
PERSONALLY WITNESSED THIS BEING DONE
ON THE MORNING OF 8TH NOVEMBER 2008 IN
A VILLAGE CLOSE TO MANGALORE
OCCUPIED BY CHRISTIANS WHO WERE ALL
AGRICULTURISTS AND PROVIDED MOST OF
MANGALORE’S ORGANIC VEGETABLES. THE
REST OF THEM WHO CARRIED OUT THE
SAME AGRICULTURAL OPERATIONS WERE
KUNBI TRIBALS. THE POLICE WERE PRESENT
IN LARGE NUMBERS PROTECTING THE
MAFIA, THE SEZ OFFICERS WERE PRESENT
THERE AND MAINTAINED THAT THEY HAD
DONE EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO LAW. I
HAD REGISTERED MY STRONG PROTEST
AGAINST THESE ATROCITIES AND SO HAD
THE SWAMIJI WHO WAS PRESENT THERE.
THEY REFUSED TO LISTEN AND BY EVENING,
WE CAME TO KNOW THAT THE POLICE
HAVE REGISTERED CASES AGAINST ALL OF
US WHO HAVE VISITED THE AREA UNDER
-21-
SERIOUS CHARGES OF RIOTING, TRESPASS
AND EVEN ATTEMPT TO MURDER. THESE
CASES HAD BEEN FILED BY THE OFFICERS
AND CONTRACTORS OF THE SEZ. THIS THE
ROLE OF THE STATE MACHINERY.We were
fortunate to escape with our lives on that day
(e) What was even worse in this case was that all the land
records were destroyed and replaced with fabricated
documents to the effect that the area consisted of barren
land. The Government of India directions totally prohibit
paddy fields, vegetable gardens and farm lands being either
acquired or used for SEZs and in order to get over this,
the documents were fabricated. The matter was reported
to the Lokayukta because the local police had been
completely bought over and refused to register any
offences. The Upa-Lokayukta after holding an enquiry has
passed severe strictures against the State Government
and even directed a prosecution against the Government
Officers particularly the Land Acquisition Officer and the
Revenue Officers. Till today, nothing had happened. The
land in question was hurriedly allotted to some influential
persons who are supposed to have been rehabilitated and
they were told to hurriedly construct houses and temples
there to make it a fait accompli. THE HON’BLE HIGH
COURT OF KARNATAKA, LIKE WHAT
HAPPENED IN THE BHOPAL CASE, IS STILL
HEARING THE PETITION LONG AFTER MOST
OF THE POOR VICTIMS ARE DEAD.
(f) The most shameful part of the entire SEZ operation is
that large and medium sized PRIVATE industry which
grabs this land which is a virtual goldmine, is misusing the
State powers under the Land Acquisition Act, These
powers are only permitted to be used in the case of
acquisition for public welfare projects like roads, dams
etc. I have in at least 10 Judgments struck down any
-22-
acquisitions of this type which entail public disaster and
do not cater exclusively to public welfare. The
compensation which is fixed at 18th century values never
ever reaches the beneficiary and the money- bags gets
these lands virtually free. In Judgment after Judgment, I
have pointed out that even if in a given instance, the
acquisition can be justified, nothing less than the current
market value has to be paid and this must reach
the beneficiary before they are dispossessed. In not
one case has this happened and it is shameful that the
Central Government and the State Governments are
functioning as agents of the vested interests.
(g) Every part of the country including Dakshina Kannada is
being ruined and devastated by these SEZs and the simple
results in terms of human misery are unthinkable. We are
then told that the country is facing a problem from
Naxalites and Maoists. These human beings have not
emerged from another planet nor have they come from
another part of the world. They are all peasants villagers
and farmers who have been forcibly thrown out of their
lands as happened in the case of the Mangalore SEZ, and
who have been driven into whatever is left of the hills and
forests. Earlier, they used to die on the footpaths of the
nearest city which is still happening but a few of them
who survived decide that they will put up a fight before
they are shot down by the police and the army. A 69
year old man Giriya Gowda, with tears in his eyes
told me that his paddy fields are gone, his vegetable
gardens are destroyed, his coconut trees and fruit
trees have disappeared, his cattle is finished, above
all, the bulldozer has destroyed his house, he and
his family are on the footpath and his grandchildren
are out of the village school. Despite his age, he
said that the Police and the Government Officers
assisted by the local mafia who represent the SEZ
and its Officers have done this to him and he had
-23-
resolved that he will take as many of them with
him before he dies. The Government will define
him as a Naxalite or a Maoist, the police will shoot
him down and the SEZ will come up over his dead
body.
Why does this Chapter find place in this Report ? It is because
the incidents took place at the same time when the minorities were
attacked and it forms an integral part of the State terrorism that
Karnataka is facing. The victims consisted essentially of the members
of the Christian community. The rest of them were the poorest of the
poor, the KUNBI tribals. I have selected only one area, but this has
been the story of the Mangalore SEZ in respect of every inch of land
that they have illegally taken possession of. The elite of Mangalore, the
leaders of the Church, the businessmen and the Chambers of
Commerce who meet at the Five Star Hotels have commended the
Officers of the SEZ who are acting in tandem with them. The farm
lands that once produced organic vegetable for the full District, the
fruits, the coconuts, the poultry, the livestock and everything else that
was good for the region have been destroyed and we are told that
Toxic and hazardous chemical complexes of the same lethal character
as the Union Carbide Plant at Bhopal will come up in this region.
CLASS WAR/GENOCIDE/ SLAUGHTER OF THE
MINORITIES
It is the same class of human beings i.e. those belonging to the
upper class who planned and executed the Church attacks, that
have used the muscle power in the SEZ operation. They would not
have targeted any village or any area or any person who came within
their social status but the oppressed classes are easy prey, as happened
in Orissa. The minorities i.e. the Christians and the tribals, adivasis
and the backward classes are all soft targets. This is one of the most
shameful CLASS-BASED attacks in the history of Dakshina Kannada
and it is not over, because the SEZ Officers have proudly proclaimed
that the next phase of the SEZ is now being taken up!
Apart from the violence and the muscle power used by the State
Machinery and the unlimited illegalities, what has characterised this
-24-
operation is the fact that in this instance again, it is the State Machinery
that has been 100% responsible for the human social and ecological
disaster. What I can never condone is the fact that whenever there
were protests or any resistance, that extreme form of violence was
used by the State and the SEZ to put it down. One of the forms of
State Terrorism is to register unlimited number of criminal cases
against the victims and more importantly, any of the citizens who
come to their assistance. Every one of the social activists and
volunteers has been beaten up, arrested, the courts joining in cheerfully
and refusing bail and each of them has 30 to 50 criminal cases filed
against them. Nobody has been spared- I HAVE TWO CRIMINAL
CASES REGISTERED AGAINST ME BY THE OFFICERS/
AGENTS OF THE SEZ FOR HAVING VISITED THE AREA
THOUGH I HAVE NOT BEEN ARRESTED SO FAR! One
Raghavendra Holla who claimed to be the Major Domo of
the SEZ accompanied by a most dangerous and offensive
looking thug named Kotian were driving around the area in
an expensive SUV. Holla told me that he was the brother of
the State Advocare General (the AG subsequently denied
this and assured me that Holla would be dismissed from
service and prosecuted. Instead, he has become the General
Manager of the SEZ.) These were the two who threatened
to KILL us in the presence of the Police. When some of the
poor tribals begged that their standing crops be spared, rhey
were kicked by these two. One Marybai came to complain
that her house and vegetable garden which were outside
the designated area were being targeted. Holla and Kotian
sent the bull-dozers to destroy them immediately which was
done. The insolence was such that when I told them not to
destroy the fresh water wells, they filled them up with mud
in our presence. Shocking as it may sound, this is a sample
of the Human Rights violations in Karnataka’s Dakshina
Kannada! The next evening on my way to the Airport, I
stopped at the Bajpe Police Station as I was told that it had
been taken over by the SEZ. Holla and Kotian had thrown a
big victory party, liquor was flowing like water, everybody
-25-
was dead drunk and having a great time at the taxpayer’s
expense. I spent ten minutes there UNNOTICED and
discreetly left. So much for Karnataka’s Police under Home
Minister Acharya.
What is even more pathetic is that apart from all of this appearing
in the local TV and papers, right down to our being threatened, the
kicking, bull-dozing and the drunken party, NOTHING HAPPENED.
I have elaborately recorded all of this in my letters to the State Human
Rights Commission Chairman, the C.M., Home Minister, D. G. Police,
Central Minister Kamal Nath, Chairman ONGC and to the CEO of
the SEZ- no replies, no denials, NO ACTION.
What did hurt me really was that I wrote to the Chief Justice
recording all the above horrors with supporting material and
requested the High Court to take Suo Moto Action in the case. NO
REPLY, NO ACTION. That Hon’ble C. J. is now in the Supreme
Court dispensing a higher form of justice. I ask myself the question –
would this have happened if Infosys or Reliance were the applicants?
Is it not true that the status of the victim definitely counts and makes
all the difference. When will our legal system make some time for the
98% of the Indian population who do not belong to the rich and
famous class?
Hundreds of futile complaints have been filed before the Human
Rights Commission on behalf of the victims. I must say that it has
tried to do its best but it is a powerless organization, the State
Government has deliberately deprived it of any worthwhile
infrastructure and it has not been able to prevent or redress even
one of these atrocities. The Karnataka High Court has provided
zero relief. That is not surprising because a battery of lawyers
representing the vested interests sees to it that nothing happens in
the Court(s) and the end result is just sad and horrifying. To crown
it all, every one of the women volunteers who tried to fight for these
helpless people, apart from arrests and criminal cases, were repeatedly
threatened that they would be molested and gang raped and that
they would be mutilated for life with acid thrown on them. This is the
proud track trcord of the Mangalore SEZ.
-26-
The last and equally serious area of damage and human misery,
but which is directly in line with this Report is the fact that the SEZ
and its Officers in the areas of which they had taken forcible
possession, have demolished as many as 123 Churches, Chapels,
Prayer Halls, Prayer Centers and Grottos belonging to the Catholic
community. Their explanation is that the allegation is false because
there are no records to show that they existed. For that matter,
there are no records (AFTER MANIPULATION) to show that
any villages, farm lands, wells or trees existed in that area. To think
that there is supposed to be a Rule of Law in the State of Karnataka,
that all of these atrocities have happened in this very State under the
present BJP Government, that zero relief is forthcoming and that
the injustice is continuing, shows that there is something very seriously
wrong with our justice dispensation system- it has been a disastrous
let-down, it has totally failed.
THE CASUALTY LIST
I now come to the most gory and blood curdling part of this
most sordid episode. In my letter to the Chairman of ONGC, one of
the country’s most prestigious Public Sector Units which is a partner
in the Mangalore SEZ, I had provided the Hon’ble Gentleman with
some statistics that nobody has looked at – the cost in terms of
human misery, devastation, destruction and raw blood that is the
price of this SEZ. The letter was also addressed to Mr. Kamalnath,
the Union Minister for this Project, to the Prime Minister, to the
Chief Minister and the Home Minister of Karnataka. It was duly
delivered to all of them. Nobody responded, which is understandable
because the facts are indefensible, but more importantly, nothing has
been disputed nor can it be disputed. The Central Government has
laid down an inflexible rule that SEZs can only be set up in barren
areas – more than 1/3rd of the sub-continent comes under this
category- and there is a clear prohibition against appropriating
agricultural land, farms, villages, hamlets and more importantly areas
inhabited by the weaker sections namely the poorest of the poor,
the tribals, the depressed classes and the adivasis. This rule has been
breached in the case of every SEZ set up in the country and the very
-27-
worst of the lot is the Mangalore SEZ. In other cases, the
agricultural and inhabited areas illegally appropriated vary
from 15 to 40%. In the case of Mangalore SEZ, the breach is
100%. The list of Casualties:
(a) Agricultural lands illegally appropriated 100%.
(b) Fresh water wells destroyed – 2415.
(c ) Streams, Tanks and Minor water bodies destroyed – 614.
(d) Senior citizens over 70 years virtually finished off for life- 704.
(e) Senior citizens over 60 years virtually finished off for life- 548.
(f) Children/School/College going virtually finished off for life– 2150.
(g) Farmers ( men and women) virtually finished off for life – 4611.
(h) Tribals, Backward Classes and Christians – 100%.
(i) Upper Class persons – 0%.
(j) Number of Small Farms destroyed – 1616.
(k) Number of coconut trees destroyed – 6450.
(l) Number of other fruit trees – Mango, Jackfruit etc. – 13,860.
(m) Poultry including Broiler Farms and Ducks over 2,00,000
(n) Sheep and Goats over 18,000.
(o) Buffaloes over 11,000.
(p) Cows and Bulls over 19,000
(q) Pigs over 7,000
This is the trail of blood that this Mangalore SEZ has started
with. The later part of the Casualty list consists of birds and animals
belonging to households and little farms all of which have ended up in
the slaughter houses. The entire area has been bulldozed and I recall
telling the SEZ Officers headed by one Raghavendra Holla and a bunch
of thugs who had threatened to kill Swamiji, myself, all those who
accompanied us and even the media persons that they should atleast
spare the fresh water wells which were being filled up with mud and
levelled. I then realized that when the vegetable gardens and paddy
fields were being bulldozed and covered with one meter of mud that
the idea was to falsely contend that only barren lands had been
acquired. This was the same reason why every tree in the area was
also destroyed. The SEZs Officers and their contractors might have
-28-
become crorepathis but there is such a thing as Nemisis and it will be
interesting to see how long this ill-gotten wealth (BLOOD MONEY)
lasts with them and whether or not the tears anguish and deaths of
all these forms of life which includes the trees which also have life
and are precious, will not catch up with all of these persons.
CLASS WAR:
It was only in the Tata Case in West Bengal that the National
Media projected the very important fact that industry and big business
is built on the graves of the tribals, the backward classes and the
minorities. That is the story of the Mangalore SEZ. A checklist of
the names of the entire SEZ brigade throws up the fact that
they belong exclusively to the upper caste and the privileged
class. Next we come to their Partners in crime namely the
Contractors who come from the same category. A
microscopic examination of the victims will indicate that
they all come from the category of Tribals, Christians and
backward classes. If this is not a class war or to use a more
appropriate term, virtual class genocide, what else is it ?
These are angles at which polite society and the rest of the well to do
Indians have never looked. Appropriately enough, I have entitled this
report “State Terrorism – Tyranny”. The reasons are more than
obvious. I do hope that a reading of this Chapter which will also be
published separately, will work as a rude eye opener. One does not
have to go to Africa and other parts of the world to witness the most
horrifying transgressions of Human Rights, it has happened in the
State of Karnataka and more precisely in Dakshina Kannada under
the euphemistic and glorious banner entitled Mangalore SEZ.
THE CREATION OF NAXALITES / MAOISTS:
Both these are extremely unpleasant terms and conjure up images
of violent human beings who spread death and destruction. The
Governments tell us that these persons should be shot at sight and
when this is done, the citizens rejoice. Has anybody ever tried to do
the elementary exercise of finding out as to who created them. None
of these human beings have come from another planet or from another
country. They are native Indians who have turned violent out of
-29-
desperation. Earlier, it was the powerful upper caste human beings in
the villages and the rural areas who threw them out of their lands
and their meagre possessions with the active assistance of the police
and the revenue officials and they were driven into what remained of
the forest or the barren hills. They resembled wounded animals driven
out of their habitat and forced to fight for their existence. I repeat
the words of 69 year old Giriya Gowda who wept when his house
was bulldozed, his vegetable gardens were destroyed, all his poultry
and cattle gone and even his wells filled up with mud and he was the
so called offender who had to be forcibly thrown out of his ancestral
land by the police, revenue authorities and the mafia hired by the
SEZ. He wept and told me that I have nothing left but before I go, I
will take a sizeable number of this lot with me. Can he be blamed for
this reaction?
The so-called Naxalites and Maoists are all the tribals, adivasis,
backward classes and the minorities who have been the victims of
terror and tyranny and who have no other language except to hit
back and try and get even. The Government produces SEZs for big
industry and this is the human price. This is the origin of these
movements and this is the reason why their ranks are increasing. It
was not very different in the Chambal ravines when women like
Phoolan Devi were tortured, humiliated, raped and subjected to
horrifying levels of tyranny and a few of them decided to fight back in
the same language and the Government classified them as Dacoits.
When the history of the Mangalore SEZ comes to be written, it
will be a horror story of an edifice built on graves.
JUSTICE M.F. SALDANHA (Retd)

FACT – FINDING REPORTS and NHRC & SHRC CASES and RELATED CORRESPONDENCE VOLUME – I PUCL Dakshina

FACT – FINDING REPORTS
and
NHRC & SHRC CASES
and
RELATED CORRESPONDENCE
VOLUME – I
PUCL Dakshina Kannada
2
FACT – FINDING REPORTS and NHRC & SHRC CASES and
Related Correspondence – Vol I
Compiled by : Suresh Bhat, Bakrabail
Publisher : People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka
First edition : December 2010
Pages : 96
Copies : 1000
Contribution : Rs.125/-
Printer : Prasad Printers, Kulshekar, Mangalore-5
Note: This book is the first of a series. The remaining will be published subsequently
3
4
5
One question that repeatedly haunts the common man is: why is it
that the behaviour of the Indian police towards the masses has not
undergone any appreciable change despite the country becoming an
independent republic. The answer is to be found in the country’s continued
dependence on the archaic and colonial Indian Police Act of 1861. The
latter law was passed by the then British rulers of India immediately after
the Sepoy Mutiny of 1857 with the sole purpose of imposing a firm and
stiff regime of police force upon the local population. In fact, that police
system was designed for maintaining the absolute authoritarian form of
foreign rule in India. The managerial philosophy of the police hierarchy
was based on distrust of the lower ranks. However despite attaining
Independence in 1947, the Indian Police Act of 1861 was not replaced.
Political powers continue to maintain a strict control over the police
organization and structure. The managerial philosophy, value system, and
ethos of the police to date remain militaristic in design, and suppressive
in practice. Today the Police Act of 1861 functions in association with
the Indian Penal Code (IPC), the Code of Criminal Procedure (Cr. PC)
and the Indian Evidence Act, 1872.
As per the provisions of the Indian Constitution, policing is a state
subject. Hence the responsibility of providing police service to the people
vests with the respective state governments. That most states have chosen
to adopt the old 1861 Act without change tells its own story. Though
some have passed new laws, the changes are only cosmetic and they are
still patterned on the 1861 model. The unfortunate result is there for all
to see. Over the years political control of the police force has only
tightened.
There has been almost 30 years of debate and discussions on the
subject of a new Police Act. While reports submitted by several
government committees and commissions gathers dust on shelves, the
country continues with the same old colonial law. A brief history of the
new Police Act that is still in the making is worth recalling. It was only in
1979 that a National Police Commission was set up to draft a new law. It
FOREWORD
6
produced 8 reports including a Model Police Act. But nothing happened
till 1996. In that year two former senior police officers filed a writ petition
in the Supreme Court praying for directions to the various governments
to implement the recommendation of National Police Commission. As
per the Court’s directions the government set up one more Committee
headed by former police chief J.F. Rebiero, to revise the recommendations.
The Rebiero Committee produced two reports between 1998 and 1999.
In 2000 the government set up a third Committee under the former
Home Secretary K.Padmanabhaiah which released its report in the same
year. Then in 2005 the government appointed a group headed by advocate
Soli Sorabjee to draft a new Police Act. This group submitted a Model
Police Act in late 2006. At the same time Supreme Court directed the
various governments to implement police reforms and provided them
with a framework within which to begin the reform process. A copy of
the Court’s guidelines can be found at the end of this book.
But sadly there is hardly any progress on the reforms front. Though
some states claim to have carried out some reforms, it is partially correct
because in actuality they have diluted the provisions defeating the very
purpose of the Court’s intentions. On the whole, the picture remains
dismal and the Indian police continue to act as the private henchmen of
vested interests and unscrupulous politicians. In the present neo-liberal
economic age we have neo-colonialism managing a back-door entry into
the country in the form of multi-national corporations and getting
entrenched. The pliant governments of the day which enable an unhindered
plundering of the country’s resources by the national and international
corporations, utilize an obedient police force to contain the rising
resistance of the masses.
Today India is witness to a very sad situation where criminals,
communalists and anti-social elements have infiltrated into politics,
bureaucracy and the police force. As a result there is a phenomenal
increase in the number of cases of custodial deaths, torture, extortion
and fake encounters by the police. But Government doctors and judiciary
have shamelessly joined hands with the police. There is injustice
everywhere. The Unlawful Activities Prevention Act and the Official
Secrets Act are mainly being utilized for the purpose of arresting innocent
citizens, branding them as terrorists and keeping them in indefinite custody
7
thus denying them their fundamental rights. According to noted writer
Arundhati Roy, “In the year 2004, 181 nations signed a document calling
for additional emphasis to be given to the protection of human rights this
era of the war on terrorism. India did not sign this document even though
the USA did.”
PUCL has consistently been protesting the rights violations
committed by the police. It has found that the majority of violations occur
in the case of minorities, poor and the dalits. PUCL has been conducting
fact-findings wherever possible and submitting such reports and complaints
to the National and State Human Right Commissions and various other
authorities. In this compilation you will find some of our fact-finding
reports, the complaints we lodged and the replies received. On the whole
it reveals the ineffectiveness of the Human Right Commissions in properly
dealing with the various rights violations and punishing the guilty. In our
opinion the Commissions suffer from lack of infrastructure and manpower
which appears to be the result of deliberate neglect by the governments.
It seems as though the governments have created these bodies as an
obligation under the International Human Rights Covenant, to which it is
a signatory, only to file reports to the United Nations Human Rights
Commission from time to time. The intention of PUCL in publishing this
compilation is to make it as a reference book for all Human Rights activists
and as an eye-opener to the general public who are continuously fed with
false information. We trust that it will also afford an opportunity for the
government to do some soul-searching and strengthen the various Human
Rights Commissions and expedite the police and judicial reforms which
are overdue.
In order to show the power of the people and the importance of
public opinion in a democracy we are holding a People’s Audit of atrocities
committed by the police in the Karavali belt, on 11th and 12th December,
2010. The jury is headed by Justice M.F.Saldanha (Retd.). The other
members of the jury are Mr Purushotham Poojary, senior advocate
Mangalore; well-known Human Rights champions Mr Nagari Babaiah and
Mr Mathew Philip from Bangalore; Prof Rita Noronha, a well-known Human
Rights activist from Mangalore; Ms Merlyn Martis, advocate and wellknown
Human Rights champion from Mangalore.
8
The editorial board wishes to place on record its gratitude for all
the assistance and help rendered by Ms Jayalakshmi, Ms Sapna and Ms
Reema.
Our special thanks to M/s Prasad Printers for their excellent work.
Editorial Board
I.J.S. Shet
Suresh Bhat B.
Harsha Raj Gatty
References:
Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative
http://mha.nic.in/pdfs/police_act_1861.pdf
http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/police/
police_organisations.pdf
http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/police/
karnataka_police_act_1963.pdf
http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/police/
karnataka_police_amendment_bill_2007.pdf
http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/publications/police/npc_bill.pdf
http://www.humanrightsinitiative.org/programs/aj/police/india/history/
default.htm
7
9
The People’s Union for Civil Liberties will try to bring together all
those who are committed to the defence and promotion of civil liberties
in India, irrespective of any differences which they may have in regard to
political and economic institutions suitable for the country.
The aims and objects of the organisation will be:
(a) to uphold and promote by peaceful means civil liberties and the
democratic way of life throughout India;
(b) to secure recognition to the principle of dignity of the individual;
(c) to undertake a constant review of penal laws and the criminal
procedure with a view to bringing them in harmony with humane
and liberal principles;
(d) to work for the withdrawal and repeal of all repressive laws including
preventive detention;
(e) to encourage freedom of thought and defend the right of public
dissent;
(f) to ensure the freedom of the press and independence of mass media
like radio and television;
(g) to secure the rule of law and independence of the judiciary;
(h) to make legal aid available to the poor;
(i) to make legal assistance available for the defence of civil liberties;
(j) to work for the reform of the judicial system so as to remove
inordinate delays, reduce heavy expenses, and eliminate inequities;
(k) to bring about prison reform;
(l) to oppose police excesses and use of third degree method;
(m) to oppose police discrimination on the ground of religion, race, caste,
sex, or place of birth;
(n) to combat social evils which encroach on civil liberties, such as
untouchability, casteism, and communalism;
(o) to defend in particular the civil liberties of the weaker sections of
society and of women and children;
(p) to do all acts and things that may be necessary, helpful, or incidental
to the above aims and objects.
PUCL
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
10
1. To increase consciousness about and commitment to human rights
and civil liberties among all sections of our people;
2. To provide a platform for all groups including political parties to
come together for furthering the cause of human rights, even though
the groups may have differences among themselves on other aspects
of social and political life.
3. To energise and creatively use the existing institutions like the courts
and the press, so that they may become more sensitive to the human
rights situation in India; and
4. To intervene directly in cases where gross violations of human rights
take place.
PRINCIPAL FUNCTIONS
OF THE PUCL
5
11
* mobilising public opinion in favour of a better climate for protection
of civil liberties in the country.
* conducting investigations into incidents of violations of human rights,
brought to notice by the victims, the press, a member, or any
concerned individual.
* publishing the findings of these investigations in the PUCL Bulletin
and releasing them to the press, or making them public by other
mean such as public meetings, etc. Many reports are published as
separate documents also.
* filing petitions, on the basis of these investigation, or even otherwise.
These cases are prepared and argued by our lawyer members in the
local courts, High Courts, or the Supreme Court. They meet all the
expenses of fighting these cases, from their own pocket.
The PUCL does not simply react. It organises seminars, lectures,
etc., for focusing attention on the problems concerning its area of
work. It has raised its voice against various oppression laws and
retrograde amendments to the Constitution. It has tried to find the
causes of communal riots and tried to create amity amongst various
sections of society. It also organises observer teams at the time of
Elections from sensitive constituencies. The PUCL had formulated
a Charter of Demands addressed to all national parties prior to the
general elections in 1989. The practice has been kept up.
It has been active on environmental issues, especially for the rights
of those affected adversely by ‘development’ projects. It has, from
time to time, taken up issues to courts at various levels. The PUCL
has, more than once, taken up the cause of pavement dwellers. It is
MAJOR AREAS OF ACTIVITY
12
specially sensitive to the oppression of dalits, minorities, women,
and children.
The PUCL also organises a JP Memorial Lecture on March 23rd every
year. This is the date on which the Emergency was lifted in the year
1977. In the same function the PUCL presents its Journalism for
Human Rights’ Award which carries a citation and an award of
Rs.20,000/- This Award was instituted in 1980 to enthuse interest in
civil liberties and human rights amongst journalists and also to bring
to light the dedication and the work of those working in this field.
There is a common belief that those who believe in capturing power
through violent means, having no faith in the existing parliamentary
democracy or the Constitution, have no rights and liberties. PUCL
thinks otherwise. While disagreeing with their methods and deploring
their actions, PUCL maintains that conditions existing in the society
are no less responsible for motivating people to alter them through
violence. In certain cases their violence is retaliatory against that of
the government. Rule of law has to be guaranteed to every citizen of
the country. This is the basic test of civil liberties. The same is its
attitude to criminals, prisoners, anti-social elements, etc.
4
13
Article 1.
• All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They
are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one
another in a spirit of brotherhood.
Article 2.
• Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this
Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex,
language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin,
property, birth or other status. Furthermore, no distinction shall be
made on the basis of the political, jurisdictional or international status
of the country or territory to which a person belongs, whether it be
independent, trust, non-self-governing or under any other limitation
of sovereignty.
Article 3.
• Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.
Article 4.
• No one shall be held in slavery or servitude; slavery and the slave
trade shall be prohibited in all their forms.
Article 5.
• No one shall be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading
treatment or punishment.
Article 6.
• Everyone has the right to recognition everywhere as a person before
the law.
UNITED NATIONS
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
December 10, 1948
14
Article 7.
• All are equal before the law and are entitled without any discrimination
to equal protection of the law. All are entitled to equal protection
against any discrimination in violation of this Declaration and against
any incitement to such discrimination.
Article 8.
• Everyone has the right to an effective remedy by the competent
national tribunals for acts violating the fundamental rights granted him
by the constitution or by law.
Article 9.
• No one shall be subjected to arbitrary arrest, detention or exile.
Article 10.
• Everyone is entitled in full equality to a fair and public hearing by an
independent and impartial tribunal, in the determination of his rights
and obligations and of any criminal charge against him.
Article 11.
• (1) Everyone charged with a penal offence has the right to be presumed
innocent until proved guilty according to law in a public trial at which
he has had all the guarantees necessary for his defence.
• (2) No one shall be held guilty of any penal offence on account of any
act or omission which did not constitute a penal offence, under national
or international law, at the time when it was committed. Nor shall a
heavier penalty be imposed than the one that was applicable at the
time the penal offence was committed.
Article 12.
• No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy,
family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and
reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against
such interference or attacks.
Article 13.
• (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of movement and residence
within the borders of each state.
15
• (2) Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own,
and to return to his country.
Article 14.
• (1) Everyone has the right to seek and to enjoy in other countries
asylum from persecution.
• (2) This right may not be invoked in the case of prosecutions genuinely
arising from non-political crimes or from acts contrary to the purposes
and principles of the United Nations.
Article 15.
• (1) Everyone has the right to a nationality.
• (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his nationality nor denied
the right to change his nationality.
Article 16.
• (1) Men and women of full age, without any limitation due to race,
nationality or religion, have the right to marry and to found a family.
They are entitled to equal rights as to marriage, during marriage and
at its dissolution.
• (2) Marriage shall be entered into only with the free and full consent
of the intending spouses.
• (3) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and
is entitled to protection by society and the State.
Article 17.
• (1) Everyone has the right to own property alone as well as in
association with others.
• (2) No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his property.
Article 18.
• Everyone has the right to freedom of thought, conscience and religion;
this right includes freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom,
either alone or in community with others and in public or private, to
manifest his religion or belief in teaching, practice, worship and
observance.
16
Article 19.
• Everyone has the right to freedom of opinion and expression; this
right includes freedom to hold opinions without interference and to
seek, receive and impart information and ideas through any media
and regardless of frontiers.
Article 20.
• (1) Everyone has the right to freedom of peaceful assembly and
association.
• (2) No one may be compelled to belong to an association.
Article 21.
• (1) Everyone has the right to take part in the government of his country,
directly or through freely chosen representatives.
• (2) Everyone has the right of equal access to public service in his
country.
• (3) The will of the people shall be the basis of the authority of
government; this will shall be expressed in periodic and genuine
elections which shall be by universal and equal suffrage and shall be
held by secret vote or by equivalent free voting procedures.
Article 22.
• Everyone, as a member of society, has the right to social security and
is entitled to realization, through national effort and international cooperation
and in accordance with the organization and resources of
each State, of the economic, social and cultural rights indispensable
for his dignity and the free development of his personality.
Article 23.
• (1) Everyone has the right to work, to free choice of employment, to
just and favourable conditions of work and to protection against
unemployment.
• (2) Everyone, without any discrimination, has the right to equal pay
for equal work.
• (3) Everyone who works has the right to just and favourable
17
remuneration ensuring for himself and his family an existence worthy
of human dignity, and supplemented, if necessary, by other means of
social protection.
• (4) Everyone has the right to form and to join trade unions for the
protection of his interests.
Article 24.
• Everyone has the right to rest and leisure, including reasonable
limitation of working hours and periodic holidays with pay.
Article 25.
• (1) Everyone has the right to a standard of living adequate for the
health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food,
clothing, housing and medical care and necessary social services, and
the right to security in the event of unemployment, sickness, disability,
widowhood, old age or other lack of livelihood in circumstances beyond
his control.
• (2) Motherhood and childhood are entitled to special care and
assistance. All children, whether born in or out of wedlock, shall enjoy
the same social protection.
Article 26.
• (1) Everyone has the right to education. Education shall be free, at
least in the elementary and fundamental stages. Elementary education
shall be compulsory. Technical and professional education shall be
made generally available and higher education shall be equally accessible
to all on the basis of merit.
• (2) Education shall be directed to the full development of the human
personality and to the strengthening of respect for human rights and
fundamental freedoms. It shall promote understanding, tolerance and
friendship among all nations, racial or religious groups, and shall further
the activities of the United Nations for the maintenance of peace.
• (3) Parents have a prior right to choose the kind of education that
shall be given to their children.
18
Article 27.
• (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of
the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement
and its benefits.
• (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material
interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production
of which he is the author.
Article 28.
• Everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the
rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration can be fully realized.
Article 29.
• (1) Everyone has duties to the community in which alone the free and
full development of his personality is possible.
• (2) In the exercise of his rights and freedoms, everyone shall be subject
only to such limitations as are determined by law solely for the purpose
of securing due recognition and respect for the rights and freedoms
of others and of meeting the just requirements of morality, public
order and the general welfare in a democratic society.
• (3) These rights and freedoms may in no case be exercised contrary
to the purposes and principles of the United Nations.
Article 30.
• Nothing in this Declaration may be interpreted as implying for any
State, group or person any right to engage in any activity or to perform
any act aimed at the destruction of any of the rights and freedoms set
forth herein.
3
19
1) This is a case pertaining to K. Kamalaksha Gatty a police constable
for 26 years who was ill treated by his department. It is because of
his wife was a social worker. While he was under suspension for
nearly a year he was physically thrown out of quarters with his wife
and children as well as cooking utensils. He was also not paid his
salaries during this suspension period for which he was eligible. The
compliant sent to NHRC by PUCL on 14-1-1999 he his published
here with NHRC did not take any steps in this regard.
NHRC Cases
CONSTABLE K. KAMALAKSHA GATTY’S CASE
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21
22
Case No. NHRC 90/10/2005-2006
2) This is a complicated case of one Staney Rasquina residing within the
jurisdiction of Kavoor Police Station. He was harassed by one Sudhir
and his gang who were known rowdies and criminals. They were
also suspected to be murderers of a particular person whose body
was found in highly decomposed conditions for which the concerned
medical officer had refused to give a proper report stating that the
body was in highly decomposed condition. They had also raped a
woman. In spite of lodging this complaint against Sudhir and his gang
the Kavoor police did not carry out proper investigation but in fact
a false case was filed against Staney Rasquina. Finally PUCL followed
up this complaint with NHRC but as usual the latter closed the case
without making proper investigation. It is a pity that with all the
infrastrure available to it, NHRC expects a human rights organization
like ours to adduce evidence and prove the case. If this is so, the
commission does not fulfil the mandate given to it nor does it help
the citizen in anyway.
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24
25
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NHRC 313/10/28/09-10
3) This is a complaint sent by us regarding the death of one B.
Muhammed of Gurpur, Mangalore to NHRC on 8-10-2009. It is about
his sudden death after the unauthorized trespass of Bajpe Police
into his house and the shock he got on seeing them. NHRC has
simply closed the file on receiving a report from IGP Western range
denying any wrongdoing by them. NHRC has not done an
independent investigation. The NHRC has had not provided the
report of IGP to us for our comment. Even otherwise the
responsibility of investigating our complaint is of NHRC which has
simply believed the statement given by the police and closed the file.
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28
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A CASE OF CONTEMPT OF SUPREME COURT BY GOVT.
OFFICERS
4) This is the case where one Mr. K.R. Bhandary and his entire family
was deprived of the very right to life with dignity because a Supreme
Court order was not implemented by the DC and the Tahsildar
concerned in spite of a struggle stretching to three generations. Our
complaint dated 3-6-1997 was never replied to by NHRC .
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31
32
33
34
35
CASE NO. 594/10/19/08-09-OC
5) This is a case of harrasment and torture, meted out to a journalist
from Mangalore who was repeatedly ill treated and his right to
freedom of expression and right to life with dignity were deprived
by the police. NHRC simply closed the file asking Superident of Police
Dakshina Kannada to take steps deemed fit by him. If this is the kind
of remedy NHRC offers to Indian citizens what is the purpose of
existence of NHRC?
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37
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6) In 1997 Shanthi, daughter of Albert Mascarenhas of Mangalore, went
missing and her dead body was found in a lodge at Mulky 20km from
Mangalore. The police declared that she had committed suicide. But,
according to media reports, Shanthi was allegedly abducted by three
local rowdy elements who then took her to Mulky, raped and killed
her. The media pointed out loopholes in police investigation. Albert
Mascarenhas lodged a complaint with the NHRC as per PUCL
directions.
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40
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7) Two women, Mrs Seetha Rathore and Saraswathi Samanth allegedly
killed by some policemen in league with certain politicians. When
PUCL complained to NHRC, the latter asked the local Superintendent
of Police to investigate the case. The SP sends a report exonerating
the policemen and NHRC accepts it without any objection.
42
43
8) On 21.8.2001 Abdul Rauf, a bus driver, gets killed by unknown
persons. The Bus Workers’ Union holds a public protest during
which police led by circle-inspector HRS Shetty burst tear gas shells
and assault innocent persons. PUCL conducts a fact-finding and sends
a report to NHRC. The NHRC asks the IGP(Western Range) to
investigate the case. On receipt of IGP’s report exonerating the
policemen involved, NHRC closes the case.
44
45
46
47
48
49
50
HRC2200/CR/2008-4Th JULY 2008 ATTACK ON ATUL RAO UNDER
TRIAL IN UDUPI JAIL
1) Atul Rao, an accused in some case and lodged in the Udupi sub-jail
was assaulted within the jail premises. PUCL made a complaint to
SHRC on 4.7.2008. As usual SHRC forwards it to the IGP(WR) who
files a reply on 19.8.2008 exonerating the personnel involved. SHRC
disposes of the case.
SHRC Cases
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52
53
54
55
56
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POLICE ENCOUNTER WITH SO-CALLED NAXALS
2) An alleged “encounter” took place between the police and naxals at
Mavinahole near Horanaadu in Chikmaglur district on 18th , 19th
November 2008, in which one policeman and two naxals died. SHRC
conducted a suo motu fact-finding and since its comments are
extremely relevant we are reproducing four pages of the said report
for the information of public. Almost all encounters carried out by
the police we have strong reasons to suspect the police version
after visiting the spot of the encounter.
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59
60
61
62
63
64
65
66
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A DALIT ATROCITIES CASE
3) On the basis of media reports that dalit students were denied entry
to Mudagodu Durgaparameshwari temple and about the Ajalu system
being practised against the Koraga tribals, PUCL made a complaint
to SHRC on 16.12.2008. The SHRC forwards the complaint to the
Block Education Officer who replies that the media reports are false
and such incidents have not taken place. And SHRC accepts his version
and closes the case.
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69
70
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MORTAL ATTACK ON MUSLIMS BY COMMUNAL ROWDIES
4) Two cattle traders Nazir and Muhammed Hasan were attacked
allegedly by men belonging to Sangh Parivar groups. PUCL lodged a
complaint with SHRC on 30.3.2009. SHRC sent it to the Inspector
General of Police (WR). The latter’s enquiry report accepted in toto
by SHRC. Totally dissatisfied with this verdict, PUCL writes back to
SHRC.
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75
76
77
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HRC NO.2105/2009 DEMOLITION OF ZOPPADPATTIES BELONGING
TO DALITS
5) In 2009 some 60-odd houses belonging to poor persons at Shaktinagar
in Mangalore are demolished by the authorities. PUCL’s complaint
to SHRC gets forwarded to the Deputy Commissioner of the district.
PUCL is not satisfied with DC’s reply and protests to SHRC. SHRC’s
final report 2105/2009 dated 15.1.2010 asks for a proper survey of
the damages and directs the city corporation to arrange to provide
roofs to the homeless and report back on action taken.
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6) Fact-finding report on the atrocities committed by the police on
Tejaswiraj, former president of NSUI, Mangalore. We sent this report
not only to SHRC but also to NHRC and wrote to the Govt to
dismantle all the unauthorized torture chambers that are secretly
functioning all over the state in which innocent victims are tortured
by using third degree methods which are totally banned by Supreme
Court as well as United Nations. We need to educate the victims to
file private criminal cases in the courts and take the Police to task
and expose their uncivilized behavior. There is no other remedy for
these hardened criminals in khaki.
84
PUCL
PEOPLE’S UNION for CIVIL LIBERTIES
Father Muller Road, Valencia, Mangalore – 575 002, Work: 4252170
Fax: 4252174, E-mail: pucl_sk@yahoo.com’
All that is necessary for evil forces to triumph in this world is for enough good
people, to do nothing’-Edmund Burke
PUCL representative met Tejaswiraj in room no: 210 at the AJ
Hospital near Kottara junction, Mangalore. It is observed that his right
leg and thigh are completely covered in bandage. He has difficulty in walking.
The following is an account of the circumstances surrounding Tejaswiraj’s
arrest as narrated by him:
The main accused Riyaz is a friend of a certain Radhakrishna’s
acquaintance. This person Radhakrishna is a childhood friend of Tejaswiraj.
About one year ago, Riyaz was taken to a mobile shop in Falnir by one Sajid.
Riyaz had made some purchases in that mobile shop through credit card. This
was a fraudulent transaction.
Why did the police, who now claim that they have a CD of the CCTV
recording of that transaction in the shop, had not taken any action for nearly
one year? The Falnir mobile shop falls under the Pandeshwar PS and not under
the Mangalore Rural station. Sajid, arrested recently by the Mangalore Rural
police, gave them the name of his friend Majid. Majid was called to the Mangalore
Rural PS on Monday(29th June?). This person Majid gave Radhakrishna’s and
Tejaswiraj’s telephone numbers to the police.
Immediately Tejaswiraj was called to the Mangalore Rural police station.
The moment he set eyes on Tejaswiraj the Sub Inspector Prakash, said, “Oh,
we have been waiting for long to get hold of you. Wait for 5 minutes.”
All of a sudden Tejaswiraj’s eyes were blindfolded and he was driven to
some unknown location. Upon reaching there his blindfold was removed and he
managed to see that he was at a house on top of a hill and the vehicle that
Report on the custodial torture on
Tejaswiraj, President of National
Students Union of India, D.K.
85
brought him was a private silver-coloured Travera. The location could be
somewhere around Neerumarga.
Within five minutes SI Prakash made his appearance in this place. He
asked Tejaswiraj to show the credit card. Tejaswiraj replied that he did not
possess any credit card. But he was repeatedly beaten and subjected to roller
treatment. Finally he could not bear it any more and said yes and showed his
ATM card and said this all that I have. SI Prakash abused him and said, “Now
that I have caught you I’ll show you what police is. You have a bias against the
police hunh? …..I’ll see to it that you won’t get into politics any more. I have
CCTV records of you inside the shop.” He then called up the Kavoor SI Anantha
Padmanabha and forced Tejaswiraj to apologise to him.
On the following afternoon Tejaswiraj was transferred to the Pandeshvar
PS. There he was kept for 3 days since he had been charged under non-bailable
offences. Finally on the evening of Friday the 3rd, he managed to obtain conditional
bail. Immediately he got himself admitted in AJ Hospital. Though the hospital
has now sent a medico-legal report to the Kadri PS, till now no one has visited
the hospital.
Tejaswiraj has also made an important observation that there
are four Muslim youth undergoing torture in the same house that he
was detained in.
Observations and comments
Tejaswiraj is the president of the district unit of the National Students
Union of India (NSUI) which is affiliated to the Congress Party. He has
been very active in exposing and protesting the misdeeds of Sangh Parivar.
He had led student protests against the government-sponsored
“Movement Against Terrorism” organised by Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi
Parishat (ABVP). This so-called movement was clearly meant to further
divide the student community on communal lines. Thus Tejaswiraj has
been a thorn on the side of the ABVP and its mentors, Rashtriya
Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). The Sangh
Parivar has been wanting to target him since a long time and now that
there is a majority BJP government in power, the witch hunt has started.
86
The targets are secular groups and persons like Tejaswiraj and the
minorities.
It is a fact that the Dakshina Kannada police force has become
saffronised to a great extent. This has happened over a long period of
time and has been done systematically by the Sangh Parivar as part of
their larger agenda. If Dakshina Kannada today has become one of the
most communal hot spots in the entire country, then part of the credit is
due to this saffronised police force. SI Prakash and many other policemen
with diseased brains are the sad end-results of very, very clever RSS
propaganda. Such policemen are unfit to be in the Indian police because
they have no respect for the secular values of the Indian Constitution.
They have been brain-washed by RSS to such an extent that it has turned
them into blind minority-haters. They arrest members of minority
communities, especially Muslims, and subject them to torture on the
smallest pretext/suspicion. During the recent attacks on Christian
churches, the Sangh Parivar bias of the police was very much in evidence.
This has been witnessed and recorded on video. A report on the incident
that appeared in the Kannada daily newspaper “Karavali Ale” dated 6/7/
09 is enclosed.
Reportedly SI Anantha Padmanabha and SI Pramod are relations of
the present district-in-charge minister.
This report is prepared by M/s. P.B. D’Sa, James Lewis and Suresh
Bhat of People’s Union for Civil Liberties. Dakshina Kannada
For People’s Union for Civil Liberties
P.B.D’Sa James Lewis Suresh Bhat
Date :7/7/09
Copies of Report forwarded to:-
1. State Human Rights Commission to probe into the incident
particularly into the torture chambers created by the Police in D.K.
and take appropriate steps to stop custodial torture.
87
2. Superintendent of Police. D.K. with a request to file an FIR on the
basis of this report against S.I. Prakash and others for torturing
Tejaswiraj,
3. Inspector General of Police, Western Range for necessary action
4. DGP & IG Karnataka State, Bangalore, for necessary action and with
a strong request to transfer all policemen who have been in the
district for more than a period of three years.
This report was forwarded to the SHRC on 7.7.2009. A copy of the
above report was also sent to the NHRC. Both NHRC and SHRC rejected
it saying it was unsigned. Fact is, out of the three people who prepared
the report, one signature was inadvertently missed. PUCL once again
sent a report duly signed by all three on 8.9.2009. But there is no response
till now.
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Directive–I: State Security Commission
1. Commission already functioning or not?
2. Names and particulars of the Chairman/ Members?
3. How many meetings held so far with dates of such meetings?
4. Whether any reports placed before the State Assembly?
Directive–II: Selection & Tenure of Director General of Police
1. How many times DGP changed in previous 3 years?
2. Method adopted for empanelment of officers for DGP’s post, each
time?
3. How many officers included in the panel?
4. Seniority-wise Serial No. of the officer selected as DGP, in the selection
panel?
Directive–III: Minimum Tenure of Other Officers
1. Details of officers (Officers in charge of Police Stations, District SPs,
Range DIGs & Zonal IGs) transferred out from their posts in less
than 2 years of posting
2. Grounds for such transfer, in each case?
Directive–IV: Separation of Investigation from Law & Order
1. Whether or not earmarked staff since provided for crime investigation
work at police station level, in at least urban areas with population of
10 lakh & more?
2. Is such dedicated staff actually available for investigation work now?
Important information that a citizen should know
ANNEXURE I
Supreme Court Directions
in Prakash Singh Case
89
Directive–V: Police Establishment Board
1. Police Establishment Board created or not?
2. If yes, with what composition?
3. What are its assigned functions?
4. Cases, if any, in which the decisions of the Board were set aside or
modified by the State Govt/ Secretariat?
Directive–VI: Police Complaints Authorities
1. Complaints Authorities at the State & District levels created or not?
2. Composition of such Authorities, with names & particulars of
Chairman/ Members?
3. Whether adequate staff & infrastructural facilities provided or not?
4. How effective are the Authorities in their functioning?
3
90
“ Custodial violence, including torture and death in the lock-ups,
strikes a blow at the rule of law, which demands that the powers of the
executive should not only be derived from law but also that the same
should be limited by law…………….
Transparency of action and accountability perhaps are two possible
safeguards which this Court must insist upon.”
D.K.Basu vs. State of West Bengal (1997) 1 SCC 216
In view of the increasing incidence of violence and torture in custody,
the Supreme Court of India has laid down 11 specific requirements and
procedures that the police and other agencies have to follow for the
arrest, detention and interrogation of any person. These are:
Police arresting and interrogating suspects should wear “accurate,
visible and clear” identification and name tags, and details of interrogating
police officers should be recorded in a register.
􀀢 A memo of arrest must be prepared at the time of arrest. This should:
􀀢 have the time and date of arrest.
􀀢 be attested by at least one witness who may either be a family member
of the person arrested or a respectable person of the locality where
the arrest was made.
􀀢 be counter-signed by the person arrested.
􀀢 The person arrested, detained or being interrogated has a right to
have a relative, friend or well-wisher informed as soon as practicable,
of the arrest and the place of detention or custody. If the person to
be informed has signed the arrest memo as a witness this is not
required.
ANNEXURE II
REQUIREMENTS FOR ARREST,
DETENTION, INTERROGATION
8th March 2005
D. K. BASU JUDGMENT
91
􀀢 Where the friend or relative of the person arrested lives outside the
district, the time and place of arrest and venue of custody must be
notified by police within 8 to 12 hours after arrest. This should be
done by a telegram through the District Legal Aid Authority and the
concerned police station.
􀀢 The person arrested should be told of the right to have someone
informed of the arrest, as soon as the arrest or detention is made.
􀀢 An entry must be made in the diary at the place of detention about
the arrest, the name of the person informed and the name and
particulars of the police officers in whose custody the person arrested
is.
􀀢 The person being arrested can request a physical examination at the
time of arrest. Minor and major injuries if any should be recorded.
The “Inspection Memo” should be signed by the person arrested as
well as the arresting police officer. A copy of this memo must be
given to the person arrested.
􀀢 The person arrested must have a medical examination by a qualified
doctor every 48 hours during detention. This should be done by a
doctor who is on the panel, which must be constituted by the
Director of Health Services of every State.
􀀢 Copies of all documents including the arrest memo have to be sent
to the Area Magistrate (laqa Magistrate) for his record.
􀀢 The person arrested has a right to meet a lawyer during the
interrogation, although not for the whole time.
􀀢 There should be a police control room in every District and State
headquarters where information regarding the arrest and the place
of custody of the person arrested must be sent by the arresting
officer. This must be done within 12 hours of the arrest. The control
room should prominently display the information on a notice board.
These requirements were issued to the Director General of Police
and the Home Secretary of every State. They were obliged to circulate
the requirements to every police station under their charge. Every police
station in the country had to display these guidelines prominently. The
judgment also encouraged that the requirements be broadcast through
92
4
radio and television and pamphlets in local languages be distributed to
spread awareness.
Failure to comply with these requirements would make the concerned
official liable for departmental action. Not following these directions
constitutes a contempt of the Supreme Court, which is a serious offence,
punishable by Imprisonment and fine. This contempt of court petition
can be filed in any High Court.
These requirements are in addition to other rights and rules, such
as:
􀀢 The right to be informed at the time of arrest of the offence for
which the person is being arrested.
􀀢 The right to be presented before a magistrate within 24 hours of the
arrest.
􀀢 The right not to be ill-treated or tortured during arrest or in custody.
􀀢 Confessions made in police custody cannot be used as evidence
against the accused.
􀀢 A boy under 15 years of age and women cannot be called to the
police station only for questioning.
The Constitution
The Constitution of India, which is the basic law of the country,
provides protection to all persons from ill treatment and torture by the
police and other state agencies.
Article 21
Guarantees the right to life and personal liberty to all persons.
Article 22
Lays down the rights available at the time of arrest and detention.
These rights can be enforced by directly approaching the High Courts
and the Supreme Court of India.
93
Dakshina Kannada Police Diary
SL OFFICERS STD OFFICE OFFICIAL MOBILE
1 IGP W/R 0824 2220501 9480800032
2 MANGALORE POLICE
COMMISSIONER 9480805952
3 S.P. D.K 0824 2220503 9480805301
4 ADDL S.P. D.K 0824 2220505 9480805302
5 DSP DCRB 0824 2220513 9480805309
6 DSP W/R 0824 2220509 9480805318
7 DSP HQ W/R 0824 2220509 9480805319
8 DSP RCIB 0824 9480800177
9 DSP F.P.B W/R 0824 2220508 9480800486
10 CPI. D.S.B 0824 2220511 9480805307
11 R.P.I.D.A.R. 0824 2220512 9480805306
12 C.P.I.(WIRELESS) 0824 2220500
13 C.P.I.F.P.B 9480805310
14 C.P.I.IMMIGRATION
(Airport) 0824 2220534
15 PSI IMMIGRATION PNB 0824 2220541
16 DISTRICT CONTROL 0824 2220500 9480805300
17 CITY CONTROL 0824 2220555
18 PSI FMS MANGALORE 0824 2448920
19 NDPS 0824 2429735
20 C.P.I.C.S.P. MANGALORE 0824 2451303
21 DSP EXCISE & LOTTERY 0824 2421163
94
SL OFFICERS STD OFFICE OFFICIAL MOBILE
1 ASP MANGALORE CITY 0824 2220514 9480805320
2 C.P.I NORTH P.S. 0824 2220516 9480805338
3 PSI L & O NORTH P.S. 0824 2220516 9480805345
4 PSI CR. NORTH P.S 0824 2220516
5 C.P.I SOUTH P.S. 0824 2220518 9480805339
6 PSI L & O SOUTH P.S. 0824 2220518 9480805346
7 PSI SOUTH CRIME 0824 2220518
8 C.P.I EAST P.S. 0824 2220520 9480805347
9 PSI EAST L & O 0824 2220520
10 PSI EAST CRIME 0824 2220520
11 PSI URVA L & O 0824 2220521 9480805349
12 PSI URVA CRIME 0824 2220521
13 PSI BARKE L & O 0824 2220522 9480805350
14 PSI BARKE CRIME 0824 2220522
15 CPI TRAFFIC 0824 2220523 9480805337
16 PSI TRAFFIC EAST-I 0824 2220523 9480805371
17 PSI TRAFFIC EAST-II 0824 2220523
18 PSI TRAFFIC WEST-I 0824 2220524 9480805351
19 PSI TRAFFIC WEST-II 0824 2220524
20 W.P.I WOMEN P.S 0824 2220525 9480805348
21 W.P.S.I WOMEN P.S 0824 2220525
22 C.P.I DCIB 0824 2220558 9480805308
23 C.P.I RAILWAY 0824 2220559
MANGALORE CITY SUB-DIVISION
95
SL OFFICERS STD OFFICE OFFICIAL MOBILE
1 DYSP PANAMBUR 0824 2220526 9480805322
2 CPI PANAMBUR 0824 2220528 9480805331
3 PSI PANAMBUR 0824 2220530 9480805355
4 PSI BAJPE 0824 2220531 9480805356
5 PSI KAVOOR L&O 0824 2220533 9480805358
6 PSI KAVOOR CRIME 0824 2220533
7 CPI MANGALORE (R) 0824 2465803 9480805330
8 PSI L & O MLORE (R) 0824 2220535 9480805352
9 PSI (CR) MLORE (R) 0824 2220535
10 PSI L & O ULLAL 0824 2466269 9480805353
11 PSI (CR) ULLAL 0824 2466269
12 PSI KONAJE 0824 2220536 9480805354
13 CPI MULKI 0824 2290560 9480805332
14 PSI MULKI 0824 2290533 9480805359
15 PSI MOODABIDRI 08258 236333 9480805357
16 CPI SURATHKAL 0824 2220540
17 PSI L &O SURATHKAL 0824 2220540 9480805360
18 PSI CR. SURATHKAL 0824 2220540
19 KATEEL O.P 0824 2200313
PANAMBUR SUB DIVISION
96
SL OFFICERS STD OFFICE OFFICIAL MOBILE
1 ASP PUTTUR 08251 230500 9480805321
2 CPI PUTTUR TOWN P.S 08251 230555 9480805333
3 PSI L/O PUTTURTOWN 08251 230555
PUTTURTOWN W PSI 08251 230555
4 PSI CR PUTTUR (T) 08251 230555
5 CPI PUTTUR RURAL 08251 252555
6 PSI UPPINANGADI 08251 251055 9480805362
7 NELLYADI O.P 08251 254101
8 PSI PUTTUR RURAL 08251 232102 9480805363
9 PSI KADABA P.S 08251 260044 9480805364
10 CPI SULLIA 08257 233115 9480805334
11 PSI L/O SULLIA 08257 230337 9480805365
12 PSI CR SULLIA 08257 230337
13 BELLARE O.P 08257 271995
14 PSI SUBRAMANYA I/C 08257 281250 9480805366
15 CPI BANTWALA 08255 235000 9480805335
16 PSI L/O BANTWAL (T) 08255 232111 9480805367
17 PSI CR BANTWAL (T) 08255 232111
18 PSI BANTWAL (R) 08255 235000 9480805368
19 FARANGIPETE O.P
20 PSI VITTLA P.S 08255 239233 9480805369
21 CPI BELTHANGADI 08256 232093 9480805336
22 PSI BELTHANGADI 08256 232093 9480805370
23 DHARMASTALA O.P 08256 277253
24 PUNJALAKATTE O.P 08256 259375
25 P.S.I. VENOOR 08256 286232 9480805372
26 PSI FMS PUTTUR 08251 738778
PUTTUR SUB: DIVISION

STATE TERRORISM

1
STATE TERRORISM
POLICE ATROCITIES IN THE KARAVALI AREA
COUPLED WITH
FAILURE OF THE JUDICIARY
IN PROTECTING
CITIZENS RIGHTS & LIBERTIES
(A REPORT ON THE TOTAL BREAK DOWN OF THE LAW &
ORDER SITUATION AT THE INSTANCE OF THE POLICE
ACCOMPANIED BY A COMPLETE LET DOWN BY THE
SUBORDINATE JUDICIARY)
PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY
Conducted at the instance of the
People’s Union for Civil Liberties, South Kanara
And
Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter
And
The Catholic Sabha, Dakshina Kannada
By:
Justice Michael F. Saldanha,
Retired Judge, Karnataka High Court.
Chairman, Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter.
2
PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY
Conducted on 11th and 12th December 2010
MEMBERS OF THE JURY
JUSTICE MICHAEL F. SALDANHA
PROF. NAGARI BABIAH
PROF. DR. RITA NORONHA
ADVOCATE – MRS. MERLYN MARTIS
ENQUIRY ORGANISED AND CONDUCTED
BY
MR. P.B. D’SA
STATE PRESIDENT,
PUCL KARNATAKA
3
Justice Michael F. Saldanha (Retd)
Chairman Transparency International India
(Karnataka Chapter)
4
DEDICATION
This report is dedicated to all those
victims of Police Atrocities and
Judicial Atrocities
In India that we call a democracy.
PUCL – D.K
If you want a share of fame, you’ve got to be
willing to take a share of the blame.
If no one heeds your call, go forth alone.
If there is no struggle, there is no progress.
Violence always rebounds, always returns home.
If you can’t bear crosses, you can’t wear a Crown.
Remember to hate, to be violent, is demeaning.
The appearance of millionaires in any society is
no proof of its affluence.
5
God grant me the
Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change…
Courage to
change the things I can
and Wisdom to
know the difference…
6
7
After the BJP Government assumed power in Karnataka in the
year 2008, there was a sudden spurt in inter-communal hostilities. It
initially started with some of the militant organizations adopting an ultraaggressive
posture by decorating every town, city and village with saffron
flags, posters and the like which was accompanied by groups of young
persons going around these places targeting the minorities. Even where
members of the minority communities were assaulted, their shops looted
and places of worship defiled, the Police refused to register offences
against the wrong-doers, instead of which, the Complainants were
threatened, beaten up and often times arrested and put behind bars.
Taking up the matter with the higher authorities served no purpose
because each of these Police Officers would straight away make the
excuse that the instructions have come from the Vidhana Soudha. What
this meant was that the Police force in the State got completely
saffronised because inevitably every member of the force desired to
flow with the tide which they also found very beneficial financially and
career-wise. Specifically, at least three of the most violent and
dreaded Police Officers from Mangalore who should have been
dismissed from service and prosecuted and convicted were
rewarded with promotions! To quote an example, the militant
organizations would loot shops and restaurants and would also drag
persons to the Police Stations on the ground that they were converting
others or that they were cattle thieves and the like and this gave the
police an excellent opportunity to exploit the victims and make big money.
It also became the order of the day for the police to target the
members of the Muslim community on the ground that they were
Terrorists or were linked with anti-social activity. This meant that any
member of the community could be subjected to search of the house or
business area and the police would help themselves to whatever they
wanted and pick up one or two persons on the ground of suspicion and
blackmail them. What was really tragic was the fact that in not a
THE JUSTIFICATION
8
single one of these cases did the Courts provide any relief. This
wave of communalism overtook the Bar as a result of which, it was
extremely difficult for any of the victims to get a Lawyer to appear for
them. The subordinate Judiciary would rubber stamp anything and
everything that the Police would do how so very astounding it may be.
To quote one specific example, when the Editor of the Karavali Ale
was arrested on totally false and unsustainable grounds, the
Magistrate refused Bail and when this could no longer be done,
the Police told the Court that NINE other Courts had issued NON
BAILABLE WARRANTS against him on one and the same charge!
This was action ultimately quashed by the High Court with strictures
but that was after the lapse of nearly one year. To sum it up, there
was a complete breakdown of the Law and Order situation.
Matters really exploded in September 2008 when the Churches
were attacked and the Police Department in partnership with the militant
organizations let loose the type of violence and false arrests that this
country has seldom seen. There was a universal demand that a Judicial
enquiry headed by a Retired Supreme Court Judge be set up by the
Central Government to examine the facts and produce a report along
with recommendations in respect of these horrifying events and one of
the basic demands was that the role of the Chief Minister and the Home
Minister, the State Government and the various wings of the Government
particularly the Police should be investigated. Not surprisingly, the Chief
Minister immediately picked a Retired High Court Judge from his own
Home Town and from his community to head the enquiry and the terms
of reference necessarily excluded all the above areas. This enquiry
was financed by the State Government and immediately there was
a strong public protest that like all other Judicial enquiries set up
by a State Government or the Politicians in power, that this enquiry
also would carry on for a couple of years, that the investigation
would be an eye-wash and more importantly that it would
completely cover up for the Politicians and the State Government
and its officials and not only exonerate them, but as happened in
the case of the Nanavati Commission in the State of Gujarat, it
would give the culprits a clean chit and even go to the extent of
complementing and praising them. It was in this background that
9
PUCL decided to institute a Peoples’ Tribunal Enquiry under the auspices
of Transparency International which was to be a one man Commission
headed by Justice M.F. Saldanha. With the assistance of several
persons, the Commission held an incisive investigation, the unique
feature being that instead of the old fashioned formal hearings, the Judge
went to every one of the areas and personally investigated the scene of
offence, met the victims and the witnesses and several others, afforded
the authorities an opportunity of explaining their defence and thereafter,
produced a detailed Report, parts of which have been released and the
whole report is to be released shortly in the form of a volume. The findings
are extremely damaging to the Politicians, the State Government and
the Bureaucracy but the principle responsibility for the violence, and the
total breakdown of the law and order situation has been ascribed to the
police and to the Courts which have let down the citizens by refusing to
render Justice, by supporting the custodial terrorism and wrongfully
upholding every illegal detention and the worst form of infringements of
human rights.
If the Church attacks were shameful enough and invited universal
condemnation Nationally and Internationally, with the question being
asked as to why the persons who were involved in the violence and who
openly came out in Press Conferences on Television and on Public
platforms boasting about their great achievements were not arrested
even though every one of their actions were cognizable offences, the
State Government openly encouraged another organisation called the
Rama Sene which was even more militant and violent. Apart from
targeting the students and younger people belonging to the Muslim and
Christian communities they started moral policing whereby open violence
was let loose against the boys and girls of these communities.
This was followed by an incident known as the Pub Attack Case
wherein a whole lot of young women were molested and beaten up
while they were dancing. The National and International media covered
this incident live and it sent shock waves through the whole country and
through every other civilized nation inviting total condemnation. Not a
single arrest was made nor was any action taken and the Ram Sene
went totally out of control in the whole District. The Home Minister
10
justified all these criminal activities on the ground that the students
concerned had given provocation which was downright false.
It must be said to the credit of the previous D.C. Ponnu Raj that he
issued a show-cause notice to the Head of the Ram Sene who was
beating his chest and loudly proclaiming that he would step up the
violence. After following the procedure prescribed by Law, an Order
was passed against Muthalik externing him from the District. The Law
prescribes that if the Order was wrong that the aggrieved party had to
file an Appeal and that he could even obtain Interim Orders provided
the case so warranted. It is quite unprecedented for the Appellate remedy
to be by-passed and for the party to directly approach the High Court as
there exists a total legal bar to the High Court exercising jurisdiction
when an alternate remedy exists and when it has not been exhausted.
To the utter shock of the right thinking citizens of the State and particularly
Dakshina Kannada District – Muthalik straight away approached the
High Court and the High Court not only entertained the Petition but
straight away granted a Stay. With due respect, it is submitted that it is
Orders such as these that completely destroy the status and confidence
of the few good officers in public office like Ponnu Raj because it is such
men who stick their necks out in the course of duty and if the High Court
slaps them in the face, it will send shock waves to this and every other
good Officer who will be disappointed and frustrated and will desist from
standing up to illegalities.
PUCL and Transparency International found that the role of the
Police Department in all these atrocious activities was indefensible and
that these two areas namely the Police and the Courts required to be
carefully investigated and that the time has come for the problem to be
studied, for appropriate recommendations regarding corrective action
required to be set out and follow up measures undertaken and
accordingly, a Peoples Tribunal Enquiry was fixed for the 11th and 12th
December 2010 in Mangalore.
This was the Justification for the institution of the Tribunal’s Enquiry
and the Report and Findings as also the Recommendations are
contained in this volume. We gratefully acknowledge the time and the
skills of the Jury Members who presided over the enquiry and who
11
collated the material that forms part of the case history and the findings
as also the recommendations. All of these were put together by Justice
M.F. Saldanha who did the final drafting, and who assumes responsibility
for everything contained in this volume and to whom we are extremely
grateful.
It was decided that the Report be preceded by a Foreword
amplifying the background to the enquiry. Justice Saldanha has drawn
heavily from what emerged in the earlier Enquiry conducted by him as
also a lot of supportive material that emerged thereafter since he has
been actively pursuing the various heads. For instance, it was
necessary to point out to the Home Minister of the State who kept
on publicly declaring that the attacks against the minorities have
subsided, that by 15th August 2010 i.e. Independence Day, there
had been a fresh lot of regular attacks against the minorities and
that they had totaled 1000. Secondly, the Home Minister had to be
reminded that whereas prior to his Government assuming power
and prior to the Church attacks of September 2008 that there had
not been one single recorded case of so-called conversions or
attempts and that after his oral directions to the Police, every Police
Station has been registering at least 20 such false cases every
month in order to build up the statistics. The media and independent
authorities have been examining the genuineness of these offences
that have been registered and every one of them have been found
to be false as not a single one of the so called Complainants is
even traceable. Undoubtedly, these are sensitive areas and the facts
are unpleasant but in the public interest, they have to be recorded and
exposed. This job has been done by Justice M.F. Saldanha independently
and none of the remaining members of the Jury are in any way
responsible for it. It is clarified that PUCL, Transparency International
and Justice M.F. Saldanha who has authored the Foreword take fully
responsibility for this part of the volume.
P. B. D’Sa
STATE PRESIDENT,
PEOPLE’S UNION FOR CIVIL LIBERTIES.
MANGALORE
DATED : 17.01.2011
12
SUDDEN SAFFRONISATION IN KARNATAKA
The BJP Government with B.S. Yediyurappa as the Chief Minister
and V.S. Acharya as the Home Minister, (both seasoned RSS
pracharaks) assumed power in the year 2008 and within days the State
of Karnataka witnessed a total upheaval. This was more pronounced in
the Karavali area because Acharya who held the Home Portfolio spent
more time in his home town of Udupi and with his close associates from
the RSS and the Bajrang Dal, the Swamijis,and his Guru at Kalladka
than at the State Head Quarters at Bangalore. There was a sudden
burst of saffronisation through the entire coastal belt. The whole of the
State Machinery was completely communalized and the greatest tragedy
was that the subordinate judiciary took a cue from the Lawyers who had
joined the movement and totally aligned itself with them. All of a sudden,
saffron flags, posters and streamers inundated the whole area. What
accompanied this was total disaster.
UNPRECEDENTED VIOLENCE AGAINST MINORITIES
The Karavali area resembled Nazi Germany at the height of the
Nazi power. Suddenly, huge battalions of youth, mainly on two wheelers
but also in other vehicles which included Government Jeeps and KSRTC
buses started patrolling the roads. Violence was freely indulged in, all
directed against the minorities i.e. the Christians and the Muslims. Their
shops, establishments and places of business were not only targeted
but were indiscriminately exploited and looted. The Police Department
under the supervision of S.P. Satish Kumar who was the virtual godfather
of all the anti-social elements in the entire region ably supported by
Inspector – Jayant Shetty and a host of police officers who included
Police Inspectors – Ganapathy and Shivakumar unleashed the type of
violence that the region has never experienced before.
FOREWORD
13
POLICE COLLUSION AT VIOLENCE
Not one complaint in respect of assault, rioting, looting or dacoity
was registered in any police station in the entire region. Anybody who
went to a Police Station to complain was mercilessly beaten up, arrested
on false charges and thrown into the lock up. The levels of police torture
and false involvements reached an unprecedented scale and the greatest
tragedy was that a good section of the Lawyers who had jumped on to
the Bandwagon refused to render any assistance to the victims but were
ever willing to come out powerfully on behalf of the aggressors. This is
a sad blemish on the profession but is precisely what happened in Nazi
Germany.
NO RELIEF FROM THE JUDICIARY-MATTER OF SHAME
What is really pathetic is the fact that the Courts provided zero
relief. I am saddened and ashamed at the role of the Judiciary during
this period and the manner in which every single victim was illegally
and dishonestly denied Bail, retained in custody for abnormal periods
of time and there was not one instance when action was taken by a
single Judge in the hundreds and thousands of cases where the victims
complained of inhuman and merciless torture at the hands of the police.
In my opinion, this period represents the blackest era in the history of
the subordinate Judiciary of the Karavali region.
MORAL POLICING / ATROCITIES AGAINST WOMEN
An organisation under the banner of the Rama Sene which had
been both militant and violent in the District suddenly stepped up its
aggression and hatred for the Christians and the Muslims and let loose
violence which was directed against the younger members of these
communities. The whole of the student population was terrorized, Muslim
girls were not allowed to use the veil or burkha and what was really bad
was the fact that these boys and girls were pulled out from buses and
cars, beaten up on the road, taken to secluded places and mercilessly
assaulted and threatened that if they lodged any complaints they would
be killed. A string of such events took place with not a single complaint
being entertained or any action being taken against the culprits. The
Home Minister Acharya has gone on record before the Media stating
14
that the Rama Sena was fully justified in attacking anyone whose
behaviour was considered “immoral”. According to him, even where
assault and kidnapping had taken place and where students have been
pulled out from their hostels, class rooms and even residential areas
that the action is justified. When there is a Home Minister of this type
who gives full backing and encouragement to criminal activity and above
all to the spread of communal hatred, the question really arises as to
whether the Police inaction can be faulted. It was under similar
circumstances when in a series of atrocities against women which were
outrageous, that I had pointed out that the Police force in Karnataka
exists to protect the Law breakers and that it serves absolutely no
purpose to spend Rs.260.00 Crores per month on maintaining this
Department, that it should be disbanded and public money saved and
that the citizens will look after their own safety.
EDITOR SEETHARAM CHAINED-WORLD SHOCKED- COURTS
INDIFFERENT
The world conscience has been shocked when the facts of the
Editor Seetharam’s case were projected by me Nationally and
Internationally. While papers like the “Udayavani” came out with blazing
SAFFRON HEADLINES and the rest of the media was terrorized,
Seetharam’s one publication “Karavali Ale” stood its ground and this
invited the fury and revenge of Acharya. Under the personal and direct
Orders of Home Minister Acharya, Editor Seetharam was illegally
arrested, chained hand and foot in total defiance of the Law laid down
by the Supreme Court of India and paraded through the Court Premises
and produced in Court without there being any charge or case against
him. The Judge had denied him Bail the previous night, he was retained
in custody for one and a half months and taken to all corners of the
State by the Police in defiance of Court Orders with repeated attempts
being made by the Police authorities to finish him off and it is only the
Vigilance of the Members of PUCL and a small band of persons, one of
whom was myself who saved this man’s life. The Press Council of India
has recorded strong findings against the State Government and the
Police Department in this case, the State Human Rights Commission
has passed severe strictures and the High Court has ordered a princely
15
sum of compensation quantified at Rs.10,000/- (which in my considered
view is not only a miscarriage of Justice, but a total let down by the
higher Judiciary) and at the end of the day, Acharya, the Police
authorities, the Doctors and every one else goes scot-free and as an
eye wash, we are informed that two Police Constables have been
suspended for one week on the ground that they wrongly handcuffed
and chained the Editor.
ERRANT POLICE OFFICERS REWARDED
Transparency International and several citizens’ organizations
insisted that Disciplinary Action be taken against SP – Satish Kumar,
Jayant Shetty and Ganapathy, the three Police Officers who had been
responsible for the unleashing of violence against the minorities which
had reached unprecedented levels. Under pressure, Chief Minister –
Yediyurappa who had partnered Acharya in every one of these activities
stated that a High Level Departmental Enquiry would be conducted.
One of the very good Senior DIGs came to Mangalore, held an enquiry
and submitted a Report to the Government holding these three persons
guilty on all counts, recommending their immediate suspension and
stringent disciplinary action. The material on record fully justified this
and if there was any Rule of Law in Karnataka not only should these
Officers have been dismissed from service but they should have been
put on Trial and made a public example of. In nine of the leading
Judgments on the point, the Supreme Court has repeatedly pointed out
that the Police Department is entrusted with the sacred duty of
maintaining Law and Order, and of safeguarding citizens rights and
property particularly where the weaker sections and the minorities are
concerned and that no member of the Force at whatever level should
be spared under any circumstances, when they are found to be
dishonest, corrupt, violent and rank sadists as turned out in the case of
the whole of the Police Department in the Karavali area. The Supreme
Court has gone on to observe that this Class of Public Servants who
turn into perverts have to be awarded deterrent and exemplary
punishment in the Public Interest.
Following these directions, in at least 6 of the cases, as Judge
of the Karnataka High Court, I have awarded imprisonment ranging
16
from 5 to 10 years RI to errant members of the Police force not to
mention Life Imprisonment awarded to six barbaric police
personnel who had beaten to death three poor boys in Shimoga.
What action has the Yediyurappa Government taken on the findings
recorded against these Police Officers. The file was called for by the
State Human Rights Commission and not shockingly, there is an
endorsement in Acharya’s handwriting as Home Minister defending
these Officers which reads “no action for the time being” and then
follows the endorsement by the Chief Minister – Yediyurappa which
reads “Treat the Case as closed”. Then follows the nicest part of
the operation where these Police men are promoted and are even
recommended for Police honors.
POLICE ATROCITIES OF THE EXTREME DEGREE
I set out below a few instances that highlight what was going on:
ATTACKING MUSLIMS
(a)A Muslim vegetable vendor in one of the small towns near
Mangalore was attacked by the local Bajrang Dal and taken to the Police
Station on the allegation that he had stolen the neighbouring Vendor’s
vegetable worth Rs.17/-. The man was stripped naked, mercilessly
beaten and subjected to every conceivable form of torture at the local
police station for two full days. No entry was made showing an arrest.
He was not produced before the local Court and the police found that
they had used too much force and the man was unconscious and about
to die. He was put in the Police Jeep, brought to Mangalore and thrown
on the footpath near the State Bank of India at 6.00 a.m. in the morning.
A group of Muslims who were returning from Prayer witnessed this
incident, picked up the unconscious man and took him to the Wenlock
Hospital. The Doctors refused to either treat him or to admit him unless
directed by the local Police as it was a medico-legal case. The Mangalore
police refused to entertain any complaint or to support his admission to
the Hospital though the man was in a precarious condition in order to
support their colleagues who had almost beaten him to death. The result
was that the community collected money and had the man treated at a
private hospital for three months. Though, he did survive, he has suffered
17
lifelong kidney damage. When he went back to his hometown, the local
police who had almost killed him on the earlier occasion and against
whom PUCL had lodged a complaint to the then IG, recorded a statement
and took his signature to the effect that he was traveling to Mangalore,
fell out of a local bus and sustained severe injuries. On the basis of this
report, the then DIG closed the case. The victim, his family and relations
were all warned that if the matter was taken up, their women would be
raped, their houses would be burnt and that there would be no trace of
any of them.
ATTACKING CHRISTIANS
(b)After the police violence at the Permanur Church where over
180 Catholics were severely brutalized by the Police, desperate attempts
were made to effect false arrests and to contend that it was some of the
local youngsters who were involved in group rivalry who are responsible
for the incident. Mercifully enough, the brutalization by SP. Satish Kumar,
Jayant Shetty and the huge police force has been vividly record on
video, has been shown on all the National Channels as also the
International Channels including BBC and CNN. The method adopted
by the Police was to round up as many young Christian Boys as possible,
to beat them up and then record so-called confessions to the effect that
they were responsible for the incident. The local police registered as
many as 47 false cases to support their S.P. The local Courts
repeatedly refused Bail to these poor boys supporting the Police
all the way. The victims were retained in custody for a period of up to 3
and 4 months regularly brutalized while in custody and the majority of
them have lost their source of livelihood not to mention the hundreds of
students whose careers were ruined. They have all been terrorized into
not taking any counter action. During this period, I was informed that a
young man, aged 22 years from the area who used to drive a small
tempo delivering milk for his livelihood was sent for by the local police.
Knowing his fate, the boy ran away to his uncle’s house at Padil. A few
days later, the police traced him, arrested him at Padil and mercilessly
beat him at his uncle’s house. No arrest was shown for 24 hours and he
was severely tortured at the Police Station, at which time, he started
bleeding profusely. The Police ordered his relations to take him to a
18
Private Hospital and to inform the Doctors that he was the victim of a hit
and run case on the highway. We had met the relations who were too
terrified to even lodge a complaint against the police. The whole village
collected money for the emergency surgery because his facial bones
had been fractured and he required an immediate operation. It took
him Eleven Weeks to recover from the police brutality. It is true that no
complaint has been registered and further action was not possible
because of the terror tactics adopted by the Police Department.
TARGETING MUSLIMS-FALSE CHARGES OF TERRORISM
(c)Taking full advantage of the fact that some Muslim Organisations
were involved in acts of terrorism which included bomb blasts in some
parts of the country, the local police took it upon themselves to target
the Muslim community. It became routine for the police personnel to
enter the houses of members of the community on the ground that they
had secret information of involvement on the part of local persons. Young
boys were indiscriminately assaulted and their mathematical instruments
used for geometry and their geography books and maps were seized
and torn up on the ground that they were planning terror operations
against the State. Jewellery was looted from the houses and anybody
who lodged a complaint was arrested on the ground that they were
suspected Terrorists. This form of police / State terrorism received 100%
support from the Courts. In not a single case, was Bail granted and the
custody periods were indiscriminately extended. A father and son were
arrested on the ground that they were linked with the Bombay Blasts.
They were retained in custody for four months as the Police claimed
that they were investigating and the Court refused Bail though there
was zero evidence. After four months, the Police took them to Mumbai,
where they were retained in custody for another eight weeks because
the Mumbai Police told the Court that they had no evidence against
them, but that they were required to check about their involvement in
the Ahmedabad riots. When the Court refused to extend the remand
after two months, they were taken to Ahmedabad and were detained for
another five months on the ground that the investigations were pending.
When the local Human Rights Activists took up the matter before the
Court, they were taken to Jammu & Kashmir on the ground that they
19
were connected with the Terrorists from that State. This involved illegal
detention for another seven months as the police contended that though
there was no evidence against them, they were checking their links with
the Pakistani Terrorists. When all of this failed, they were brought back
to Bangalore and the Courts have still not released them from custody
as the Police contend that they have fresh information that they are
connected with the attacks on Parliament. Through this lengthy period
of time, two totally innocent citizens have been denied their liberty
for about TWO YEARS through a conspiracy between the police
and the Courts for a couple of years when admittedly there is zero
evidence against them. The provocation for their initial arrest was
because they had addressed a complaint to the DG Police in Bangalore
that the local police had entered their house, molested the women, beaten
up the remaining inmates and looted the place by taking away jewelry,
electrical gadgets, watches and property worth Rs.3,70,000/-. This is
the price the victims had to pay for complaining. The wonderful result
of all this was that in answer to the question on the floor of the
assembly, both the Home Minister and the Chief Minister contended
that there is not a single complaint against the Police Department
from any member of the Muslim community in the Bangalore
Region.
CHURCH ATTACKS-POLICE INACTION
(d)Since, September 2008, there have been 2116 attacks on places
of worship belonging to the Christian community. There have been 1868
instances of violence against individuals, shops, eating houses and other
small business establishments belonging to members of the Christian
and Muslim community. Every single one of these incidents has been
reported to the Police authorities, 90% of them in writing because the
leaders of the communities have instructed the victims to do this. Not
one complaint has been entertained, not one FIR has been registered
and not a single one of the culprits have been arrested. To quote just
one example, I had personally questioned the S.P. and the then DIG
Police as to why no action has been taken on four simultaneous cases
of attacks and vandalism committed by the Bajrang Dal activists and
other anti-social elements on a little shop belonging to a Catholic
20
Newspaper Vendor. He has on all four occasions named the persons
involved and furnished the numbers of the vehicles used by them. The
answer from the Police Department to me was that neither the individuals
nor the vehicles were traceable. To the question as to why no FIRs
were recorded, the answer was that they were acting on instructions
from the Vidhana Soudha.
SEZ ATROCITIES BY THE POLICE
(e)One of the highlights of the Police performance in Dakshina
Kannada has been the total alignment with the authorities of the
Mangalore SEZ. The victims in this case happened to be 69% Christians
and all the entire lot, even the non-Christians were tribals and those
belonging to the weaker sections. They were looted, beaten up, their
homes, fields and property destroyed, their standing crops were buried
under debris through bulldozers, the compensation amounts
misappropriated, documents and records forged and fabricated, all of
which have invited severe strictures from the Lokayukta and Justice
S.R. Nayak, the Head of the State Human Rights Commission. In all of
this, where the SEZ authorities had used the services of the mafia,
musclemen and criminals of the worst category against the poor, weak
and helpless victims, the atrocities of the Police Department in these
acts of State Terrorism are shameful and unpardonable. There are on
record 2726 written complaints from the victims, social workers and
NGOs who represented these poor persons. The date, time, full
particulars and names of the culprits have all been set up. Not one
single complaint has been registered. No FIRs recorded and what is
even more shameful is that the various police stations and in particular
the office of the SP, Mangalore were functioning as part and parcel of
the SEZ. What needs to be taken particular note of is the fact that
1246 false cases were registered against the victims and the social
workers who tried to assist them, in all of which cases, the Police made
it a point to register so-called FIRs invoking non-bailable offences, so
that the victims could be retained in custody for abnormally long periods
of time. In addition to this, on every occasion when the so-called accused
were produced in Court, Bail was opposed by the Police. I have no
hesitation in recording the fact that there is unmistakable evidence that
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the whole of the Police Department starting from the SP to Officers like
Jayant Shetty and all the way down the line to the constables was totally
corrupted and was on the pay-roll of the SEZ. On 8th November, 2008,
when the Internationally acclaimed Swamy Agnivesh and I
personally went to KUNBI PADAV and witnessed the atrocities
taking place and the Police protecting the SEZ mafia, the Bajpe
Police Station is supposed to have recorded two FIRs against
Swamiji and myself on a host of serious criminal charges such as
attempt to murder, unlawful assembly, rioting, intimidation, trespass
and interfering with public servants in the discharge of their duties.
We have not so far been arrested, but it is not known when the
police will decide to do so, because both of us were told that once
the police lay their hands on us and take us into custody, every
bone in our bodies will be broken. IF THIS IS NOT STATE
TERRORISM, WHAT ELSE IS IT ?
FAKE ENCOUNTERS
(f) The Police Department in Dakshina Kannada are Specialists in
fake encounters and encounter killings. Since, the year 2004, the Police
have been indiscriminately shooting down whomsoever they find
inconvenient and in all these fake encounters, evidence is fabricated to
indicate to the public that the deceased person was the aggressor and
further more, that he or she had indulged in anti-social activity and acts
of terrorism but that there is no recorded criminal evidence or convictions
because the police were not able to arrest the persons. I had occasion
as Judge of the Karnataka High Court to examine as many as 21
such cases and every single one of them I have recorded that the
so-called encounter was fake and that the killing was thoroughly
unjustified. In the majority of these cases, the Police are heavily paid
by the Opponents of the deceased who are after their property or desire
to settle scores with them and that is the real ground for shooting. In not
a single one of the 21 cases, where I had directed that all those involved
in the incident and those who had paid them / conspired with them should
be prosecuted, not a single prosecution followed from the State
Government. Similarly, since all those who have been shot come from
the poor and weak strata, no action has followed and the Police have
22
got away with these murders.
Reference is invited to the enquiry conducted into the Editor –
Seetharam case wherein the Police followed Seetharam and his wife
on a Sunday night when they were on their way to attend to a temple,
intercepted them and for the next two hours, kept taking them to once
secluded place after the other in order to stage a so-called encounter
and shoot them, but god was on their side and they survived only because
every single road chosen by the police happened to have a fair amount
of traffic or the presence of villagers and they finally gave up in the hope
of getting the job done within one of the police lock ups or jails.
(g)CUSTODIAL VIOLENCE:
There has been a serious charge against the Police Department
that apart from the torture chambers run by the Department and the
abnormal inhuman and sadistic violence that the Officers and Staff
regularly let loose on anybody whom they laid their hands on, that they
have also been practicing another form of atrocity by getting the antisocial
elements within the lock-up and the jail premises to assault the
victims and to even kill them. There have been eleven complaints of
persons belonging to the minority community who have died in Police
custody in the last two and a half years but in all these cases, no action
against the police has been possible because they have made false
entries in the Police Stations that the death took place on the road in a
hit and run case and the Government Doctors have supported the police
in these atrocities.
In the Editor – Seetham case, where Seetharam was ordered to
be retained in Police custody in Udupi and was permitted hospitalization
on very valid and real health breakdown reasons, on the express Orders
of Home Minister – Acharya and his son who was exercising more powers
than the father, without obtaining Court Orders, and in breach of the
Law, the Police pulled him out of the Udupi Hospital, refused the family’s
requests for an ambulance at their cost and drove him at breakneck
speed over horrible roads for two hours till he reached Mangalore at
night virtually half dead. An attempt was made to put him into the subjail
as it was full of gangsters and anti-social elements, all of whom are
23
the best friends of the Police Department so that he could be finished
off there. The presence of the PUCL Office-bearers and the insistence
of the Lawyers prevented the attempt of the Police to have him beaten
up and possibly killed in the jail.
Sometime before this, the Police had falsely picked up two Muslim
boys, objected to their bail and had them confined to the Mangalore
sub-jail where they tried to incarcerate Seetharam. These two boys
were savagely assaulted by a group of Bajrang Dal activists who are
present in the same jail. They were moved to the hospital in a precarious
condition with grievous injuries in the belief that both of them would die.
The injuries were all on vital parts of the body particularly on the head
and chest. There were stab wounds and the Press and TV exposed the
fact that the assailants had used knives, daggers, iron bars and iron
chains. There was a demand for a Judicial Enquiry and the Home
Department was asked to explain as to how such deadly weapons had
been smuggled into the jail. There was also a demand that the assailants
must be charged with offences of attempt to murder and causing grievous
hurt and further more, that the Jail Authorities who had permitted deadly
weapons to be taken in and had also abetted the assault should be
suspended and dismissed from service. The nice part of the story is
that it emerged that the assailants had with them mobile phones and
unlimited quantities of liquor. Home Minister Acharya who at that time
the Chief Patron of the Bajrang Dal condoned all their violence, ordered
that no action be taken against them and immediately issued a statement
that the Home Department would look into the matter. What followed:
(a) The Jailor who was responsible for allowing illegal arms
and liquor into the jail and who also facilitated the
incident was immediately shifted by Acharya under his
personal Orders to Bangalore and was rewarded with a
promotion.
(b) Acharya also ordered that no action be taken against any of
the assailants on the ground that it was not known as to who
exactly had assaulted the Muslim boys. Judging from some
of the ridiculous statements that the Home Minister used to
24
issue at that time which defied credibility, it is a small wonder
that he did not issue a statement that the injuries were self
inflicted !
(c) The victims were treated in the hospital for a long period of
time till they recovered and all their relations were warned
that if they lodge any complaints or press any charges that
they would be finished off. When questioned by the media
as to why the assailants had not been prosecuted, Acharya’s
defence was that the victims and their relations had not
lodged any complaints and hence, the State was unable to
act. It is impossible, in a situation like this to accept that
there would be no complaints but even if that was the position
having regard to the terror tactics employed, the question
still arises as to why the State and the Police Department
did not take legal action on their own accord in the case of
such serious offences committed within the jail premises..
This a mandatory requirement of the law and no excuse is
admissible.
(h)JUDICIAL INDIFFERENCE:
No atrocities or illegalities could have taken place on such a
continuous and massive scale if the Judiciary had only lived up to its
constitutional obligations. It is a matter of regret, distress, deep concern
and utter shame that in the whole of the area right through this period of
time that one Judicial Officer in any Court so much as listened to recorded
or took cognizance of complaints from the victims even when produced
in Court. This was a failure of the Law and of judicial duty and it is this
failure that encouraged the State Government and the Police to commit
the type of atrocities that have been recounted here. In thousands of
cases where the victims told the Magistrates that they had been subjected
to horrifying torture and serious injuries, they were not even taken out of
police custody and consigned to judicial custody. PUCL has checked
the court records in over ten thousand such cases and in not a single
one has the Magistrate recorded the complaint of torture and injuries.
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To what extent the Judiciary has failed in its duties is representative
on the fact that even in thousands of cases where visible injuries were
shown to the Magistrates, no medical investigation or treatment was
ordered. Not only is this a breach of the Law and encouragement to the
State and the Police Department to multiply violence and atrocities but
it is the most horrible infringement and violation of human rights and to
think that it has happened at the instance of the Court and Judicial
Officers is something absolutely unpardonable.
(i) REFUSAL OF BAIL:
The same pathetic story is repeated when it comes to the track
record of the Judiciary in the matter of grant of bail. The consistent
practice followed is to refuse to hear the Accused and his Advocate and
to straight away refuse bail and remand the Accused to Police custody.
This has happened even in the case of thousands of persons who are
victims of police violence at the time of the church attacks and to
hundreds who were falsely arrested by the Police in the course of these
incidents. I have personally examined the cases of at least 6,000
innocent persons and in not a single one of these cases, could the arrest
be justified. In the case of Permanur and Kulsekhar, over 300 persons
who were victims of police violence and who were injured, the majority
of them with bleeding injuries on the head were produced in blood stained
clothes before the Courts and the Magistrates refused them Bail and
remanded them to Police custody even refusing medical treatment. In
the Milagres incident particularly, as also in two other incidents from
Mangalore city, in order to justify the defence put forward by Acharya
and his Police that the mobs had attacked them, hundreds of students,
mechanics, drivers and other self employed persons were
indiscriminately rounded up and arrested. Their college careers were
ruined, their businesses were finished all because the Courts refused
to grant them Bail for periods ranging from 3 to 6 months. There was
zero material against them. Their arrest was illegal and unjustified and
yet the Courts at the instance of the State and the Police detained them
in custody irrespective of the consequences. Apart from the illegalities,
these are serious and unpardonable infringements of human rights. I
will answer the question as to why no counter action or complaints have
26
emanated, the obvious reason is that the State Terrorism has pulverized
the victims and their families, they have told me that they are thankful
that they are alive and that they dare not agitate for their rights. What
distressed me most was the fact that in each and every case, the pathetic
statement was that “ after the Courts have done this to us, do you ever
expect these very Courts to entertain our complaints or to Order
compensation?” This is indeed a very very shameful certificate to the
Judiciary coming from the most deserving consumers of Justice.
POLICE GOONDAISM ON 23/12/2010.
The St. Aloysius College is the oldest and most reputed educational
institution in the District. On 23.12.2010, the students had organized a
musical function, when all of a sudden, SI – Manjunath from the Bunder
Police Station along with a relatively large group of policemen stormed
into the campus, disrupted the proceedings and violently attacked the
students. When questioned, he stated that police permission had not
been obtained for the function. There is no provision of Law under
which a college, holding a function in its own premises has to seek
police permission. Obviously, this was another method of blackmailing
the college and extorting money. The Dakshina Kannada Police have
not only got a bad name but have acquired a stinking reputation for
blackmail and extortion and this is a classic instance where the Police
Force of Dakshina Kannada exposed its true character in all its shameful
glory! The matter has been reported to the higher authorities who have
all covered up for SI – Manjunath and his team which establishes how
deep and how complete the rot is.
ABSOLUTE NEED FOR A HIGH POWERED PEOPLE’S
TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY.
It is in this overall background that PUCL and Transparency
International have taken a decision to hold a People’s Enquiry into the
atrocities of the Police Department and the corresponding failure of the
Judiciary to either check these atrocities, to contain them or to take
counter action. The hearings were held at the Milagres College Hall on
the 11th and 12th December 2010. As a result of the publicity, a large
number of aggrieved persons attended the Tribunal hearing. A summary
27
of the proceedings was prepared for purposes of record. More
importantly, it was decided to examine a representative number of cases
as each of the aggrieved persons and their witnesses deposed before
the Jury and they also produced the relevant and requisite records in
respect of each case which was fully substantiated. The members of
the Jury expressed their opinion at the end of the proceedings on the
afternoon of 12th December and Justice M.F. Saldanha who presided
over the proceedings and headed the Jury summarized the findings.
These are separately set out along with a brief description of each of
the cases that were taken up for consideration and the individual findings
in respect of the respective case. On a constructive note, there are a
series of recommendations in an effort to bring about some correctives.
The situation as it now exists is intolerable, both as far as the depravity,
corruption violence and misconduct of the Police and the Judicial action
that is unfortunately supporting it all the way, with the dreadful fallout
resulting in INJUSTICE ALL THE WAY. Human rights have been defiled,
disrespected and destroyed and the Police are living up to the definition
which the Allahabad High Court coined for them-”Criminals in Uniform”-
this just has to change.
MANGALORE (JUSTICE MICHAEL F. SALDANHA)
DATE : 10TH January 2011
28
FINDINGS OF THE JURY
We propose to briefly summarise the salient facts in respect of the
representative cases in order to amplify the basis of the findings arrived
at. This is also necessary from another angle in so far as the facts will
be illustrative of the manner in which the Police force has been
functioning in and around Mangalore city. We do not propose to set out
the names of the Complainants and witnesses for the obvious reason
that the police have the habit of violently hitting back at anybody who
exposes their atrocities and that is one of the reasons why the
Department has been getting away with criminal misconduct. The facts
however, will demonstrate what exactly the police have been up to.
CASE No.1:
The victim was falsely implicated on a murder charge in the year
1988 by SI Kempaiah. The illustrious SI thereafter moved up because
of his special talents and connections, became an SP and has now
retired from service. The false charge-sheet submitted by him could
obviously not be sustained and even though, 22 years have passed,
the case has not yet been heard and the victim has the trauma of a
murder charge hanging above his head. He has complained to the
Government and to the Department on 16 occasions asking for
action against Kempaiah but nothing has happened.
Findings:
Firstly, the mere fact that the Department is unable to sustain the
charge for 22 years clearly indicates that it is a fabrication. Despite this
position, the Department has covered up for this Officer. Had action
been taken, the man should have been dismissed from service instead
of which, he is rewarded for such misconduct, promoted and allowed to
retire and is obviously being further rewarded for the rest of his life
through a pension. This is dangerous because false implication is a
serious criminal offence, it is indulged in by the police repeatedly and
R E P O R T
29
regularly in order to harass, blackmail and terrorize and if it is not curbed,
the consequences to the citizens are grave.
CASE No.2:
The victim in this case had submitted complaints to the local police,
the then SP Satish Kumar and to DIG – Prasad that his little shop was
being repeatedly attacked by anti-social elements. He has indicated
the names of the persons and the vehicle numbers of the two wheelers
used by them. 27 such incidents had taken place over a period of
three months. He has sustained considerable loss of property due to
these attacks, despite which, the Department has neither registered a
single FIR not taken action against any of the culprits who are well known
criminals. The matter was reported to the DIG, nothing was done by
him and the SP instigated the criminals to STEP-UP THE ATTACKS.
The interesting feature of this case is that the citizen finally mobilised
his own resources and got a few of this own friends to arm themselves
against such attacks and when the culprits found that they would be
severely beaten, if they continued their criminal activities, the trouble
stopped.
Findings:
This is a familiar situation where the Department is taken care of
by a mafia don who happened to be the boss of the culprits. The victim
is left with absolutely no redressal and the serious part of the matter is
that even if complaints are directed higher, where there is a thoroughly
corrupt SP like Satish Kumar, the situation gets further worsened. In
this case, when the DIG repeatedly questioned Satish Kumar, he stated
that the culprits and the vehicles were not traceable which statement
was inherently false. A normal citizen has no capacity to move higher
than the District level and the bottom line therefore is that the presence
of the police is not only useless but worthless in this class of cases.
The aggravating factor is that not only is there no redressal for the injury
but the victim runs a serious risk of violent revenge action from the
Police Department if the matter is agitated further.
CASE No.3:
The victim in this case had parked his car in a designated parking
30
area when a Police Constable turned up, abused him for no reason and
threatened him that he would be taken to the Police Station if he did not
part with money. On his refusal, he was forcibly taken to the Police
Station and when he complained to the Inspector- in-charge, the Officer
abused him in filthy language and told him to pay up the money or else,
that he would be arrested and put in the lock-up on the ground that he
had misbehaved with a member of the Police force. Once he was in the
Police Station, he was taken inside, slapped and all the money that was
on his person was taken away and he was told that if he lodges any
complaint, his legs would be broken.
Findings:
This case is very representative of the real functioning of the Police
Department. Instead of maintaining Law and Order or doing their
designated duties, the Constables are on the look out for victims at all
times in order to extort money. It is not difficult for them to catch hold of
vulnerable persons from time to time, to use abusive language and
muscle power and drag the victim to the Police Station, if they do not
part with enough of money. The highlight of this case is that the reason
why the Police went after the Complainant was because they were
helping themselves to fruit and other eatables from the roadside hawkers
and the Complainant had asked them not to exploit these poor persons.
We take a serious view of this aspect of police misbehavior because
such exploitation has become the order of the day and the victims are
petty traders who are living hand to mouth and they have absolutely no
defence against such anti-social behavior on the part of the police. It is
also representative of how very dangerous it is when a law abiding citizen
is dragged to a Police Station.
CASE No.4:
The Jury was informed by a bunch of witnesses of the total
communalization and saffronisation of the Police Department ever since
the present BJP Government came to power and of the manner in which
the Journalistic community has been targeted. Virtual terror tactics have
been employed by the Police Stations and the Police personnel in the
full confidence that the Courts would fully back them up. This was the
universal complaint of all those who were present and the names of two
31
Police Officers – SP Satish Kumar and Inspector – Jayant Shetty headed
the list of Officers who had been running wild in the Department. They
had been able to withstand complaints to the authorities at any level
because they had the full backing of the Chief Minister and the Home
Minister. After a long period of horrifying atrocities and corruption, SP
Satish Kumar was shifted to another District whereas Jayant Shetty
has been promoted!
The Journalistic fraternity pointed out that these two Officers had
started a trend in the City and in the District whereby ALL victims who
landed in Police Stations were stripped naked and submitted to horrifying
tortures. This sadistic and perverse behaviour of these two Officers
quickly caught on and has become the order of the day in the District.
At least 22 persons who had been victimized in this manner have
supported this version. Also, these two Officers were involved in sadistic
levels of violence in public places and they got away with it because
anybody who complained was picked up, STRIPPED NAKED, beaten
up and implicated in false cases.
Findings:
The implications of these cases are extremely grave because it is
only the media or rather the bold and independent section of the media
who can expose police atrocities and if Officers like Satish Kumar and
Jayant Shetty use abnormal levels of violence and falsely implicate the
Complainants and then get away with such atrocities, then it is quite
obvious as to how they run wild in the District. What is disturbing is the
fact that when such corrupt and criminal Police Officers have the personal
support and backing of the Chief Minister and the Home Minister and in
this case above all the Palak Minister of the District whose name was
repeatedly figuring, no complaints at any level can bring them to book.
What is worse is the fact that it also shows what sort of sexual
perverts these Police Officers turn into when they specialize in
humiliating persons by stripping them naked in the Police Stations
and getting sadistic delight by inflicting the inhuman forms of
torture on them by targeting their genitals. These pervert members
of the Police force totally disregard the physical injury and lifelong
damage that they are inflicting on the victims. We can only
32
summarise these tactics by defining them as a case of POLICE
TERRORISM MIXED WITH ABNORMAL DEGREES OF SEXUAL
PERVERSION.
CASE No.5:
In a very serious incident that took place in Karkala on 29.09.2009,
certain persons who were hostile to the victim came to his house and in
the presence of his wife and father took the victim to the nearby tank on
the ground that they wanted to discuss something. They forcibly
immersed him in the water and held him down till he was dead.
The family members are EYE-WITNESSES. Thereafter, they took the
body to the KMC hospital and reported that they had seen the victim
drowning, that they pulled him out of the water and asked the Doctors to
give him first-aid. The Doctors found the victim dead. The wife and the
father rushed to the Police Station and lodged a complaint which the
police refused to record as the Police had been taken care of. The
Complainants insisted that the Police register an offence of murder and
arrest the culprits who had been named, but the police refused to do
this. They also refused to claim the body until action according to Law
was taken as a result of which it remained in the hospital. The Accused
persons, claiming to be relations, took charge of the body after some
days, took it to the Church and had it buried. The Complainants moved
the higher authorities of the Police Department who also refused to act
in the matter, on the ground that the guilty persons had produced a
certificate from the hospital that the death was due to drowning. The
Complainants then filed a Petition in the High Court and the High Court
ordered that the body be exhumed. Surprisingly enough, though the
body was exhumed after several months, it was found intact because
the Hospital had treated it as an unclaimed body and embalmed it for
use by medical students. The High Court has ordered a fresh Post
Mortem examination but according to the police, the report is not available
for the last four months. The wife and the father point out that the police
have colluded with the murderers and have also abetted them in
destroying the evidence by recording a false cause of death and refusing
to act on the basis of the Complaint from the wife and father both of
whom are eye-witnesses to the murder.
33
Findings:
In the majority of criminal cases which are pre-planned, the Police
are heavily bribed, as a result of which, they refuse to respond to any
emergency calls for help when the crime takes place. Secondly, they
refuse to register any complaint and experience has shown that the
police along with the Lawyers of the criminals who have committed the
offences, register a false cause of death and accord permission for the
disposal of the body. In all these cases, a sham post mortem examination
is conducted and the Doctor at the instance of the police and the Accused
records a false cause of death. All these ingredients are fully present in
this case and the Police heavily bank on the fact that even if at a belated
stage, the Courts Order a re-investigation, that nothing worth-while
transpires because the evidence is virtually dead by that point of time.
This case is a classic instance in which, had the FIR been registered at
the earliest point of time, even if the cause of death was indicated as
drowning, that would have been compatible with the evidence to the
effect that the Accused had forcibly immersed the deceased in the water.
This is a horrifying instance of miscarriage of justice where
the police are parties to the murder and to the destruction of
evidence both of which are serious criminal offences. It is only
hoped that when the Petition is disposed off by the High Court that
directions are issued to register offences against the culprits and the
Police Officers concerned and to proceed according to Law. It is cases
of this type that have completely destroyed whatever little public
confidence that existed with regard to the Police Department.
CASE No.6:
The Jury were given a detailed account of the Police violence at
Ullal on 06.10.2006 when the infamous Jayant Shetty along with
Inspector Shiva Kumar descended on the area and mercilessly assaulted
members of the Muslim community. This was followed by the Police
Officers ransacking every single muslim house and looting the jewellery,
money and valuables worth Crores of Rupees on the ground that they
were looking for Terrorists. From the documents that were produced, it
is quite clear that these atrocities did take place because they have
been elaborately recorded and produced before the higher authorities.
34
Unfortunately, the whole of the police force which was demonstrably
corrupt was also completely saffronised and muslims have therefore
been treated as their enemies. To what extent Shiva Kumar and Jayant
Shetty were aligned to the RSS was demonstrated from the fact that
their open threat over the months and years was that they would bring
the RSS musclemen to Ullal and let them loose on the Muslim community.
In order to defend themselves, Shetty and Shiva Kumar registered
false cases against the Complainants, arrested them, took them to the
Police Station where they were stripped naked and subjected to horrifying
torture. Since, these cases were inherently false, the State Human
Rights Commission presided over by the Hon’ble Mr. Justice S.R. Nayak
has passed severe strictures against these Police Officers and
recommended not only disciplinary action but a prosecution against them.
The State Government has taken no action but on the contrary, these
Officers have been promoted under the Special Orders of Chief Minister
Yediyurappa and Home Minister Acharya. The cases filed by the Police
were all dismissed whereas the Criminal Courts have taken cognizance
of two criminal cases filed against the Police Officers. Those cases are
pending, but unfortunately, on every date of hearing the Accused Police
Officers remain absent and the Magistrate cheerfully adjourns the case.
The Complainants who are risking their everything in order to see that
the Law takes its course against the errant Police Officers are being
driven to frustration / desperation by the Courts and the question posed
to the Jury is as to whether the citizens of this country can ever expect
the Rule of Law to be enforced by the Courts particularly against the
Police.
Findings:
This case raises a host of important issues. Firstly, whether there
are any tangible solutions possible when the Police force is both corrupt
and completely saffronised. Secondly, when errant Police Officers are
protected through political patronage by equally corrupt Ministers where
does this leave the citizen ? Thirdly, when the victims of Police atrocities
are sought to be silenced by involving them in false cases whether this
is not the very height of injustice. Humorously enough, when these
cases fail, as they have to, the Judges smile and tell the aggrieved
35
victims that they are very fortunate that the case did not end in
conviction, that they should be thankful and not think in terms of
action for malicious prosecution.
The High Courts and the Supreme Court of India have consistently
held that the most deterrent sentences should be awarded in all cases
of police excesses, atrocities, violence, custodial deaths and above all,
corruption. The number of Courts who actually carry out this mandate
are few and far between. As Judge of the Karnataka High Court, in
eight such instances, Justice Saldanha has awarded the Police
Officers and the Constables the maximum sentences prescribed
under the Law, as also stinging fines/ compensation of Rs. Five
Lakhs each which were paid over to the victims as compensation
and in all these eight cases the Judgments have been confirmed
by the Supreme Court. It is absolutely essential that the Courts do
this more often. More importantly, directions have been issued to the
subordinate Courts to ensure that in any case, where there is a complaint
against the police, that it be properly looked into and where it is valid
and sustainable that not only should action be taken but that it should
be disposed off on a top priority basis and further more, that all the
support and protection which the Complainants and their witnesses
require must be afforded. What is really required to be done is that
in instances where the Departmental hierarchy and the Politicians
support the demonic Police Officers, all those persons should be
prosecuted. Even if it is for the first time, one such a test case is
taken up, the superior Police Officers and the Politicians will stop
abetting Police atrocities.
CASE No.7:
Once again, the name of Jayant Shetty figures in this case.
Brushing aside the relevant details, what stands out is the fact that in
connection with Jayant Shetty’s Bungalow which is his personal property
and the building material relating thereto, the Police Officer has instituted
a false prosecution by misusing his official position. On our analysis of
the case, we find that the facts clearly warrant action under the Prevention
of Corruption Act, but obviously, this Police Officer has terrorized
everybody in the District and he is still holding a prominent position in
36
the Police Department as a result of which, the victims dare not take
action against him and the Politicians who support him will obviously
not institute any steps. There is a second instance concerning the same
Police Officer pointed out to us wherein two persons have been involved
in a false prosecution. There is zero material against them and yet,
a charge-sheet has been filed and they have been required to attend
the Court for the last two and a half years. What was highlighted
was the fact that when a person is required to attend a Criminal Court,
they have to leave their jobs, business, personal duties and go and sit
in the Court Room invariably for the whole day, as otherwise, a Non
Bailable Warrant is issued by the Magistrate and the Bail is cancelled.
Findings:
If the citizens of this country are to live in safety and in peace, it will
be very necessary to set up a machinery to control and punish Police
Officers of this type as the consequences of their action are absolutely
disastrous. Under the scheme of the Law and under the Constitution, it
is absolutely essential for the Courts to enforce the Law ruthlessly and
to punish the police in every single instance even if it is a misdemeanor.
There are as many as 203 Reported Judgments of the High Courts and
the Supreme Court mandating this, but unfortunately, the subordinate
Judiciary rubber stamps every action of the Police which is sending out
the wrong signals and encouraging Officers like Jayant Shetty to continue
with their demonic misbehavior.
Under the Criminal Procedure Code, it is mandatory for a Magistrate
to dismiss every single proceeding at the earliest point of time when
there is no case made out against the Accused. The Law Commission
has pointed out that in 97% of this category of cases, the case should
have been dismissed, the Accused discharged and action taken against
the Police for filing an unsustainable charge sheet. The lower Judiciary
has failed in its legal and constitutional obligations by allowing the cases
to drag on for anything from three years to seventeen years before they
are thrown out. Are these Judges and Magistrates going to
compensate the innocent citizens, whose lives have been ruined
through such proceedings?
37
CASE No.8:
This head of complaint concerns the Church attacks which made
National headlines as also International concern because the evidence
indicates that whereas the Bajrang Dal, the Ram Sene and other
Organisations were primarily held liable for the violence that the truth of
the matter is that in every single incident, it was the Police who led from
the front. The then DC – Mahabaleshwar Rao and the SP – Satish
Kumar, Inspectors – Jayant Shetty and Ganapathi were the stalwarts
who unleashed unmitigated violence on the members of the Christian
community. Among those who were beaten up, were the Head Mistress
of a school, an elderly nun, aged 87, a 69 year old lady who lost her eye
and thousands of innocent persons. It is a matter of record that the
injured persons whose number exceeds 792 in Mangalore City
alone, many of whom suffered serious head injuries, fractures and
other bodily injuries including near death experience because of
poisonous gas that was released from teargas shells that were used
years after their expiry dates and it has been pointed out by the
victims and their representatives that over 1180 written complaints
were lodged with the various Police Stations that not one FIR has
been registered. On the other hand, a 106 false cases have been
registered by the Police Department to defend themselves and over
2000 persons have been involved in these false cases, 38% of whom
are students who careers have been ruined, housewives, teachers,
self employed persons (a mechanic who is starving because he
was in custody for three months and his little business has
collapsed and 29 auto drivers who were thrown out of their jobs
because they were in custody for long periods). A responsible Priest
who has appeared before the Justice Somashekar Commission has
deposed before us on the basis of irrefutable material and we have
scrutinized the facts and the data and we have no hesitation in accepting
the correctness thereof.
Findings:
Though the Church attacks issue is the matter of separate
investigation, it figures prominently here because it illustrates how the
State Machinery which is supposed to respect the Law and enforce it
38
through the Police Department turns into the Law breaker and how the
victims are denied Justice and at the same time, are hauled over the
coals on the ground that they are criminals. It was pointed out to us that
in every one of these false cases, the Police made it a point to include
half a dozen serious Non-Bailable Offences and the Magistrates
indiscriminately refused Bail. It was only after months that these poor
victims who had been falsely involved and arrested could be released
and after that, they are required to regularly attend the Courts. Over
200 students who were falsely involved have missed their exams, their
careers are ruined and they run the serious risk of being dismissed from
the educational institution on the ground that serious criminal charges
are pending against them. The implications of how serious this aspect
of the police action is will be demonstrated from what we have pointed
out.
CASE No.9:
In this case, a civil dispute is being agitated between two neighbours
over a particular area of land which concerns the erection of gates. As
often happens, one of the parties bribes the Police and asks them to
interfere and they promptly do it as an arm-twisting measure. When the
Civil Court is seized of the matter in a Civil Case, that Judicial Forum
has all the powers to pass Orders both Interim and Final. We have also
found that there is absolutely no Law and Order problem that has arisen
in this case, despite which, without any justification, the Police have
intervened, taken sides and even beaten up the Opposite Party and
collected a huge amount of money from them under the threat that they
will be locked up. While the Law and Order situation has reached a
point of complete breakdown, it was pointed out to us that the Police
Stations are busy involving themselves with property disputes, business
disputes even husband and wife matrimonial disputes, the bottom-line
being that wherever there is money or property involved, that the police
get very active.
Findings:
The Law Commission had occasion to point out that when the data
was evaluated while the Police force contended that they are under
staffed, ill-equipped and unable to cope with the burden of maintaining
39
the Law and Order, that the facts indicated that on a National level, it
was found that in 92% of CIVIL DISPUTES the Police Department
abdicates its primary functions of maintaining law and order and
investigating Criminal Cases, in favour of involvements in personal and
property disputes, that they evict tenants for a fat fee from the landlords,
that they involve themselves in every conceivable aspect of society
where they can make money and this gate case is illustrative of such
dereliction of duty and misuse of power and rank corruption.
CASE No.10:
This case relates to the month of March 2006 and is approximately
4 ½ years old. Pursuant to the death of a married woman, the police
interrogated the husband as he was the prime suspect. Not surprisingly,
the man made a deal with the Police and they go and arrest one of the
neighbours on the murder charge placing reliance on a Statement of
the husband implicating him. There was zero evidence in this case, but
since the charge was under Section 302 IPC, Bail was denied to the
Accused and he was retained in custody. Every application made for
discharge of the Accused on the ground that there is absolutely no
evidence against him was mechanically rejected by the Court on a
peculiar ground namely that the case is triable by the Court of Sessions
and that the Magistrate has no jurisdiction to examine the merits. After
almost three years, the Judge changes and so does the Investigating
Officer. The Court then realizes that the Cr.PC mandates the filing of
the Charge-sheet within 90 days which the Police have not done and
further more, that when the Police were questioned, they admitted that
they have no evidence against the Accused, the case was closed and
the Accused was discharged. He was running a small sweets business
with 18 workers. When he was arrested, there was nobody to run the
business and all the 18 persons lost their jobs. After he was released,
since the business had totally collapsed and some other person had
forcibly occupied the premises, the Accused could not resume his
business and was reduced to pauperism. He was a married man with
three children and the entire family has been completely ruined. Neither
the Court nor the Police nor the State are bothered about the horrifying
consequences of what they have done.
40
Findings:
Once again, we need to go back to the Law Commission Reports
wherein it has been repeatedly pointed out that there is a tendency on
the part of the Police to adopt short-cuts. When a serious crime has
been committed, some poor person, usually a servant or a watchman is
picked up, mercilessly tortured and a Police statement issued that he
has confessed to the offence. Some incriminating evidence such as a
knife, blood stained clothes or so-called recovery of property is fabricated
and there are instances in which the Accused who are poor and cannot
afford competent defence, end up on the gallows. The more fortunate
ones receive a life sentence and the small number of extremely fortunate
ones are acquitted if providence provides them with a good and
competent Judge who is also conscientious, which is a rarity. This case
is very illustrative of all these factors and above all of what happens
when a poor person comes out of the Court or the Jail and is ruined for
life despite being completely innocent. While the culprits are the police
in uniform, the real responsibility and culpability in these cases
lies with the Judiciary which is responsible for the dereliction of
duty and these horrifying results. The Law provides for
Compensatory action but in less than 1% of the cases is this
awarded and when it is done, it is usually an absurd or beggarly
figure of about Rs.1000!
CASE No.11
This case concerns a Pastor from a small town against whom a
case was registered on the allegation that he had attempted to convert
a person. This was done at the instance of the local saffron brigade.
He was retained in custody for two months which is totally against the
Law and the records shows that the Police objected to Bail at the instance
of their saffron masters on the ground that the feelings have run very
high in the area and that there will be a serious Law and Order problem
if he is released. When the Pastor was released on Bail, the Police
insisted that he must report at the Police Station every Sunday morning.
The Pastor pointed out to the Court that he has his Church duties on
Sunday mornings, but the Judge refused to change the Order on the
ground that the Police are objecting. This reporting required the Pastor
41
to come to the Police Station at 8.00 a.m. every Sunday and he is
made to wait there for at least three hours on the ground that the
staff are not available, as a result of which, for ten years, he has
not been able to attend to his religious duties. The incident is of
15.03.2000 and the case has not been taken up on the ground that the
Complainant is not traceable – obviously because it is a fabricated case.
When an application was made to the higher Court requesting that since
the Pastor is a permanent resident of that place, he has a house and
family there and the requirement of reporting should be relaxed or
changed to some other day, the Sessions Court dismissed the Application
on the ground that if any variation is asked for, the Bail will be cancelled.
There cannot be a more vindictive or PEVERSE order.
Findings:
One of the repeated Complaints from the litigants as also from
responsible members of the Bar is to the effect that the Magistrates
in Criminal Cases, by and large, instead of impartially evaluating
the material, assessing the correctness or otherwise of the
allegations and being vigilant in cases where it is obvious that the
charge has been fabricated, are abdicating their Judicial duties
and virtually rubber stamping whatever the police produce before
them. In case after case, the Court has shown absolutely Zero respect
for the Law, fairness and Human Rights or for the liberty of the citizen
and have been indiscriminately curtailing the liberty of an innocent person
who has no capacity to protest or to take counter steps. This case is a
classic illustration of the fact that even where the injustice is pointed out
to the higher forum that it is summarily rejected because the attitude, as
one goes higher becomes more callous.
CASE No.12
Not surprisingly, there was a whole host of complaints with regard
to Police harassment and victimization of Christians. Specific instances
were cited not by the dozen but by the hundred in support of such
persecution not by the members of Parties and Organisations who
profess communal hatred but at the instance of the Police Department
which has taken over the role of such persecutions. The explanation
given by the Police Officers, though oral, when questioned by social
42
workers and NGOs is that they receive telephonic communications which
have emanated from Bangalore, not from the Police Headquarters but
from the Home Ministry and the Home Minister himself. One of the
directions that have come directly from Home Minister Acharya to the
Police Stations after the Church attack cases is that every Police Station
must record a specified number of so-called conversion cases and that
incentives should be provided to organizations and individuals who
institute such cases. This is not an empty allegation because the records
fully substantiate this position. In the City of Mangalore alone where
this was being overdone in five separate cases, the so-called
Complainants were questioned at public forums such as this one and
they have openly admitted that they were asked to give a false statement.
Findings:
These allegations are 100% true and justified and they pose a
very serious danger because they indicate total misuse of the Police
machinery by the Government of the State. What has added to the
problem is the fact that on as many as 17 occasions in the last two
years where Public Interest Petitions were filed before the Karnataka
High Court, the Petitions have been summarily dismissed and the sad
part of it is that nine of them were by a Catholic Chief Justice and the
other eight by a Christian Chief Justice against whom serious charges
of corruption were made and who is facing impeachment proceedings.
The first of the two is now in the Supreme Court but he had a track
record in the Karnataka High Court of dismissing every PIL against the
State. Not only does the situation require serious reforms in the working
of the Police Department bur more importantly, a total overhaul of the
working of the higher judiciary.
CASE No.13:
This is a really pathetic case of a Bank employee against whom a
Criminal Complaint was lodged by the Bank that they SUSPECT his
implication in a case of cash shortage. The Police arrest the man and
retaining him for custody for six months periodically subjecting him to
inhuman torture. The amount involved is supposed to be Rs.900/-, the
incident is of the year 2003 and the Bank has reconciled the accounts
which establishes that the Complaint itself was false. The Bank refuses
43
to withdraw the complaint on the ground that it will get into problems.
The employee is under suspension for seven years on the ground that
the case is pending. On every date of hearing, nobody remains present
and the Court continues to adjourn the case. More than a dozen
applications have been made to the Court that the case be closed and
the Accused be discharged as neither the Police nor the witnesses
remain present but the Judge refuses to do this. On two occasions,
when Applications were made to the higher Court, they were rejected
on the ground that it is for the Trial Court to decide whether the Case
should be closed or not.
Findings:
The Citizens of this state are required to believe that the Courts
are Institutions of Justice. This is just one more instance where the
definition has gone wrong and injustice of the grossest level has occurred.
In the first instance, there was no material to register an FIR and even if
this proceeded on the basis of the Bank’s complaint, there was no ground
for the police to object to Bail for six months. The Accused is not a
hardened criminal. The amount involved is a petty Rs.900/- and if at all,
he was involved, he would have admitted it in the first few minutes of
police torture and when this did not happened for as long as six months,
there was no ground to still file a Charge-sheet, more so because when
the Bank reconciled the records, it was found that the Complaint was
unjustified. It was criminal negligence on the part of the police not to
have verified this fact.
Nothing can condone what has happened in the Court room with
the Magistrate mechanically adjourning the case for 7 ½ years despite
the fact that neither the police nor the witnesses remained present. The
Constitution guarantees the right to a speedy trial and more importantly,
the Supreme Court and the High Courts have in the last ten years
repeatedly enforced this right. There is zero justification for what has
happened before the Court. One of the problems faced by the citizens
of this country is that any complaint made against the Courts or the
Judges is construed as an act of Contempt and this is the reason why
even the media is terrorized into silence even when incidents of this
type take place thousands of times every year in every State. The
44
Judiciary is the first institution to preach about the sacred principles of
accountability and it is now time for drastic reforms in the working of the
Courts. The public confidence in these institutions has fallen rapidly
and this is the strongest barometer of the fact that there can be no delay
with regard to correctives.
CASE No.14:
PUCL Dakshina Kannada is required to deal with cases of police
misconduct, excesses and violence almost everyday and Mr. P. B. D’Sa
recounted to us the fact that the number of incidents has been growing
and the gravity of these incidents have also been increasing, both of
which, are a matter of serious concern. One of the first heads which he
brought to our notice was the fact that all over the District, over the last
two years, there have been repeated attacks on persons transporting
cattle. The allegation on every occasion is that the cattle are being
taken to a slaughter house. The persons in the vehicle are beaten up
and vehicle along with the cattle is taken to the Police Station.
Immediately, the Police mercilessly assault all those who are in the
vehicle, register an offence that they are cattle thiefs and put them into
the lock up. The vehicle is impounded and it is a costly and uphill task
to get the vehicle released and to even get a bail order. The victims in
all these cases are very poor and small persons who are transporters.
They are deprived of all their money and belongings, they suffer injuries,
they are unable to attend to their business for days and weeks and are
subjected to horrible exploitation from the police and the lawyers. In
about 40% of the cases, it has been demonstrated that the animal in
question was being taken to the hospital or back, or that it had been
purchased or that it was on the way to the market for being sold. The
entire allegation regarding the slaughter house is totally false in these
cases. Secondly, the evidence indicates that cattle which is old or surplus
or unwanted is sold to the traders for meat. This is a perfectly legal and
legitimate business and it is not for a group of vigilantes to use muscle
power whenever they see cattle being transported and to drag persons
to the Police Stations. The Police have been encouraging this activity
because the evidence indicates that in each and every case where
the cattle have been taken to the Police Station, they have prepared
45
a false document that the owner has taken it back, whereas in fact,
the persons who have illegally impounded the cattle have always
sold it to the BUTCHERS. This is bad enough in the case of cattle that
was being taken for slaughter but in several of the other cases where it
is domestic cattle, it is a tremendous loss to the owners to loose a
valuable cow or a bull. This has become a lucrative business and instead
of preventing it, the police all over the District have been encouraging it.
Findings:
This is one more instance of the Police misusing their power and
functioning in partnership with those indulging in illegal activity. What is
atrocious is the fact that a pretence is being made that the animals in
question are sacred whereas the very gangs involved in this activity
have sold each and every one of the heads of cattle to the butchers.
One of the reasons for the breakdown of the law and order situation in
the District is because a class of people take the law into their own
hands. This is referred to as “Goondaism” and is a cognizable offence.
Where the police join hands with such elements, it is an extremely serious
matter and as a cover for this criminal activity, it is sought to be given a
religious ground or a cover. The disaster story does not end there,
because on every occasion, when the victims have complained to
the Court that the seizure of the cattle was unauthorized and that it
should be returned to them, the Applications have been dismissed
with every Magistrate accepting the false version put up by the
Police that they have no facility to retain live animals at the Police
Station and that the animals were returned to the owners because
they insisted on it. We need to further point out that these are large
animals and that in two of the identical incidents which took place during
the Church attacks and an attempt was made to retrieve the animal that
it was found to be too late because it had already been slaughtered and
the Purchasers admitted having paid Rs.11,000/- and Rs.14,000/-
respectively for the animal. This nothing short of rank dacoity with police
patronage and partnership.
CASE No.15:
On the basis of complaints from the victims who have actually been
subjected to horrifying levels of sadistic torture, PUCL has investigated
46
and found that there are as many as four torture chambers set up by the
Police in Mangalore town itself. These places are reminiscent of the
nazi killing camps. PUCL has taken the matter up with the Police
Department, the Home Department and the State Human Rights
Commission. Whereas the first two have not disputed the position, the
SHRC has passed strictures against the Department on at least a dozen
occasions but to no effect.
Findings:
While it is often argued that in the case of hardened criminals or in
the case of property offences like theft or violent crimes etc. that it is
necessary to resort to third degree methods in the course of investigation,
the well settled position in Law is that this is totally and completely
prohibited and is a very serious infringement of human rights. The State
of Karnataka and the Police Department in the State seem to have
overlooked the basic fact that even a criminal has rights. From the
cases listed out by us above itself it will be seen that in as high as 75%
of the cases, the person arrested by the Police is both poor and innocent
and these torture chambers are used to extort false confessions and
then to deceive the general public that the offence has been solved and
the culprits arrested. Either ways, there is zero justification for these
torture chambers because neither the Law nor the Constitution permits
them.
CASE No.15
Once again, PUCL has reported as many as eleven custodial deaths
from the Mangalore sub-jail alone in the last two years. On every
occasion, the Police have covered up the case by producing a false
medical certificate from the Government Doctors who have certified that
the death was due to shock. In one of the cases where the police had
virtually hanged a young man in order to frighten him but he accidentally
died in the process, they produced a fabricated note stating that he had
committed suicide in the Police lock up. Though, PUCL has agitated
these cases, it has not been possible to get any action taken against
those responsible only because the Police have covered their tracks
through false Post Mortems and Medical Certificates.
47
The Supreme Court while dealing with custodial death cases has
laid down that whenever a person dies in custody, a presumption shall
arise against the State and the Police Officers concerned and that no
Court should accept false and fabricated Medical Certificates. This is a
very serious matter and we need to record that Karnataka State has the
worst record of custodial deaths. Right through his tenure as Home
Minister, Acharya covered up for his Police Department in every case of
custodial death, misusing his position as a Doctor and stating that the
Police had no hand in what happened. What was even worse was
when 63 inmates of the Beggars Home in Bangalore died because
of infection and filthy contaminated food fed to them by the State
authorities and where the post mortem reports conclusively
indicated that these poor persons had died as a result of criminal
negligence on the part of the State authorities, Dr. Acharya has
officially gone on record to insist that the deaths were due to natural
causes. When the Police have a god father of this type, it is not surprising
that Karnataka has the highest number of custodial deaths for any State
in the country. Again, where the State Human Rights Commission has
passed 1426 Orders containing strictures of the highest order against
the State Government in Human Rights Offences, the Chief Minister,
the Home Minister and the whole of the State Government have ignored
those Orders. On the other hand, despite 46 Petitions having been filed
before the Karnataka High Court in this class of cases, all 46 of them
have been dismissed. This is a pathetic record and it is because of
such Orders that the Police are encouraged to keep on torturing and
killing people because they know that nothing will happen to them.
Findings:
We need to observe here that a lot of thought will have to be
bestowed to this category of cases because there is no doubt whatsoever
that if a healthy person dies in police custody that an adverse
presumption arises against the Police. We also concede that when the
torture levels consistently go beyond any capacity of endurance that
the victims could be driven to suicide but the IPC itself prescribes that
the abatement of suicide is punishable with a very stringent jail sentence.
It must be mandated that in any such case, the Police shall not be
48
permitted to obtain false certificates from the Government Doctors who
most of the time are their partners in crime. An independent post
mortem by a Non Government Authority such as the Head of the
Department of a Medical College should be directed to do the Post
Mortem examination and in order to make it fool proof, it must be
prescribed that two such independent examinations must be done.
Also, the Police invariably ensure that the body is hastily disposed off.
For purposes of safety, it must be mandated that the body will have to
be embalmed and preserved for a prescribed period of time, so that, if
the Police have been able to Doctor the independent post mortems that
there will still be scope to get at the truth.
CONCLUSIONS:
The Jury was unanimous with regard to its conclusions which are
summarized below:
(a) That despite the fact that there had been a few communal
eruptions in the area in the past, that the earlier State
Government had taken all essential measures to control the
situation. Unfortunately, after the present BJP Government
came to power, there was a sudden eruption of anti-minority
violence. Instead of containing, controlling and eliminating
this feature, that the State Government provided official
patronage to all those involved in this activity with open support
from the Home Minister and the Chief Minister.
(b) That the immediate fall out of this situation was that the Police
force got completely communalized and started not only
protecting the violence perpetrators but going to the extent of
targeting the minorities. In the Church attacks that took place,
it was the police in all the incidents who led the violent attacks.
Investigations revealed that not only was every instance of
lathi charge unprovoked and unjustified, but that each of these
incidents had been carefully planned with the police
themselves arranging with the culprits to bring tempos full of
rock pebbles which are not available in the area from the river
beds and these were the lethal missiles that were used to
49
start each incident. In all the cases where teargas was used,
it was disclosed that the shells were beyond the expiry dates
by 4 to 8 years, as a result of which, the gas had turned toxic
and poisonous with long term damaging consequences to the
victims. When questioned, the State and the Police had no
answer.
(c) Some of the newspapers and magazines have been openly
exhorting anti-communal activities through their writings. Not
a single instance of action against the individuals or
publications under Section 153A has been taken. The heads
of the Bajrang Dal and the Ram Sene have not only admitted
their part in anti-minority violence of which there have been a
couple of hundred cases in the Karavali area with not a single
person being even arrested. Interestingly, it has come on
record that it was the victims who have been arrested in the
majority of these cases. One of the prominent leaders
during the Dasara of 2008, issued a Statement that
“instead of doing the Ayudha Pooja for your items of trade
and machinery, this year the Pooja should be to the knives,
daggers and swords.”
(d) While the Police were quick to register false and unsustainable
cases by the dozen against Editor Seetharam and members
of the minority community and to obtain Non Bailable Warrants
and target innocent persons on unsustainable charges, in a
series of complaints lodged against the Writers of Inflammatory
Communalistic Articles where conclusive evidence existed,
the Police have closed the cases on the ground that no offence
has been made out.
(e) As far as the Muslim community was concerned, the Police
have been brutally targeting individual muslims, entering their
homes, violently assaulting them, looting property and
valuables and indiscriminately arresting them on grounds of
involvement in terrorist activities. Long periods of custody
have followed and there has not been a single case in which
50
the police have substantiated the allegations.
(f) There has been an abnormally high degree of custodial deaths,
custodial violence on the part of the police and violence against
members of the minority community while in custody and in
not one of theses, an offence has been registered. On the
other hand, particularly after the Church attacks, over a
thousand false and unsustainable cases have been registered
against members of the minority community particularly
Christians, Bail was opposed, they were retained in custody
and even though, every one of these prosecutions was
unsustainable, the State and the Police Department are still
proceeding with those prosecutions in the course of which,
thousands of lives have been ruined.
(g) There has been a sharp rise in the police interfering in cases
where cattle transport was involved with the animals being
confiscated and false cases booked by the Police at the
instance of communal elements. The State Human Rights
Commission has passed severe strictures on at least a dozen
occasions.
(h) The levels of brutal violence demonstrated by members of the
Police force has been disturbing with four specialized torture
chambers having been set up in Mangalore city alone for this
purpose.
(i) It has been demonstrated that the corruption levels in the Police
Department have reached an all time high with the police
themselves actively being involved in the commission of
offences by colluding with the Criminals refusing to render
assistance to the victims, refusing to register complaints and
covering up for the offences even to the extent of fabricating
false evidence. Even in those of the instances where specific
evidence is provided by Complainants, the Police have refused
to accept it and refused to act. The most lucrative business
for the Police Department is by interfering illegally in High
Stake Civil Cases.
51
(j) That in the case of serious instances like custodial deaths
and injuries caused while in custody, false medical certificates
have been fabricated by the Police in order to cover up for
their atrocities and shield the members of the force responsible
for these crimes.
(k) That there have been an abnormal number of false cases
registered against members of the Christian community after
the BJP Government came to power and Home Minister
Acharya issued directions to every Police Station to issue a
prescribed number of such cases every month. Whereas prior
to 2008, there was not a single such complaint or
conviction in the State, in the last two years, over 7500
such offences have been registered.
(l) In those of the false cases where leaders of the Muslim
community had been beaten up and targeted not to mention
illegally confined for long periods and the false prosecutions
have failed no action has been taken against the errant police
officers. Wherever counter prosecutions have been launched,
the Police remain absent on every date of hearing and the
Courts cover up for them. Also, in the prosecution launched
against members of the minority community, the charge-sheets
are not filed for abnormally long periods of time, the Police
and the witnesses are absent on every date of hearing and
the cases never end.
(m) In sharp contrast, whereas as an eye-wash, a few arrests are
made against members of the majority community, the Courts
are ever willing to grant anticipatory Bail, whereas no member
of the minority community even gets anticipatory Bail or gets
Bail for weeks and months. This is a serious reflection on the
impartiality of the subordinate judiciary. Again, in thousands
of cases where the victims have complained of torture and
assault and human rights violations while in custody, in not
even one of those cases, have the Courts either entertained
the Complaints, examined it or taken any action. This is a
52
very serious breach of the Law on the part of the subordinate
judiciary.
(n) Even in the instance of those of the Police Officers like Satish
Kumar, Jayant Shetty and Ganpathi where the Departmental
Enquiry has recorded misconduct of the highest order, the
Home Minister and the Chief Minister have not only exonerated
them but they have been rewarded with promotions. The same
applies to the Jailor from Mangalore who involved in the
horrifying incidents of violence in the Jail who was exonerated
and personally rewarded with a promotion by the Home
Minister.
(o) The image of the Police Department in the Karavali area is at
an all time low. The public confidence in the police is absolutely
zero. The police are regarded as parasites and persons to be
feared and hated and they are principally responsible for the
break down of the law and order situation in the region because
of the open collusion with criminals and mafia dons and total
protection afforded to communal elements and those involved
in anti social activity.
(p) That the confidence in the subordinate judiciary has also gone
to zero with the impression being created that there is no justice
for the citizen in these institutions and that the Courts are totally
on the side of the Law breakers. This is a serious reflection
on the Judiciary, but unfortunately, there has been ample cause
for it.
(q) That as far as the role of the Police and the Courts in the
Mangalore SEZ cases are concerned, it can best be described
as horrifying. The victims in all these cases were the poorest
of the poor, Christians, Adivasis and Tribals. Every conceivable
form of illegality, muscle power and criminal activity not to
mention violence was let loose on these poor persons and the
Police headed these activities targeted this distressed state
of society, refused them any protection or relief and openly
covered up for the law breakers. The Bajpe Police Station
53
and for that matter the District Police Administration were
functioning at all times as a unit of the SEZ. Undoubtedly,
there was a lot of money to be made but the trail of human
woe and misery is shameful and unforgettable. One of the
specific roles played by the Police was to register unlimited
number of false cases not only against the victims but against
anybody who came to their assistance which included Swami
Agnivesh and Justice M.F. Saldanha. Non Bailable Warrants
were indiscriminately obtained and executed by the Police
Department. We cannot condone the role of the subordinate
Judiciary as unfortunately even the higher Judiciary, because
16 PILs have been summarily dismissed by the Karnataka
High Court. When the Union Government examines the sad
question as to how and why poor farmers, Tribals and Adivasis
have been turned into Naxalites and Maoists they will find the
answer in cases like the Mangalore SEZ.
The Editor – Seetharam Case figured very prominently during
the Enquiry- The Editor himself gave evidence and produced all the
supporting documents. merits special mention because initially the Police
had tried to kill him and his wife in a fake encounter which failed, that he
was arrested on a false and unsustainable charge that every cannon of
Law was flouted when he was chained and produced in Court and the
horrifying aspect that emerged when the Magistrate refused him Bail at
night. The record also indicates that every attempt was made to eliminate
him by shifting him from the Udupi Hospital to Mangalore on the Orders
of the son of the Home Minister (who was then more powerful than the
father) when his health condition was very low in a vehicle driven in
such a manner that the ride would normally have proved fatal and then,
because he survived despite his B.P. being 190 / 100, a midnight attempt
to hand him over to hardened criminals in the Mangalore Sub-jail and
when this was stopped by PUCL, he was again shifted at dead of night
through an eight hour ride over horribly broken up roads which the State
Government is famous for and then another attempt at Mysore to send
him to the Jail instead of the Hospital which again failed because of
PUCL are all instances that totally condemn the State Government, the
54
Home Minister and the Police Department. The role of the Judiciary
has been disappointing and pathetic and the question still being
asked in legal circles is how the Police obtained nine Non Bailable
Warrants against the Editor with the Magistrates willingly passing
these Orders on virtually zero material. The Press Council of India,
the State Human Rights Commission and the Karnataka High Court
have recorded concurrent findings against the Police Department and
the State Government as also the Judicial misconduct involved. In the
light of those findings / observations, all that can be said is that this
entire chapter was an abrogation of the Law, it was malicious, vicious,
criminal and something that should never have happened in a democracy.
55
(a) The situation is abnormally grave and it is necessary for the
Central Government and the State Government to take serious
note of these findings, a copy of this Report should be officially
sent to the Union Home Minister, the Governor, the Chief Minister
and the Home Minister of the State as also to the D.G. Police as
immediate corrective steps are required to be taken. The
members of the Christian community and the Muslim community
have essentially been at the receiving end and this will have to
be stopped with adequate measures taken to respect their human
rights and ensure that their constitutional guarantees are safeguarded.
(b) That a copy of this Report be forwarded to the Chief Justice of
India and to the Chief Justice of the Karnataka High Court because
the role of the Judiciary, mainly the subordinate Judiciary but in
several of the instances, the District Level Judiciary and even the
High Court has come in for sharp criticism, one of the instances
being that 27 PILs have been summarily dismissed by the
Karnataka High Court and even in cases relating to police
atrocities and wrongful detentions, no reliefs have been granted.
Deep seated correctives are therefore essential at all the three
levels. THE OBNOXIOUS PRACTICE OF INDISCRIMINATELY
ISSUING NON-BAILABLE WARRANTS MUST BE OFFICIALLY
STOPPED. The same applies to the illegal refusal of Bail and the
totally illegal practice of deferring Bail applications indefinitely.
(c) As an immediate measure, the State Government must set up
Forums at the District level and the State level where individuals
and their representatives such as the PUCL will be able to point
out specific instances of police atrocities and misconduct not to
mention corruption and these complaints will have to be examined
and if public confidence is to be restored, stringent action against
the culprits will have to follow. For this purpose, it is recommended
that these Forums should have a monthly dialogue with the
RECOMMENDATIONS
56
People’s representatives where the action taken will have to be
made public.
(d) Similarly, it is recommended that at the District and State level,
the Judiciary must set up a Grievance Cell which will be presided
over by a Judge who will entertain complaints of miscarriage of
Justice (eg. Refusal to hear urgent applications, deferring Orders
for abnormally long periods of time and exhibition of open bias
and corruption) and the action taken will have to be made public
within a month, so that, there is total transparency of functioning.
(e) Specifically in the fields of Women’s Rights, atrocities and violence
against women and Human Rights, specific and time-bound action
is required from the State Government with a Public assurance
that these areas will be respected and protected by the Police.
(f) If public confidence in the Rule of Law is to be restored, a few of
the errant Police and Judicial officers will have to be Disciplined
and if necessary punished in the public interest.
While this Report does to some extent read like a disaster or a
horror story, it is an honest examination and a record of the
situation that exists which could not have been more distressing
or horrifying. It is close to malignancy and therefore, calls for
immediate correctives. It was not long ago, i.e. just 30 years
back that the Karnataka Police were rated as the second best
in the country and today, Transparency International has
listed them as being the worst in the country. The Judiciary is
a revered institution and is the last resort of the citizen particularly
as far as Justice, Human Liberty and Fundamental Rights are
concerned and it is very essential that the disturbing features
which have manifested themselves must be eliminated. It is to
this institution alone at all levels that every citizen looks up to and
if there is to be real justice emanating from the Courts, a drastic
overhaul both in attitude and functioning is absolutely essential.
JUSTICE MICHAEL F. SALDANHA
FOR AND ON BEHALF OF THE JURY
BANGALORE
DATE :

STATE TERRORISM-TYRRANY

1
PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY
Conducted at the instance of the
People’s Union for Civil Liberties, South Kanara
And
The Catholic Association of South Kanara
And
Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter
STATE TERRORISM-TYRRANY
AN EDITOR IN CHAINS
HIS MIRACULOUS SURVIVAL
THE SEETHARAM EPISODE
EXTRACTED FROM
(A REPORT ON THE ATTACKS ON MINORITIES AND
THEIR PLACES OF WORSHIP IN KARNATAKA)
By:
Justice Michael F. Saldanha,
Retired Judge, Karnataka High Court.
President, The Catholic Association of South Kanara.
Chairman, Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter.
2
Publisher : People’s Union for Civil Liberties, Karnataka
First edition : June 2010
Copies : 2000
Contribution : Rs.15/-
Printer : Prasad Printers, Kulshekar, Mangalore-5
For Copies Contacts :
P.B.D’Sa Justice M.F. Saldanha
Working President 401, Sillver Crest
PUCL Karnataka 13, Rest House Road
“Pauline” Valencia Bangalore-560001
Mangalore-575002 Tel:25596713/9844028695
Tel: 0824-4252170/9008820186
Suresh Bhat Mr. B.G. Kosky
President Vice-Chairman,
Komu Souharda Vedike Transparency International India
Eesha Vasyam, 2-10-776, 101-A, M.B. Centre,
Near Mangala Gas Godown, 134, Infantry Road,
Bejai Mangalore-575004 Bangalore-560001
Tel: 2225652 Tel:91-80-22868800
Dr.V.N. Laxmi Narayana Dr. Ramdas Rao
General Secretary PUCL Karnataka Secretary PUCL Karnataka
#5598. 5th Cross, Vijayanagara 2 stage, #59, Shivaji Road,
Mysore-570017 Shivajinagar, Bangalore-560051
Tel: 0821-2513121/9480326622 Tel:9449399729
Prof. Y.J.Rajendra Mr. Walter Pinto
Vice president PUCL Karnataka President Catholic Sabha
#40, 8th cross, 5th main, Vishnu Prakash
Sampangi Ramanagar Court Road, Udupi- 575101
Bangalore-560027 Tel:0820/2529063/2630503
Tel: 9449011530 /9845406817
Prof. N Babiah [PDF] Secretary
76, III Stage, Vinayaka Layout Catholic Association of
Vijayanagar, South Canara, Catholic Centre
Bangalore-560040. Hampankatta, Mangalore-575001
Tel:9449904487 Tel:0824-2422059
Pastor Walter Mabeen Catholic Sabha
Chairman, Karnataka Missions, Network, Mangalore Pradesh
‘ELIM’ Mercara Hill, Bishop’s House, Mangalore – 3
Mangalore-565002 Tel: 2427474
Tel:9845083323
3
Conducted at the instance of the
People’s Union for Civil Liberties,
South Kanara
And
The Catholic Association of South Kanara
And
Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter
PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY
Justice Michael F. Saldanha,
Retired Judge, Karnataka High Court.
President, The Catholic Association of South Kanara.
Chairman, Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter.
MEDIACORRUPTED, SECULARISMDESTROYED
JOURNALISTSATTACKED
4
This Labour of Love is
dedicated to
“The Media”
“I disapprove of what you
say but I will defend you to
death your right to say it”
– Voltaire
“A good example is the best sermon”
– Anonymous
“He only lives, who lives for
others, others are more dead than alive”
– Swami Vivekananda
5
5
Justice Michael F. Saldanha (Retd)
Chairman Transparency International India
(Karnataka Chapter)
6
God grant me the
Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change…
Courage to
change the things I can
and Wisdom to
know the difference…
7
Never in the history of civilized nations have the levels of State Tyranny
plummeted to such deplorable depths as to witness a situation wherein
the Editor of a prominent paper is arrested on an utterly ridiculous set of
circumstances by the State Machinery, an attempt is made to eliminate
him and his wife through a familiar “encounter” situation which fails, the
Judge then compounds the matter by refusing bail at night and the next
day, the Editor is produced in Court, handcuffed and secured in
chains, despite the Supreme Court of India having mandated
that this cannot be done even in the case of dangerous criminals.
The Presiding Judge, in spite of vehement objections from the Bar, turns
a blind eye to this. Then follows a month long horror story which the
world must know about. That is the reason why I have been requested
that this Chapter be published and circulated separately.
What followed is even more disturbing. I wrote officially to the Chief
Justice of the State, as the case required an Enquiry to be held against the
Judicial Officer who sided with and covered up for the Police by wrongfully
refusing Bail and not taking immediate action when the Editor was produced
in chains. Nothing happened. I had also demanded that the High Court
take suo-moto action against the State Government for the inhuman
atrocities and more importantly the human rights violations. I received
no reply either from the Hon’ble Chief Justice or from his Registry. After
about six months, a Lawyer informed me that my letter had been placed
before the Division Bench and the Judges had dismissed it on the ground
that I had not appeared before them. Ironically enough, I had spent TEN
precious years of my life as a Judge of this very High Court and brought
global fame to the institution for upholding Human Rights, most of the
time through suo-moto action because the victims were too poor or too
weak to complain or to appear!
Thanks to this brilliant approach, the Government also got away.
Even when Seetharam’s Habeas-Corpus petition was disposed off by the
High Court and his Counsel had effectively presented the horrifying details
FOREWORD
8
of five weeks of State Tyranny to which the Government had absolutely
no defence, the Court awarded a princely compensation of a magnificent
amount of Rs.10,000/- (the State of Karnataka did not pay the amount
but went in Appeal to the Supreme Court and spent Rs.2,00,000/- and
the Petition was ultimately summarily dismissed). This was a case that
called for exemplary compensation- had the High Court awarded
a deterrent figure of Rs.Ten Crores which was perfectly
commensurate with the atrocities and directed the culprits to
individually pay a good part of it after identifying them, starting
with the State Home Minister, there would never have been a
repetition. When Flea-bite punishments are awarded it is the
strongest inducement and encouragement for the guilty to repeat
the offence-nothing is a finer slap in the face of the victim- sadly
enough we call this NYAYA or JUSTICE!
This case was placed before the Press Council of India to whom I
had occasion to furnish all the details because such attacks on the Media
are intolerable. A two member Committee was appointed, they verified
all the facts, they even had a sitting with me in Bangalore, but nothing
happened thereafter. The case was placed before the State Human Rights
Commission which took cognizance of the matter but the result was zero.
This is disturbing, and in India, which is a Democracy and the rule of
Law is supposed to prevail, the poorest of the poor are shot down every
day and the media reports that they are Naxalites, Maoists or Terrorists
and the citizens believe that the police should be commended for killing
them. I have investigated into eleven such encounter killings in Karnataka
and found the charges to be downright false. The victims were all poor
villagers who had been inhumanly thrown out of their homes and lands
by the Government agencies on the ground that SEZs are other forms of
so called “development” were being undertaken. They had been consigned
to the hills and the forests and were perhaps fighting the very agencies
who were responsible for their condition.
What is the strongest signal that emerges from these sordid facts – it
is that SECULARISM HAS BEEN A CASUALTY UNDER THE BJP
GOVERNMENT IN KARNATAKA. Media sycophancy is synonymous
with media corruption and in this case, it was not the common desire on
the part of unprincipled journalists to appease the State Government that
9
was a capitalised upon but a simple bold shameless situation where the
media support was bought through money patronage channelised through
hundreds of crores of rupees of useless self publicity of the State
Government and those in power that has brought the exchequer to the
brink of bankruptcy. The few who resisted this bonanza had to
survive on their own and the one who opposed it, was attacked
and almost finished. It is a strange paradox that whereas the Constitution
of India mandates for secularism that the State of Karnataka, on the other
hand, does everything that the Constitution prohibits and for that matter,
what the IPC defines as Criminal Offences. The right thinking citizens
of this sub-continent and of the world need to take serious
cognizance of this case because the repercussions are exceedingly
dangerous. I would therefore like the contents of this booklet
to be read and discussed and for decisions to be taken at every
level to put a final stop to this state of affairs which is not only
life threatening as Seetharam and his wife have experienced
but would be democracy destroying.
When will the world open its eyes and understand where the truth
lies? How long do we have to wait before the Indian Courts effectively
stop these atrocities by Policing the Police and more importantly jailing
the errant politicians who are the real culprits. What have we set up
specialist bodies like the Press Commission and the Human Rights
Commissions if they are handicapped and cannot, or do not function as
expected? Above all, what about an independent Press- IS ITS SURVIVAL
THREATENED? This case suggests just that. NOBODY CAN ALLOW
THAT TO HAPPEN IN INDIA- THAT WILL BE THE END OF OUR
DEMOCRACY.
– Justice M.F. Saldanha
10
The coming to power of the BJP Government in the State of Karnataka
in the year 2008 was synonymous with incidents of violent hostility against
the minorities and this was more perceptible in the whole of the coastal
or karavali area which covers the South West Coast of India. As often
happens, some of the publications openly supported what was going on
and the most volatile and communally offensive type of articles and
editorials started appearing in the Press. Though the Law prohibits this,
no action was taken by the State Government- on the other hand the
politicians in power openly instigated and supported these campaigns
and those who propagated them. Interestingly enough, I was not aware of
the fact that Chief Minister and the Home Minister were RSS Pracharaksthey
regularly appeared in the media with RSS and BAJRANGDAL leaders
at functions in Khaki Shorts and white banians carrying Lathis and more
importantly, dressed in saffron with religious leaders. Hundreds of Crores
of Rupees of State Funds were donated to Temples and Mutts-not a Rupee
to the minorities!
It was not the pro-hindu line that was alarming but the fact that
there were open and direct attacks against the Christian community. The
State Government, not only did not take action to curb this or to prosecute
the persons advocating communal hatred, but on the other hand,
encouraged it by going out of its way to organize various activities on a
mammoth scale all over the State which were attended and presided over
by the Chief Minister, the Home Minister, the Education Minister and
their colleagues, with the BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders sharing the dais
with the prominent pontiffs of the area. These mammoth melas were held
in Udupi, Mangalore, Puttur, Chickamagalur, Shimoga, Davanagere and
almost every part of the State on a regular basis. Public funds were siphoned
out like water with the Chief Minister announcing massive donations at
every function, only to his own community- the minorities got nothing.
THE EDITOR, SEETHARAM CASE
ATTACKS ON THE MEDIA
11
Only that section of the Press & TV who were supportive were
liberally fed with funds running into hundreds of crores of Rupees by the
State Govt. through all sorts of dubious heads. For instance, seventeen
huge functions were held in honour of Swami Vivekananda all over the
State and Rupees Eight Hundred and Seventy Crores of Rupees were
spent by the State Government in just SEVEN WEEKS. The two-fold
objective of these activities was aimed at terrorizing the local population,
because those attending would invariably indulge in a show of force on
the way to these venues and on the way back. What was characteristic
was the fact that apart from the leading politicians of the State Government
at all levels attending these functions, hundreds of KSRTC buses and
Government vehicles were all mobilized for them. Crores of rupees of
Government money was diverted towards these activities. The Times of
India which is basically a neutral paper published a news report on the
31st of August 2008 to the effect that in response to a query under the
RTI Act, that the Chief Secretary of the State Government had admitted
that in the preceding period which covered just five months that the State
Government had spent Rs.3,118.00 Crores on these activities. This was
apart from an amount of Rs.289.00 Crores which the Chief Minister had
personally (again out of State Funds) donated to various mutts and Hindu
religious places which he had visited. The weak justification that was put
out was that these were all places of pilgrimage which required to be
developed.
The role of the media during this period was interesting in so far as
since the Government was feeding them with a lot of money there was
next to no adverse publicity. When violence was let loose, when other
communities were attacked and when Churches and mosques were
targeted, the Press and the TV would maintain a discreet silence by closing
the other eye and the argument was that the Police have not registered
any offences and therefore, no incidents have taken place. This chapter
is devoted towards illustrating how in a democracy the Media can be
virtually bought over and pressurized into not reporting incidents of
communal disharmony. This was important because if the real stories
were carried, the State Government would run into serious difficulty and
could even have been dismissed from Office. Secondly, the World Media
12
would have attached a lot of importance to these disturbing incidents
and the repercussions would have been very serious. To illustrate, the
incidents on 14th / 15th September 2008, when absolute violence was let
loose by activists but mainly the police and the State machinery against
the members of the Christian community and their places of worship,
were impossible to suppress. The electronic media did carry the incidents
live and so did the Press and the whole world took serious note of it and
the President of the US and the President of France both made it a point
to personally highlight this matter with the Indian Prime Minister and the
Government of India immediately stepped in and issued a notice to the
State Government under Article 355 of the Constitution to show-cause
as to why it should not be dismissed from Office.
Truth can never be totally hidden or suppressed and some of the
publications ran the serious risk of carrying the stories as the incidents
took place. Their reporters and presses, offices and staff were targeted by
the Bajrang Dal and the Police refused to either protect them or to even
register an offence. There is a small publication in the Karavali area which
is a daily paper in the Kannada language and it is extremely popular in
the whole of this belt. The name of this paper is “KARAVALI ALE”. The
Editor of this paper is B.V. Seetharam. He also brings out an English
edition called Canara Times, which is published once a week. Seetharam
popularly known as BVSEE not only carried regular reports and pictures
of the communal atrocities, but he also wrote strong editorials disapproving
of the atrocities and condemning them. He and his entire team received
numerous threats over the telephone and were subjected to even physical
violence from time to time with absolutely no relief from the Police. His
office was regularly stoned and vandalised and despite whatever security
measures he could afford, damage to property became a regular affair.
Instead of being intimidated, BVSEE kept up the campaign.
One Sunday morning, a Jain Sadhu took out a procession through
one of the Main Roads of Mangalore City. The Sadhu was nude, as that
was his religious custom and he was leading the procession with a group
of his followers. This incident created a controversy in the area because
it was a predominantly Christian part of town and the procession went
13
through the area at the same time when the majority of the residents
were making their way to the Church for the Sunday Mass. There were
no confrontations but it raised a raging controversy on the question of
whether it was permissible for a procession of this type to move on the
Main Road of Mangalore when women, girls, children and the general
public who also use the same road had to witness what was happening.
One of the readers wrote a strong letter to the Editor, in which he stated
that obscenity is an offence under the IPC and that even if it is done on
religious grounds, if the offence is committed in a public place that it is
actionable under Law, because it is highly offensive to the general public.
It so happened that BVSEE published this letter. The Government
and the authorities were just waiting for an opportunity to hit back at
him. He and his wife were arrested under half a dozen charges of inciting
communal disharmony etc and TWO CRIMINAL CASES WERE
REGISTERED AGAINST THEM, ONE IN MANGALORE AND THE
SECOND ONE IN THE CHIEF MINISTER,S HOME TOWN OF
SHIMOGA. His wife had nothing to do with the publication and she was
only a Director of the Company. BVSEE also had nothing to do with the
publication of the letter which was done in routine course by the News
Editor and the Staff. The two of them were arrested by the Police late in
the evening on a weekend. When they asked for bail, it was refused.
What is most shameful is that when their Lawyers went to the Magistrate’s
residence and requested for bail, the Judicial Officer refused to hear the
Application. The two of them were put in the filthiest possible
lock-up which was virtually stinking and it was infested with
rats and every other form of vermin. They had the most notorious
anti-social elements for company and the Police refused to even
allow them clothes or home food on the ground that they had
instructions from the highest quarters in Bangalore i. e. the
Home Minister himself, not to allow this. (POLICE OFFICERS
ADMIT) Seetharam had reported the matter to the Human Rights
Commission, in which, he very clearly pointed out that normally the Police
in Mangalore would not have the courage to treat an Editor and his wife
in this manner without express orders from the highest quarters of the
Government. He has also pointed out that because of the condemnation
14
of the atrocities against minorities and the fact that the State Home Minister
who hails from Udupi was actively instigating and supporting these activities
because of his staunch RSS background, that instructions had been given
to torture his wife and him. The State Human Rights Commission has
passed strictures not only against the State Government and the police
but also against the subordinate judiciary.
The behavior of the Magistrate was not only unfortunate but downright
shameful. When BVSEE and his wife were produced in Court, and an
Application was presented for their release on Bail, the Magistrate loudly
proclaimed that these persons have indulged in serious offences and that
they should be remanded to police custody for two weeks and that he
will hear the Bail Application on the next day as he was busy. Since, the
Application was not rejected, there was no scope to move the Higher
Court. On the next day, the Magistrate passed an Order that the Prosecutor
should file his reply within three days and that the Accused should continue
in custody. An Application was presented to the Sessions Court which
was promptly rejected by the Judge on the ground that the Lower Court
had not yet disposed off the Bail Application.
After the lapse of three days, the Prosecutor asked for further time
on the ground that the Police were busy and that they have not given him
necessary instructions. Despite objections, this Application was granted.
On the expiry of this period, the Magistrate heard the arguments for five
minutes and adjourned the hearing to the next day on the ground that he
had no time. On the following day, he heard the Application for five
minutes and adjourned it for the Prosecutor to reply. On the following
hearing, the Prosecutor was heard and the Application was kept for Orders.
No specific date was given. By following these dilatory tactics, the Magistrate
illegally retained the Accused in custody all this time and made it impossible
for them to approach a Higher Court because technically, the Application
was still pending and no Orders had been passed though there was Zero
ground to refuse Bail.
BVSEE’s lawyers applied to the High Court pointing out the conduct
of the Police and the Magistrate. Not only did the High Court straight
away order the release of both of them on Bail, but passed severe strictures
15
against the police for registering an office which was supposed to be on
the basis of the letter that had appeared in the paper regarding the naked
procession of the Jain Muni. The refusal to grant bail by the Magistrate at
his residence was held to be downright improper and motivated and the
manner in which the Bail Application was deliberately delayed and dilated
came in for condemnation from the High Court. The High Court even
directed that a Disciplinary enquiry be held against the Judicial Officer
for the biased manner in which he had conducted himself. Nothing
happened.
My personal view of this incident is that the High Court should have
suo-moto directed action against the police authorities and the State for
having registered a whole set of unsustainable offences. The entire
conspiracy was exposed when the Prosecutor before the Mangalore Court
told the Magistrate that eight of the Police Stations in Mangalore City and
suburbs have registered similar offences. This was seriously contested by
BVSEE’s Lawyers who insisted that the names of the Complainants be
disclosed. When these were verified, it was found that the so-called
Complainants were non-existent and that the addresses were also false.
Mercifully for BVSEE, the High Court while releasing him on Bail ordered
that neither his wife nor he could be arrested on the same or similar
charges in any of the other cases which are supposed to have emanated
from the same incident. This matter created a nation wide sensation and
one of the issues that was widely projected was the question as to why
the High Court had not ordered exemplary compensation against the
State Government for the illegal detention on false and malicious grounds
for a period of 13 days. The cheerful reply that came from the Home
Minister was that the Accused had not applied for compensation and
therefore, the question did not arise. How could the higher Judiciary have
closed its eyes to these illegalities ? Not surprisingly, no further steps
were taken in these nine cases on the ground that the Complainants had
disappeared. After all of this the couple were rearrested and taken to
Shimoga where they were harassed for another Five days in custody on
the excuse that there was a separate case filed there. WE ARE
SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THAT THE RULE OF LAW EXISTS
IN KARNATAKA.
16
This incident had a chilling effect on the other publications all of
whom decided that it was too dangerous to invite similar steps against
themselves. It must be said to the credit of BVSEE that despite threats,
regular attacks at his office and attacks to his editorial staff that they
continued their campaign and not surprisingly, this was highly appreciated
by the readers and the popularity of the paper increased by about 10
times. The Church attack incidents had swung public opinion heavily
against the State Government all over the country and all over the world
and this was the reason why the police and the State Government did not
openly attack Seetharam for sometime. It was however, clear that they
were looking for an opportunity.
All of a sudden, attacks were started against the distribution channels.
The bundles of the newspaper were targeted in the course of distribution,
forcibly seized and burnt. More than a hundred complaints were filed
with the police even pointing out the names of the persons doing this, but
they refused to act. It became exceedingly difficult for the paper to be
distributed to the Cities, Towns and Villages because it was being targeted
at the distribution points. The more effective tactic that was used was
that every newspaper seller was attacked and beaten up if he so much as
kept even one copy of this paper. This was being done on a daily basis.
One bold hawker opposite Moti Mahal Hotel still insisted on selling the
paper until his little stall was smashed to pieces and he was told that on
the next occasion, he would be finished off. In respect of this incident,
since, I was in Mangalore, I had occasion to see the damage and meet the
victim who told me that the police had refused to even register an offence.
He had identified and named the attackers who were known
anti-social elements. He had also provided the vehicle numbers
and he had personally gone to the SP with a written complaint.
Instead of acting on the complaint, the SP told him that he
would be locked up if he dared to come up with any false
complaints.
It was at this time that I had called on the IG, Western Range, who
appeared to be a good officer, as I required certain information with
regard to the attacks. He was extremely polite and courteous but the visit
17
turned to be a waste of time, because I found that he was being totally
bypassed by the SP and the other Police Officers who were receiving
instructions directly from the Home Minister. Even as far as the attack on
the hawker was concerned, the SP who was present had the gumption to
tell his superior officer that the hawker had lodged a false complaint, that
no damage had taken place, that the investigation indicated that the names
of the culprits and the vehicle numbers were false.
BVSEE had taken up the matter seriously with the Press Council of
India and that body immediately deputed its team to Mangalore and because
of their presence and the investigations that followed, there was a
temporary lull in the situation. From the information gathered by me,
which was carefully verified, I found that as far as these attacks on the
newspaper and on the BVSEEs Offices, distribution network and hawkers
were concerned, that the culprits were gang members of the well known
Dons of Mangalore. One such attack was directed against the residence
of the President of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). His
house was targeted and he suffered minor injuries in the incident. On this
occasion, the Police pretended to act with a degree of expediency. They
arrested half a dozen of the local petty criminals and issued a Press Statement
that the incident was because of some personal quarrel and rivalry.
It was at this time, on a Sunday evening, that BVSEE and his wife had
decided to visit a temple some distance outside the city. A jeep and two
police vans turned up at his residence where his student daughter was
alone. They forced their way into the house on the ground that they had
to search the place. Extensive damage was caused, a lot of valuables and
cash disappeared from the place and the police party left. They had
obtained information as to where BVSEE was going and all of a sudden at
a lonely place in the dark, the Police Jeep overtook his car and stopped it.
The Police Officers told BVSEE that he was under arrest but refused to
disclose the charges. His Driver was ordered to follow the Police Jeep
with the two vans behind the car. For the next one hour, this convoy
proceeded from area to area in the hope of finding a sufficiently lonely
place. Despite attempts for over an hour, the difficulty that they ran into
was that there was a regular stream of buses, cars and two wheelers and
18
they found it extremely difficult to find the secluded spot that they were
looking for. BVSEE and his wife were terrified principally because the
District Police have become infamous for the number of so-called
“encounter killings” that they have been involved in. I had occasion to
study the modus-operandi which had been identical in eleven cases over
a period of less than one year. In all these instances, the victims have
been shot by the police on the ground that they are supposed to have
attacked the police party with fire arms that have been planted near the
bodies. Some glasses of the police vehicles are broken and a false
Panchanama is made that this happened when the police were fired on
and that the victims were shot by the police in self defence. No records
maintained, no questions asked and in the few instances where the relations
or the Human Rights Organisation have taken up the matters, the High
Court has dismissed the Petitions on the ground that, the deceased
appeared to be Criminals, or Naxalites, or Anti-social elements and that
they were the aggressors. I sometimes wonder whether these temples of
Justice are dishing out NYAYA or AN-NYAYA?
When the attempts to assassinate BVSEE and his wife failed, they
were driven to the Police Station in Udupi. They were made to sit there
for about two hours and the Police refused to disclose the ground on
which they were being arrested. Udupi incidentally is the home base of
the State Home Minister. The operations were being directed by the Home
Minister Acharya’s Doctor son. Finally at about 10.00 p.m., the Police
informed BVSEE that there was a Non Bailable Warrant issued against
him by one of the Courts and that he was under arrest pursuant to this.
What did that warrant pertain to ? A long time earlier, a person in
one of the small towns was arrested by the Police on a charge of molesting
a young student and attempting to rape her. This incident had created a
sensation and was reported by all the papers including BVSEE’s paper.
The Police had investigated into the matter and filed a Charge Sheet
against the Accused as a prima-facie offence had been disclosed. This
Accused filed a Private Complaint before the Magistrate alleging that BVSEE
in his capacity as Editor of the paper had defamed him. The Magistrate
held a preliminary enquiry and dismissed the complaint, very rightly, on
19
the ground that the Police Charge Sheet itself disclosed a prima-facie
offence of molestation and attempt to rape against the Complainant and
that it was absolutely absurd for him to contend that the publication of a
factually correct news report constituted defamation. The Complainant is
supposed to have gone in revision and the Sessions Court without hearing
BVSEE, he supposed to have set aside the Order of Dismissal ex-parte
and directed the Magistrate to hear the matter on merits. The Trial Court
is supposed to have issued summons to BVSEE which were never served
on him, after which, the Complainant and his Lawyer get a Non Bailable
Warrant issued on the ground that the Summons was disregarded. Again,
for weeks and months, this NBW was not even attempted to be executed
and it is this particular NBW which pertained to a different place altogether
that the Udupi Police were referring to and using on that night. Judicial
officers who indiscriminately issue Non-Bailable Warrants on false, nonexistent
and unsustainable grounds deserve to be dismissed from service,
but again, this is not happening. Instead, they get promoted!
Mrs. Seetham was not arrested, she contacted a Lawyer who came
there and demanded that BVSEE be released. The police politely told him
that they were acting on instructions from a very high authority. A Bail
Application was then moved before the Magistrate. This was in a case of
defamation where the NBW pertains to alleged non appearance. Any
Judicial Officer was duty bound to order BVSEE to appear before the
competent Court on the next date of hearing and to release him on Bail.
This Magistrate refused Bail and BVSEE was retained in custody
for the night. I ask myself the question as to whether there were
some outside influences at work- how else can you justify such
an order? As he was extremely unwell, the only concession made was
that he could be retained in the Hospital.
Then follows something that is not only shameful and atrocious but
which has brought a black name to the Karnataka Judiciary both Nationally
and Internationally. On the next morning, in order to humiliate
him, BVSEE was chained hand and foot and was paraded through
the Court Premises in Udupi. There are photographs of this in
the National and International Media. His Lawyer raised a serious
20
objection to a Newspaper Editor being chained as though he was a
dangerous criminal. He was also hand-cuffed and the Lawyer cited the
Supreme Court Judgment totally prohibiting the use of chains and handcuffs
in such situations on the ground that it is an aberration of human rights
and human dignity. Instead of passing appropriate orders and taking action
against the police and the State, the Magistrate told the Ld. Advocate that
he should take up the matter with the police authorities and that he was
not concerned with the condition in which the Accused Editor was
produced before her. So much for the Judiciary’s sacred duty and
responsibility!
BVSEE was offered Bail. He pointed out to the Court that he was
genuinely afraid of his life in Acharya,s hometown after the previous night’s
incident. The police told the Court that there were eight other Non Bailable
Warrants pending against him on grounds of inciting communal
disharmony and that they propose to arrest him in those cases if he was
released in this one. Since, BVSEE stated that for his own safety, he would
not avail of the Bail Order until appropriate orders were obtained in
respect of the other so-called cases, he was remanded to Judicial Custody
for the next two weeks. What happened in this Court Room would
certainly bring a black name to the Judiciary. I had occasion to write to
the Chief Justice recording the sequence of events and pointing out that
it was very necessary that appropriate disciplinary action be taken against
the Judicial Officer after holding an enquiry. The letter was not
acknowledged and months later, I was informed by the members of the
Bar that it had been registered as a PIL, that it appeared before the Division
Bench without any Notice or intimation to me and that the Division
Bench dismissed it on the ground of Non Prosecution. So much for the
manner in which the institution of which I was a member for 15 long
years is now functioning.
BVSEE was retained in the Hospital for a few days, while his Advocates
applied for Anticipatory Bail in the other eight so-called proceedings.
Though, he was in custody, these Applications were dismissed
by the Mangalore Sessions Court on the ground that he should
have been personally present. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT
21
JUDICIAL REASONING! As soon as these orders were passed, at
about 9.00 p.m., the Doctors in Udupi stated that BVSEE should be moved
to a bigger hospital in Mangalore. When BVSEE’s Lawyers asked for the
reasons, they were told that it was under directions of the Home Department
which were in turn, surprisingly communicated by the son of the Home
Minister who is supposed to be a Doctor in Udupi.
Despite requests from Mrs. Seetharam that he should be moved in
an ambulance for which she would pay, he was put in a police van,
HANDCUFFED and driven over horrible roads at break-neck speed for
THREE HOURS and brought to the Government Hospital in Mangalore
at midnight, virtually half-dead. Instructions had been issued to the Doctors
in Mangalore not to admit him in the Hospital and to send him to the
local jail. The Lawyers and the members of the PUCL strongly objected to
this, principally because BVSEE was in a precarious condition, his blood
pressure was 190/120 and he would not have survived if he were not put
in the ICCU. The poor Doctors kept arguing that they had telephonic
instructions from the State Home Department. A large crowd of prominent
persons had gathered, as a result of which, the Doctors were forced to
admit him into the ICCU. He remained there for the next one or two
days.
Why did the Home Department suddenly move BVSEE away from
Udupi to Mangalore and that too without obtaining Orders from the
Court, because technically he was supposed to be within the custody of
the local Court in Udupi and could not have been moved without Court
Orders. Irrespective of this breach, the conspiracy was to some how put
him into the local jail in Mangalore. The reason for this was because there
was a group of Bajrang Dal activists who had been arrested for some very
serious criminal offences and had been remanded to Jail custody. Three
days earlier, they had mercilessly assaulted two muslim students
in the jail with deadly weapons. This incident was widely
reported in the local press. It was found that the assailants inside
the Jail had used knifes, chains, iron bars and other deadly
weapons. No offence has been registered against the assailants.
They had caused multiple injuries and the victims who somehow survived
22
because of the intervention of the other inmates, were hanging between
life and death for the next one month. No offence was registered against
the Assailants. When questioned by the Media, the Home Minister
stated that he had immediately transferred the Jailor to
Bangalore and was looking into the matter. Again courtesy
Home Minister Acharya! It was to this jail and into the hands of these
persons that BVSEE was to be sent. It was fortunate for him that the
PUCL, some of the lawyers and a large group of his admirers were able to
prevent this. Even if was not assaulted in the Jail, he would have probably
collapsed and died.
The horror story does not end there. Hardly three days later,
telephonic instructions were received by the hospital in Mangalore late at
night to shift BVSEE to the Jail in Mysore. Again, no Court Orders but
instructions from the Home Department. Despite strong protests from
the family and all those present and despite a request that at least he be
shifted in an ambulance, he was put into a police van and driven all the
way to Mysore where he arrived there 2.30 a.m. in an unconscious
condition. Mercifully for him, the PUCL office bearers and a group of over
50 persons ensured that he was retained in the hospital and not sent to
the local jail. This was done. Before he could be transferred to any other
Jails in the State, because the Home Department had ordered the Mysore
Hospital to shift him to Bellary, a Habeas Corpus Petition was filed before
the High Court and the Court immediately intervened and stopped the
atrocities of the State Government. This Petition was heard a few days
later. The Judges were virtually livid, they directed his immediate release
and ordered compensatory costs of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten Thousand
Only). Those costs have not been paid till today and the State Government
is supposed to have gone in Appeal to the Supreme Court. BVSEE was
also advised to collect the copies of all the so-called cases registered
against him and to apply for quashing which he has done. That Petition
cannot be heard because once again, all the so-called Complainants and
the addresses are bogus and they cannot be served. Mr. Acharya’s Police
Department very shamelessly contends that they had registered these
offences in good faith.
23
I often regarded the Media in India as the conscience keepers of
society – during the emergency, when even the Judiciary of this country
all the way up to the Supreme Court and to the then Chief Justice, failed
India, it was only one institution which stood its ground and that was
manned by the Journalists. The BJP Government in Karnataka which has
brought the corruption levels in the State to the highest in the country
distributed largesse by releasing publicity material running into hundreds
of Crores of Rupees to every publication that would support it in covering
up for corruption and letting loose an unprecedented wave of
fundamentalist attacks against the minorities. One by one, every publication
and every TV Channel fell for this bait. I salute the few who did not
because they lost out in terms of money and were mercilessly attacked in
every conceivable manner. The world needs to know what happened to
Seetharam because it is one of the blackest chapters in Karnataka’s Judicial
history and one of the most shameful in the annals of Journalism. The
Home Minister Acharya’s sons have a website that drips with fundamentalist
venom. The man who wrote one of the most vicious articles against the
Christian community has recently been awarded a Ph.D by the Karnataka
University on the recommendation of the State Education Minister. The
Editor of the paper, Vijaya Karnataka who published this and dozens of
similar articles and editorials was also recommended for a Ph.D by the
same Politician – when the matter was brought to the notice of the
Governor and the University was asked to how such a man could qualify
for an Hon. Doctorate, the guilty Vice Chancellor and his team removed
the Award from the Convocation Agenda on the eve of the Convocation.
Despite two FIRs against these two individuals, for inciting communal
disharmony, the Mangalore Police openly admit that they were directed
by Acharya himself not to proceed and to close the cases. Another
newspaper in the City of Mangalore has been regularly targeting the Muslim
community by publishing the most offensive articles and the State
Government is protecting this Editor despite prosecuting others who did
so and caused communal riots and curfew over the last few weeks. If this
is not a total butchery of the Principles of Secularism, nothing else is. In
sharp contrast, Seetharam’s only sin is that his little publication stuck to
its secular tenets for which his office was attacked six times, his Journalists
24
have been at the receiving end even physically, property is regularly
destroyed, not only are the paper bundles systematically burnt, but the
Vendors terrorized if they sell the paper and we are asked to believe that
there is a Rule of Law in Karnataka.
The reason for my having included this Chapter in my Report which
reads like a virtual horror story, is because it is necessary to illustrate as
to what lengths the Government machinery in Karnataka would go to in
order to cover their tracks and at the same time, hit back and destroy
anybody who was willing to truthfully expose the atrocities that were
going on. How BVSEE and his wife survived this ordeal has been vividly
recorded by a High Powered Committee deputed to Mangalore, Udupi,
Mysore and Bangalore by the Head of the Press Council who is a very fine
and forthright Judge. They had requested me to share with them the
evidence that I had gathered in connection with this incident and the
members had occasion to express that there is just no rule of Law in
Karnataka. This is illustrative of the atmosphere in which the Churches
and the Christian community were mercilessly targeted during this period
of time and the hatred levels that accompanied all these incidents. What
makes Karnataka worse than Orissa is that all the incidents in that State
which virtually shook the world conscience were at the hands of
communally motivated violent groups where as in the State of Karnataka,
it was State terrorism with these groups playing a sub-serviant role and
the Home Minister, the reincarnation of Hitler. It is pathetic to have to
record that whereas the Media is the only watchdog in situations of this
type that in this instance, the State Government had succeeded in bribing
and intimidating the media in to silence. Nothing can be more destructive
to the Indian Democracy.
JUSTICE M.F. SALDANHA, Retd.

REPORT OF THE PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY

REPORT OF THE PEOPLE’S
TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY

STATE TERRORISM – TYRRANY
(A REPORT ON THE ATTACKS ON MINORITIES AND
THEIR PLACES OF WORSHIP IN KARNATAKA)
PEOPLE’S TRIBUNAL ENQUIRY
THE TRUTH, THE WHOLE TRUTH
AND
NOTHING BUT THE TRUTH
Conducted at the instance of the
People’s Union for Civil Liberties,South Kanara
And
Transparency International India, Karnataka Chapter
By:
Justice Michael F. Saldanha,
Retired Judge, Karnataka High Court.
President, The Catholic Association of South Kanara.
Chairman, Transparency International India, Karnataka
Chapter.
2
Justice Saldanha visiting one of the victims
at a hospital and taking notes.
3
Justice Michael F. Saldanha (Retd)
Chairman Transparency International India
(Karnataka Chapter)
4
God grant me the
Serenity
to accept the things
I cannot change…
Courage to
change the things I can
and Wisdom to
know the difference…
5
6
INDEX
Sl.No. Particulars Page No.
BRIEF BIO-DATA OF JUSTICE M.F. SALDANHA
JUSTIFICTION
FOREWORD
CHAPTER-I Attack on the Adoration Monastery,
Milagres, Mangalore.
CHAPTER-II Promulgation of Order under Section 144
Cr.PC.
CHAPTER-III The mystery of the Lethal Rock Pebbles.
CHAPTER-IV Attack around Milagres Church
CHAPTER-V Use if Out Dated and Toxic Teargas Shells
by the Management Police.
CHAPTER-VI Savage attack by the Police in the precincts
of St. Joseph’s Church, Kulsekhar.
CHAPTER-VII Blood Curdling Carnage at Permanur.
CHAPTER-VIII Burning of the St. Anthony’s Church at
Yedavanahalli.
CHAPTER-IX Attack in and around the Vamnjoor Church.
CHAPTER-X Attack on the Bajpe Church and the Cow
Slaughter incident.
CHAPTER-XI Attack on Permude Village Church.
CHAPTER-XII Atrocious attack on the Marianapalya
Church at Bangalore.
CHAPTER-XIII Attack on the Bondel Church.
CHAPTER-XIV Attacks on Churches / Prayer Halls belonging
to other Denominations – allegations of
Conversions / Foreign Money.
CHAPTER-XV Vicious attacks on the Muslim Community.
CHAPTER-XVI The Sathyadarshini Controversy.
CHAPTER-XVII The Editor, Seetharam Case – Attacks on
the Media.
CHAPTER-XVIII Horrifying Human Tragedy called Mangalore
SEZ.
CHAPTER-XIX Summary and Conclusions
Some burning and relevant questions.
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17
18
19
20
21
13
38
46
55
58
75
82
100
120
131
139
146
158
174
184
217
230
238
263
291
302
7
Why did the People’s Union for Civil Liberties,
Transparency International, 21 other NGOs and thousands of
right thinking citizens of Karnataka unanimously request
Justice M.F. Saldanha to hold the one-man Peoples’ Tribunal
Enquiry ? The reasons are immediate. Through the 32 years
of his brilliant and distinguished career as one of the finest
Lawyers in this country, he was known for his academic
excellence, unparalleled expertise in Law, but more
importantly, as a man who became famous for his compassion
and impeccable integrity. It was these qualities that took him
to the position of Advocate General of Maharashtra, after
which, the higher Judiciary requested him to join the Bench,
which he did in the year 1990, as Judge of the Bombay High
Court. In those four years, he has produced some of the most
outstanding and Internationally renowned Judgments.
In 1994, Justice Saldanha was transferred to the Karnataka
High Court and he is remembered by the Bar and the litigants
of this country for the speed, fairness and brilliance. To have
delivered 29000 reported Judgments in his long career as a
High Court Judge and to have been listed by the International
Law Journals as one of the outstanding Jurists of the century
may have been an achievement but few know that the
International Jurists’ Association in the U.S. listed Justice
Saldanha as one of the world’s ten best Judges for three years
in succession, an honour which no other Indian Judge has
achieved. He is Visiting Professor at some of the world’s
BRIEF BIO-DATA OF JUSTICE
M.F. SALDANHA
8
famous universities, the Harvard Law School and the London
School of Economics to name a few and he was recently
requested to deliver the Annual Endowment Lecture at the
International Court of Justice at The Hague.
Categorized as being “Fair and Fearless”, he was the ideal
choice for this exercise. I have had the privilege of working
with him for over a year and was amazed at the industry,
labour and devotion to detail that characterized his
investigation. His rich experience and knowledge were of
immense advantage and we have a Report of unsurpassed
quality which will undoubtedly impress every person and
authority who reads it.
(P.B. D’SA)
PRESIDENT, P.U.C.L.,
KARNATAKA
MANGALORE
DATE : 09.02.2011
9
JUSTIFICATION
In academic presentations of consequence, it is essential
that the justification for the exercise be set out and I am doing
precisely that. As my report is being printed, a huge National
and International alarm has been created over the Report
submitted by the Justice Somashekar Enquiry Commission.
The crucial part of it, namely the findings, has been released
and I do not propose to debate them here as that would be
improper. This Report is independent, factual, no
compromises have been made and no pressures or influences
have manifested themselves.
Five days after the initial attacks in 2008, at a well
attended official meeting with the Chief Minister
Yediyurappa, Home Minister Acharya, other Cabinet
Ministers, Bureaucrats and Officials, when the C.M. resorted
to the familiar political ploy of diverting the mega problem
and virtually killing it by announcing a Judicial Enquiry, I
strongly opposed it. Apart from the disastrous track record
of the Judicial Enquiries which carry on from anything
between 3 years to 17 ½ years and produce Volumes which
nobody reads long after the entire matter is dead, the worst
part of it is that the atrocities are whitewashed and the officials
and Politicians are all exonerated. The public impression is
that since the Commissions are financed by the concerned
Government and since the Presiding Officer is carefully handpicked
in the confidence that he will not go against the hand
that feeds him, that the outcome is not only zero but is
exceedingly damaging. The obvious reason for this is because
where a verdict exonerates the guilty persons, not only are
they encouraged to repeat the atrocities but more importantly,
10
they do it with reinforced vigor in the confidence that the
Judicial body has given them a clean chit. Public confidence
in the Criminal Courts is bordering on zero because every
time a gangster or a mafia don is sought to be apprehended,
they get anticipatory Bail, and ultimately what they call “an
Honorable Acquittal” after which they become uncontrollable.
In this case, I pointed out to the Chief Minister and the
Home Minister that I know very little about the incidents
because I was out of the country when they started but that I
have studied all the data which prima-facie indicts the Home
Minister, the Chief Minister and the State Machinery
particularly the Police Department along with other
fundamentalists, individuals and organizations. In this
background, where the highest authorities of the State and
the State itself are virtually the Accused Nos.1, 2 and 3, it
would be downright wrong for that very State to choose its
own Judge. It is like asking an Accused in a Criminal case as
to whom would he would like to preside over the trial. I,
therefore, insisted that if at all such an Enquiry Commission
is to be set up, the first sacred principle of transparency would
require that it must be appointed by an outside authority,
namely the Central Government and it should be headed by
a Retired Judicial Officer of impeccable repute and public
confidence to be chosen by that authority. For obvious
reasons, this was rejected. I am informed by the Shimoga Bar
that the Chief Minister and Justice Somashekar, apart from
hailing from the same place, are very old Associates and close
friends and if this was the case, the Ld. Judge himself should
have declined the appointment.
At the interim stage, the Report very strongly indicted
some of the real culprits namely the Extremist Organizations
11
and even recommended that they should be banned.
Immediately, the Chief Minister called a Press Conference and
both he and the Home Minister made some very untenable
statements there to the following effect:
(a) That this Commission was appointed by us and is
completely funded by our Government (though the
Government refuses to disclose the figure, the Experts in
the field who have done a very responsible calculation
put it at Rs.19.00 Crores) and the least that we expected
was that the Report would be loyal to us (though, I do
not understand what it means, I was astounded when
such an official statement was made though this is always
the unwritten expectation and everything is done to
ensure it).
(b) We make no secret of the fact that we are totally unhappy
with this Interim Report which is contrary to our
expectations.
(c) We propose to wind up the Commission before it does
any further damage unless we are assured that the
situation will be “RECTIFIED” (whatever that was
supposed to mean.)
We assume that this warning had the desired effect
because the Commission was not wound up, there was a
perceptible swing in the Opposite direction at the hearings
which was more than noticeable and was even objected to.
Whatever extensions were asked for were granted by the State
Government and there was a 360 Degree turn around and
the Final Report has totally cleared and exonerated everyone
of the guilty individuals and institutions not to mention
authorities. The warning had worked and it had the desired
effect.
12
Transparency International, Karnataka, which I head and
more importantly, PUCL, Mangalore and a large number of
right thinking individuals and NGOs took the decision that if
an enquiry is to be held, it should be fair and fearless, it should
be unbiased and that it should serve the desired effect by
unabashedly recording the culpabilities and nailing the
responsibility. A unanimous request was conveyed to me that
I should conduct this enquiry which I agreed to do in the
public interest.
This is the first such exercise in this country and I hope,
it will be the precursor to many more. It fulfills the basic
ingredient of total transparency. I also decided to discard the
traditional trial procedure and the antiquated Judicial norms
and instead of evidence being carried to the Forum that the
Forum itself would go to the scene of offence, investigate,
collect the evidence, assess and evaluate it, sift it and produce
the end result. To my mind, it is far superior to the traditional
method because every crucial aspect gets covered, nothing is
left out and more importantly, there are no adversarial
interested parties who have their own games to play when
they take sides.
This is the Justification for the setting up of the People’s
Enquiry Tribunal, for the procedure adopted and for the
Report that is now presented to the country and to the world.
Bangalore (JUSTICE MICHAEL F. SALDANHA)
7th February 2011
13
I was in London on Sunday, 14th September 2008, when
my very close friend whom I have known for over half a century,
Mohan, who virtually grew up with me in Mangalore, rang me
up from Delhi. There was anguish in his voice and he asked
me what on earth is going on in Mangalore and how it was
possible. Both of us graduated from Mangalore’s famous St.
Aloysius School & College in the year 1962. Prior to that, we
had spent over 10 years in that institution, and in those days,
grown up with at least four religions represented on one bench
in school and college. For us, whether it was Eid, Diwali,
Gurunanak Jayanthi or Christmas, it was all the same and a
cause for joy and celebration. We did not consider a Mosque, a
Gurudwara, a Temple or a Church as something different,
unacceptable or hostile; nor were the followers of other faiths
to be either preferred or disliked. I am in this context reminded
with deep adulation of the excellent book authored by His
Excellency Bharadwajji, a man whom I have admired for over
forty years for his qualities of head and heart, the present
Governor of Karnataka, entitled “India – a Fellowship of
Faiths.” My best friend through my school days was a boy by
the name of Gopalakrishna Bhat who was the son of the Head
Poojary of Mangalore’s famous Ganapathi Temple and I have
been into and around this temple in his company for longer or
equal periods of time as I used to spend in our own Churches.
This was representative of the harmonious blend of religious
culture during those years and this held good in the subsequent
decades when I have gone back to Mangalore for various
periods of time as my late Mother continued to live there till
2001 when she was called away to her heavenly abode. This
FOREWORD
14
was merciful because the recent happenings in the Karavali
area with particular emphasis on Mangalore would have been
too much for her!
The first thing that Mohan said was that he could not
believe what he was seeing on TV. Mangalore, for its number
of Churches and the strong representation of Catholics, was at
one time known as the Rome of the East. It is also a well known
pilgrimage centre because of many Hindu temples and shrines
around the District, the Shringeri Mutt being very well known
and the Kadri temple having a history that goes back to the
days of the Ramayana. There is a strong representation of Jains
and some very famous and beautiful monuments and temples
starting with Dharmasthala, Moodabidri, Karkala and
Shravanabelagola. While you have all the different faiths or
religions represented in the coastal area or the Karavali which
extends from Karwar to Mangalore, there is also a significant
number of Muslims and there is hardly a City, town or village
in the region where the beautiful outlines of a mosque, big or
small are not to be found. Despite all of this, the harmony was
significant and there has not been a single recorded incident
till the year 2000 in the whole of this region that can be put
down to communal or inter religious conflict.
Mohan was right when he expressed his utter disbelief
and horror when he watched the police mercilessly assaulting
the congregation around the Milagres Church and when the
camera focused on about a dozen instances of violence that
had been simultaneously executed on that morning. The broken
Crucifix at the Adoration Monastery sent shock waves across
the whole world and the live coverage by the media of incident
after incident depicting the highest levels of hatred being
portrayed by the Police in partnership with Hindu
Fundamentalists in the devastation of the most sacred of areas
belonging to the Christian community, but above all, the
15
unspeakable levels of cruelty, sadism and horrifying levels of
violence, shockingly enough, at the hands of the State
Machinery made the headlines in the International Media. BBC
and CNN carried all of this as its main headline for the next 24
hours and even when we went to Heathrow Airport for our
flight from London, this was the talk of the terminal. The nation
watched in disbelief, because the atrocities against the
Christians in Orissa for over a year, particularly in Khandamal
had reached intolerable levels, the most distressing feature
being that the BJP Government which was in power in that
State had completely identified itself with the Bajrang Dal. There
were some serious blemishes as far as those incidents were
concerned because the memory of Dr. Steines and his children
being burnt alive and Dara Singh and his Bajrang Dal associates
openly claiming responsibility was something unbelievable.
Ironically enough, the Government of India set up an enquiry
headed by Justice Wadhwa of the Supreme Court which was
good enough to give the miscreants a clean chit and even
compliment them as being good citizens ! The Indian experience
of Judicial Enquiry Commissions has been absolutely pathetic
barring a few that can be singled out like the ones conducted
by my esteemed friend and colleague the Hon’ble Justice
Srikrishna where the proceedings were time bound, the culprits
were identified, the recommendations were first class and the
expenditure absolute minimum. In all the others, they seem to
have been a clear mandate that the atrocities should be
whitewashed and even justified and more importantly that the
culprits be exonerated and the guilty Politicians be given a clean
chit. Most of the Retired Judges have even bent over backwards
and complemented and even praised the people in power who
set up the enquiries. The incidents in Gujarat, again a BJP run
state, portrayed levels of crime, cruelty and horror that could
only have been matched by Nazi war crimes and after this,
came Mangalore. Once again, a BJP Government in power and
16
Karnataka OUTDID Orissa and Gujarat.
Historically, Dakshina Kannada District has been a very
long standing RSS / VHP stronghold. Right from the days of
the freedom movement and thereafter when Gandhiji was
assassinated by a group of fanatics who maintained that his
brand of politics was unacceptable to the Hindu
fundamentalists, the District has always been the nerve-centre
of these movements with regular morning drills on the maidans,
processions, baithaks and sammelanas. These activities took a
violent turn after the year 2000 when it was found very
convenient to target the Muslim community on the ground that
they are allegedly anti-nationals and that they are disloyal to
this country. It is an offence under the IPC to indulge in any
form of communal disharmony but the offensive articles kept
regularly appearing in the Press headed by a leading Kannada
daily owned by some industrialists from Manipal, particularly
after the Bombay Bomb Blasts and violent incidents in different
parts of the country. Mangalore in particular, and some of the
other towns in the Karavali area were prone to Hindu Muslim
violence though on a relatively small and isolated scale but
this was definitely a disturbing factor. Never had it happened
before that the Christian community had been attacked.
The attacks that took place on 14th September 2008 were
well planned, pre meditated and executed with precision as I
found out to my distress when I conducted this Enquiry. What
was very significant was the fact that wherever this took place,
the police protection was zero vis-à-vis the victims though they
were providing the leadership and cover to the attackers,
shocking as it may appear; but in the immediate aftermath it
was the police who were the main assailants, aided and abetted
by the saffron political activists. Again, there was absolutely
no doubt about the origin of the violence because Mahendra
Kumar, the local President of the Bajrang Dal wherever the
17
attacks took place, has appeared repeatedly before the Media (
on 37 recorded occasions ) claiming full responsibility for what
was done and even promising to step up the violence. The same
position holds good as far as Pramod Muthalik, head on the
Rama Sene goes. I have devoted one Chapter in this Report
towards recounting the double standards of the State
Government which targeted the Editor of a particular paper
and he almost lost his life in the process, only because he
reported the incidents regularly and chastised the State
Government, particularly Home Minister Acharya for its
support, instigation funding and abetment and more
importantly, total cover up.
Immediately after my return to Bangalore, a representative
group of citizens officially called on the Chief Minister and the
Home Minister and demanded immediate and deterrent
corrective action. The National and world public opinion had
swung so heavily against the Karnataka Government that the
Chief Minister and the Home Minister immediately came out
with the usual assurances that all necessary steps would be
taken to prevent any recurrence of any of these activities. In
actual fact, nothing was done. What was atrocious but virtually
tell-tale was that these highest authorities from the earliest point
of time JUSTIFIED the attacks on the ground that the Christians
had invited it and asked for it because of alleged conversions!
A lone Police Constable or sometimes two of them, and that
too unarmed, were asked to make an appearance around
Churches and whenever anything unpleasant took place, the
police were absent as happened at Yadavanahalli near
Bangalore, where the constables had been recalled by plan when
the miscreants attacked the Church, vandalized and burnt it.
Both the Chief Minister and the Home Minister tried to repeat
the charge of the Bajrang Dal that conversions were the cause
for the attacks; when I asked them to substantiate this before
18
the media, they were unable to do so and when conclusive
evidence to the contrary was pointed out, there was no answer.
Shortly after the attacks, the local RSS Chief in his public
exhortation before Dasara incited his followers by stating that
“this Dasara when the Ayudha Pooja is done, do not do the
pooja of your implements of trade as was the old custom but
do the pooja to trishuls, knives and talwars (swords) as these
will have to be used ahainst the CHRISTIANS and the
MUSLIMS.” This sensational speech was carried on the front
pages of all the dailies in the State and by the TV Channels and
I had personally brought this to the notice of the CM and the
Home Minister at the Circuit House in Mangalore and
demanded that this man be arrested for inciting Communal
Disharmony which is a serious Crime. They told me that they
had already seen the papers, but both of them said in one voice
that they had spoken to the RSS Chief who claimed that he had
been misquoted. I pointed out that the maker of the speech
had neither retracted nor denied it and there was complete
silence. In the super charged atmosphere, such an incitement
was actionable in law but nothing was done. On the contrary,
immediately after 14th September, 2008, oral instructions had
been issued by the Home Minister personally, which the Heads
of the Police Stations admitted on over a dozen occasions to
me, that whenever a complaint was received against any
member of the Christian community on the allegation that
attempts were being made to convert, that the person should
be arrested, bail should be opposed and that they should be
given a good beating while in custody. Whereas prior to 14th
September 2008, there had not been a single arrest under these
provisions of Law anywhere in the State, suddenly, hundreds
of cases were being registered. The shocking part of the
incidents were that the local Courts refused bail for months in
every case.
19
The sequence is illustrated from what happened outside
the Mangalore Market. An institution run by nuns had adopted
an orphan Hindu girl by the name of Savithri, who was working
for the convent as a maid on salary, apart from being given
food, clothing, shelter and education. Savithri and a nun were
on their way to the market to make their daily purchases when
a group of activists surrounded them. They were physically
assaulted on the road and dragged to the local police station.
At the police station, there were more activists present than
police. A complaint was lodged that the girl aged 16 who was
a Hindu was being converted. An FIR was immediately
registered. The violent incident on the road brought the media
to the Police Station. The girl herself pointed out that she had
spent eleven years at the institution, that nobody had asked
her to convert and that she still professed the Hindu faith, that
she was happy and well looked-after, and that she had
absolutely no cause for complaint. This was recorded live by
the Media as also the fact that there were about 50 activists,
five officers and nine constables present in the Police Station.
The Police even threatened the girl and ordered her to sign the
false complaint that had been written out but she refused to do
it. They were detained for four hours on the ground that the
higher authorities were being consulted and only because of
the presence of the Media, they were then released. The next
day, a complaint was registered by the same Police Station on
behalf of one Chandralekha, also from Mangalore, stating that
she had been paid Rs.100/- to convert to Christianity. The
media questioned her when she frankly admitted that she was
asked to sign the complaint and that she had never received
the money and further that the complaint was directed against
an unknown person.
At a subsequent meeting with the Chief Minister and the
Home Minister, a demand was put forward that the three Police
20
Officers, SP, Sathish Kumar, Inspector, Jayanth Shetty and PI
Ganapathy against whom there was overwhelming
documentary evidence of violence of the most extreme form
and incidentally, who had been found guilty of the highest form
of misconduct by no less a person than the additional DG and
IG Police, should be transferred out of the District and subjected
to disciplinary proceedings.
At that time, the strongest encouragement to errant police
officers came from the fact that not only would they get away
with criminality of this type, but furthermore, that they were
assured of full protection by the Home Dept. This public
demand for action against these officers who had disgraced
the Department was naturally rejected and these three officers
continued to play havoc in the District. All of them were even
promoted.
There was also a demand that the incidents / attacks
should be enquired into by a Commission headed by a Supreme
Court Judge and not somebody from Karnataka. The reason
for this was pointed out by me, because this was a case in which
there were serious charges not only against the Police but also
against the State administration, all the way up to the Home
Minister and the Chief Minister and that therefore, an Enquiry
under the Commissions of Enquiry Act, was required and that
the State Government which was the real accused, should
neither fund the Enquiry nor have anything to do with it. The
reasons for this were obvious, because unless the enquiry was
wholly independent, it would be a total waste of time and
money and above all, it would not inspire any public
confidence. Despite all these reasons being put forward, the
Chief Minister went ahead and instituted an enquiry to be held
by a Retd. High Court Judge from his hometown of Shimoga.
The Enquiry was instituted and funded by the State
Government which is the very body against whom the most
21
serious charges have been made. Experience has shown that
in situations such as these, an Enquiry is set up as an eyewash
and it is a convenient ploy for the State Government to contend
for years together that the Report is awaited and every form of
corrective action is put into cold storage. To quote a specific
example, in the present instance, there is unassailable evidence
against the DC, the SP and two other Police Officers to name a
few, as also against some of the top politicians, but the ground
that is being given is that nothing should be done until the
Enquiry Report is available. We have several precedents in
this country, in fact, in almost every one of these cases, where
the Enquiries have gone on for so long, that the incident is
buried and forgotten long before the Report emerges. The classic
instance is the Liberhan Commission Report which took
seventeen years and eight months. The notable exception is
the Justice Srikrishna Commission Report, wherein the Judge
has indicted a very large number of persons but again, for over
ten years, the Government has done nothing by way of action
taken. Invariably, these reports not only cover up but defend
and justify the actions like happened in the case of the Wadhwa
Commission where the self proclaimed killers of Dr. Steines
and his children were not only exonerated but were
complemented. The Enquiry Commission headed by Justice
Somashekar has been holding sittings for years and the hearings
themselves are no where near ending. Again there are serious
complaints with regard to the procedure that is being followed
and more than one Petition was filed before the High Court
alleging serious bias. To quote just one example, where the
local police used muscle power and unjustifiably locked up a
small prayer centre at the instance of the saffron brigade, the
Commission issued a direction when requested that the place
be opened at least for the festive season of Christmas that the
pastor and the congregation will have to abide by the decision
of the local police and the administration in the matter. In the
22
first instance, there was no ground for the police intervention
and the locking of the prayer centre by them was 100% illegal.
When an application was made to the local Court, the
proceeding was dismissed on the ground that it should be made
before the Commission. The Commission has neither the power
nor the jurisdiction in a dispute of this type in spite of which, it
passed a detailed order virtually remanding the Applicants to
the very wrong doers against whom they had complained
namely the police and the local administration. While setting
aside this order and directing the immediate reopening, the
High Court had occasion to pass severe strictures against the
Commission.
One of the main limitations in the manner in which these
Commissions operate is that since, an office is set up, a car is
provided, staff made available and lawyers are appointed all
of whom are well paid, apart from a hefty allowance to the
person heading the Commission, it is found highly desirable
for the proceedings continue almost endlessly. There is no
difficulty in holding sittings at different places asking for
mountains of affidavits and documents, calling for tons of
records and examining unending numbers of witnesses. Apart
from the time factor, it is customary to reproduce all of this in
the Report as a result of which, it usually runs into a large
number of volumes out of which even the relevant portions
have to be culled out from thousands of pages. Not only does
nobody do this, but the Report invariably gathers dust on the
government racks, because, the date of the Report is so far
removed in point of time that the incident has faded out of
human memory, most of the culprits, be they politicians, public
officials or local leaders are either dead or not traceable and
nobody is really interested in the Report. The happiest part of
the story is that the culprits get away.
BY ITS VERY NATURE, WHEN A COMMISSION OF
23
ENQUIRY IS SET UP, IT PRE-SUPPOSES THE FACT THAT
SOMETHING OF IMMENSE PUBLIC CONSQUENCE HAS
TAKEN PLACE. IT IS VERY NECESSARY TO EXAMINE THE
CAUSES AND EFFECTS AND TO IDENTIFY THE CULPRITS
AND MORE IMPORTANTLY, TO PRESENT THE REAL
PICTURE, HOWSOEVER UNPLEASANT IT MAY BE, SO
THAT, IF THE NEED ARISES, THE MAIN PERPETRATORS
OF THE OFFENCES AGAINST HUMANITY CAN BE
IDENTIFIED, SHAMED, PUNISHED AND DEBARRED
FROM PUBLIC LIFE. IF THIS DOES NOT HAPPEN, THE
VERY PURPOSE OF SETTING UP THE ENQUIRY IS
TOTALLY FRUSTRATED – ON THE CONTRARY, IF IT
TURNS INTO AN EXERCISE OF EXONERATION AND
COVER UP, THEN IT CAN ONLY BE TERMED AS DOWN
RIGHT SHAMEFUL.
In my capacity as Head of Transparency International in
Karnataka, I agreed to the wide-spread demand that a wholly
independent People’s Enquiry be instituted even if for the first
time. The main demand came from the Peoples Union of Civil
Liberties (PUCL) which is one of the very credible and well
respected institutions that has fought for over 50 years for
human rights and propriety. I was also the President of the
Catholic Association of South Kanara (CASK) and it was
decided to associate this body also, though the new Council
which is very loyal to the Sangh Parivaar and the Saffron lobby
has revoked that decision, which is why I have deleted
references to CASK in the title pages. It was finally decided
that these two institutions would jointly assist in holding an
independent, totally unbiased investigation into the incidents
relating to the Church attacks and incidental matters. That is
the genesis of this enquiry. I am happy to point out that it is a
one man enquiry and I was requested to conduct it, principally
because of my track record that has been defined as
24
unimpeachable and also because of the fact that through my 15
years in the Judiciary, I have never ever compromised with
regard to the right verdict irrespective of whether it involved
the rich and the powerful or the highest in the land. I was
considerably gratified when this happened and even though it
would involve about a year of extremely tiresome traveling
and delicate fact finding, I decided to do it in the national
interest, more importantly from the human rights angle which
is a concept to which I have been deeply devoted over the last
50 years.
Even if it was a question of breaking new ground, I decided
to completely do away with the court-room procedure of
holding formal sittings. What inspired me was the fact that at
one of the World Conferences on Environment which I
Inaugurated in Monteray, U. S. A., a young lawyer from the
Philippines, Antonio Opposo, brought the house down when
he pointed out that in one of the cases, instead of the traditional
method of bringing loads of evidence to the Judge which is
expensive, difficult and time consuming, that they followed
the innovative procedure of taking the Judge to the evidence
which they did by using a helicopter. The results were amazing.
That is the procedure that I followed in this case, as in many
criminal trials, when the Judge visits the scene of offence, I have
gone to each of these spots, most of the time incognito which
has helped immensely. I have met the victims, I met the people
of the area and I have looked for independent corroboration all
of which I have intelligently sought out, thanks to my 35 years
experience as a top Criminal Lawyer. On many of the expert
areas like injuries, effects of stale teargas and the like, I have
gone to the experts, sat down with them and have been guided
by the best brains in the field. At the same time, since the State
Government was virtually on the mat in this case, I have called
for explanations from the individuals concerned by meeting
25
them all the way up to the very highest. While the State Chief
Minister, Home Minister, DG Police and the top bureaucrats
did in fact meet me, when it came to the lower officials such as
the SP of Mangalore, the DC Mangalore and different ranks of
Police Officers, they refused to meet or cooperate or produce
any records. Though, under the Evidence Act, I would have
been justified in straight-away drawing an adverse inference,
the procedure followed by me was to proceed on the basis of
the intrinsic evidence. My very long experience at the Bar and
on the Bench did provide me with enough experience and
guidance with regard to the need to be cautious, particularly
in the case of evidence from the victims and to look for
independent corroboration before recording findings.
In preparing this Report, I have had to avoid to a very
large extent the mentioning of names because the situation is
still far from comfortable and I cannot punish and penalise small
and innocent persons most of whom have already suffered or
many others like taxi drivers, shopkeepers, residents of the area
etc. who would be vulnerable and who have asked that their
names should not be disclosed. All the material that appears
in this Report is essentially in the form of findings and
conclusions, briefly supported by reasons wherever necessary.
This is not on the lines of a Court Judgment where charges,
evidence and points of Law are elaborately reproduced and
debated. In these days of environmental conservation, I cannot
get myself to producing a Report running into 30,000 pages
which no sane person will even want to look at. What you
have here is a digested version. I am conscious of the fact that
it is hard hitting in many places but that is only an under
statement because one look at the videos of the incidents would
be exceedingly disturbing. Secondly, the Report is possibly
“DAMNING” but that is inevitable because it has to fix the
blame wherever necessary.
26
Undoubtedly, this is a departure from the conventional
norms but it is something that the situation requires and which
is the need of the hour. I have broken new ground in many
areas and concepts while at the Judiciary which has been
commended nationally and internationally because of the speed
and efficacy factors and the fact that it has served the interests
of Justice. Though, I would have liked to have completed the
exercise in a shorter time-frame, my academic commitments
and traveling has contributed to some delays. It is my earnest
desire that this Report which is totally unbiased and which is
also for a change, fearless and correct, should be acted upon in
the public interest.
In conclusion, I have been guided by my commitments to
propriety and principles on which there can be no compromise
and this Report is dedicated to my favorite Indian poet, the
one and only Rabindranath Tagore and to his immortal words
from the Gitanjali:
Where the mind is without fear and the head is held high;
Where knowledge is free;
Where the world has not broken up into fragments by
narrow domestic walls;
Where the words come out from the depth of truth;
Where tireless striving stretches its arms towards
perfection;
Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into
the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever widening
thought and action;
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country
awake.
27
MY ENLISTMENT AS A BAJRANG DAL MEMBER!
During the months of September to December 2008 and
to a large extent, in the months that followed, the BJP
Government in Karnataka had given the Bajrang Dal a free hand
to run wild, particularly in the Karavali area. Groups of young
activists would be driving two wheelers, jeeps and cars
prominently flying saffron flags as an intimidatory gesture to
all other communities. This had never happened before. These
persons would indulge in violence at the slightest pretext, most
of the time, without any cause. The police stations and the
hospitals had been instructed by the Home Department not to
entertain and register any complaints from the victims and
within a few weeks, it was clear all over the State particularly
the Karavali area that it was useless approaching any of these
forums. What distresses me particularly is the fact that this
infection had spread both to the Bar and to the subordinate
judiciary in the whole of the area. A good percentage of the
lawyers openly proclaimed allegiance to the BJP, which as
citizens they were entitled to do , but this did not mean that
they should side with and defend atrocities that were going on
and conversely, refuse to entertain litigants who were victims.
I consider it a matter not of regret but of absolute shame that
this epidemic had completely taken over the subordinate
judiciary as a result of which all the remaining lawyers openly
proclaimed that they were completely helpless because
applications for bail, were summarily rejected and all other
complaints filed, were also summarily dismissed.
It was in this unpleasant atmosphere that I was required
to do my investigations. I invariably went around incognito,
did not by and large hold any formal sittings, concentrated on
visiting every spot where the incidents had taken place and on
meeting the victims, the witnesses and members of the media
and others who could provide me with reliable and authentic
28
data. This involved a lot of travel and I would use a private
taxi. Most of the time, I was accompanied by Mr. P.B. D’sa,
head of PUCL or one other person who knew the exact locations
and the persons to be contacted.
On the very second day, our car was stopped at Nantoor
by a group of Bajrang Dal activists. The Driver was made to
pay Rs.100/- (Rupees One Hundred Only) and he was given a
flag which had to be attached to the car. He was also made to
pay Rs.50/- (Rupees Fifty Only) in return for which, he was
given a piece of saffron cloth which resembled a mini shawl.
The instructions were that these must be displayed on the
vehicle, as otherwise, there was a chance of the vehicle being
stoned and injuries taking place.
I was asked to get down which I did and was asked to pay
a contribution of Rs.500/- (Rupees Five Hundred Only) to the
Bajrang Dal, in return for which, I would be given membership.
I told them that I did not have that amount of money, where
upon, after some negotiation, they settled for Rs.110/- (Rupees
One Hundred Ten Only). One of them got into the car and we
were taken to a roadside shed near pump-well; inside, it was a
full-fledged office with good furniture, telephones, computers,
and even Air-conditioning! I was asked to write my name and
address in a register there and to sign it which I did. I was then
informed that I was now a member of the organization. I asked
for a receipt and membership documents and I was told that I
would receive these in the post. These never arrived.
Why did I so voluntarily agree ? First of all, I did not have
any choice because under the BJP State Government with the
Rule of Law having disappeared, I would have been assaulted
or possibly killed if I did not agree. It was too dangerous
phoning the Police who would have definitely arrested me,
STRIPPED ME NAKED AS IS THE CUSTOM IN THE
29
DISTRICT and beaten me up and my colleagues in the
subordinate Judiciary would have denied me bail! I was more
interested in completing my assignment and was not worried
about the small amount of money that I had to part with. If the
Bajrang Dal is willing to produce their register from the pumpwell
office, dated the 9th November 2008 (time 10.40 a.m.) which
appeared to be a full fledged official register, there is an entry
in my handwriting both in English and in Kannada in the name
of Justice Michael F. Saldanha with my full residential address
and telephone numbers. More importantly, I was interested in
meeting with these people and getting from them a first hand
account of the nature of their activities. Both at Nantoor and at
the pump-well office, the activists who were around were in
the age group of 15 to 30, extremely well dressed wearing very
fashionable footwear and speaking to each other in Konkani,
Tulu and in Kannada. I tried to find out in my own way whether
they belonged to the category of unemployed persons, but they
told me that they were all fulltime Party workers and therefore,
had no other jobs. This was not the only occasion when we
were stopped because it became a regular feature when we
were driving around but the saffron flag and shawl gave us
immunity from any attacks. The good part of it was, it also
provided for me a friendly approach and disclosure of whatever
I wanted to know.
The first interesting area was with regard to the income of
these persons. They admitted that they did not draw any salary
from the Organisation, but referred to two interesting heads
called collections and donations. According to them, they
extracted whatever money they wanted from members of the
public, shopkeepers and businessmen under these two heads
and told me that nobody refuses. To a direct question as to
whether money was extorted under threat, they were quick to
tell me that they never needed to threaten anybody because
30
the atmosphere was such that people VOLUNTARILY gave
them money whenever they asked for it. FULL MARKS TO
DR. ACHARYA, THE STATE HOME MINISTER!
Then comes the most interesting disclosure. I was informed
that I was entitled to a new two-wheeler free of cost and that
this would be given to me from the Party Office. For this
however, I had to go there and meet the Committee and satisfy
them that I would do fulltime activity, upon which, I would
receive the vehicle which would not be registered in my name
but that I would be free to use it without any restrictions. What
was even better was the news that once it carried the requisite
flag that I would be entitled to unlimited fuel because one was
required to drive into any petrol station, draw the fuel and drive
off without paying and I was assured no questions would be
asked. This arrangement explains how these activists were able
to parade around the area day and night, terrorising the public.
Interestingly enough, though, I assume that the petrol pump
operators were too frightened to ask for the money, the
information that was volunteered was to the effect that the
pump operators were Party members who assisted these
activities as their contribution! I never got to claiming the two
wheeler, I could not verify anything in this area regarding the
fuel but all of this was obviously correct.
Then we come to an even more interesting area. I was
informed that I would be free to enter any shop, pick up
whatever items of clothing I wanted and walk out without
paying. This possibly explained how well dressed these activists
were, but again, I have not verified on this as I had neither the
time nor the desire. What I found really unpalatable was what
followed. One of the nicest entitlements of becoming an activist
was that one could enter any Bar / Hotel or eating house,
partake of whatever one wanted and leave without paying.
There were wide spread complaints right through this period,
31
of incidents where these persons would enter the hotel and if
they were asked for payment against their food or drink, they
would threaten to use violence and smash the place. For some
reason, they would always frequent the Bar-cum-restaurant
selling non-vegetarian food and the universal threat was that
they would smash up the establishment on the ground that
they were selling beef. (When I chatted these fellows up they
told me always to ask for Beef as the Mutton was very bony!
SO MUCH FOR THE BJP’S DEMAND TO BAN COW
SLAUGHTER- WHERE WILL THEIR ACTIVISTS GET THEIR
BEEF FROM?) Through the whole of the Karavali area, the
majority of eating houses are run by Muslims and Christians
where non vegetarian food is served and they were the regular
targets. I am aware of how hard the owners work, how small
their margins of profit were and how they could ill afford to
have their place attacked. To exploit small persons of this
category was to my mind, the height of wickedness, but this is
what was going on. It was only after several weeks when the
minorities got together, regrouped and decided that they would
protect themselves from these anti social elements and the
Government machinery both of which were synonymous, that
there were some improvements to the situation.
The last part is probably the best! Having got an insight
into the life-styles of the fundamentalist mafia which is no
different from any other, in lighter vein, I asked them about
the “other” rather pleasurable benefits- whether the no-pay rule
held good in BROTHELS? I never got a straight answer but I
was assured that “NOBODY DARES ASK US FOR MONEY.” I
refer to this bawdy aspect because I am horrified that some
poor women have to sell themselves to keep alive and that the
exploitation goes right down to this area. ALL THIS IN THE
NAME OF RELIGION.
Having got a first hand account of the lifestyle of these
32
activists, the last area that was really concerning me was the
question as to how ultimately all these nefarious activities were
being financed. Through the weeks and months, I made it a
point to investigate into this area and I found that there were
three main areas. The largest amount of money which ran into
crores of rupees was siphoned out from the Government funds.
The Chief Minister, the Home Minister and their colleagues
would announce massive amounts of money being earmarked
for all sorts of activities, celebrations, sammelans, donations to
Mutts and Temples and so-called grants for developing areas
around these places. The aggregate runs into thousands of
crores and it is not a small amount. Also, many of the big
businessmen and institutions in the District were active
supporters who channelised large amounts of money for these
activities. The third source came from amounts that were
extorted from unwilling persons under the threat of violence.
The aggregate of these channels was enough to attract not
hundreds but thousands of young men and women who
wanted a carefree life with all the good things on offer.
I was under the impression that the basic driving force
was religious fervor, but I was wrong here because in all my
investigations, I did not find a single individual who had even
the remotest of such commitments.
The end result of this operation was that I was left with a
very sad taste. As is happening in many other parts of the
world, large sections of the youth are being diverted into a form
of fundamentalism that breeds violence and hatred and which
is the root cause of all the unfortunate incidents that are taking
place.
FRIENDSHIP WITH THE RAM SENA
Through the years, I had no occasion to hear of the
organization entitled Ram Sene which came into prominence
33
around this period of time, because many demonstrations took
place under this banner, but more importantly there was a long
series of violent incidents that took place under the so-called
patronage of this organization. I read a lot in the Press about
these activities and the Head of the Group repeatedly issued
statements to the effect that they were basically concerned with
all aspects of public morality.
On a number of occasions, our car would be stopped by
the activists belonging to the Ram Sene and my curiosity got
the better of me, so, I would spend considerable time with these
persons trying to find out what exactly their philosophy or
commitments were, but more importantly as to how they had
drifted into this organization. My research indicated that most
of them were doing petty jobs such as working as Mechanics,
Welders, Carpenters and the like where the earnings were
modest. They would spend most of their time away from their
jobs carrying out whatever activities they were asked to
perform. Unlike the Bajrang Dal, they did not work fulltime or
part time but were in fact called up whenever required. They
were not provided with vehicles nor did they seem to collect
money through extortions. Over the large number of occasions
when I met them and spent time with them, I was never once
asked to become a member, but they did suggest that I should
donate some money, but I was not forced to do it when I politely
stated that I did not want to. It finally emerged that they were
being funded very generously by the leader of one of the Other
Political parties who was hell-bent on embarrassing the State
Government.
It was extremely perplexing to find out as to where the
finances came for these activities. The explanation was that it
was a political organization and that it was financed by some
of the top politicians but no specific names were disclosed.
There were allegations in the Press that under the guise of moral
34
policing, hotels, restaurants and particularly pubs and bars were
being blackmailed and that this was a substantial channel of
finance, but I did not get to verify any of these nor do I consider
it necessary. The closest indication came from the fact that
many of these youngsters were quite naïve and told me that
whenever they were ordered to do any “Galata” that they did
so. I gather from this that they were essentially used to disturb
the peace and cause trouble.
One area where their activity was very prominent was in
relation to the student community and the teenagers. The pub
attack in Mangalore not only made International headlines but
virtually disgraced the country all over the world. There were
no less than over a hundred incidents within a short period of
time where boys and girls belonging to the Muslim and
Christian communities were mercilessly beaten up, kidnapped,
abducted and terrorised on the ground that they were
associating with members of another community. There were
as many as 218 such incidents reported from all over the State,
the bulk of them from the Dakshina Kannada District. In not
even one of these cases was anybody arrested. Anticipatory
Bail was freely available and in the small number of instances,
where some limited action was taken by the Police principally
under public pressure, the subordinate judiciary was quick to
grant bail within minutes with the police and prosecutors
actively cooperating.
At a later stage, when the DC of Mangalore issued a Showcause
notice to the Head of this Organisation under the Police
Act, for purposes of externing him; where the procedures were
followed and a perfectly valid and legally sustainable order
was passed, it goes to the discredit of one of the Judges of the
Hon’ble Karnataka High Court to have intervened and stayed
the Order in question. With all my knowledge of Criminal Law
and 15 years of deep seated experience of this class of cases in
35
the Judiciary, I find it impossible to either justify or defend this
Order. It is sad that such things are happening because the
Judiciary is the last resort of the citizen and when that institution
fails or creates a let down situation, it is total disaster.
14th September 2008 to Republic Day 2010, approximately
500 days and the 1000th attack on a Church has taken place at
Mysore. The Central Government has issued more than one
warning to the State Government. The citizens are told that
the situation is happy and under control, principally because
the greater part of the media is being fed/appeased with
massive publicity advertisements which have cost the State
exchequer over 4000 crores of rupees, most of the money
clandestinely billed to the various Govt. Corporations and
Public bodies. All of these extoll the State Government and its
leaders for so-called progressive measures and development
whereas in fact, the statistics show that the State had been
pushed back by half a century. This publicity which is a
desperate cover for non performance is only second to the BJP’s
India shining publicity program but is as expensive and in
return, the media have been asked to black out or down play
every single attack. These have been continuing all over the
State at an accelerated pace and Republic day was the 1000th
attack at Mysore. Again, prior to 14.09.2008, there was not a
single case registered in Karnataka on the ground of alleged
conversions. After the attacks and all the allegations made
under this head, even if anybody wanted to attempt anything
around these lines, it would never have been done. Every police
station in the State had been asked to register at least 20 cases a
month under this head, people are dragged to the police station
under false allegations, immediately locked up, beaten up and
denied bail by the lower judiciary which functions as the loyal
partner of the Police Department and refuses bail on the ground
that “the police have objected.” 468 persons who function as
36
Pastors or Priests in rural areas have been targeted in this short
period of time, numerous others have been threatened and
beaten up, the police are totally out of control with the lower
judiciary having abdicated its constitutional obligation of
safeguarding the citizens’ rights particularly from a tyrannical
State machinery, while the State Government proclaims that
everything is peaceful. Nothing is further from the truth.
State Govt. disqualified from continuing in office
The State Home Minister, Dr. V. S. Acharya has made an
official announcement that his Govt. is unable to protect places
of worship from attacks- this is in response to TWO more attacks
in the week- ironically enough from elements from his own
party. The reasons cited are meaningless and unacceptable in
law. After the performance of Acharya’s Police Department
which was the main assailant in all the cases of attacks on the
Churches the community would feel safer if he and his police
force were to stay away from the Churches! More importantly,
he would prefer his friends to have a free hand in all future
attacks, which however will never happen because the
community is now well equipped to deal with these elements.
More crucially, what is the legal implication of this official
pronouncement by the Home Minister on behalf of the State
Government? It is a public admission of the fact that the State
Govt. refuses to uphold the Constitutional guarantees of
freedom to practice and propogare religion vis-s-vis the
minorities; that it is unable to maintain security and prevent
serious crimes that would lead to communal riots, deaths and
destruction- in other words a total breakdown of the law and
order situation. Such a Government, in law, has no right to
continue in office for even a single minute and will have to be
dismissed forthwith. It is not surprising that the Chief Minister
has not dismissed this man from the Cabinet for these
37
Bangalore
Republic Day
26th January 2011
(Justice Michael F. Saldanha)
Retd.
statements- unfortunately, it is obvious that the CM too
supports his Home Minister and his pronouncements. This
Report clearly indicts the Home Minister personally for having
instigated, colluded in, supported and covered up for all the
attacks and acts of violence, and so has the SOMASEKHAR
COMMISSION in its Interim Report- the Government’s case is
virtually defenceless.
To those who contend that the Church attacks of 2008 were
a one- time affair or that the situation is under control and that
communal attacks have stopped, the last paragraph should
come as an eye- opener. Many persons asked me at the Republic
Day Parade as to who is the biggest offender when it comes to
ignoring the Constitution and offending its mandate and I have
to regretfully tell them that it is not individual citizens but the
Governments themselves and in this case, the State
Government. Many others asked us to what is the relevance of
a Report such as this one, long after 14.09.2008 – I reminded
them of how the destructive and communal forces are on the
INCREASE and that a Report which is an eye-opener is intended
to be an antidote. This Report is as timely and relevant today
as it would have been in September and October 2008. As I
look back in anger at these incidents I see venom and hatred all
the way.
38
On the morning of Sunday the 14th September 2008, six
persons, five ladies, all around the ages of 50-60 years and a
man in his early fifties, were silently praying in the modest
little Perpetual Adoration Chapel of the Monastery of the Poor
Clares located at Falnir Road, right in the centre of Mangalore
city. There is a tiny sign at the entrance of a narrow lane leading
to the Monastery which itself is insignificantly tucked away in
a small structure about fifty metres from the main road. A small
open space adjoins the front of the Monastery. A little door
which is always open, leads to the Chapel which has a few
benches for the use of the odd devotees who decide to spend
time in silent prayer. If ever there was a place that could be
called the House of God, this was it. The Nuns never enter this
side of the Chapel, they pray from a secluded area at the back
of this Chapel or from their private Chapel where they were
when the incident occurred.
After Mass daily, The Blessed Sacrament is exposed in a
Monstance which is placed in a slightly elevated niche behind
the altar. To the left of the Altar is a large Crucifix which is a
heritage work of rare art, imported from Italy, vividly depicting
Christ nailed to the Cross. The CRUCIFIX is universally
accepted as the centre-point of Christian devotion and is of
special significance. The Blessed Sacrament which represents
the Body and Blood of Christ is THE most HOLY and
SACRED object for all Catholics and any form of disrespect
or desecration is simply intolerable. The sacred hosts are
normally kept in the Tabernacle which is kept locked and in
CHAPTER-I
ATTACK ON THE ADORATION
MONASTERY, MILAGRES,
MANGALORE.
39
this case was covered by a small veil. What is of relevance is
that the Blessed Sacrament is exposed in the Churches only for
short periods only at designated prayer times. This Chapel is
special-it is a PERPETUAL ADORATION MONASTERY where
the Blessed Sacrament is exposed for prayer during the whole
day. This is a fact to the special knowledge of only those who
come there for prayer. The Chapel is OPEN TO ALL in the
sense that there is no restriction on whoever wants to pray there.
People drift by in small numbers at different times. My
investigations indicate that a few young men on motorcycles
were casually visiting the Chapel at different hours for about
three weeks prior to the incident obviously to keep a watch
on the place and ascertain a time when there would be the
THINNEST ATTENDANCE which happens to be on a
Sunday morning after 10 a.m. Also on that day the Flour Mill
and the Printing Press in the lane are closed and there is
nobody around. This was noticed by all the people of the
area who asked them why they were coming there and they
got out of the embarrassment by stating that they were
devotees.
The Monastery houses Ten Nuns and two trainees, all
women. This Order of Nuns is totally dedicated to prayer round
the clock, they have renounced the world completely and never
come out of the Monastery. Their only contact with visitors,
who are extremely rare, is by speaking through a thick metal
grill- they live a very stark and abstemious life of solitude and
simplicity, even growing their own vegetables in the small area
behind the building. They hold no religious services for the
public- a visiting priest says Mass daily and conducts private
religious services for the inmates of the Monastery.
These Nuns have absolutely no dealings with anybody,
they pray for the well-being of all humanity and IT IS
UNTHINKABLE THAT A MURDEROUS ASSAULT WAS
ATTEMPTED ON THEM. No offerings are made at this
Chapel, there is no money or anything of saleable value there.
40
Copies of the Holy Books are placed around the Chapel.
THERE IS NO QUESTION OF CONVERSIONS,
OFFENSIVE LITERATURE OR FOREIGN MONEY- THIS
IS A MONASTERY OF SAINTLY WOMEN IN THE TRUE
SENSE OF THE WORD.
Around 10.15 a. m. on Sunday the 14th of September a white
Maruti Omni and Four motorcycles arrived on the main Falnir
Road at the entrance of the lane. A Police Jeep was behind
them and stopped behind the parked vehicles. Being Sunday,
the shops on the main road as also the establishments in the
lane were closed. In all, twelve persons alighted from these
vehicles. Two persons remained near the vehicles. The
remaining Ten persons entered the lane and went towards the
Chapel. All the twelve persons were dressed in saffron clothes
and the five vehicles displayed Bajrang Dal flags. Four of the
youth were carrying Swords and two were armed with Iron
bars. The other four were armed with wooden clubs. They
stormed the outer area of the Chapel and started smashing
everything in sight shouting slogans. Two of the sword-carriers
stood guard outside while the remaining entered the Chapel
area.
The six devotees were terrified- they were given a mild
beating and warned to keep still which they did. The attackers
went straight for the Crucifix and hit at it. They SPAT on the
image and kicked the piece s that had fallen down thereafter
smashing everything in sight. They enquired where the Nuns
were- they were told that they were inside behind locked
doors. Some conversations took place over the Mobile phones
in Tulu and Konkani with their bosses and they were
apparently instructed to break open the doors of the
monastery and attack the nuns which they tried to do
unsuccessfully. This was also reported to their control room
over the Mobile phones and they were then instructed to go
for the Blessed Sacrament. Since it was placed in an elevated
place they tried to smash it amidst loud and filthy abuses.
41
Since the blows came from the front and there was no
protection from the back, the Monstance fell through the
niche into the secluded area used by the nuns. Unable to get
at it the attackers were infuriated and ran wild breaking
everything in sight- the six persons in the Chapel received
several blows but none of them were fatal because the swords
were not used on them. One of them has sustained two
fractures, the remaining five have suffered injuries of
considerable seriousness requiring expensive medical
treatment. All the sacred books were collected in a pile on
the FLOOR and amidst vile abuses a decision was taken to
BURN THEM. The six persons were made to move out of the
Chapel- they were very graciously told in Kannada that their
lives were being spared as the targets were the Nuns who
might have escaped but that they will get them on the next
occasion. An attempt was made to break open the door
leading to the nuns’ quarter but this failed.
The Mobile phones were ringing madly and a message
seems to have come to leave the place immediately as they had
already spent considerable time there. The fire operation was
fortunately abandoned as we would have been otherwise told
by the venerable Home Minister that it was an accident or better,
A SHORT CIRCUIT AS IS SUPPOSED TO HAVE HAPPENED
IN the case of the fire at the YEDAVANAHALLI CHURCH.
The vehicles were telephonically summoned, the Maruti van
and one of the motorcycles came inside to the entrance.
What was the cause for the alarm? Apparently, the
regular taxi-drivers opposite Moti Mahal were curious
because the number-plates were removed from all the
vehicles and all the twelve persons had their faces covered
with shawls as is characteristic with dacoits. It was the curious
enquiries from these persons that saved the Chapel from
going up in flames. The taxi-drivers asked the two persons
standing near the vehicles as also the Police as to what was
going on? Realising that the situation would get out of hand,
42
the POLICE INSPECTOR in the Jeep called the Assailants
on the Mobile and asked them to rush out. The twelve persons
then drove through the CITY-CENTRE i.e. Hampankatta with
the motor-cycle riders waving their swords in triumph and
the Police on duty smiling as though it was a huge joke. This
created quite a sensation at the City Centre and the staff of
the Tajmahal Hotel gave me an elaborate account of the
Victory procession complete with the POLICE- JEEP BEING
PART OF IT. I would have expected the Police to clap and
cheer! Ironically, the joke making the rounds in Bangalore is
that very soon the Police will be attired in saffron and not
khaki uniforms. Under the special orders of the Home
Minister!
It took me a lot of labour and time to track down the six
persons who are the eyewitnesses- they had been warned not
to open their mouths and spoke to me in confidence on
assurance of anonymity. The four taxi-drivers are similarly
traumatized and I have assured them of confidentiality.
IRONICALLY ENOUGH, ALL OF THIS INVESTIGATION
HAD TO TAKE PLACE UNDER A TREE IN A CORNER OF
THE MILAGRES CEMETERY! I have carefully crossquestioned
each of the eight of them who were interviewed
separately on different days – they do not know each other but
their versions tally to the letter. I have no hesitation in holding
that they are speaking the truth.
Few things shock me at my age – I have seen many many
very good Police Officers and excellent work by the Police but
I have regretfully also seen the other side of the picture. There
is a charge that all these attacks have political sanction and
cover which is more than fully established. In that context I
must record that the taxi-drivers were unequivocal that the
Police Jeep which had been parked behind the Bajrang Dal
vehicles left within SECONDS of the miscreants’ vehicles setting
off- were the Police not COVERING THE CRIMINAL
ASSAULT and in the present political set-up were they not even
43
protecting and escorting the criminals? Desperate telephone
calls were made to the police by the nuns and the neighbours
and the Police made a pretence of rushing to the Monastery
and pretending to show concern but only after the culprits had
left. IRONICALLY ENOUGH ONE OF THE NEIGHBOURS
STATES THAT IN ANSWER TO HER DISTRESS CALL TO
THE POLICE SHE WAS TOLD THAT THE POLICE JEEP
WAS ALREADY THERE. Little did she know that this was a
dacoity, Karnataka style, under Police escort and protection?
Does one need any more evidence to establish the
Government hand in this crime?
One month has passed. This was a Dacoity on a place of
worship, it is a clear case of attempt to murder armed with
deadly weapons, the most sacred objects of Christianity were
desecrated, but for being indoors the Nuns would have most
certainly been butchered; the head of the Bajrang Dal has owned
responsibility for the attack despite which NO OFFENCE HAS
BEEN REGISTERED nor have the offenders even been arrested.
At a later point of time Home Minister Acharya when
questioned by the Media about non-action by his Government
boldly stated that the culprits were NOT CRIMINALS- THEY
WERE POLITICAL ACTIVISTS!
What are the irresistible conclusions;
1. The attack on the Adoration Monastery with the use of
lethal weapons was a premeditated, deliberate, carefully
planned assault professionally executed under State/Police
protection and further that the entire operation was monitored
and supervised. It was not an accident as claimed in the Press
by the Bajrang Dal chief but was an integral PART OF THE
MASTER-PLAN TO ATTACK Christian Religious centres that
took place on that day, the underlying objective being to
SPREAD TERROR by attacking the Holy of Holies.
2. The most shocking, damaging and astounding aspect
of this attack was that it was done under official police cover.
The unanimous version of the witnesses from the Moti Mahal
44
area establishes that a police jeep escorted the assault vehicles,
that it was parked some distance away and that when the
culprits finally fled that this jeep left with them driving behind
their vehicles to give them cover until wherever the destination
was. The obvious reason for this was because operations of
this type sometimes backfire in so far as a crowd collects and
the culprits get nabbed or beaten up. If the police are present,
they can shield the assailants from this as invariably happens.
The implications however, of this seemingly insignificant
circumstance are that official patronage from the Government
machinery in the case of arson and dacoity can never be
provided at the District level, the decision can only come from
the Vidhana Soudha. Also, it was sought to be argued that
since there is no justifiable reason for attacking a holy monastery
where only prayers are recited round the clock that it was a
possible mistake. I have researched this angle and in the light
of the finding that the attacks were carefully planned on a statewide
basis just like serial bomb blasts, I refuse to accept this
defence. The Arch Bishop of Bangalore was right when he told
the Chief Minister that the attack on the Blessed Sacrament at
one of the most holy monasteries was a virtual stab in the heart
of Christiandom.
2. Once the organization has publicly owned up the
responsibility, any novice could have tracked down the twelve
assailants and those who were monitoring them on the mobile
phones- the fact that this has not happened conclusively
establishes political patronage to the crimes. It is not merely a
case of Police inaction/collusion but much deeper. It goes all
the way up to the State Government and particularly the Home
Minister who has made no secret of his Party’s hatred for
Christians.
3. The most serious aspect of the case is that this was a
HATE CRIME directed against the very most sacred symbols
of Christianity a virtual stab at the HEART OF THE
CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY. THIS IS SHAMEFUL. The Chief
45
Minister and the Home Minister rushed here and promised
stringent action. NOTHING HAS HAPPENED. WHAT ABOUT
THE CONSTITUTIONAL GUARANTEES AND THE DUTIES
OF THE STATE TO THE MINORITIES? HAS THE LAW AND
ORDER MACHINERY BROKEN DOWN? THIS CASE
ANSWERS THE QUESTION IN THE AFFIRMATIVE.
4. Was this a pre-planned attack after taking the police
into confidence? The answer can only be in the affirmative
because throughout the latter half of the 25 minutes spent by
the assailants at the monastery, desperate phone calls were
made to the Police by the nuns and by the neighbours. The
Police would not have taken more than SEVEN minutes if they
had responded- instead, they repeatedly kept asking if the
offenders were still there and only after making sure that they
had left did they appear on the scene. This is a tell-tale
circumstance that establishes total complicity.
5. A very conservative and carefully considered estimate
of the property damage would put it at Rs.3.00 Lakhs (Rupees
Three Lakhs Only). Without going into the permanent
disability, pain and trauma aspects, the straight compensation
payable for the medical expenses incurred by the injured come
to Rs.2.00 Lakhs (Rupees Two Lakhs Only). In the special facts
and circumstances of the case which have been outlined above,
the liability of the State would be absolute.
(This investigation has taken three weeks of minute and
painstaking research- we have interviewed the nuns,
neighbours, persons of the area/ hundreds of citizens in our
quest for the truth. It had been difficult and tiring and I am
deeply indebted to the team that has assisted me through the
October heat particularly Mr. Patrick D’Sa head of PUCL
Mangalore. We have been working simultaneously on the
remaining cases and the findings will be presented, each under
individual heads.)
46
My careful analysis of the sequence of events
unmistakably establishes that the attacks were meticulously
planned and that contrary to the wide spread allegation that
it was the Hindu fundamentalist groups alone who were in
the forefront of the execution, that this assumption is not only
wrong but is fallacious. This was a conspiracy between the
State Government acting in total collusion with the Hindu
fundamentalist elements, in which the State took the lead.
After the attack on the Adoration Monastery on the morning
of 14th September 2008, it was inevitable that the Christian
community would react with concern and many of them came
to that spot. Neither the small Chapel nor the lane leading to
it could accommodate these persons and they therefore
congregated on the Main Falnir Road. The traffic which was
light being a Sunday, proceeded unhindered and there was a
group of about 200 to 300 concerned persons at that spot at
any given time. Three factors are crucial:
(a) Members of the community who came to know of the
attack on the Monastery principally because the T.V.
channels had almost relayed it live in so far as they got
there within minutes, came to the spot to see for
themselves. It was a hot sunny day, it was Sunday and
therefore, there was a continuous stream of persons
coming and going. They expressed concern, discussed the
matter and left the place.
CHAPTER-II
PROMULGATION OF ORDER
UNDER SECTION 144 Cr.PC:
47
(b) That none of these persons indulged in any form of violent
activity, not even to the extent of slogan shouting. They
had rushed there out of concern and naturally, they had
no form of any weapon with them.
(c) What is most important is that this is a broad tarred road
with walking areas on either side and even if one looked
for stones, there was not a single one around. This is of
crucial importance because the police justified their resort
to violence and lathi charge on the ground that the persons
there resorted to heavy stone throwing which started the
trouble. It was a mystery to me as to where the stones
came from because though the police collected all their
stones and took them away, several remained and these
were picked up by the boys from the media and mercifully
preserved by them and produced before me. These were
rock pebbles which are found in river beds and were a
common factor in all the cases of violence and it was
initially a mystery to me as to how they could have got
there. That is why I have superimposed the chapter
relating to the origin of the stones/rock pebbles because
that was where it was established that the Police had
chartered a tempo in each case which was taken to the
closest river bed by the activists, filled with rock pebbles
and then brought to the scene of offence. Being conscious
of the fact that they would come into trouble, after the
incident was over, the Police and the activists collected
the stones, reloaded them into the tempos and took them
away possibly for future use.
There are independent buildings both residential and
commercial in this area. I went through the labour of
contacting many of the residents who were eye-witnesses and
none of whom belonged to the Christian community, the
48
unanimous evidence is to the effect that the group of persons
collected there never went beyond 200 to 300 at the most, that
they were absolutely peaceful and further more, that there
were many religious persons most of whom were reciting
prayers in reparation for what had happened.
This factual position is very crucial because the then DC
– Rao is supposed to have promulgated an Order under
Section 144 Cr.PC, that too on a Sunday, and the Police and
the State Government contend that because the Assembly was
of more than five persons, it became illegal and that is why
they used violence to disperse it. This is totally untenable in
Law because even if the Section 144 Cr.PC Order was valid,
(which it was not), there was zero justification for the use of
violence by the Police because the assembly of persons was
not armed and nor were they resorting to any unlawful or
violent activity.
It is very essential for me to deal with the law and the
facts relating to the Order passed under Section 144 Cr.PC;
the principle reason in this enquiry being that in all the cases
where the police have resorted to violence, it has been their
defence that an Order under Section 144 Cr.PC had been
passed by the DC and that the assembly of five or more
persons constituted a breach of that order which was why the
police resorted to violence in order to disperse the crowd.
The law with regard to the promulgation of an Order
under Section 144 Cr.PC is quite well settled. The authority,
i.e. the District Magistrate or any other equivalent officer
empowered to pass such Orders is required to strictly abide
by the requirements of law. The pre-conditions for the passing
of an Order under this Section are as follows:
(a) That there has been a history of violence such as situations
49
in which gangs of persons indulge in targeting rival
groups such as when communal violence breaks out.
(b) Situations of industrial unrest where a large number of
workers assemble and create law and order problems
such as indulging in violence. There could be two types
of situations, the first being where the assembly is
peaceful to start with but has the potential of resorting to
violence or where the assembly itself straight away
resorts to violence, in which case, the need to defuse the
situation arises.
(c) There are exceptional cases where a huge mob of persons
even though not indulging in any violence, create a
serious law and order problem by obstructing public
roads or refusing to allow entry and exit to places which
they are not entitled to obstruct in Law.
The pre-condition for the passing of an Order under the
Section, is that an emergent situation has already erupted or
is imminent, where as indicated above, it is essential, in order
to avoid a breach of peace and consequential
loss of life and property, that the number of persons who
have assembled must be dispersed. The authority concerned
has to do an assessment of the factual position and record
such satisfaction in the Order after giving reasons as to why
it is necessary to pass an Order under Section 144 Cr.PC. Let
me also clarify, that there are two further requirements which
are as follows:
(a) That an omnibus Order cannot be passed unless there is
specific justification. It is essential for me to clarify that
if there was a riot taking place in the Mangalore City
centre and it was permissible or necessary to pass a
prohibitory order that it must be confined to the area
50
where the trouble has taken place or is apprehended. A
blanket order covering the whole District or the whole
city would be bad in Law.
(b) Since the consequences of a prohibitory order seriously
affect the day to day activities and life in the area, the
duration for which the order is to be in force has to be
specified. The Courts have held that an Order passed
for an indefinite duration would necessarily be bad in
Law. The reason for this is more than obvious because
this is an emergency provision intended to be used for as
short a duration as possible.
In the light of the above legal position, It is very necessary
to examine as to whether the Order under Section 144 Cr.PC
which the DC, Mangalore is alleged to have passed on Sunday,
14th September 2008 is at all valid. Though, there are repeated
references to the passing of this Order by the DC and the SP
and the other Police authorities repeatedly, the copy of the
Order
in question has never been produced despite my calling
for it THREE TIMES officially in writing. Not only does this
give cause for suspicion, but to my mind, it is indicative of
the fact that no such Order was ever passed and I am
supported in this view or rather conclusion, by the following
circumstances:
(a) That the incident in question relates to a Sunday morning
which admittedly was a weekend and a day when the
Office of the DC was closed. Where was the Order passed
by him, did he have the Office opened, did he send for
his staff and did he prepare the Order in his Office, or
was all of this procedure completed in his house or in
some unknown third place is a total mystery. More
51
importantly, since the Law requires publication of the
Order and further, vide dissemination of the Order both
of which have not taken place, the circumstances strongly
point to a position whereby no such Order was passed
and that the DC and the SP had lied when they announced
this. Had there been an Order in operation, even an
invalid one, it would have been prominently displayed,
read out or even shown to those present which has not
happened. I am supported in the view that the Order
had not been passed on Sunday, 14th September 2008,
till 5.00 p.m., because, all the Journalists who met the
DC and the SP on that evening and who asked for the
copy of the Order were told that it was in the file and
that no copies were available. This fully establishes
the rank falsity of the claim.
(b) That as indicated above, the subjective satisfaction of the
authority is required to be recorded justifying the
necessity for an Order before it can be passed. The
admitted position is that there was no police presence
on the Falnir road at any time prior to 5.00 p.m. and the
same applies to the fact that the DC had not visited that
area. It was therefore not his personal knowledge or
personal observation nor could there have been any
report with regard to the assembly of persons on that
day. There is a further requirement namely that if he
found the persons were armed or that there were two
groups likely to clash or that those assembled had
resorted to violence or that violence was imminent or
that they were creating a law and order problem, then
alone, could he have validly come to the conclusion that
an Order was necessary and justified. It is very clear
from the sequence of events as also from the facts of the
52
case which I have checked meticulously, that the man
(DC) has never come to the spot prior to 5.00 p.m. that
this was a peaceful assembly and that therefore, there
could not have even been any adverse report from any
quarter. It therefore, leads to the conclusion that even
assuming the Department now produces some so-called
Order, that it was definitely fabricated. I hasten to add
that the passing of any such Order in the above said
circumstances was completely and thoroughly
unjustified. Assuming that some Order is produced, for
the reasons set up by me above, it would be non-est and
void.
These findings are extremely far reaching in-effect for
the following reasons:
(a) That the very premise on which the police commenced
the violence on that day is rendered illegal and
unjustified. While the records justify the position that
there was no Order under Section 144 Cr.PC in
existence, I consider the possibility of a cover-up action
through the production of a fabricated Order, which
again is a void Order. Consequently, the ground on
which, the police justify their action disappears and
makes them the unprovoked aggressors.
(b) There is a requirement of Law that even in the case of a
validly promulgated Order that it must be duly published
and communicated and there is a very substantial reason
for this namely that the persons against whom it is
directed must have reasonable time and a fair
opportunity to disperse or leave the place before coercive
steps are adopted by the police. This is a rule of safety in
order to avoid obvious injuries and also because where
53
unjustified violence is used by the Police, it invariably
provokes and equally violent reaction from the victims.
In the present case, the videos very clearly indicate the
SP and the DC announcing that a Section 144 Cr.PC Order
is in force. They did not direct the persons there to leave
the place. These were not super charged elements
involved in an unlawful assembly, rioting or communal
violence, they were a middle aged group of respectable
citizens assembled in prayer and therefore, given a
chance, they would have left the place. The present
record indicates that no such reasonable time was
afforded. All the videos indicate that there was less than
a minute gap between the announcement and the
action. Almost simultaneously with the announcement
regarding the Order, violent stone throwing from the
two blue tempos commenced and within hardly two to
three minutes, the SP and the other Officers ordered a
lathi-charge. This was thoroughly unjustified, it makes
the police and their Bajrang Dal partners unprovoked
aggressors.
(c ) The law with regard to the use of violence by the Police
in such situations lays down certain well defined stages.
Assuming that a riotous mob refuses to disperse, the next
step is to resort to the use of teargas. The object of using
this gas which irritates the eyes immensely and forces
the victims to run away from that place is intended to
work as a harmless crowd dispersal measure. There are
situations in which, despite the use of teargas, the crowd
does not disperse or the violence does not subside and it
is only then that a lathi-charge can be ordered. In the
present instance, we have a situation whereby the police
blocked the exit routes and it was therefore, a difficult
54
and slow process for the persons to leave that place. This
was deliberately done by the Police so that, they could
target the victims. Even if they did not leave the place
and just continued to stay there, it would have been
necessary to FIRST RESORT TO THE USE OF
TEARGAS, SINCE, IT WAS AVAILABLE, BEFORE
ORDERING A LATHI CHARGE. What the SP and the
Police did was exactly the opposite. A lathi-charge was
ordered without using teargas and after the people had
been beaten up, in order to increase their torture, teargas
shells were indiscriminately thrown all over the place.
This is down right atrocious and indicative of the fact
that the SP and his colleagues had come there with the
pre-conceived idea of using violence against the members
of the Christian community which they did without any
legal or factual justification. In numerous cases, the High
Court(s) and the Supreme Court have clarified that if a
crowd takes time to disperse, that unless the crowd is
violent and is continuing with the violence that there is
no justification for the use of coercive steps.
In the light of the aforesaid position, the irresistible
conclusion is that the resort by the Police to violence on that
evening can never be either justified or condoned. It was part
of a pre-conceived conspiracy on the part of the State
Machinery acting in collusion with the communal elements
that illegally and unjustifiably, and may I add, falsely targeted
and injured and maimed a group of respectable Christians
without there being an iota of justification. Not only does
this action require condemnation in the strongest of terms,
but it is also indicative of a total breakdown of the
Constitutional Machinery where the State forces are
channelised for unlawful means.
55
An analysis of the sequence of events that took place on
Falnir road on the evening of 14th September, 2008 will indicate
that the violence commenced with a volley of stone throwing.
The police have tried to justify the lathi-charge and the use of
teargas on the ground that the persons who had assembled
there attacked them violently with stones and other weapons
and that therefore, the police had to retaliate with a lathi-charge
and the use of teargas. The factual position requires a careful
analysis. I have already recorded the conclusion that the area
in front of the Monastery gate on Falnir road is totally bereft of
any type of stones. Secondly, Mangalore being on the coastal
belt, the only few stones that may be available are pieces of
laterite which is a very soft and crumbly stone somewhat like
brick and hardly capable of being used as a weapon of assault
nor can it cause any injuries.
The record also establishes that the persons assembled at
that spot came there in response to the disturbing news that
the Church had been attacked and desecrated. Those who came
were mainly women, pious citizens, nuns and priests. They
rushed there on hearing of the news principally to find out
what had happened and to pray in reparation. They could not
have come armed with stones nor did they do so. There were
no stones in that area for them to use against the police or the
Bajrang Dal. Where did these stones come from and who
brought them ?
In order to find the answer to this difficult question, one
needs to examine some tell-tale circumstances, firstly, the video
sequences indicate that the stones were in the two blue tempos
carrying the Bajrang Dal activists who in turn used these stones.
CHAPTER-III
THE MYSTERY OF THE
LETHAL ROCK PEBBLES:
56
That gives us a clue to the origin of the stones and the stone
throwing. What did trouble me for sometime was the fact that
after the incident, the police took special care to collect all the
stones and teargas shells and carry them away. What was so
incriminating about this material that it had to be removed from
the scene of offence ?
The answer lies in an examination of the stones in question.
Those that were left behind were picked up by the Journalists
and a few of the victims and these were produced before me.
The stones in question are granite stones of reasonable size and
weight. These stones can only be found along river beds. They
are essentially granite stones which are rounded off due to the
flow of water. They are extremely hard, relatively heavy, can
cause serious injuries like fracture and even death. That is why
I have termed them as lethal. They do not belong to that area
and the question would therefore arise as to how did they come
there? No authority would accept the contention that the
victims who were praying at that spot could have gone all the
way to a river bed and brought them in large quantities. Another
interesting aspect of the matter is that since they had to be
brought from some distance and since the Police did not desire
to leave this incriminating evidence behind that they took them
away and I shall point out presently that the additional reason
was so that they could be used somewhere else.
While inquiring into the incident that took place on
15.09.2008 at Bajpe town, one of the ladies present pointed out
that the few stones that were still lying there after the incident
did not belong to that area and I asked her and others as to
how they came there. These ladies told me that they had been
brought in a tempo by the Bajrang Dal activists at the instance
of the Police. In order to prove this, they brought a Tempo
Driver by the name of Prakash. This man told me that as always
happens, his vehicle is requisitioned by the Police whenever
they want it and it goes without saying that he gets no payment
for the trips and that they are under duress. This Prakash told
57
me that on the day of the incident, the Police called him and
loaded a group of about 20 Bajrang Dal activists in the Tempo,
who in turn directed him to the local river bed. He even took
us to the river-bed and showed us the place from where the
rock-pebbles had been picked up. It was here that a relatively
large number of rock pebbles were loaded into the vehicle and
it was these small rocks that were put into use. Once this
information was received, I cross-checked with the records and
with the witnesses at all the other attack places where identical
stones had been used and it was confirmed in all of them that
the same modus-operandi had been followed.
What emerges from this is extremely serious. Not only
does it conclusively establish that the attacks executed by the
Police who are a State Machinery had been planned and
executed in collusion with communal forces, but more
importantly, that the police had no respect for life and that they
were prepared to permit the use of lethal weapons against
vulnerable, unsuspecting persons belonging to the minority
community.
It is true that mercifully, nobody died in these incidents.
The record, however, indicates that over 418 persons sustained
fractures, that as many as 198 persons sustained head injuries
and that over a 1000 persons sustained painful injuries to
different parts of their bodies, some of them extremely painful.
More importantly, it was these stones that were used to start
every one of the incidents and it is in this background that I
record the clear finding that these stones which come under
the category of dangerous implements or weapons had been
procured and used by the State Machinery in collusion with
communal elements. Again, this can neither be defended,
condoned or justified and can only be condemned. I do not
share the view that merely because the individuals concerned
and responsible for these atrocious criminal acts cannot be
singled out, that the liability which devolves on the State is in
any way diluted.
58
On the morning of Sunday, 14th September 2008, as
indicated in Chapter-I, an unprovoked attack took place on the
Adoration Monastery which is situated hardly 200 mtrs. away
from the Milagres Church, which in turn is located right in the
centre of Mangalore city. Both the Church and the Monastery
are located on the main Falnir road which is a broad main road,
the well known Moti Mahal Hotel being located in the same
vicinity. It is also necessary for me to record that opposite the
Monastery there is a relatively large area occupied by the
Milagres hall which is a considerably big new building housing
two auditoriums. What is important is that this property, like
the hotel, the shops and the other buildings on that road is
surrounded by a fully paved area and it is of significance to
record that there is not a single stone, large or small anywhere
around the entire area. Between the Milagres hall and the
church is a large cemetery which in turn is fully enclosed by a
relatively high compound wall. The only gate to this cemetery
is located on the right side of the main church which is a
considerable distance away from the main road and about one
kilometer away from the Monastery gate. I need to record this
because a series of incidents of immense seriousness took place
on that day on the road in front of the Monastery which
involved violent stone throwing where in granite “rockpebbles”
were used. There are no stones of any type leave
alone rock-pebbles to be found on the Falnir Road or anywhere
in the vicinity. There is no access from the road to the cemetery.
However, I personally checked the whole cemetery in order to
CHAPTER-IV
ATTACK AROUND
MILAGRES CHURCH
59
reassure myself that there were no stones, mores o “graniterock
pebbles” anywhere in the whole of the cemetery. It is a
very old cemetery with hundreds of graves neatly laid out in
lines with monuments over most of them and paved pathways
leading to the graves. There are a number of trees in the
cemetery but one will not find even a single stone even if one
looks for it.
(On a personal note I must clarify that I go to this Cemetery
on every one of my Mangalore visits as I say a prayer there for
my Mother. That also explains how the Staff of the Hall gate
and the Cemetery know me. It was these persons who gave me
a complete account of the Monastery attack and even brought
the Taxi Drivers who were eye-witnesses and interveners. The
only sad part of the matter is that all these small persons were
so terrorized that they all insisted that I meet with them in a
secluded part of the cemetery where nobody could see us and
that their names should not be disclosed. When I asked them
the cause for this intense level of fear they told me that the
Bajrang Dal boys were extremely violent but that the Police
were a hundred times worse and that they were all on the
came side. None of these persons are Christians but quite
inadvertently they had revealed the close nexus between the
State Machinery and the Hindu fundamentalists.)
I have taken special care to inspect the entire area because
all the stones used in the afternoon’s incident were MEDIUM
SIZED GRANITE ROCKS WHICH ARE TOTALLY FOREIGN
TO THIS AREA. WHERE DID THEY COME FROM AND
WHO BROUGHT THEM THERE? The answer to this mystery
is in Chapter III.
As indicated in Chapter-I, the incident wherein the
Monastery was attacked and the Chapel and the Holy Objects
therein were desecrated took place in the earlier part of the
60
day around 10 to 11 a.m. As soon as this happened, the news
of the attack spread rapidly in the whole city and particularly
in the Milagres Parish and many people rushed there. THE
LOCAL TV CHANNELS CARRIED THE NEWS LIVE. THE
INCIDENT SO SHOCKED THE WORLD CONSCIENCE
THAT ALL THE WORLD CHANNELS CARRIED IT- I SAW
IT ON BBC AND CNN IN LONDON. Being a Sunday, and
since it was a hot sunny afternoon, many of the men folk were
probably resting at home because my consistent investigations
show that the majority of people who gathered there fell into
three categories; women, nuns and priests. They were all in
the age group of around 40 to 60 years. Most of them were
Christians who were distressed and alarmed at what had taken
place. I say this because it is of importance to point out that
their reaction was one of shock and perhaps a level of
disappointment over an attack on a religious place. They had
gathered in the lane or small narrow road leading to the
Monastery and the rest of them were on the main road. Being
a Sunday and around noon time, the traffic was relatively light
and the group of about 200 to 300 people who were
assembled as time went on and as the news spread, never
got to more than about 400 persons at the very highest because
very few continued to remain there- the TV channels were
covering the incident live and the videos are quite clear. The
local representatives of the International media channels also
came there and took videos of the incidents as also of the people
gathered at the spot and the Press also took a relatively large
number of photographs between noon and about 5.00 p.m. I
had requested these agencies to show me the videos and the
copies of the photographs from which the following significant
aspects emerge:
(a) that all those persons who had assembled there were
61
essentially devout Christians who were deeply offended
by the incident and basically came there with the idea of
praying in order to make reparation for the attack on the
chapel. They had come there at short notice for a devout
purpose and they hailed from a respectable background.
None of them had any weapons with them. THEY WERE
A PEACFUL GROUP OF SENIOR CITIZENS GATHERED
IN PRAYER.
(b) A careful scrutiny of the material available establishes that
there were no unruly or anti-social elements in or around
the area as this was not a planned assembly nor was there
any occasion for such elements to reach that place. This is
also established from my personal enquiries with well
placed persons in society who included Senior Doctors,
Chartered Accountants, Businessmen, retired people and
members of the clergy.
(c ) The set of taxi drivers who normally park their cars in that
area and who are all non Christians and totally
independent persons and the Security staff of Moti Mahal
Hotel who also belonged to the same category, as also the
staff of another hotel located next door, who are again
totally independent persons, and lastly, the residents of a
high rise building located opposite the cemetery who are
also eye witnesses, all confirmed that it was a peaceful
devout group of respectable citizens all of whom were
either standing in silence or praying and that there was no
slogan shouting violence or any incident that could be
construed as a law and order problem or disturbance of
public peace. For a full FOUR HOURS i.e. till about 5
p.m., for some strange reason, the police did not appear
on the scene; the obvious reason being that after their
collusion with the Chapel attackers in the morning, they
62
had probably realized that they may be answerable for
what had happened. MORE IMPORTANTLY, THIS
FULLY CONFIRMS THE FACT THAT THE SITUATION
WAS TOTALLY PEACFUL.
Sometime around 5.00 p.m, the SP of the area along with
about 20 officers of different ranks, all in uniform, with
helmets and riot-control gear arrived at the place armed with
lathis. They had come in a number of jeeps and police vans.
The police constables were also armed with lathis and other
equipment that is normally carried by the police while dealing
with a violent mob. The records also indicate that apart from
the SP and other police officers, the then DC was also present.
The strange part of the operation was that these vehicles came
from the City Centre and since there were a relatively large
number of them, the majority of them were parked on the main
road adjoining the Church, while about one third of the vehicles
drove through the persons assembled there and stopped on
the road beyond the assembled group opposite the Moti Mahal
Hotel. Why the persons assembled there were blocked-off from
both ends was not apparent at that time, but as I shall presently
indicate, it was part of the Police master-plan which
subsequently became apparent.
Now comes the most significant part of the incident. The
police had brought with them two blue coloured tempos which
were private vehicles (not Police vehicles) bearing yellow
coloured number plates. One of these was brought to the front
of the Police vehicles on each of the two sides, with all the
assembled persons sandwiched between the vehicles. What is
very significant is the fact that each of these tempos was carrying
about 20 young men per vehicle, ALL IN PLAIN CLOTHES.
Each of these persons was armed with lathis or sticks. The
Videos clearly show a fellow sitting above the driver’s cabin of
each Tempo carrying a TRISHUL! I have done considerable
63
research in trying to ascertain the identity of these persons. I
have written to the SP asking him for an explanation with regard
to the presence of these tempos and the occupants of these
vehicles. Neither this man nor his subordinates have tendered
any explanation nor have they remained present on any of the
eleven occasions when asked to do so. The occupants of these
tempos had nothing to do with the police department. The
victims in this and in all the other incidents where the same
modus operandi was followed, have clearly identified these
armed miscreants who occupied the two tempos as local
Bajrang Dal activists. When I discussed this matter with the
Hon’be Dr. Acharya, Home Minister, he told me that they were
CONSTABLES IN PLAIN CLOTHES! (One of this many
witticisms)
From the day the BJP Government came to power in the
State which coincided with Dr. B. V. Acharya assuming the
portfolio of Home Minister, militant activity of all the saffron
brigades took an ugly turn. Open war was declared on the
Christians and the Muslims. The Saffron brigades took charge
of all the Police Stations in the District and dictated terms to
the officers and staff, most of whom willingly fell in line. What
was the immediate fall-out?
(A) the members of the saffron brigade could commit any
atrocities or crimes, they had total immunity from the law
enforcement authorities.
(B) any member of the minority community who had been
threatened, beaten up or looted who went to complain at
the Police Stations was assaulted and arrested under a host
of NON-BAILABLE OFFENCES and put behind bars. It
soon became evident that it was extremely dangerous to
go to a Police Station or call the Police even in the most
serious of cases. It is not surprising therefore that the police
64
brought their partners in crime in the two Tempos openly,
brazenly and brandishing TRISHULS!
The DC and then the SP who had led the convoy had
megaphones with them and they announced at around 5.00
p.m. that Section 144 Orders had been promulgated and that
all those present there must disperse. Strangely enough, the
unanimous evidence is that being peaceful law abiding persons,
the crowd of about 400 to 500 persons decided to leave the
place when asked to do so. Nobody argued with the officers
nor did anybody put forward any resistance to the direction.
THOUGH THE POLICE AND THE D.C. ASKED THE
PERSONS TO DISPERSE, THEY HAD TAKEN THE
PRECAUTION TO ENSURE THAT BOTH THE EXIT-ROUTES
WERE BLOCKED SO THAT NOBODY COULD IN FACT
LEAVE.
Without any provocation from any quarter, the persons
assembled on the road were subjected to a violent attack of
stones BY THE OCCUPANTS OF THE TWO BLUE TEMPOS
from both sides i.e. the Church side and the Moti Mahal side
and the attackers were all the saffron activists who were in the
two tempos that were stationed there. Almost every single
person sustained injuries, some of them on vital parts of their
bodies. As soon as the stone throwing started, the police who
were stationed on virtually all the four sides of the persons
assembled there were ordered by the SP and the Officers to
lathi-charge those present and SIMULTANEOUSLY to use
teargas shells. In the face of this attack, people tried to flee the
area and they were chased and mercilessly beaten up.
There is a Church service i.e. a Sunday Evening Mass,
which was at 5.00 p.m. in the main Milagres Church and about
500 people had come to the Church for the Mass. This incident
wherein the police and their partners from the Bajrang Dal ran
65
riot on the adjoining road took place around the time when the
Mass was about to commence. In order to protect themselves,
people started running off the road into the Church compound
right up to the front verandah and the side verandahs of the
Church and the Parish House which is adjoining. They were
chased by the police and over 200 of them were mercilessly
assaulted in the Church compound and in the precincts of the
Church.
I have confirmed these facts from three sources which are
as follows:
(a) Over 300 of the victims who have shown me the injuries
sustained by them. I had called a public meeting
requesting all persons who knew anything about the
incident to come forward and give their evidence and I
am satisfied from the status and the credibility of each of
them, all of whose versions tally one hundred percent to
the letter, that the attack by the police was totally
unprovoked and that it was started by the Bajrang Dal
Activists who had been brought by them and who
commenced the stone throwing, which was not only naked
aggression but was completely unjustified. From the
nature of the incident and the injuries sustained, what also
emerges is the fact that the attack was savage, barbaric
and brutal. The most serious aspect of the matter is that it
was carefully planned by the SP and DC and those who
had accompanied them and executed with a level of
aggression and brutality that would categorize their action
as serious criminal offences. This attack took place at a
point of time when the Bajrang Dal activists had been
attacking and terrorizing members of the minority
communities all over the Karavali area for over three
months. At two meetings called by me, what was pointed
66
out was that there had been as many as 168 recorded
attacks on members of these communities on roads, public
places, residential areas and the main target was shops
and hotels run by members of the Muslim and Christian
community. Pursuant to the complaint that not even one
offence had been registered anywhere in the District, I had
called on the SP and the Heads of the Police Stations
concerned to explain how and why this had happened.
There was no response. I had also written to the Home
Minister Dr. V. S. ACHARYA BY NAME, to the Chief
Secretary to the Govt. of Karnataka and to the D.G. Police
recording these facts and asking for an explanationnothing
forthcoming, not even the customary paper
denials! What is more incriminating is the fact that the
Bajrang Dal Chief has gone on record twenty-eight times
accepting responsibility for all the attacks and no action
was ever taken against him.
(b) When this incident took place, the Mass service was
disrupted and about 10% of the congregation ran out of
the Church out of fear that the police would enter the
Church. While the evidence indicates that the lathi charge
and the teargas was used even in the Church compound
and the verandahs and front porch of the Church,
mercifully, the police did not resort to any violence inside
the Church. The Priest who was conducting the service,
requested those present not to react, which most of them
did. (It so happens that the neighbour to my mother’s
house, who is a Senior and well respected professional
remained in the Church and escaped injury- he is one of
those who confirms the veracity of the incident as he had
seen the Police taking up positions shortly earlier when
he was on the way to the Church for the evening Mass)
Those who ran outside were eye-witnesses to the police
67
violence and to the brutality and a few of them sustained
injuries. Over 100 eye witnesses have deposed to the fact
that the persons in plain clothes created very interesting
evidence by breaking a few glasses and damaging some
of the Police vehicles in order to support the allegation
that the crowd had retaliated. I have carefully checked the
possibility of this taking place, because if those present
had been attacked, even the Law permits them to retaliate
in self defence. This did not happen because none of those
present had any weapons with them, most of them were
in the age group of over 50, again, a majority of them being
women and the possibility of returning the stone throwing
was also eliminated by the fact that the attack from the
police was so sudden that there was no chance for any of
them to have even picked up a stone and hurled it back. I
have considerable experience of the intelligence levels of
the Dakshina Kannada Police particularly in their favorite
area of ENCOUNTER KILLINGS- they are incapable of
even lying intelligently! The Videos are eloquent on the
point of who damaged the vehicles. As happened in the
Gulf War where the Americans shot their own partners,
the minor injuries to the police were from their own
associates VIRTUALLY SELF INFLICTED TO CREATE
FALSE EVIDENCE.
(c ) One of the eye-witnesses is a senior Lawyer who had come
for the Church service. He was not a member of the group
that had been attacked. His son, also a Lawyer of some
seniority was present along with his father. They had
brought with them a family visiting from the US who had
expressed the desire to see the Church. All these six
persons who are independent and again persons of
unimpeachable credibility have stated that it is the police
who indulged in the unprovoked and unjustified violence,
68
that there was no resistance or counter attack and
unfortunately, all the six of them had to leave the Church
because of the after effects of the teargas. They were
required to seek medical relief but none of them were
hospitalized. They got into their vehicle and drove towards
the closest hospital which is the WENLOCK Hospital at
the City Centre and it is their evidence as also the evidence
of those who fled along that road that after the incident,
the occupants of the two tempos were joined by several of
their companions all waiting on motorcycles with saffron
flags who ran wild on the City Centre and the adjoining
roads and even looted and damaged some of the shops in
the area.
(d) The police claim to have rounded up and arrested as many
as 28 young men on the allegation that they had indulged
in rioting and that they had damaged the police vehicles
and attacked the police. The police also took away as many
as 48 two wheelers from the Church compound on the
allegation that these were involved in the offences. These
were not returned for several weeks and the poor owners
were blackmailed into paying large sums of money to the
police to get their vehicles back. There is no record
available with the police in respect of the seizure of the 48
vehicles obviously because it was wholly illegal. Also, the
allegation that all those arrested were involved in the
incident is fully established to be false because my
investigation indicates that in order to create evidence
against the Christian community, a few of the vehicles were
damaged in keeping with the pre-conceived plan.
Incidentally, in the course of investigation conducted into
as many as seven encounters carried out by the police in
Dakshina Kannada District in the previous one year, I
found that the same pattern is followed whereby evidence
69
of a so-called attack on the police and their vehicles was
fabricated in order to justify the cold-blooded murder of
so-called anti-social elements. In the case of eleven of the
boys who had been arrested and who happened to be
students, my investigations indicate that four of them were
pulled out by the police from the Taj Mahal Hotel, two of
them from the adjoining sweet stall and the other five from
shops and restaurants located more than one kilometer
away from the incident. After running wild, in order to
support themselves and their illegal activities on that
evening, the police indiscriminately picked up persons
from all over the place. NOT ONE OF THESE ARRESTS
CAN BE JUSTIFIED OR DEFENDED.
THE CLEAN-UP OPERATION:
This incident did not last very long and I would put it
down to about half an hour. What follows is something
absolutely unprecedented. The police went around
meticulously picking up all the stones that had been used and
replaced them in the two tempos which then drove away WITH
THE ROCK-PEBBLES. Initially, I was amazed and impressed
at the unbelievable action of the Police to clean up the mess
that they had made. What was more interesting was that they
took the trouble to retrieve as many of the teargas shells as
they could find and these were also taken away. As I shall point
out subsequently, this was 100% guilty conduct and the police
did not want to leave this damaging evidence there.
Unfortunately for them, a few of these stones and the teargas
shells were left behind and these were picked up by Journalists
and some of the victims who produced them at the time when
I held the public enquiry at the Milagres Hall and at several
other places. The short reason for this was that the attack was
pre-planned and if the stones were left there, the question would
arise as to how they came there and who brought them, certainly
70
not a group of elderly devout persons who had come to pray
over the attack on a place of worship; secondly, as I shall indicate
later on, the teargas that was used was outdated by SIX YEARS,
the gas that emerged was 100% toxic which could have proved
fatal; this was not an accident and the Head of the Police
Department i.e. the SP and the Officers who were accompanying
him were fully aware of these facts and did not want to leave
behind damaging evidence.
After a very careful assessment of the evidence of what
happened on Falnir Road on the afternoon of 14th September,
my conclusions are:
(a) That there was zero justification for the promulgation of
the so-called Section 144 Order by the DC as there was
absolutely no indication of any breach of public peace,
there was not even the slightest material to support the
view that there would be resort to violence or that it would
create a law and order problem and more importantly,
that the persons had assembled for prayer and not for any
unlawful purpose.
WHETHER OR NOT AN ORDER WAS PROMULGATED
OR THE AUTHORITIES WERE LYING IS IN SERIOUS DOUBT
BECAUSE THE ORDER IS NOT FORTHCOMING DESPITE
TWO WRITTEN NOTICES, THOUGH I CONCEDE THAT IT
COULD EASILY HAVE BEEN FABRICATED LATER.
(b) That the attack on the congregation was pre-planned and
executed by the State Machinery for which the culpability
rests entirely with the State.
(c ) That over 400 persons including 80 members of the Clergy
i.e. Priests and Nuns sustained injuries in the incident.
(d) That the violence used by the police in the Church
compound and around the Church while the religious
71
service was going on, was thoroughly unjustified. More
importantly, what stands out from the nature of injuries
and the parts of the body on which they were inflicted is
that the force used was not only excessive but SAVAGE
and BRUTAL. While the law requires the degree to be
MINIMAL in all these cases it was abnormal and
impermissibly excessive. While the law allows a lathicharge
only for purposes of DISPERSING the crowdhere
it was used to injure, maim and possibly kill. What
was most horrifying was that the Police had given the
assailants Lathis which were freely used and further that
the victims were FOLLOWED all the way to the Church
and assaulted even there.
(e) That further, the commencement of violence was also
unjustified because nobody had refused to leave the place,
when asked to do so. In actual fact, what was done was
that the police sealed off the exit routes by stationing
themselves on either side, so that, they could virtually beat
up all those who were present.
(f) That the arrests which took place were thoroughly
unjustified as all those who were picked up were not even
present when the incident took place. The tell-tale
circumstance is that the stone throwing and the lathi charge
was so violent THAT NOT A SINGLE ONE OF THOSE
PRESENT ESCAPED INJURIES. None of the boys arrested
had any injuries on them which is impossible if they were
participants. The same applies to the vehicles seized as
none of them were damaged (apart from being
blackmailed for money, the owners reported to me that
every one of these vehicles had been virtually stripped at
the police station and the owners were told that they would
be locked up if they complained).
72
(g) That the looting of the shops in the area was done at the
instance of the very anti-social elements who had been
brought by the police in the two tempos to start the trouble.
In totality, this incident was shameful and unpardonable
and I hold the State Machinery 100% responsible for what had
happened. There can be no extenuating circumstances pleaded.
At a subsequent point of time, the State Home Minister –Dr.
V.S. Acharya tried to put forward the plea that he had some
videos and photographs which were shown to me indicating
so-called damage to police vehicles and his contention was that
the incident was started by the Christians assembled there who
turned violent and attacked the police. This is absolutely false.
Interestingly enough, in every one of the attacks by the police,
the Home Minister states that they were accompanied by
persons who took videos and photographs which he seeks to
rely on. This conclusively establishes my finding that the attack
was preplanned even to the extent of taking photographers to
record so-called evidence in support of the false plea that the
police were the victims. In some of the subsequent incidents,
the Home Minister claims that the police had sustained some
minor injuries. My conclusion is that these were self inflicted
in keeping with the beautiful fabrication that is done by the
police in all cases of false encounters.
Lastly, it is most regrettable for me to have to record that
the conspiracy goes all the way up. The DC and the SP would
never have dared to plan and execute the incidents of these
proportions even if they were 100% in collusion with communal
elements who had been attacking the minorities unless they
had the full blessing and sanction of the State Government
represented by the Home Minister and the Chief Minister.
While, I find the role of the Home Minister totally incriminating
what is unfortunate is that the Chief Minister who visited
Mangalore immediately after the incident in every statement
73
fully justified the Police atrocities and came out with allegations
that there had been conversions taking place which had
provoked the members of the VHP, RSS and Bajrang Dal and
which in turn gave rise to the attacks. I find it inconceivable to
connect this charge with the incident because there is no nexus
between so called conversions and state violence against
minorities. What is more important is that I had asked the
Chief Minister and the Home Minister to justify their charge
regarding the alleged conversions both in writing and
personally on two occasions in public before the Media and
on both occasions, they conceded the fact that there was zero
evidence in support of this conversion charge.
The Constitution of India forbids State Machinery to be
used against minorities that too for CRIMINAL PURPOSES,
but this is precisely what happened on the afternoon of 14th
September 2008. The conduct of the DC and the SP on that
afternoon is so very reprehensible that it is surprising that these
men are still continued in service. Even if they were acting on
instructions from communal elements supported by the Heads
of Governments, their personal misconduct can never be
condoned AS WAS HELD AT THE NUREMBURG TRIALS OF
NAZI OFFICERS. An indication of the patronage is evident
from the fact that despite over a 100 written representations,
the Home Minister and the Chief Minister refused to shift these
two Officers out of the District and fully and completely
supported their actions which is conclusive evidence of
collusion. The Government bosses were so pleased with their
performance that they were rewarded with promotions!
This was the incident in which the hate factor
manifested itself in all its gory dimensions. While going
through the hospital, I met a middle aged man who had nothing
to do with the incident because he runs a small little shop on
the main road which sells newspapers and odd items. This shop
74
is his livelihood, he opens the place at 5.00 a.m. and closes it
after 10.00 p.m. because his turnover is very small and the longer
he sits there, the better for his business. The hotel staff and taxi
drivers establish the fact that he was seated inside the little
shop when for no reason the lathi wielding police smashed the
place. He ran out and he was mercilessly assaulted and fell
unconscious. One of the taxi drivers who knew him put him in
the car and took him to the hospital. He was hospitalized for
three weeks till he recovered from his injuries, mercifully he
had no fractures but one of his kidneys was severely damaged
and the other one was also injured. He has had to take huge
loans to restore his shop and his family is in a bad way because
his health has completely broken down due to kidney failure.
He has not received a rupee of compensation because in order
to defend themselves, the Police contended that his injuries
were because he was hit by a vehicle which also smashed his
shop and that it was a hit and run case.
What is worse than this is the fact that an old Nun, aged
69 years, was hit on the head and on the face by the Police. She
was hospitalized for three weeks but the injury on the face was
so serious that she has lost her eye. As indicated earlier, the
majority of persons present were Senior Citizens and this factor
alone is enough to indicate that there was zero justification for
assaulting them through a lathi charge and teargas as they were
incapable of causing any law and order problems. This is a
special circumstance of which I have taken serious note and an
aggravating factor against the State. The position of the State
Government is virtually defenceless because these persons
were not very mobile due to their age and the evidence
indicates that not one of them escaped without injuries which
again grossly compounds the culpability of the State.
75
Whereas the Police had sufficient assistance from their
partners in crime as far as procurement of the lethal rock
pebbles that were used in the attack incidents, when it came
to the use of teargas, they had to depend on their own
armoury. The police are invariably stocked with teargas shells
because it is used as a very effective crowd disperser. The gas
in question is harmless to human life even if inhaled in small
quantities, but, it does have toxic side effects if there is a large
and constant intake. The gas in question is commonly known
as mustard gas and it has a very harsh and irritating effect on
the eyes. It causes almost unbearable burning and the eyes
keep watering very heavily as it irritates the tear ducts. The
victim is therefore left with no option except to run away from
the gas to the nearest water source and seek relief. The
authorities are permitted to use this gas in appropriate cases
because research has shown that it does not cause any short
term or long term damage to the human eyes. While the
authorities in many countries prefer to use safer systems such
as water cannons for crowd dispersal also for the reason that
in cases of industrial action and situations where the crowd
consists of seasoned and experienced persons, they invariably
come equipped with protective gear for their eyes such as
riding goggles and they also carry wet cloth to withstand the
gas. The limitation is also because such seasoned mobs
immediately pick up the cylinder and throw it back into the
police lines and it is the police who also face the consequences.
CHAPTER-V
USE OF OUT DATED AND TOXIC
TEARGAS SHELLS BY THE
MANGALORE POLICE
76
The universal rule is therefore that a sufficient warning should
be given to the mob to disperse and that the teargas shells
should be fired from the dispenser initially in front of the
assembled people, so that, they cannot throw them back and
very progressively, that the distance be increased in order to
push the mob backwards and force them to run away, because
by then, the entire area is saturated by the gas in question.
Coming to the facts of the present case, I have already
held that no reasonable time was afforded to the victims to
leave the area and that the exit routes were deliberately
blocked, so that, even if they decide to leave, it would be a
slow process. It is only if they were defiant, refused to leave
or turned violent that the next step of using teargas would
have been justified. In this case, that stage had never been
reached and like the objective of the lathi-charge which was
in order to target, hurt and injure the victims, the use of teargas
was directed solely with the purpose of torturing them. Let
me add here that the aggravating factor was that the Police
CHASED the helpless victims, followed them and even used
the teargas up to half a kilometer away in the Church
compound and the verandahs of the Church, for which, there
is absolutely no defence or justification.
I, now come to the most incriminating aspect of this part
of the case:
Why were the police so keen to retrieve and take away
the empty teargas shells ? These cannot be reused and they
are of absolutely no scrap value. A lot of effort was put in at
every one of the places where the teargas was used to collect
all the empty shells and take them away. Characteristically,
our Police rarely do a perfect job, as happened on these
occasions which explains how the Journalists and the victims
found quite a few of the empty shells. Teargas cartridges are
77
not available with any source other than the Police. Even
illegal ammunition or illegally purchased cartridges are
available with many sources but not teargas shells. These are
specially manufactured and supplied to the Police and they
have distinctive markings. These include the date of
manufacture and the expiry date. It is not permissible to use
the shells after the expiry date and I shall straight away
indicate the reason for it.
While, I was Judge of the Bombay High Court, I held an
enquiry into a serious case of fire and there were also
disturbances, after the incident, where the police used teargas.
During the enquiry, it emerged that the fire extinguishers had
been used after the expiry date and that not only were they
ineffective, even though, they discharged a lot of gas which
did not extinguish the flames but the serious aspect which
emerged was that after the expiry date, the gas turns extremely
toxic and life threatening. In that enquiry, the set of persons
who were involved in fighting the flames mainly the firemen
were hospitalized for up to four weeks after inhaling the toxic
gas and their lives were somehow saved after protracted
medical treatment. The second set of persons on whom the
police had used teargas which was found to be just 40 days
after the expiry of the shells complained of vomiting, acute
dizziness and other toxic symptoms which lasted up to two
to three weeks. The effects of the toxic teargas were
comparatively diluted because it had got dissipated by the
atmospheric air, since, it was an open road.
Every single one of the victims on whom the teargas had
been used by the Police not only in the Milagres incident but
at the other five places complained of the same symptoms
indicated by me above. They had to take medical treatment
at their own expense for up to 2 to 3 weeks. None of them
78
were able to attend to their work during this period of time
and in as many as 187 cases totally, they were required to be
hospitalized for intensive detoxification. In the course of my
investigation, I visited the Fr. Mullers Hospital in Mangalore,
where a large number of these persons had been treated. The
Doctors confirmed that they were suffering from acute toxic
side effects due to the teargas, about 19 of them were admitted
to the Hospital and some of them had to stay there for as long
as 2 to 3 weeks. What caused this toxification ?
The teargas shells that were retrieved were carefully
inspected by me. NOT A SINGLE SHELL WAS WITHIN
ITS EXPIRY DATE. The incident has taken place in
September 2008 and the expiry dates on the shells were all
of the years before 2004 or 2002 making them between 4 to 6
years beyond the expiry date. This is the answer with regard
to why the gas in question was acutely toxic. Again, it was
virtually, the Hand of God that saved the hundreds and
thousands of these victims, because in some of the
subsequent cases, the teargas was extensively used inside a
Church as happened in Pemmanur and in the Primary
School at Kulsekhar, possibly because of the dilution of
atmospheric air and the fact that the victims were running
away, none of them died but the fact remains that they were
subjected to intense agony, torture, expenditure and loss
and exposed to a life threatening situation. This is the level
of seriousness that is involved in this case and nothing can
condone the police authorities in Mangalore for having acted
in this callous manner which was deliberate and totally
avoidable at the same time it is necessary to highlight the fact
that this was Criminal Negligence which was definitely lifethreatening.
Not one of the Police Officers starting with the
SP and everyone of his associates can plead ignorance
because they used these shells on at least a dozen occasions,
79
despite the fact that the local TV channels had noticed that
they were outmoded and dangerous and this was
highlighted in the Electronic Media and in the Print Media
as early as on 14/15.09.2008 itself, even after which, they
continued to use them. That the Police were conscious of
this danger is self evident from the fact that special efforts
were made to collect the empty cartridges in the hope that
this evidence would not go public.
Apart from the expert evidence in the Bombay case, which
consisted of the best brains in the field, I had occasion to do
considerable research into the subject in that enquiry which
fully confirmed the above view. In the Mangalore case, I first
consulted two of the leading Eye Specialists who told me that
if the teargas was as it should be that it would not cause any
damage to the eyes, but, when I pointed out that it was beyond
the expiry date by 4 to 6 years, the immediate opinion was
that it would have turned toxic and would have caused
blindness. The Doctors in the hospital confirmed that this
toxic gas did have extremely harsh and far reaching effects
on the victims. I also consulted the experts from the
Department of Chemistry from two of the leading institutions
who confirmed the view that once the expiry date was over,
the gas was rendered toxic and that it would have been life
threatening.
What was the attitude of the Government at different
levels ?
(a) The SP was confronted in writing with the facts and the
above conclusions and asked for an explanation, none was
forthcoming. Since, he ignored every written
communication, I telephoned him personally and told him
that I would come to the Police Conference Room and
hold a sitting, because I want an explanation from his
80
Department, he refused to fix up the meeting. What could
be worse guilty conduct ?
(b) Notice in writing was sent to the D.G. Police at Bangalore,
recording the facts and the aforesaid material and he was
asked to explain how the Police Department could
endanger human life by using such toxic substances. The
letters were not even acknowledged. Several reports
appeared in the Press. The Correspondent of the Times
of India confronted him personally and he smiled and
answered that nobody looks at expiry dates when using
material from the armory and that the Mangalore Police
must have overlooked this. To a specific question, as to
why then if they were not 100% guilty were the Mangalore
Police so particular to destroy the incriminating evidence,
the worthy Gentleman who has since retired had no
answer.
(c) A letter was addressed to the Home Minister – Dr.
Acharya, by name as the Police Department comes under
him, asking for his explanation as to how the Police
Department could have endangered thousands of lives
using toxic gas. I will say to the credit of Dr. Acharya
that he is an extremely nice person whom I know well, he
is also very pleasant. Despite all this, neither he nor
anybody from the Home Department replied the letter
nor was there any explanation forthcoming. In view of
the seriousness of the matter, it exploded in the Media
and the Press asked for an explanation from Dr. Acharya,
he smiled and gave them the following reply:
“It is an extremely small matter because nobody had
died. The police might have overlooked the expiry date. Even
if the shells are used beyond the expiry date, my opinion is
that like medicines which have gone beyond the expiry date,
81
at the most, they will not be effective.”
With great respect, I disagree totally because I have set
out above an indefensible case against the State Government,
to which, there can be no answer. It is merciful that this Doctor
is not practicing as otherwise he would have been cheerfully
treating his patients with expired drugs and would have
reduced the population of the State!
(d) In view of the seriousness, a letter was officially
addressed to the Chief Minister and the Chief Secretary
to the Government along the same lines as set out above
which was neither acknowledged nor has any explanation
been tendered – in this case, there can be no explanation
except to admit criminal negligence.
It is pathetic to say the least, that the State of Karnataka
has endangered the lives of over 2300 persons who were
directly involved in the incidents where teargas was used
and this number excludes the 618 young primary students
of the Parish School in Kulsekhar where the gas was
extensively used inside the school building. In any other
part of the world, not only would the State have had to
compensate each of the victims to the extent of at least a million
Dollars, the Ministers concerned and the Head of the Police
Department would have had to resign and all the Police
Officers who used the gas would have been dismissed from
service and would have gone behind bars. In Karnataka, there
is not even an apology and the entire bunch of culprits have
so far gone scot-free – some of them even rewarded with
promotions on the personal Orders of the Home Minister
and Chief Minister. ARE THERE NO LIMITS TO
CALLOUSNESS?
82
Kulsekhar was once regarded as a suburb of Mangalore,
but with the expansion of the city, it has become a very busy
part of the main stream. The Church of St. Joseph which is a
relatively large Church has an office adjoining the Church.
There is a Parish Hall located in the opposite part of the
compound. The Church has a big area of land surrounding it
and the Church itself is located almost one kilometer inside
from the main road. There is a school which is situated between
the Church and the entrance gate on the Main Road. This school
is essentially a primary school and is run by the nuns who have
their convent next to the school. There are approximately 600
to 700 young children in this school.
On the morning of Monday, 15th September 2008, a very
very serious incident took place in the Church compound. Prior
to dealing with that incident, it is necessary for me to record
that when I met the Parishioners and all those who were present
when the incident took place as also the victims, they were
extremely agitated and in a state of fear. The reason for this
was because for months preceding the incident, the activists of
the Bajrang Dal had been terrorizing the members of the
minority community in the entire area. I am summarizing what
precisely had happened:
(a) That large number of youth who came under the category
of persons with no known occupation, were going around
CHAPTER-VI
SAVAGE ATTACK BY THE
POLICE IN THE PRECINCTS OF
ST. JOSEPH’S CHURCH,
KULSEKHAR.
83
the area on motorcycles with saffron flags on them. They
would tease and abuse mainly Christian girls and women
as there is a large representation of the Christian
community in that area. In the case of the men folk, they
were abused in vile language and assaulted for no reason.
The Christian shops were systematically targeted because
these lawless elements would enter the place, pick up
whatever they wanted and walk out. If the payment was
asked for, the shopkeeper was assaulted.
(b) There are a few garages in the area where these miscreants
would come with their vehicles and insist on free service.
What was really bad was that not only would they not
pay, but if the vehicle had to be left there for any length of
time, they would pick up whichever vehicle was lying at
the premises and drive off with it. Needless to say, no
money was ever forthcoming.
(c) That the same bunch of persons whose numbers had risen
to about 200 would go around the entire area even to the
residential houses behaving in a rowdy and uncivilized
manner shouting and disturbing the peace, on whichever
occasion somebody tried to check them, they would resort
to violence.
(d) The most offensive part of the operation was that the nights
were the most difficult time. These fellows would walk to
whichever Bar or Liquor Shops they found in the area and
help themselves to unlimited quantities of alcohol, after
which, they would roam the area dead drunk, eat whatever
they wanted without paying for it and beat up anybody
who was found on the roads. It was impossible to control
these people because they were under the direct protection
of two police officers, a Circle Inspector by the name of
84
Jayanth Shetty and one Inspector – Ganapathy. None of
the victims dared to go to the Police Station for fear of
being beaten up and arrested on a false charge.
According to the local residents, the situation had become
extremely precarious. On the one hand, they were the victims
of various forms of violence/exploitation and secondly, even
though they knew who was responsible, it was impossible to
do anything. Attempts have been made to complain to the
higher police authorities i.e. to the SP by the name of Satish
Kumar. This man turned out to be more rabid than the others
and warned those who went to him that if they lodge any
complaints against the Saffron activists that he would
personally see to it that the Complainants were thrown into
prison and that every bone in their bodies would be broken.
Having seen the brutality that this SP Satish Kumar is capable
of, he needs to be categorized as a sadist and a savage, even by
Police standards.
What was even more serious was the fact that these persons
were interfering with every aspect of community life. They
were around the markets intimidating and terrorizing the
vegetable vendors who were mainly Christian women who
brought their fruit and vegetable from the villages, they were
interfering with the sale of meat on the ground that they were
against Cow slaughter, they would intimidate the transporters
and collect mamool from them on the ground that it was
protection money and in these areas, the result of their
aggression was that every member of the minority communities
was their victim regardless of age, sex or occupation.. In other
words, there was a total breakdown of the law and order
situation with absolutely no relief available. As I have
indicated earlier, the SP and the Police were totally on the side
of these anti-social elements. According to the residents of the
85
area, while the Bajrang Dal activists were bad enough, the ones
who were far more dangerous were those who belonged to the
Sree Rama Sena. While they generally acted together, most of
the time, the Sena activists would target the young girls and
women. There was also an open demand that nobody should
attend the Churches, as a result of which, the Parishioners found
that they were not able to practice their religion.
It is in this general atmosphere of terror that the attack on
the adoration Monastery took place on the morning of Sunday,
14th September, 2008 and this was followed by the violence let
loose by the police and their partners on the afternoon and
evening of that day. These incidents had been showed live on
the TV Channels. Shock waves had spread through the entire
city and the members of the Christian community felt extremely
agitated over the incidents and it was decided to hold a mass
in the Church on the morning of Monday, 15th September, 2008
as an act of reparation. The mass was attended by a congregation
of about 200 persons, the majority of whom were women. This
was a purely religious service, but since it was a working day,
the number of boys / men who attended the mass were
relatively few. When the mass got over, strangely enough, it
was noticed that the police had arrived on the scene and
stationed themselves on the Main Road outside the Church gate.
As soon as the congregation started coming out from the
Church, the police came into the compound along with their
vehicles and the convoy of vehicles was led by a tempo full of
Bajrang Dal, Ram Sena activists. In this case, every one of the
witnesses / victims were quite emphatic about the identity of
these fellows. Identical to the pattern followed at Milagres, on
the previous day, the tempo came in front of the Church and
the congregation was pelted with stones (the rock pebbles which
were lethal missiles) The bad part of the situation was that more
86
than 200 to 300 persons who had come to escort their children
to the school, the teachers and several other visitors to the
Church and the Parish were all assaulted. The police
immediately resorted to a lathi charge, whereupon, everyone
present tried to save themselves by running into the adjoining
buildings. The police and the other miscreants who had
accompanied them went into the buildings and mercilessly
assaulted all those who were present there.
Several of the women in order to save their lives ran into
the school building and hid themselves there, and it was here
that was one the most horrifying parts of the incident took place.
The police decided to storm the school building. There were
over 600 children apart from more than 50 teachers and nuns
in the school building. When the Officers instructed the police
to enter the building, the headmistress ran to the gate and locked
it. Inspector Ganapathy took out his service revolver,
threatened her and fired it at the lock, breaking it open and
ordered the police to enter the place. The nuns and the teachers
tried to close the grill that led to the school, but this was also
broken open. Inspector Ganapathy was armed with a huge lathi.
He entered the office of the Headmistress who is a nun and
warned her that he would break her head if she tried to obstruct
the police. He gave two violent blows on the table and smashed
the glass to pieces. The flying glass caused multiple facial
injuries- luckily she was wearing spectacles which saved her
eyes-her glasses were shattered. The nun ran into the toilet out
of fear and the police officer kept kicking at the door warning
her to come out or else he would break it open, he finally kicked
the door open and when the num came out, he landed half a
dozen blows on different parts of her body.
The police had been ordered to burst teargas shells all
over the building in order to flush out anybody who was hidden
87
there. They did not care for the fact that there were 616 school
children between the age of 5 and 15, all of whom were
terrorized. This excluded the teachers and other staff
members who numbered about 73 persons. Teargas shells
were hurled into the corridors and even into the classrooms
and the children screamed in panic and fled for their lives.
The police had gone out of control and were beating up
everybody inside. Had they landed any of the lathi blows on
the young children, there would have been a couple of hundred
fatalities. The children were extremely swift, were able to dodge
the police, they ran out of the building and disappeared. Many
of their parents and guardians were not so lucky and were
assaulted. The Police were ordered by Ganapathy and other
Officers, one of whom was recognized as Jayanth Shetty who
was directing the operation to even go up to the terrace and
bring anybody who was found there. It so happened that the
miscreants who had accompanied the police had already taken
up positions on the terrace from where they were hurling
whatever they could find including roof tiles at the persons
who were running away near the entrance to the building. This
continued for about 45 minutes until the building was
completely vacated. This attack was unprovoked, it was
unjustified and to my mind, every single member of the police
force and those who accompanied them should be awarded
the most deterrent sentences for having entered a primary
school building, seriously endangered the lives of over 600
young children and over 200 adults. Nothing can condone an
attack of this type. Ironically enough, the Home Minister of the
State tried to tell me that some persons threw tiles from the
terrace at the police and that this was justification for the police
to enter the building and assault the nuns, teachers, staff
members and children. There is complete Video evidence of
88
the entire incident and I have carefully checked the Home
Minister’s version. The only occupants of the school building
were the school children and the teachers almost all of whom
were women. The only males in the building were the assailants
who consisted of the police and their Bajrang Dal / Rama Sene
activists. While the Police were smashing everything inside
and mercilessly assaulting whomever they could find, their
accomplices had gone up to the terrace and were throwing
missiles at those who were trying to escape. One of the good
things about Acharya is that he never gets his facts correct !
One of the special features of this case is the fact that the
area was swarming with the Bajrang Dal activists who took up
their positions on the main road and at the gate of the Church.
So perfect was the planning of this assault that these persons
who were armed with sticks, chains and iron rods started
assaulting those who tried to escape the police assault inside
the compound and virtually drove them back. This was the
reason why we have the very high number of injured persons
running into 288 because those who were driven back could
only run into the school and they were mercilessly beaten by
the police who cornered them inside the building. An indication
of the police brutality is evident from the fact that 22 women
who ran into the toilets to escape the attack including two of
them who hid in the toilet attached to the Head Mistresses Office
were pulled out and beaten by the Police. NOT A SINGLE
STAFF MEMBER OR EMPLOYEE OF THE SCHOOL HAS
ESCAPED WITHOUT INJURIES, SOME OF THE TEACHERS
RECEIVED AS MANY AS 12 TO 15 LATHI-BLOWS. As many
as eleven of the nuns were also assaulted. Sr. Salma, aged 61
years, received as many as 14 lathi-blows. A retired nun, Sr.
Denezia, aged 71 years, was assaulted on her back with lathis
and it took her eight weeks to be able to recover from the
89
injuries, but in her case, the Bajrang Dal activists who were
mixed up with the police cornered her and tore her clothes in
an attempt to physically molest her.
Though, I have avoided setting out the names of the victims
as they have requested me as far as possible not to disclose the
identity, since the police and the Bajrang Dal would target them,
I shall only set out the initials of a few of the persons who were
more seriously assaulted in order to indicate how serious the
incident was. According to the witnesses and victims, one of
the Police Officers apart from Ganapathy who was leading the
assault and ordering the police to mercilessly thrash everybody
around was Jayanth Shetty. The name of SI Prakash also
figures among the Police Officers who have been identified.
As far as this incident is concerned, we do not have the full and
complete coverage on video, because even though, the Press
and TV persons arrived on the scene, they were prevented from
entering the premises for sometime by the Bajrang Dal and Ram
Sena volunteers who had taken up positions at the gate. I must
mention here that we would probably have had a couple of
hundred deaths due to the police savagery and inhalation of
teargas from among the over six hundred school children, but
it so happened that when they panicked and ran towards the
gate, the persons there allowed the children to run out. I would
not give them credit for this kindness, but it is obvious that
having planned the assault, they did not want it to take a serious
turn and therefore, preferred to allow the children to escape.
Apart from the two nuns whose injuries I have set out above,
the following is a list of a cross Section of those who were badly
injured:
Mrs. G. G. who is a diabetes patient, aged 52 years, received
atleast a dozen lathi-blows and was hospitalized for two
months.
90
Mrs. A. M. who is a Parishioner, aged 32 years, was slapped
on the face by a Police Inspector, who then caught her by the
hair while two of the miscreants removed her gold earrings.
Mr. F. D. aged 54 years, had come to pray in the Church
and was not able to escape the assault because according to
him, the few persons who tried to take shelter in the Church
were chased out by the Police who had entered the Church
and were beaten in front of the Church. When he was assaulted
by the Police, he fell on the ground and the Police Officer present
joined those who were beating him saying that he should be
finished off. He was beaten unconscious and ended up with
37 injuries including a fracture of his arm. He was out of action
for eight weeks.
Mr. F.M. aged 35 years, who had also come to the Church
to pray as was his daily practice before going to his workshop
where he repairs two-wheelers, was chased out of the Church
and beaten up by the police. He was so badly injured that he
had six stitches on his head and three stitches on his elbow. He
was treated in the City hospital. He was found lying
unconscious outside the Church and was taken to the Hospital
by the nuns after the assault was over. He informed me that he
received lathi-blows initially, but that the Police Officers
thereafter KICKED him with their boots until he lost
consciousness. He showed me the injury marks on his back
and scars all over his body. What was really sad was the fact
that his right wrist was bandaged due to a dislocation and he
informed me that he had not been able to work for weeks after
the assault.
Mr. R.D. aged 43 years, is one more person who was pulled
out of the Church and beaten by the police. In these three cases,
the victims seem to indicate that it was the Bajrang Dal activists
91
who were using more violence than the Police. This person
was injured on the face both hands all over his legs and mainly
on his back. He tried to run into the Office but was chased and
beaten unconscious and he remembers regaining consciousness
in the hospital. (I have at the request of the victims also not
referred to the hospital records. There are two reasons for this,
the first being that at the relevant time, the Police and the
Bajrang Dal both of whom were ruling the District had also
taken the precaution of intimidating the Doctors and hospital
staff to such an extent that no proper records were maintained
even in the case of injured victims, the Doctors themselves told
me that they were afraid to speak or disclose any information
orally and further more that the anti social elements were
walking into the hospitals and tampering with the records and
case papers. When I deal with the horrifying atrocities visited
on a Senior Editor at the instance of the Home Minister and his
Doctor son (both of whom are Doctors), it would be self evident
that medical certificates and case papers were hard to come
by. That is why I spent hundreds of man hours personally
meeting each of the victims and cross checking their injuries
and the veracity.
Sr. S.P. aged 24 years was a young trainee nun who tried
to run away when the assaults started. She was followed by
two young policemen and two activists. They finally cornered
her in one of the corridors. She was not assaulted but these
persons virtually attacked her physically, her clothes were torn
and she would have probably been outraged except for the fact
that some of the staff members started screaming and threw a
whole lot of water on those persons. In the confusion, the young
nun was able to escape from there and hide in the building.
All those who had come to her assistance who were women
were physically manhandled and badly beaten up.
92
As indicated earlier, over 70 of the injured persons were
women i.e. teachers and staff members out of whom, only a
small number are Christians. So serious were the injuries and
so traumatic was the effect that the school was seriously
handicapped for over six weeks after the incident. Though, it
was several days after the assault and the place had been
cleaned up, I found the walls and the corridors of the school
which included the official toilet and classrooms extensively
blood stained.
THE SHEER TERROR AND HORROR WHICH THE
POLICE LET LOOSE IN THE SCHOOL IS EVIDENT FROM
THE FACT THAT FIVE OF THE SCHOOL CHILDREN
BETWEEN THE AGE OF SEVEN AND NINE WHO RAN
UPTO THE TERRACE AND WERE TERRIFIED WHEN THEY
SAW THE POLICE COMING UP THERE, OPENED ONE OF
THE WATER TANKS WHICH HAD VERY LITTLE WATER
IN IT, GOT IN AND CLOSED THE LID. THEY REMAINED
THERE FOR TWO AND A HALF HOURS AND WOULD
HAVE PROBABLY DIED IN THAT TANK EXCEPT FOR THE
FACT THAT ONE OF THE TEACHERS WENT UP TO THE
TERRACE ON BEING TOLD THAT SOME INJURED PEOPLE
WERE LYING THERE. SHE HEARD THE CHILDREN
SCREAMING AND BANGING ON THE TANK FROM
INSIDE AND COULD NOT BELIEVE HER EYES WHEN IT
WAS OPENED AND THE CHILDREN WERE FOUND
THERE. THIS IS THE MAGNITUDE OF THE TERROR THAT
HAD BEEN LET LOOSE BY THE POLICE, BAJRANG DAL –
RAM SENA COMBINE IN A PRIMARY SCHOOL ON 15TH
SEPTEMBER 2008. WHEN I CONFRONTED DR. V.S.
ACHARYA, HOME MINISTER AND C.M., YEDIYURAPPA
WITH THESE FACTS IN THE MANGALORE CIRCUIT
HOUSE, BOTH OF THEM CALLOUSLY TOLD ME THAT THE
93
INCIDENTS HAVE BEEN EXAGGERATED, THAT IT WAS
NOTHING MUCH AND DR. ACHARYA ADDED HIS
CLASSIC LINE “NOBODY HAS DIED,” SO, WE DO NOT
NEED TO WORRY TOO MUCH ABOUT IT. HE WAS QUICK
TO PRODUCE SOME PHOTOGRAPHS AND A VIDEO TAPE
STATING THAT A FEW POLICEMEN HAD SUSTAINED
SOME MINOR INJURIES. (THIS HAD HAPPENED WHEN
THE MISCREANTS STARTED THROWING OBJECTS DOWN
FROM THE TERRACE IN ORDER TO TRY AND STOP THE
CROWD FROM EXITING FROM THAT AREA).
A few more of the injured are as follows:
Mrs. F.D. aged 53 years, received lathi-blows on both her
knees and has not been able to walk thereafter.
Mrs. C.D. aged 47 years, ran to protect her daughter. She
was mercilessly beaten and fell unconscious. The child ran
away in panic and could not be found till late that night.
Mr. R. D. aged 36 years, who had come to visit the Priest
and was caught up in the incident, ran into the school. He was
chased by the Police caught on the first floor and thrown down
from the Balcony. He sustained four fractures, was in hospital
for three weeks and immobilized for a long period of time
thereafter.
Mr. P.C.R. aged 45 years, who tried to run away from the
violence, was chased by the miscreants, not the police,
sustained 45 injuries on the back, legs and head and was found
unconscious in the sun one hour after the incident.
One of the saddest cases related to a young student, R.D.
aged 12 years, who unlike the other students who ran away,
hid in the corner of the second floor of the school waiting for
his mother to come for him. The Police Inspector who was
94
chasing some other persons caught hold of this child and hit
him on his head with a lathi. He sustained a bleeding injury
which required 11 stitches. The only reason why his life was
saved was because his mother arrived there in time, and was
able with the assistance of another person to hide the child
under the staircase, till the police left the place.
Mr. C.P. aged 36 years, who is a shopkeeper rushed to
that place because he heard about the incident and found his
two brothers had been badly assaulted. He had them removed
to the hospital and went to the Police Station to lodge a
complaint where the police arrested him on a long stream of
false charges including attempting to murder the police. He
has produced unimpeachable evidence to establish that he was
not even present when the incident took place.
Mr. V. V. D. aged 21 years, is a student. This case is
interesting because he was forced to become a member of the
Bajrang Dal by the hoodlums who infested this area. His
evidence is invaluable because he has in turn stated that the
SP, Jayanth Shetty and Ganapathy were the Police Officers
who planned this incident, who again arranged for the tempo
with the stones and the activists to be brought into the church
compound and incidentally, that it was the police who provided
the miscreants with the lathis and interestingly enough, helmets
to give the impression that they were plain clothes policemen.
This witness personally knows the names, ages and identity of
as many as 87 of the young men who rule that area, all of whom
are unemployed and who live by looting and mugging. They
are all provided with two wheelers and Bajrang Dal flags.
According to this witness, it is one of the leading Politicians
from Bangalore who finances all these persons.
Mr. S.D. aged 29 years, who was only passing by on the
95
main road. His only fault was that he was wearing a black
cord around his neck with a cross hanging from it which was
visible. He was assaulted for no reason, he fell unconscious on
the footpath and he woke up to find that he was in the police
lock-up having been arrested for allegedly taking part in rioting
and attempting to murder Police Officers.
What characterizes this incident is the following special
features:
(a) That incident took place inside the Church compound
and inside a school building also located in the compound
at places which are well away from the main road. The
congregation had attended a Church service and were
coming out peacefully when the police and their criminal
associates entered the Church compound and started
assaulting them for absolutely no reason. There was zero
cause, zero provocation and zero justification. The Police
Officers who planned this incident and executed it, not
only deserve to be dismissed from service but should be
put on trial for a host of criminal offences and sent to jail
for a long periods of time.
(b) That like all the other attacks, the majority of victims
happened to be women. These included a number of nuns
who were not only assaulted but were also molested. This
exemplifies the hatred levels that were shared equally by
the police and the saffron elements who had instigated
the incident. It was all part of a master plan to replicate
the horrifying atrocities that had taken place at Khandamal
in Orissa at the hands of the Bajrang Dal. The other
similarity is that as happened in Orissa, there was full
assistance from the Police and from the top politicians of
the State Government. There is more than ample evidence
96
on record to establish that all the incidents that took place
starting from the 14th September 2008 were with the full
knowledge and sanction of the State Home Minister – Dr.
V.S. Acharya. It is not very clear whether this man was in
Mangalore or Udupi on that day. Many of the witnesses
say that he was directing operations from a village close
to Mangalore by the name of Kalladka where his guru,
the local RSS Chief holds darbar and issues instructions.
Dr. Acharya’s ground for being found in this place
whenever he visits the District is that his chief is an old
friend and he was there for personal reasons.
(c) What is downright atrocious is the fact that over a hundred
teargas shells were used by the Police inside the school
building. Not only is there zero justification for this but
the more serious aspect of the matter is that the action was
not only downright illegal but the aggravating factor that
these shells were six years beyond their expiry date, all
the persons who inhaled the gas required prolonged
medical treatment and had the school children not being
able to run away, hundreds of them would have died. This
action was life threatening and to think that it was the State
Machinery that indulged in it is something for which there
can never be any defence.
(d) Seldom does one come across, anywhere in the world, riot
police and anti social elements storming a primary school
for absolutely no reason with blood thirsty intent and
running wild with dangerous weapons against members
of the educational fraternity. It is only representative of
the dismal levels to which the State Government has sunk.
(e) Despite extensive media coverage nationally and
internationally, the Chief Minister and the Home Minister
97
refused to institute any action against the Police Officers
concerned and despite persistent demands which I had
conveyed on three public platforms in their presence, they
defended the Officers by refusing to even transfer them.
There can be no stronger evidence of criminal conspiracy
and collusion. The SP was rewarded for his loyalty after
several months as he was given another District of his
choice. The other hero, Jayanth Shetty who has very close
links and connections with the saffron politicians but who
changes colour depending on the party in power, has been
rewarded with a promotion !
(f) One of the highly placed and most respected DIGs was
deputed to carry out an investigation into the role of the
police during all these attacks. He has submitted an
excellent Report which I have seen, in which he has held
the police hundred percent guilty for the atrocities and he
has recommended immediate suspension and disciplinary
action against at least five of the Police Officers. The then
DG Police forwarded the record to the Home Minister with
the recommendation that action was extremely essential
against these Officers in the public interest. The Home
Minister made an endorsement on the file to the effect that
no action should be taken without the approval of the CM.
The CM in turn made an endorsement to the effect that
the file be closed. This is not a confidential file and these
findings can be verified from the original documents.
(g) This was one more in the chain of events of violence that
had been let loose by the Bajrang Dal. The BD chief was
gloating over the incidents and held a series of press
conferences where he has gone on record on TV and in the
print media not only claiming responsibility but stating
98
that his organization would not rest until every member
of the minority communities was exterminated from the
District. The man was not even arrested for a
considerable period of time after which due to mounting
pressures at the National level, he was placed under arrest
and released at the earliest opportunity. THE RECORD
SHOWS THAT THE STATE GOVERNMENT AND THE
POLICE HAD CONSENTED BEFORE THE COURT TO
HIS IMMEDIATE RELEASE.
My findings are that this is one of the most serious
atrocious and horrifying incidents which have taken place
around a religious institution, a place of worship and a primary
school. The consequences of the violence have been horrifying
and to my mind, it was all part of a master plan to spread terror.
Like the other incidents, the Police made a very special effort
to collect the rock pebbles that had been brought from the
GURPUR river some distance away, and these were taken away,
but the Journalists and the victims found a few of them and
produced them before me. A meticulous effort was made by
the Police to collect all the teargas shells but three of them
were found after the police left and these belonged to the
same batch of teargas shells which were over six years beyond
the expiry date.
This was a pre-meditated attack directed essentially
against the Catholic community. It had been meticulously
planned and every effort was made to hide the evidence which
included the medical evidence. FORTY NINE OF THE
INJURED VICTIMS INFORMED ME THAT THE HOSPITALS
AND CLINICS WHERE THEY HAD BEEN TREATED
REFUSED TO GIVE THEM EVEN MEDICAL CERTIFICATES
ON THE GROUND THAT THE POLICE AND THE BAJRANG
DAL HAD ORDRED THEM NOT TO DO SO. AGAIN, AT A
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LATER POINT OF TIME, THE HOME MINISTER
ANNOUCED THAT COMPENSATION WOULD BE PAID TO
ALL THOSE WHO GOT INJURED. 197 PERSONS INJURED
IN THIS INCIDENT APPLIED FOR THE COMPENSATION
AND THEIR CLAIMS WERE REJECTED ON VARIOUS
GROUNDS. ONLY ABOUT A DOZEN OF THEM WERE
GIVEN SOME MEAGER AMOUNTS.
As a face saving device, the Home Minister and the State
Government publicly announced that all the damage done to
places of worship, buildings, fixtures etc. in the course of these
incidents would be compensated for. There was no massive
damage that took place in this incident unlike some of the other
ones but on a conservative estimate, the damage would not be
less than Rs.4.00 Lakhs (Rupees Four Lakhs Only). Not a rupee
was received.
In sum and substance, I have done considerable research
to try and find out as to why and for what reason this particular
Church and School have been attacked. The Chief Minister
and the Home Minister were amplifying the saffron charge that
conversions were the cause for the attacks. Admittedly, there
had been neither any actual conversions, attempts at
conversions or even the vaguest allegations of conversions in
this area. It is self evident therefore that this ground was false
and non existent and that the use of violence which had shocked
the world in Orissa and in Gujarat, both BJP ruled States was
being replicated in Karnataka. Why Dakshina Kannada ? The
obvious reason was because there is a relatively large
representation of Christians in this part of the State and the
attempt was to finish them.
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Of all the incidents that took place in the State of Karnataka
during the planned attacks against the Christian Community
and their places of worship, there is none so distressing and at
the same time, so utterly horrifying as the Permanur incident
which took place on the 15th of September 2008. It is first
necessary for me to record the background perspective which
is that this area is located a few kilometers away from the Centre
of Mangalore City and it is a short distance off the National
Highway that leads to Kerala. It is an area that has developed
very rapidly in the course of the last 30-40 years, particularly
after the road bridge was constructed and it can be regarded as
one of the busy suburbs of Mangalore. There is a very large
Christian population living in this area quite possibly because
the property prices in Central Mangalore started rising which
gave rise to development of housing in the suburbs and since,
it is relatively easy to commute to the City, the area got very
densely populated. There is a cross section of persons residing
here, all of them belong to the lower middle class and middle
class sector of society, many of them are associated with the
fishing business, others are essentially salaried persons who
travel to their place of work and back.
A little further on from Permanur towards Ullal, one finds
that there is a very large representation of Muslims, but as far
as this area is concerned, it is predominantly Christian which
would make it about 60% and the remaining residents are
Hindus. They have lived in harmony for the last half century
CHAPTER-VII
BLOOD CURDLING CARNAGE
AT PERMANUR:
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and in peace and the local police admit that there has never
been any form of unrest nor a law and order problem in the
last 20 years. It is also a certificate to this part of Mangalore
that the crime rate has almost been zero and I mention all of
this because what happened on that day and the justification
of the State Home Minister, Dr. V.S. Acharya at the Press
Conference addressed by him and the Chief Minister, shortly
after the incident when they were asked as to how and under
what circumstances could a fully armed contingent of riot police
be taken to that place on 15th September and the Hon’ble
Gentleman has gone on record as saying that it was a
communally sensitive area prone to violent flare ups and that
this was the reason why the S.P. and another Senior Officer by
the name of Jaynath Shetty along with five other Officers and
160 fully armed riot police in a convoy of about 20 vehicles had
gone to that spot. The Press & TV Channels asked Acharya
to direct the DIG of Police and the SP and Jayanth Shetty
both of whom were present at the Press Conference to give
the dates and the number of communal flare-ups and the
details of the action taken when all of them cut an extremely
sorry figure because they had to admit that in truth, there
had not been a single incident either recorded or otherwise.
Since, I have found that each of the attacks and in fact every
one of them was pre-planned and that it was executed in
collusion with and had the active assistance and participation
of Bajrang Dal activists with a representation of the Ram Sene
activists, this aspect of the matter assumes importance.
The allied aspect of equal importance is the fact that the
communal harmony between the two communities despite the
saffronisation of the Karavali area had not had any effect on
Permanur because this was the only part of the District that
was completely free of the abundance of the Saffron flags hung
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from every tree, lamppost and buildings etc. I shall have
occasion subsequently to point out that in all the remaining
cases the occupants of the tempos who were armed with stones
and police lathis and who virtually led the assaults as far as
violence was concerned were all clearly recognized and
identified by the victims and the local witnesses as the Bajrang
Dal activists from the area who have been terrorizing the locality
for quite sometime. In this case, there is an abundance of videos
and photographs which show these activists in action assaulting
innocent men and women with lathis on their heads and other
parts of their bodies and it took me a couple of days of cross
checking before it was revealed that they were the persons from
the adjoining areas where violence from these activists was
very prevalent. It is clear that there was a master plan executed
by the State Government Machinery at the instance of the
Saffron organizations to target and terrorise the Christian
community by physically attacking them and damaging and
vandalizing their places of worship, Since these attacks have
been planned on a state-wise basis and victims were taken by
surprise, they were virtually soft targets. It was also a known
fact that the relatively large community would always
congregate at the local Church for their services and that this
was the best area selected to attack them. They would also be
totally unprepared since they had come there for a religious
service, they would not be able to resist and the maximum
damage could be inflicted on them.
I need to also record two other factors of immense
importance. As one drives to the Church of St. Sebastian which
is the Parish Church of this area, one passes a temple which is
located on the opposite side of the road, a short distance from
the Church. This is a medium sized temple and serves the
religious needs of those professing the Hindu faith. The
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undisputed position is that all the religious activities in the
temple were being held without any interference, obstruction
or any other impediments. I spent about 15 minutes at this
place because it is my habit to always go into and pray at a
temple. The reason for this is because during my school days
in Mangalore, my best friend was a boy by the name of Bhat
who was the son of the Chief Poojari of the Ganapthy temple
in the Centre of Mangalore. We were very close friends and I
have spent lots of time at his house in the temple compound. I
have attended numerous poojas and arathis and developed an
abiding and deep devotion to these places. The reason why I
spent sometime at this temple was because I desired first hand
information with regard to the all important question as to
whether there had ever been any problems between the two
communities and the answer was a definite No. To a definite
query as to whether any of the services held at the temple or
the Church had caused problems to the other institution, the
answer was No. Next came the all important question as to
whether there was any complaint to the Police before or on 15th
September 2008, and I was informed frankly that nothing of
this sort had happened. These persons were all eye witnesses
to the incident that followed and they told me that they
themselves were surprised as to why the Police came there in
such large numbers which was something that was totally
unprecedented. This aspect of the matter assumes crucial
importance because the Home Minister unsuccessfully tried to
defend the police action on the ground that the Christian
congregation had stoned and attacked the temple. The temple
authorities flatly denied this. They were quite certain about
the fact that there was no attack and no damage. This contention
of Dr. Acharya is total and complete fabrication. I would have
expected greater levels of honesty from this man especially in
official matters of crucial importance.
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In order to understand the gravity of the incident, it is
equally necessary to picture the topography of the area. The
Church in question which caters to the Catholic Community is
a relatively large Church which can accommodate around 500
persons. Next to the Church, at its rear is the residence of the
Priest, where two or three of them reside. There were a couple
of small bedrooms or living quarters, a dining room, a kitchen
and a small store room apart from the toilets and other common
areas. The front of the Church has the altar with the sacred
tabernacle. Behind the altar is a small area known as the
Sacristy. It is in this place that the vestments or sacred robes
which the priests use for the mass and other religious services
are kept in cupboards. Next to these cupboards, is another
locked cupboard which houses the gold plated chalices, gold
plated patens (plates) and other sacred objects that are only
taken out for use during the mass or other religious services.
There are also the religious books stored in this cupboard known
as the Missal and other Prayer books. The lower portion of the
cupboard has a collection of prayer books which are used for
reciting prayers or singing hymns during the religious services.
Hymns are religious songs which the community sings during
religious services.
Apart from the lights, fans and other electric fixtures, this
Church had a new sound system with speakers located in
different parts of the Church. There was also a musical
instrument like a Piano which is called an organ. This is a very
valuable and highly sophisticated instrument present in all
Churches on which sacred music is played and it is also used
during the services to accompany the singing. The organs in
the bigger and older Churches in different parts of the world
are huge instruments costing millions of rupees and are known
as Pipe organs. They are priceless and are even used for special
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concerts. The one in this Church was a new electronic organ
which I was told cost over a lakh of rupees.
Some distance away from the Church in the same
compound, there is a school which is run by the Nuns. Unlike
in the Kulsekhar incident, the police did not go into or near
this school. As one enters the Church compound, there is the
Parish Office where the Priest conducts their community work.
The Church and the Office as also the residential quarters of
the Priest are relatively new being only about 10 years old and
are all well furnished and well equipped. Between the Church
and the road leading to it, there is a relatively large open area
which could accommodate about a 1000 people. I am informed
that this area is used for functions and religious services
occasionally. What is of special importance is the fact that the
whole of the compound is completely paved with concrete
blocks and there is not any unpaved area i.e. no mud or stones
anywhere around. One enters the compound through the gate
and proceeds through it for some distance to the Church. The
whole of the area belonging to the Church is enclosed by a
compound wall.
As indicated earlier, the first of the attacks which was
directed against the Adoration Monastery was on the morning
of Sunday, 14th September 2008. This was followed by the savage
attack on the congregation outside the Monastery along the
Milagres Church Road on the afternoon and evening of the
same day. All of this was projected live on the local TV channels
and by all the local papers. It had created alarm and sent shock
waves around the community. All the Churches immediately
announced that special services and prayers for reparation
would be held the next day i.e. on Monday, the 15th September
2008. The whole of the community was deeply concerned and
involved and this explains why the service on the late morning
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of 15th September was attended by 400 to 500 members of the
congregation, about half of this number being women. The
mass service took about 45 minutes. It was a normal service
conducted with deep piety and all those present were specially
requested to pray for peace and communal harmony. The
wrong assumption at that time was that the violence directed
against the religious places on the previous day was at the
instance of some misguided miscreants and that the police had
over reacted. I have cross checked from the Priest and the
congregation that in the sermon, the Fr. who had officiated at
the mass had told the congregation that they should not react
violently, that they should on the contrary maintain a dignified
approach and pray for communal harmony. This is important
because there was no incitement or provocation.
The eye witnesses from the Parish Office which is facing
the gate are unanimous about the fact that when the mass
service was about half way through, the police arrived on the
scene in a convoy of vehicles. They were led by the SP and
Jayanth Shetty, both of whom are extremely well known
Officers in the District known for their arrogance, rough
behaviour and so-called close political contacts. These two
Officers were attired in battle dress, complete with helmets and
lathis and were also carrying fire arms. The same was the
position with about six other police officers who accompanied
them. They drove their vehicles up to the Parish Office, got
down and asked as to what time the service would finish. They
were told that it would take about 10-15 minutes. The Officers
then went to the gate closed it and sealed off the exit with the
vehicles. The two tempos carrying about 20 young men in plain
clothes armed with lathis were brought into the compound and
parked about 20 meters from the Church with the occupants
still in them. The remaining police vehicles remained on the
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road but all the riot police were brought into the Church
compound and ordered to form a big semi circular ring around
all the exits of the Church. The fathers from the Office and the
Staff and about 10-12 persons who had come there for work in
the Parish Office got alarmed and asked the SP and Jayanth
Shetty as to why the police had come there. They were told by
the two Officers that the members of the Christian community
were indulging in violence and that the Government had
decided to teach them a lesson.
Adverting here, I need to point out that after the incidents
that had taken place on the previous day, the Press and the TV
channel personnel state that they had expected further incidents
thinking that communal clashes would break out. The SP and
his Convoy had started off about half an hour earlier from the
Police Headquarters which are located at Pandeshwar which
is a good 10-15 Kms away from the suburb. The route chosen
by them was through the City Centre and immediately the
Media was alerted because they were of the view that something
serious has happened and that the police in large numbers were
heading for that spot. Making allowance for the media persons
to follow the convoy, they managed to get there around the
time when the SP and Shetty were positioning their persons
around the Church. According to the media personnel, the
riot police who had sealed off the entrance and closed the gate
told them they had orders not to permit anybody inside and
this was why they had to initially stand on the road. The Church
is at a spot slightly elevated from the road and consequently,
all of them had perfect visibility at close quarters of what was
happening. Moreover, the incident was in broad day light, so,
there was no problem as far as even the clarity aspect is
concerned.
This aspect of the case is extremely serious because it
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demonstrates the totally uncivilized and barbaric behaviour of
the S.P. and Jayanth Shetty and the entire bunch of Officers
who had come there. They have no respect for places of worship
or for sacred services or for the deep seated sentiments of pious
people in so far as the mass was not complete when they
stormed into the Church and disrupted the service. Towards
the end of the Mass, there is the Communion Service which is
about the most sacred part of the Mass when the body and
blood of Christ is symbolically received by each person. This
was the point of time when the Police Officers stormed in,
shouted at the priest in Kannada and ordered him to stop the
service. When he requested them to wait outside, he was
slapped and physically pushed into the Sacristy. The members
of the congregation were wild but were unable to do anything
because the S.P. and Shetty as also the other Police officers took
out their Revolvers and at gunpoint ordered the Congregation
to go out of the Church immediately. The entire congregation
had no option except to comply and started moving out into
the compound. What happened inside the Church is not
recorded on video but there is the unanimous testimony of over
200 persons who swear to this. Additionally, having seen the
general make up of these two uncivilized and uncouth brutes
who headed the police force, I have no hesitation in accepting
this position also because the exit videos have recorded the
timings and there is no reason why the congregation should
have come out 10 minutes before the normal conclusion time
of the service. The priest who had been manhandled was a
visiting Priest from another town, so I was unable to take his
statement but that was not necessary.
The first set of videos is very interesting because it records
the whole of the unsuspecting congregation coming out of the
Church. The SP on one side and the Shetty on the other who
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had megaphones told them that the Church should be emptied
and that the doors should be closed. The Church Staff were in
the process of closing the doors as everybody had come out
into the compound and they were now surrounded by the police
and the two blue coloured tempos. Without any provocation,
the volley of rock pebbles were hurled at the congregation who
were caught between the Church and the Police and who were
not allowed to exit. There was a lot of panic, shouting and
screaming at this unprovoked attack. Since, it was impossible
to move forward, out of self reservation, everybody tried to
run into the Church. This was when the Officers shouted to
the police to chase them into the Church and to beat them up
mercilessly. In order to save themselves from the stones and
the lathi charge, the entire congregation ran back into the
Church through whichever of the doors were open. They were
followed by the Police and the 40 odd activists from the blue
tempos who had jumped out and who were leading the assault.
What followed was absolutely horrifying. The SP, Shetty
and the other Officers immediately ordered the use of teargas
shells INSIDE THE CHURCH. Since, the windows were still
open, though, it was extremely suffocating, nobody died. The
Media persons had by then entered the compound, they got to
the doors and windows of the Church and have recorded
something very interesting. The altar in the Church is extremely
sacred. The SP and Shetty were standing on top of the ALTAR
which is very Sacred in their boots and realizing that the use of
teargas inside the Church would equally affect the police, they
immediately ordered the police to beat up everybody present,
chase them out of the Church, but ensure that they were
surrounded and that nobody escaped. This was when the Police
ran wild. They beat up everybody inside and even smashed
the furniture in the Church. Everything which inside was
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attacked and smashed to pieces. Even the altar and the sacred
areas were vandalized by the SP and Shetty who broke
everything inside with their lathis. The police were also ordered
to go into the Sacristy which is the room behind the altar where
all the sacred objects are stored, as also, into the Priest’s quarters
and I shall summarise what they did there.
The whole of the Sacristy was violently ransacked, the
cupboards where the sacred objects were kept were broken
open, all the sacred books were thrown out and set on fire. The
vestments were also desecrated and torn and the majority of
them were burnt. All the sacred objects which are gold plated
possibly because they are valuables were carefully carried out
and deposited in the SPs vehicle. There were several statues in
the Church and in the Sacristy all of which were smashed. The
Nuns who were there ran out from the rear exit and escaped
with minor injuries. The police then proceeded into the
residential quarters and destroyed furniture, fixtures and
everything which was inside. They did not find anybody
present there except for one elderly lady in the kitchen who
was doing the cooking. All the food was thrown on the floor,
the plates and crockery were smashed. The old cook was caught
by her hair and dragged out of the building and violently flung
out of the rear exit. She escaped with relatively serious injuries
but, to quote the favorite expression of the State Home Minister,
“she did not die.” According to media reports in another gory
gang-rape case from Davangere where communal elements
were involved, Acharya took the matter very lightly by stating
“there is nothing so serious because the GIRL DID NOT DIE”
Karnataka is very very unfortunate to have such a Home
Minister- when I had insisted that he be dismissed from office
I was told that he is a very senior RSS PRACHARAK, which is
true, and that he is extremely close to Advani and cannot be
touched.
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The whole of the Church had been completely vandalized
and everything which was inside including the sound system
and the organ were mercilessly smashed. All the glasses were
destroyed, the statues broken and the statue at the entrance of
the patron saint was also badly mutilated. The level of violence
was so very high that even wooden furniture like benches and
chairs had also been smashed to pieces.
Meanwhile, the congregation who had been driven out of
the Church had been surrounded in the compound. Every
single person there was injured, many of them were bleeding
and in addition, most of them were in a bad way having been
exposed to large quantities of teargas inside the Church. The
Officers who were directing the operation then ordered the
police to send all the women away. All the women were
ordered to leave the place and were given a set of very painful
parting lathi blows mainly on their backs and legs. This reduced
the number of persons surrounded to about 200, all of them
young men and older men.
One would have imagined that even at the highest levels
of hatred, that the violence let loose on the congregation in the
earlier half an hour by the police and the saffron partners would
have been enough but not for these savages. That was when
the SP and Shetty joined by the remaining Officers suddenly
transformed themselves into raving maniacs. They started
screaming to the police to break every bone in the bodies of the
victims who, have been brought out of the Church with their
hands over their heads and were made to squat in the
compound in the same position. They were assaulted
mercilessly with lathis and the videos and the photographs have
clearly recorded this. There are at least 170 of the men with
head injuries, blood flowing over their faces and their clothes,
drenched in blood. Not only were the SP, Shetty and the Officers
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inciting the police into savage violence, but they had joined the
operation and the close-ups of some of the photographs show
them clearly enjoying what they were doing. I have many times
had occasion to refer to the fact that after the BJP Government
had taken over, the whole of the Karavali Police force had been
saffronised, but indication of how big the damage was is
reflected in this incident where the Christian community who
have been subjected to the levels of violence that can only be
described as ghastly. This was not a riot control operation, but
a one way assault on a large group of helpless and unarmed
persons.
Once again, Acharya maintains that nobody had died in
this incident. After having long standing experience of four
decades into cases of violence, I am really amazed as to how no
deaths took place and with due apologies to the Late Ayatulla
Khomeni, it can only be attributed to the “hand of God”. There
can be no other explanation. Days after the incident, when I
visited the place, though, every attempt had been made to clean
up the area, the whole of the compound and the Church was
still virtually bathed in blood and looked like a battlefield. This
was the magnitude of the savagery and brutality of the police
on that day.
Providentially, the commotion and particularly the firing
of the teargas shells and the fact that the school children ran
away screaming in terror, brought a couple of hundred people
to the scene. They were absolutely livid at the behaviour of the
police and threatened to lynch them. This stopped the assault.
The first instruction given by the SP was that all the teargas
shells should be collected and taken back by the police,
secondly, he ordered that the stones should all be collected and
put back in the tempos. He also instructed the police to carry
every single one of the injured person who numbered between
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150 and 200 and put them into the vehicles. He and Shetty had
made a series of phone calls over their mobile phones and in
the next 15 minutes, about 20 or 30 vehicles turned up, most of
them civilian vehicles. At that stage, the intentions of the police
became evident.
Though, for obvious reasons, all the injured females had
been beaten up and chased away earlier, every single one of
the male injured persons was ordered into the vehicles or was
dragged into them with the idea of covering up the evidence of
the assault. So complete was this operation that all the vehicles
in the area, which numbered as many as 106 two-wheelers,
many of which had been damaged in the course of the violence
were loaded into trucks and taken away.
As happened in the case of the Milagres incident, these
vehicles were taken away to different Police Stations and it took
the owners as long as 4 to 6 weeks to retrieve them after paying
the usual amounts of money and running from pillar to post.
Not a single vehicle was intact. They were not only damaged
but were stripped virtually down to the bare structure. It is
obvious that the police and their agents had decided to have a
field day by selling everything that was removable from these
vehicles. No complaints were entertained on the threat that
the owner would be thrashed and locked up and in every case,
the poor owners had to pay for retrieving the skeleton of their
vehicles.
The story of what happened to the injured persons is
absolutely gory and unbelievable. No relation or friend was
able to trace them for almost a week. In order to cover up for
their maniacal assault, the police loaded them into vehicles that
had been forcibly requisitioned and sent them to Madikeri,
Mysore, Bangalore, Bellary and even as far as Belgaum on the
ground that they were under arrest and that there was no place
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in the local jail. They received neither medical attention nor
food and again, how they survived this journey is a miracle.
The Mangalore Police have no record of any arrest or of any
medical treatment made available.
At all the places, where these injured persons had been
taken, the local social workers and particularly the Nuns visited
the jails, gave them food, medical treatment and clothes. The
State Government had ordered that none of them, how so ever
seriously injured should be taken to any hospitals. It is thanks
to PUCL, the right minded citizens, the social workers and I
must say, the Lawyers in these places that some assistance came
to these victims. It was an extremely difficult operation getting
them released on bail because the Police had indiscriminately
charged them with serious criminal offences such as assaulting
public servants in the discharge of their duties, causing injury
and attempt to murder. I have seen the type of remand
applications filed by the police in respect of all these cases and
having been part of the higher judiciary for 15 years, I wish to
record that it is a shame on the subordinate judiciary that every
single Magistrate blindly supported the police, refused medical
treatment as also to hear the Bail Applications and kept the
Accused in custody. I have seen through this shameful
sequence to which the judiciary was a party and what amazed
me was that in order to cover up the fact that every one of them
was injured, though, the Law mandates that they must be
produced before the Remand Court, in every single Remand
Application, a statement is made that since there were a large
number of Accused, no escort or transport was available and
the police be excused from producing them in Court and despite
violent protests and written Objections from the Lawyers, the
Police were allowed to get away with this. This is a serious blot
on the subordinate judiciary in Karnataka, my remark applies
to those of the Magistrate(s) before whom these sort of
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Applications were filed and who blindly granted them. It was
very clear that the police did not want any of the injured persons
to be released in a hurry and even when they ultimately came
out of custody, they were distinctly told that if they make any
complaint, they would be rearrested.
I have made several trips to the area and to the Church, on
the first of them three teargas shells were recovered from the
secluded parts of the Church, all of these were hopelessly
outdated by 6 to 8 years and this is the reason why the police
were anxious to retrieve all the shells and take them away.
Again, about half a dozen of the stones were recovered, these
are the same rock pebbles that had been brought from the river
bed and it was self evident that this incident followed the
general pattern. It was the Saffron activists in the tempos who
were assigned the tasks of bringing the stones from the river
bed and of starting the proceedings by using them. I have
carefully checked the videos and the photographs and on this
occasion, there was nobody sitting on the top of the driver’s
cabin brandishing Trishuls, but the saffron flags were very
much in evidence on both the vehicles. It is amazing how
brazenly the Government machinery was identifying itself with
the saffron brigade and after the performance of the SP, Shetty
and the Officers, I would have expected the saffron flags to
have been flying from the police vehicles also! If and when
Acharya becomes the Chief Minister of Karnataka, which is a
distinct possibility if the BJP continues in power, this will be
his first official order!
How many persons were injured in this incident ? We
took meticulous care to hold a series of meetings over two and
a half months for purposes of getting a reliable estimate of the
nature and magnitude of the injuries which I am summarizing
below:
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(a) Nine of the Nuns suffered bruises and injuries on their
arms, back and legs. None of them resulted in fractures,
but almost all of them were immobilized for periods
between 1 to 4 weeks.
(b) None of the Priests suffered any injuries.
(c ) Among the women, 72 of them had sustained bleeding
head injuries from the stones and from lathi blows. There
was almost half a truck load of blood stained clothing that
was produced. They are all middle class persons who had
to avail of medical treatments over long periods of time
and spend amounts of money which they could not afford.
Not a single one of them received any compensation on
the ground that their documents did not pertain to the
Government hospitals. I need to amplify this last aspect
because in almost all the cases where the Priests, the social
workers and the Lawyers had instructed the injured
persons to report to the Government Hospital, in every
single case, they were told that it would be treated as a
medico-legal case, that they would be immediately
arrested on criminal charges and that it was in their own
interest to seek medical assistance privately. Where did
these instructions come from, if not from Acharya and his
colleagues in the Government Head Quarters at the
Vidhana Soudha ?
(d) Among the injured women, as many as 62 persons had
suffered compound fractures and dislocations and 46 had
suffered crack fractures.
(e) There was not a single one of the victims who did not have
multiple injuries on their bodies, most of them attributable
to stones and lathi blows, even if these injuries did not
come within the definition of grievous hurt.
(f) Another head which is serious is that unlike the Kulsekhar
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incident, where teargas was used inside the school
premises, but where fortunately, most of it was in open
corridors and empty classrooms, in this case, the TOXIC
teargas was used INSIDE A CLOSED CHURCH and it
would have most certainly resulted in a large number of
deaths, because it emerged from outmoded shells and was
100% toxic. The Police Officers quickly realized this and
ordered the Church to be evacuated. All the same, the
victims report that they suffered vomiting, nausea,
dizziness and serious body complications which required
expensive medication and continued for between 1 to 3
weeks.
(g) One cannot in this context overlook the fact that when the
members of the congregation came for the Church service,
they came well dressed. All their clothes were damaged,
torn and heavily blood stained and had to be discarded.
The individual loss under this head alone comes to over
Rs.500/- per individual on an average.
(g) In the panic that ensued, the first casualty was the footwear.
Both the men and women wore sandals or chappals or
other forms of light footwear with a sizeable number of
them using slip-on shoes. In the course of the commotion,
every one of the owners got separated from their footwear
and it got so badly damaged and scattered that even after
one month, the huge pile of footwear could not be restored
to its owners. This is another head of personal loss
averaging from Rs.50/- to Rs.400/- per person which none
of them could afford.
Findings:
(a) This incident represented the biggest and the worst of the
police assaults, because the violence levels reached
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horrifying dimensions and as pointed out earlier, was
continued long after the victims had been rounded up.
The DIG Police, one of the finest Officers the Department
possesses has done a very thorough enquiry and has
recorded that every single one of the Police personnel who
took part in these incidents ought to have been prosecuted
in a Criminal Court and further more, that the SP and
Jayanth Shetty as also their companion officers should be
suspended forthwith and proceeded against for grave
misconduct. This has not happened. And the file notings
show that it was the Home Minister and the Chief Minister
who Ordered in writing that no action should be taken.
AFTER ALL, NOBODY HAD DIED!
(b) The State Human Rights Commission has passed severe
strictures against the State Government and recommended
stringent action against all categories of the police who
were involved, but nothing has happened.
(c ) Not one of the persons who were injured have received a
single rupee by way of compensation.
(d) Though the Chief Minister of the State and the Home
Minister were proclaiming from every public platform that
the Government would compensate for all the loss to
person and property, this has not taken place. The damage
to the Church property alone on a conservative estimate
is computed at Rs.92.00 Lakhs. The holy objects which
according to the videos were stolen from the Sacristy and
placed by the Policemen in the SP’s vehicle were never
found. The damage and loss to the vehicles that were
illegally seized runs into over Rs.62.00 Lakhs.
(e) Over 170 innocent victims are still facing prosecutions
under the gravest criminal charges because despite
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assurances, not a single one of the false cases instituted by
the police have been withdrawn. The fall out of this has
been really horrifying. Whether it was due to illegal
detention, injury or other reasons, as many as 47 persons
have lost their jobs as they were small persons who have
been thrown out because they did not report for duty. Over
118 others have been driven almost to bankruptcy by
having to pay for medical bills and Lawyer’s Fees for
attending Courts which they can ill afford.
This is one of the most deplorable and shameful incidents
that have taken place in Karnataka in the last century and to
record that, it is at the hands of the State Government, only
adds to its gravity. I have no hesitation in holding that like all
the other incidents, it was preplanned, and that it was part of a
deep seated conspiracy to replicate Kandhamal in Orissa where
the Bajrang Dal had let loose violence that has shocked the
world conscience.
Quite apart from the liability which is 100% as far as the
Police, the State Government, the Bajrang Dal and the Home
Minister and the Chief Minister who never once expressed
regret but covered up and supported what has happened, the
Human Rights violations in these attacks had crossed every
conceivable limit. We have one of the finest Judges in Justice
S.R. Nayak as the Head of the State Human Rights Commission.
He has passed strictures in over 600 cases relating to these
atrocities and the State Government has thrown the Orders in
the waste paper basket. They still maintain that there is a Rule
of Law in Karnataka nothing can be further from the truth.
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(Priority is accorded in my Report to this incident which
was in fact the last in the order of sequence time-wise because
of its extremely dangerous complexion. This was a replication
of the Orissa-style of attack using Fire as the weapon of assaultthe
world has witnessed the horror of persons being burnt alive
and Churches and homes being destroyed in Kandhamal
District of Orissa-Karnataka cannot allow that deadly virus to
infect this pristine State).
Yedavanahalli is a modest village about I Km. off the
Hosur Highway, within the limits of the Attibelle Police Station,
which in turn is about half an hour’s drive from the closest
town. The Catholic Church is devoted to St. Anthony. The
Church stands alone on a plot of land with a few trees around
but there are no other structures adjoining it, not even a Priest’s
house or a school. It is a medium-sized building, relatively new
and well-maintained. The electrical wiring and equipment such
as switch-boards, main switches, fuses etc. are of a high quality.
It is a modest Church with a few benches for the congregation
and a coir mat on the ground down the centre. This Church
caters to a congregation of about 300 devotees. It is not a Parish
Church and the religious services are mainly on Sunday
mornings. The Priest who officiates at the services is resident
CHAPTER-VIII
BURNING OF THE ST. ANTHONY’S
CHURCH AT YEDAVANAHALLI,
POLICE STATION ATTIBELLE,
HOSUR TALUK, ON THE
OUTSKIRTS OF BANGALOREMIDNIGHT
OF 12TH OCTOBER 2008.
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at the Parish which is about 5 K.Ms away (about 20 minutes
drive on a two-wheeler). The Church is locked after the services
are over. There are a few residential buildings and shops across
the road from the Church. Several Catholic families reside in
these buildings. The area is relatively well-lighted even at night.
The shops close by about 9 P. M. after which there is very little
activity in the area. The roads are muddy and narrow, vehicles
are few and slow-moving and are very noticeable; more
importantly, very audible to everyone in the area, particularly
in the stillness of the night. This last aspect is of crucial
importance.
After the attacks on Churches and Prayer-centres in
different parts of Karnataka on 14th and 15th September 2008
and thereafter, and the extreme brutality of the Police directed
against the Christian congregation in different parts of
Mangalore in and around the Churches there, a delegation of
well-placed citizens led by me, met with the Chief Minister,
the Home Minister and his Cabinet colleagues to demand
immediate preventive and corrective steps. Most of these were
very graciously acceded to, one of them being that the C.M.
ordered round the clock Police protection to all the Churches
in the State. This Order was implemented and Police personnel
were posted around all the Churches. (To my mind Acharya
being the Home Minister saw to it that the so called security
was really ineffective in so far as at each place where it was
provided, the Police were either absent or sleeping- they had
no weapons, not even a lathi and more importantly, no firearms
or even Mobile phones!) Two unarmed constables were
assigned to the St. Anthony’s Church by the Attibele Police
Station, they did duty in shifts and were required to sign the
Register when they came on duty and left.
An obvious human problem arose for the policemen as
there was no shelter for them from the elements, more so when
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it rained as also when it got cold. They requested the Priest to
leave the small side door of the Church open so that they could
sit inside or rest as the case may be. Accordingly, the door was
left open for them and some facilities were provided. Apart
from the Police, nobody else knew about the side-door being
left unlocked. There is no hasp for locking this door from the
outside but this did not present any apparent security risk as
the police were supposed to be present round the clock, even if
they relieved each other from time to time. The change of guard
was always accompanied by the arrival and departure of a noisy
Police vehicle which the residents of the area were used to.
What is of consequence is the fact that the van would drop off
the new pair of constables, proceed left, turn and comeback,
pick up the departing pair and drive off. There was never any
occasion for the van to remain there for any period of time. On
the night of 12th October all this changed.
I spent several long hours meeting every single resident
and shop-keeper of the area and my persistence paid off as I
wanted to re-create the whole incident. One of the residents
who lives in front of the Church who fearfully spoke to me in
confidence under assurance of anonymity, states that he was
watching TV till a little past midnight and that he had come
out for some fresh air. He saw a white coloured Toyota Qualis
DIESEL which is a rather noisy vehicle, stop in front of the
Church gate. What excited his curiosity was the fact that this
was not the usual Blue Police vehicle. He saw five persons
walk towards the Church, two of them carrying white plastic
cans. He assumed that the police constables were carrying
their supply of water. These persons had their heads and faces
covered and he thought it was because of the cold.
What made our good friend suspicious was the fact that
instead of TWO policemen, FIVE persons, that too not in
uniform, had pushed the side door open and entered the
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Church- there was already a light on inside. He decided to wait
and watch! The White vehicle was parked near the gate of the
church and had a saffron flag on the bonnet. The driver was
outside the vehicle, talking on the cell-phone with a saffron
shawl over his head. Hardly ten minutes passed and he saw
the five persons running back to the vehicle which drove away
with a lot of commotion. IT WAS THIS GOOD SAMARITAN
who immediately raised an alarm at the top of his voice. Within
minutes every human being from the area woke up because
the Church was on fire by then. They all rushed to put it out
but were unsuccessful.
Mysteriously the Police appeared from nowhere- they
telephoned the fire-brigade who rushed there from the
Electronics City and extinguished the flames. The Priest was
telephonically informed and he rushed there. The heat levels
were abnormal and nobody could enter the Church till the next
morning.
As news of the attack on the Church spread, the S. P. put
out the version that the fire was due to an electrical short-circuit
and that it was a case of accident. THE COMMISSIONER OF
POLICE, BANGALORE SHANKAR BIDIRI WHO IS FAMOUS
FOR STATEMENTS THAT MATCH HIS BOSS ACHARYA,
IMMEDIATELY WENT LIVE ON TV AND HELD PRESS
CONFERENCES BOLDLY STATING THAT IT WAS AN
ELECTRICAL SHORT CIRCUIT- IT TURNED OUT THAT
THIS MAN HAD NOT EVEN VISITED THE PLACE WHEN
HE MADE THESE STATEMENTS! THIS SHANKAR BIDIRI
IS UNANIMOUSLY RATED AS THE MOST INCOMPETENT
MAN TO HAVE HELD THE POST OF POLICE
COMMISSIONER, BANGALORE- HE WAS SPECIALLY
BROUGHT TO THIS POST BY YEDIYURAPPA AND IS BEING
RETAINED THERE DESPITE THE LAW AND ORDER
SITUATION HAVING COMPLETELY BROKEN DOWN. THE
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CHIEF MINISTER YEDIYURAPPA AND HOME MINISTER
ACHARYA INSISTED ON PROPAGATING THIS THEORY
IN ORDER TO SHIELD THEIR SAFFRON HENCHMEN WHO
WERE THE REAL CULPRITS. This ruse did not survive for
long because there was too much evidence to the contrary.
Despite the fire, the electrical installations were found to be
faultless and intact and have been so certified by the Govt.’s
own Electrical Inspector. THE SHORT-CIRCUIT/
ACCIDENT THEORY OF THE POLICE IS ESTABLISHED
TO BE FALSE.
Why are the Police trying to cover up for an obvious blatant
crime? Why did they not register an offence and proceed to
nab the offenders? Was there a conspiracy at a higher political
level to recall the police and facilitate the crime? The answer is
yes. The Police were posted at the Churches under the express
orders of the CM and no Police officer howsoever corrupt or
bold would have dared to divert the duty constables in
defiance of these orders. The fact remains that the two
constables were ordered to leave the Church and report at
Hotel Guestline a long distance away from where they were
to return only after 1 a.m. by which time the operation would
be over! The instructions to do this have come from very high
up, obviously the Home Minister himself. The implications
are grave. NOT ONLY DOES THIS ESTABLISH A
COMPLETE BTEAKDOWN OF THE CONSTITUTIONAL
MACHINERY IN KARNATAKA BUT AN OPEN
CRIMINAL CONSPIRACY BETWEEN THE HIGHEST
OFFICERS OF THE STATE GOVERNMENT AND
CRIMINAL ELEMENTS OPERATING IN THE GARB OF
COMMUNAL FORCES
In order to uncover the truth, a virtual microscopic
investigation was undertaken and what has been revealed is
disturbing. Through my 35 years of experience as a Criminal
125
Lawyer and knowledge of Forensic Science, I carefully checked
every area of the Church and it was confirmed that it was a
Petrol fire. I have requested to friends who are experts in the
field who confirm this and we verified from the Fire Brigade
personnel who also confirm the fact that it was not an ordinary
fire but a Petrol fire as they had to use chemical extinguishers
to control it. Even after a fire of this magnitude, surprisingly
enough, the electrical installations right upto the wirings on
the walls, the switches and the MCBs were all intact and the
Government Inspector has certified that there was no short
circuit. The fire was therefore a clear case of arson at human
instance.
The meticulous investigations done by me reveals that the
adjoining areas are a Bajrang Dal stronghold and that the
activists are extremely militant.
On the night of the incident around 10 P. M. a group of six
young men arrived in a white Toyota Qualis at a small hotel
not too far from the Church and spent about two hours there
eating and drinking. What was unusual about their visit and
why it was remembered was because they asked for two plastic
cans, paid for them, and then sent a boy to get them filled with
petrol from the petrol pump which was some distance
away.(Since their vehicle ran on Diesel, the boy found it
unusual that they had asked for Petrol but he obeyed orders
and was generously rewarded for his labour,)
They left the hotel only after midnight when the whole
area would be asleep and there was nobody around on the
roads. They had obviously been assured of the fact that the
Police had been diverted as also that the side door of the Church
was unlocked. They drove to the Church, parked near the gate
and five of them went in while the driver stood guard near the
vehicle.
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On getting in, the sacred objects were vandalized, petrol
was poured on the Yamaha music system that is used for prayer
and all around it. The altar was desecrated and it was doused
in petrol. All the prayer-books were piled on the main altar
around the sacred tabernacle and petrol was poured all over
the area as the tabernacle was made of metal, was locked and
they had no tools to break it open; the next best thing was to
destroy it by fire. Petrol was poured over and around the
amplifier and music system in the sacristy. The cupboards were
opened and all the sacred vestments were vandalized and
thrown out. The Holy Books and sacred objects like chalices,
monstance etc. were vandalized and thrown on the floor. The
entire area was liberally doused in petrol. The last remnants of
petrol were poured on the coir mat. Once the vandalisation
was complete, the fires were ignited and the miscreants ran
away to safety. They boarded the vehicle and disappeared
because this was when the neighbour raised the alarm. But for
the timely action of the people who rushed there, the police
who had reappeared and the Fire Brigade, the Church would
have been burnt to the ground. All the same, being a petrol
induced fire, the heat was so very intense that the glasses have
all shattered and even the plaster has fallen off the ceiling. All
the sacred objects in the Church have been totally destroyed.
The building has suffered massive damage and the overall loss
is not less than Rs.45.00 Lakhs.
It is abundantly clear that the objectives were three-fold:
Vandalise everything sacred to the Christians- a HATE
CRIME. Desecrate the holy objects- an aggravated form of
HATE
Burn down the Church in an attempt to stamp out
Christianity
After the Report of the Electrical Inspector was published
127
and the “short-circuit theory of the Police was publicly
rubbished” the State Govt . has ordered a belated CoD
Enquiry, The fact remains that no offence has been registered
nor has anybody been arrested to date. My investigations
reveal that the assailants are known anti-social elements from
the ADJOINING AREA. IT WOULD TAKE ONLY FIVE
MINUTES TO PICK THEM UP PROVIDED THERE IS THE
POLITICAL WILL.
There is complete communal harmony in the villagemembers
of the other communities have unequivocally
condemned the incident. Nobody has at any time attempted
any conversions- there is not a single convert in the
congregation; it took a lot of time and labour to verify all this.
Not a single item has been stolen, on the other hand, the
religious items have been viciously desecrated. Why then did
the attack take place? This was the starting-point in Karnataka
of the unleashing of the Orissa type of violent attacks using
FIRE and terrorising the Christian community.
As in Orissa, a village was chosen, fire was used in order
to DESTROY and not merely to vandalise and desecrate. What
comes across most strongly is that it sends out a clear message
that nothing will happen to those who commit these offencesthat
encourages them to repeat the crimes as has happened
in this case. Again as in Orissa the Police who are an
instrumentality of the State have facilitated the crime and
shielded the culprits. The consequences are dangerous. What
is far graver is the fact that the Police and the Government
REPEATEDLY TRIED TO MISLEAD THE PUBLIC BY
PUTTING OUT THE FALSE THEORY OF ELECTRICAL
SHORT-CIRCUIT. Both in the case of the Mariannapalya
church and this one, the incidents have taken place in the
suburbs of the State Capital despite so called Police protection
signifying a total breakdown of the rule of law. Each of these
128
cases raises the vexed question: on whose side are the Police?
Not on the side of the victims, most certainly.
How was the identity of the culprits revealed?
I made extensive enquiries from the persons around who
told me that after the incident when word spread in the village
that the owner of a Bar-cum-Restaurant near the Main Road
stated that it was obviously the group who had spent two hours
eating and drinking at his hotel prior to the fire who were the
culprits. The reason for this was because they did something
very unusual in so far as they insisted that he should give them
two large Jerry-Cans which he did not have. He sent his
Helper Boy Khader to get these cans which they willingly paid
for. Khader was then told to go to the Petrol Pump in an auto
and given the money to fill them up with Petrol. The boy was
a little over-smart, he went all the way to the Gas Station and
came back. He asked those persons whether they wanted Petrol
or Diesel, the reason being that their vehicle ran on Diesel and
he thought that they had wrongly asked for Petrol. They told
him that their other vehicle had stalled on the high-way as the
fuel had run out whereupon he went to the Pump and returned
with the two cans of petrol. This sequence of events is
extremely unusual and it is this last aspect that imprints it in
human memory. Both the hotel owner and Khader related
the entire incident and their versions tallied perfectly. They
also recall the fact that being a small place, the customers usually
leave by about 10.00 pm or 11.00 pm but that on this occasion,
since the Group had a lot of money that they were eating and
drinking a lot and left close to midnight. This timing tallies
with the incident and more importantly, the number of persons
and how they were dressed tallies with the version of the eyewitness.
How did I land at that hotel ? After the eye-witness,
residents and shop-keepers had given me a detailed account
129
of the incident, the fact that it was a white Toyota with a Bajrang
Dal flag on the bonnet and occupied by six persons, I tried to
find out their identity. That was when several of them told me
that these persons had spent quite sometime at the hotel and
that I should go there and make further enquiries. This was
almost like detection work but it paid off. Khader even told
me that the cans were heavy and that he opened the rear door
to place them there, whereupon he was made to put them in
the Passenger cabin and he was told that they were required to
be taken out and hence, this was more convenient. He states
that these persons had told him that they were heading back
for the highway to retrieve their vehicle which was in the
opposite direction and he just could not understand why they
went INTO THE VILLAGE. And, interestingly enough, he was
liberally tipped and asked to bring a pile of newspapers and a
matchbox because they stated that their car was parked off the
road at a very dark place and they may need to light a fire in
case any repairs had to be done. This last tell tale circumstance
fully fits in with the modus-operandi. It is too dangerous to
ignite a Petrol fire inside a Church, because it blazes rapidly
and sometimes even causes an explosion, so the safer method
is to ignite a bundle of papers close-by and then allow the flames
to reach the petrol and this is exactly what happened because a
good percentage of the newspapers were not burnt and nobody
could explain as to what newspapers were doing in a Church.
FINDINGS:
The facts and circumstances of the case unmistakably
establish that this was a calculated, preplanned, premeditated
attack on a Church on the lines of the September 14th attacks
for which the head of the Bajrang Dal has openly boasted of
responsibility. It was neither an accident nor a case of electrical
short-circuit as falsely contended by the Police In this case the
attack was more serious than the earlier ones which were
130
confined to mere vandalising. It is a duplication of the carnage
let loose in Orissa. The State Govt. is Constitutionally obliged
to take all effective measures necessary to ensure that what
has happened in Gujarat and in Orissa does not manifest
itself in Karnataka. 23 incidents in five weeks and no action
in a single case rings alarm bells, seriously shattering the faith
and confidence of the minorities.
Undoubtedly, the State or the Police Machinery had no
hand in the Church fire but the fact remains that the two
Constables had been deliberately called away and that too
Departmentally for which there is documentary evidence. It is
very clear that the assault was pre-planned and that the removal
of the police facilitated it. This could not have happened at
any lower levels unless instructions came from the top because
it was under the C.M’s Order that the Police were posted there.
Again, the desperate attempts made by Shankar Bidari, the
Police Commissioner and the repeated statements from
Acharya that it was an accidental fire were clear instances of
guilty conduct. If the fire was an accident, the Police and the
Government would not have been so desperate to put out false
reasons. The fact that the State Machinery was covering up for
the Bajrang Dal is evident from the fact that within the next
few days when the Bajrang Dal Chief openly claimed
responsibility, there were persistent demands for action from
the Government – no action was taken and no arrests were
made. This is the ground on which the liability of the State is
as high as that of the culprits who set the Church on fire.
The liability of the State for the loss and damage that has
occurred is ABSOLUTE. The State is obliged to compensate
monetarily to the extent of Rs.45.00 Lakhs (Rupees Forty-five
Lakhs Only) in order to at least restore the confidence in the
minorities, if at all it is serious about this. To date nothing has
happened.
131
The attack on the Church and the school which was jointly
conducted by the Police and activists had taken place on the
morning of 15th September 2008. The Kulshekar Church is
located on the main highway leading out of the city of
Mangalore heading towards Karkala etc. A few kilometers
further down this road after Kulshekar, one comes to a suburb
called Vamanjoor. Originally, a quiet village, it is today a very
busy area with a large number of residential areas, commercial
activity and even some very big educational institutions in the
vicinity. There is a Catholic population of a few thousands in
this area. On the right side of the road, as one heads out of the
city, there is the Vamanjoor Church which also has a few
structures attached to it, including the residential quarters for
the Priests and some of the staff members. This Church is not
located as far in from the road as the Kulshekar Church.
It has required a lot of minute investigation including
examination of a couple of hundred persons to recreate what
exactly happened on the morning of Monday, 15th September,
2008. The material indicates that the Milagres incident of
Sunday, 14th September 2008 and the atrocities that took place
there had been widely carried by the television channels and
the newspapers but possibly by personal communication
because there was a sense of alarm and deep concern through
the whole of Mangalore city, particularly, among the members
of the Catholic community. What is really more important is
that the attacks that took place around this period of time were
pre meditated, pre-planned and carefully executed almost like
CHAPTER-IX
ATTACK IN AND AROUND THE
VAMANJOOR CHURCH
132
a pre-empted strike at the Christian community all over the
District. The timing of these attacks and the severity clearly
establish that it was not sporadic and that it was directed
towards the community and against it on a vicious and violent
scale. Though, the incident at Vamanjoor was not anywhere
as serious as what happened in many of the other areas it
assumes importance for some other reasons which need to be
highlighted.
The evidence indicates that on the morning of Monday,
15th September 2008, there was hectic activity on the road which
is a very busy road. This activity consisted of Bajrang Dal
activists on two wheelers carrying flags, thrishuls and sticks
with a large number of jeeps and cars full of angry young men
along with loud speakers driving up and down the road. This
began as early as about 7.00 a.m. and created the impression in
the entire area that they would destroy the local Churches. Then
followed the Kulshekar incident which not only created a reign
of shock but also of terror. All the Christian residents of
Vamanjoor and the surrounding areas stated that they were
extremely worried that they would be attacked if they
attempted to proceed to their place of work and that is why
none of them attempted it. The masses were held as usual in
the Church early in the morning. The attendance was relatively
light as happens on week days, but gradually, the congregation
started converging to the Church premises as the situation on
the road was getting unpleasant. More than a dozen calls were
made to the police who refused to respond and the SP in
response to every single call gave extremely rough answers to
the effect that the Christians were creating trouble for the police
and that they would all be beaten up if they did not behave
themselves. What is merciful about this incident is that even
though there was an aggressive presence of the Bajrang Dal
activists in the entire area near the Church, all of whom have
133
been clearly identified by the local residents as also from their
photographs and videos, these persons neither entered the
Church nor the compound nor did they assault anybody till
the police arrived on the scene. It is not very clear whether the
SP came with the Police party or whether he came a little later
on, but he did make an appearance because, like every one of
the other incidents, the man is given to extreme degrees of
violence and there are at least three clear pictures of him
mercilessly beating people up himself. The most prominent
police officer in this incident is Inspector Ganapthy who
assumed the role of Commander-in-Chief, though, Jayanth
Shetty seems to have been more active than him at times.
Vamanjoor is a few minutes drive from Kulshekar and it
is very difficult to really justify the police presence there because
no violent incident had taken place, all the activity was
concentrated at Kulshekar. There was a white coloured Maruti
Omni with loud speakers on it parked on the road near the
Church gate and loud announcements were made saying that
everybody should leave the Church compound or else the police
would be brought there to give them a sound thrashing. My
conclusion is that about 150 persons, most of them women,
remained there because they felt safer than if they came out on
to the road and many of them had essentially come in order to
be around the Church, so that, it was not attacked. After the
warning, the announcements were made that the police were
on their way from Kulshekar and within hardly 5 to 7 minutes,
the convoy arrived. The leading vehicle was the tempo carrying
the activists and the rock pebbles. I have recorded in respect of
each of the incidents that these lethal stones were gathered from
the river bed and brought in tempos to be used as the first round
of attack also because there was the possibility that some of
them would be hurled back and the Hon’ble Home Minister
has repeatedly gone on record saying that because the members
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of the Catholic community threw stones at the police that they
used teargas and lathis in their defence ! Nothing can be further
from the truth.
What was done in this case was very interesting. My
research shows that as a cover-up in each case, the rock pebbles
were carefully retrieved and reloaded into the tempos also
because they were to be used elsewhere and it is only a few
stray ones that were found by the Press and others. It is the
same tempo that had started the incident at Kulshekar and it
was brought and parked in front of the gate of the Church.
Immediately, the stone throwing was commenced, but having
regard to the distance and the topography, the persons inside
either ran for shelter or ran backwards and apart from four
persons who sustained minor injuries, the stones did not hit
their targets. This seems to have infuriated the activists and
the police but what followed was interesting. The activists in
the tempo were joined by another group of about 50 to 100
persons from the vehicles on the road and this entire mob
charged into the Church compound armed with lathis and
weapons and they started chasing everybody who was in the
premises. The entire group of persons were finally rounded
up between the Church and the gate, at which time, the Police
Officers told them that they will be unharmed as long as they
leave the premises immediately. On being told this, the entire
group of persons started moving towards the gate when to their
complete horror, they were pelted with a volley of stones from
the tempo that was parked there. Before they could take evasive
action or run back, the activists from the tempo followed them
with lathis and started chasing them in all possible directions.
The victims were not equipped to run and therefore sustained
several injuries. The entire lot of victims were chased out of
the Church gate on to the main road. In the meanwhile, the
police had stopped the traffic by placing their vehicles across
135
the road and when the victims came out, they were stopped in
a group and completely surrounded by the police. The Officers
started shouting at them on the ground that they had blocked
the main road, when in fact, it was the police who had prevented
their exit from the place. An order was issued to use teargas
and to lathi charge them at the same time. Since, the entire
operation had been planned, the police took immediate action,
this resulted in not only injuries to all those there, but they
virtually ran for their lives. The shopkeepers and the persons
from the area are very clear about the fact that the police
prevented the congregation from leaving because they wanted
to target them and that there was massive intervention from
members of the public who objected to the assault on innocent
persons. As soon as this happened, it became possible for all
the victims to run away. The Officers directed that a clean up
operation be undertaken, the stones were reloaded in the tempo,
the teargas shells were collected and the police and the activists
very hurriedly left the place, the main reason for it being that
the Press and TV had recorded the entire incident and it was
obviously embarrassing for the Officers.
No damage was done to the Church neither inside or
outside nor to the Priest’s house. The entire assault had taken
place in the open area mainly the Church compound where
the activists had launched the initial assault and thereafter on
the main road where the subsequent attack took place. I had
visited the area on two occasions and had personally met 137
of the victims.
EVERY SINGLE ONE OF THE 137 VICTIMS HAD
VISIBLE INJURIES ON THEM. 46 OF THEM HAD HEAD
INJURIES WHICH WERE OBVIOUSLY SUSTAINED IN
STONE THROWING AND IN THE COURSE OF THE LATHI
CHARGE. FOUR OF THE WOMEN STATED THAT WHEN
THE TEARGAS SHELLS WERE THROWN AT THEM, THAT
136
THESE METAL OBJECTS HIT THEM ON THE HEAD AND
CAUSED BLEEDING INJURIES. AS MANY AS 29 OF THEM
HAD SUSTAINED FRACTURES DUE TO THE LATHI
BLOWS. The majority of victims had between 8 to 10 injuries
on them which were sustained on their backs, hands, forearms,
shoulders and generally, the upper areas of the body.
The Law requires that if teargas shells are to be used
that they have to be hurled in such a way that they do not
cause any injuries – in this case, the police deliberately aimed
them at the victims and that too at their heads which are the
most vulnerable parts of the body and which could have
endangered life. The Law also postulates that a lathi charge,
like firing, has to be directed essentially towards the lower
parts of the body where the injury would be minimal and
the danger to life is avoided as the blows should not be
directed towards vital parts of the body. In this case, every
one of the blows was aimed at the upper parts of the body
and at vital areas.
As indicated earlier, the entire incident has been recorded
by the Media who produced the photographs and videos. The
activists who took part in the assault were completely aided,
abetted and supported by the police. The operation was directed
essentially by Inspector – Ganapathy and Jayanth Shetty with
the SP, Sathish Kumar taking over subsequently. Despite the
best efforts of the police to collect the teargas shells, one of them
was picked up by a media person who put it in his bag and this
shell clearly indicated that it was outdated by six years. All the
victims very clearly stated that they suffered the after effects of
inhaling poisonous teargas for at least two full weeks after the
incident despite medical treatment. In this case, the preplanning
by the Police and the Government Authorities was
so perfect that even though, 27 of the victims tried to obtain
treatment at the Government Hospital or to get admitted that
137
they were turned back and all of them had to obtain private
medical treatment. Not a single one of the victims got any
compensation, the ground being that they did not have any
documentary evidence from the Government Hospital.
One fact which stands out in the case of this incident is
that on advice, as many as 46 of the victims made the effort to
go to the police station to lodge a complaint regarding their
injuries. They were told that if they lodge any complaints, they
would be straightaway taken into custody. I was shown a file
full of complaints which had been addressed to the IG directed
against the Police in respect of this incident, all of which had
been sent under Certificate of Posting. The Office of the IG
maintained that they have not received a single one of these
complaints.
My findings in respect of this incident are as follows:
(a) That there was zero justification for the police to have
arrived on the scene and the sequence of events indicates
that after the activists started the trouble that the police
were asked to come there and assist in the assault.
(b) That there was neither provocation nor cause from the
congregation in the Church compound and that the
activists and the police were the aggressors.
(c) That the entire operation was pre-meditated, pre-planned
and executed according to design. There was a total
conspiracy to target and assault the members of the
Christian community and to generally create absolute
terror in the area.
(d) THAT THIS WAS A HATE CRIME BECAUSE THE
LEVEL OF VIOLENCE USED AGAINST A GROUP
WHICH CONSISTED PREDOMINANTLY OF
HELPLESS, MIDDLE AGED WOMEN WAS
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DIRECTED TOWARDS CAUSING THE MAXIMUM
AMOUNT OF INJURY AND PAIN AND WAS
TOTALLY AND COMPLETELY UNPARDONABLE.
(e) That the facts fully establish that this incident was a part
of the general attacks on the Christian community, that it
was planned and executed by the Bajrang Dal activists with
total support and collusion from the police and that the
State Government was not only aware of this, that it had
been approved of and sanctioned even to the extent of
issuing directions to the hospitals and police stations not
to entertain the victims, so that, there will be a zero record
of the incident.
(f) The liability of the State Government in this case would
be absolute. The President of the Bajrang Dal boldly
proclaimed before the Press and the TV that his
organization was the militant wing of the BJP State
Government and that the Christians in the District would
receive the same treatment which the members of the
Muslim community had received in Ahmedabad and that
the Bajrang Dal would give them the same type of
treatment which the Christians had received from this
Organisation in Orissa.
It is quite shocking and unimaginable where the Rule of
Law is supposed to exist in this country that atrocities of this
type are not only committed but that it is the State Government
and its agencies who are the main perpetrators of the crime
and that they get away with this type of horrifying acts against
humanity. The Lokayukta and the State Human Rights
Commission had occasion to pass severe strictures in respect
of these incidents on a responsible basis, they are serious enough
to merit dismissal of the State Government, but the agony of
the matter is that nothing has happened.
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Bajpe is a small town about 20 Kms. away from
Mangalore, but it is important and well known because the
Airport is located here. The population consists of different
communities, the two largest being the Christians and the
Hindus with a sizeable number of persons professing the
Muslim faith. The communities have lived together in
harmony and happily over the decades and it is significant to
record that there has not been a single incident of communal
hostility in this region. Immediately after the Yediyurappa
Govt. came into office aggressive activity began with saffron
flags and banners appearing all over and groups of young
men on motorcycles parading the roads and posting
themselves at street corners. Home Minister Acharya who had
never been seen in the town started coming there for RSS
BAITAKS and the general atmosphere was polluted. I was
shown a lot of literature in Kannada alleging that the
Christians are “FOREIGNERS” who should be kicked out of
this country and that the Muslims are all “CRIMINALS AND
TERRORISTS” and who should be attacked mercilessly.
On the day I visited the Church an incident took place
which is representative of the Saffron Terror. At the junction
near the Chutch the Saffron musclemen had stopped a Threewheeler
carrying a cow and a 70 year old Muslim farmer
named Kader. The cow had been seized by these miscreants
and sold to one of their agents for Rs.2000/- on the allegation
that Kader was taking the cow to the slaughter-house. The
CHAPTER-X
ATTACK ON THE BAJPE CHURCH
AND THE COW SLAUGHTER
INCIDENT
140
cow had disappeared. Kader had been severely beaten-up.
The vehicle owner Michael, a Catholic was also thrashed for
abetting the so called crime of attempted cow slaughter. His
vehicle was also damaged. The nice part of the incident was
that the Police were present and they refused to intervene. I
insisted that an offence must be registered. The Police Officers
told me that both Kader and Michael had REFUSED TO
LODGE A COMPLAINT. This turned out to be true because
the saffron brigade told them in our presence that their legs
would be broken if they complained. This is an indication of
the communal violence that Acharya had let loose in the
Karavali area that had seen 378 attacks on minorities in 4
months!
We decided to follow up the matter and retrieve the cow
because Khader pointed out that the cow was under treatment
at the Veterinary Hospital and he had the case papers. The
cow had been taken by the person who had bought it for
Rs.2000/- in another green coloured vehicle which had
returned to that place, and I was told by the leader of the
Bajrang Dal Group that it had been sent to a go shala. It
appeared suspicious because then there would have been no
question of the person paying Rs.2000/- for it. Realising that
the situation would become uncomfortable, the Police and
the Bajrang Dal activists left the place, whereupon I asked the
Driver of the green tempo to take us to the place where he
had dropped the cow. He took us to the Beef Market and to
our horror, we found that the cow had already been
slaughtered and the Butchers told us that it had been sold to
them for Rs.6000/-. Poor Khader was in deep distress but
this incident was an eye-opener to me with regard to the socalled
love for the cow which has been made the main plank
for all anti-cow slaughter campaigns by the BJP. I also recalled
141
how the persons who had enrolled me as a Bajrang Dal
member told me that I was entitled to free food in any Non-
Veg. hotel and they give me the brotherly advice that one
should not ask for mutton because it is very bony and there is
very little meat and that one should ask for beef because it is
more tasty.
The two incidents or rather attacks that took place on
14th September 2008 sent shock waves through the entire
coastal area and the Christian community reacted sharply.
Attacks on the minorities were going on ever since the BJP
Government had come to power which was about five months
earlier and the volume and intensity of these attacks had been
increasing. Dakshina Kannada District witnessed the worst
of the violence because the RSS is very militant in this District.
The Bajrang Dal which is an associate unit had been terrorizing
the State of Orissa for over a year and it was alleged that the
State Government there was turning a blind eye to murders,
rapes and every form of brutality against the Christians which
have attracted global concern. The Dakshina Kannada unit
of the Bajrang Dal claimed full responsibility for all the attacks
and the militant units were extremely active in every town,
city and village. The universal complaint from every quarter
to me was that this was because the Home Minister – Dr. V.S.
Acharya who is a hard core RSS leader from his youth had
instructed the Police Department which was under him to
give a free hand to the communal elements and not to register
any cases against them irrespective of the nature and number
of attacks against members of the minority community and
their institutions and further more that no complaints should
be registered from the victims and that they should be severely
beaten up if they come to the Police Stations. I personally
visited a poor driver from the suburbs of Mangalore who was
142
assaulted by these elements for no reason except that he was
a Catholic and when the injured man went to lodge a Police
Complaint, he was assaulted so brutally by the Police that he
landed in hospital for two months. He suffered a fracture of
the cheek bone, underwent surgery and his family had to
spend Rs.26,000/- which money they had to borrow. The
police in their defence registered a case that he had suffered
an accidental injury. In another case, a Muslim vegetable
vendor in a village close to Dr. Acharya’s home town, was
beaten up in the market because he was not a Hindu. When
he went to the Police Station, he was arrested on the false
charge that being a Muslim, he was suspected of anti-national
activities. In the process of so-called interrogation, he was so
badly beaten up that he has suffered permanent damage to
his kidneys and sustained multiple fractures and he is maimed
for life. In order to get out of their culpability, the Police
brought him all the way to Mangalore and dumped him on
the footpath near the State Bank of India and a case of
accidental fall from a bus was registered. After extensive
treatments in hospital which his family could not afford and
which the community paid for, he has now been sent back to
his village as a handicapped person. I can cite atleast 119
more instances of these types of atrocities committed during
this period.
On the morning of 15th September 2008, a mass was held
in the Church at Bajpe, which was attended by about 200
members of the Catholic community. Being a working day,
the entire congregation consisted of women with hardly a
dozen men. After the Church service, the congregation came
out of the Church into the compound. For some strange reason,
they found the Police Officers led by one Inspector
Chandrashekar along with a relatively large group of police
143
standing in front of the gate. As the congregation came out,
the gate was opened and the police came into the compound.
There was a tempo stopped at that place apart from the police
vehicles and identical to the Milagres incident, a shower of
rock pebbles were directed at the congregation from the
Tempo. Since, the majority of persons were closer to the gate
than to the Church, their instinctive reaction was to try and
get out of the place. Chandrashekar and his men physically
pushed everybody back and he immediately gave instructions
to lathi-charge all those present. The police and the Bajrang
Dal activists severely beat up the entire congregation, even
those who had gone back into the buildings and
simultaneously, for no reason, atleast 30 shells of teargas were
thrown at them. Every single man and women present
sustained injuries and had to undergo prolonged medical
treatment. One of the victims who had sustained a serious
back injury, a young lady, was admitted to the hospital in
Mangalore. I verified from the case papers and the Doctors
that she had sustained an injury of considerable seriousness
to her back as a result of lathi-blows which could affect her
seriously for the rest of her life. She was also suffering from
acute toxic conditions due to the toxic teargas that had been
used. One of the shells which the police left behind after the
clean up operation was taken by a Journalist to Mangalore.
This shell bears the markings of the expiry date of 2002.
Ironically enough, the granite rock pebbles used in this case
were identical to those used by the Police in the Mangalore
attacks. The number of injured persons in this incident
exceeds 300 and as many as 187 of them had sustained serious
injuries. This attack was totally unprovoked and unjustified,
again because it was a peaceful congregation who had
emerged after a prayer service and when the police were asked
144
as to why they were there, Chandrashekar stated that they
were being given the first dose of what would happen to them
if they protested, demonstrated or reacted to any of the
Mangalore attacks. In this case, the police did not enter the
Church, even though, it was open, but, they smashed the glass
of the grotto in the compound with the warning that next time
they would finish the Church.
This attack assumes deep significance because it was
away from Mangalore, but it was intended to strike terror in
the entire region. Secondly, the hostility and hate levels are
indicated from the fact that the police attacked an almost all
women congregation, and did not hesitate to mercilessly
assault and injure almost every human being around. The
operation was being directed by two Senior Police Officers,
but, in the confusion, the victims are unable to clearly identify
them. The Press and TV were not around, but more than two
dozen of the victims insist that the two Officers were the SP
from Mangalore and one Jayanth Shetty. As far as the SP is
concerned, the local people were not too familiar with his
identity, but they seem to know Jayanth Shetty better, because
the view is that, he is as aggressive and brutal as the SP. He is
very much feared in the District because he is supposed to be
extremely close to some of the local Politicians and one of the
Ministers. Though, I cannot record a conclusive finding as
far as this incident is concerned regarding the participation
of these two Officers, in view of the timing, the pattern and
the modus-operandi, the needle of suspicion does point
strongly at them.
The most important and useful feature that emerged from
my investigations in Bajpe emanates from the fact that it was
here that I was able to get to the source of the rock pebbles. It
was at this place that the ladies called the tempo Owner
145
Prakash, who confirmed that the Police had loaded the local
Bajrang Dal activists in his tempo and he was made to drive
to the local river and load the stones in his vehicle and park it
in front of the Church where he was an eye witness to the use
of the stones against the congregation. The humorous part of
the narration from him was that after the incident, he was
made to join the policemen in collecting the stones, loading
them back in the tempo and taking them all the way back to
the river bed. In order to save fuel, for which the police were
not paying him, he requested them for permission to dump
the stones close by, when he was told that they must go back
to their origin as they did not want any problems if they were
found in the vicinity. In Criminal trials, the Police always
highlight guilty conduct on the part of the accused persons,
this is a case in which, the guilty conduct on the part of the
police stares one in the face.
My conclusions are that like the earlier incidents, this was
also a hate crime instigated by communal overtones. That it
was executed essentially by the State Machinery i.e. the Police,
abetted by the communal activists speaks volumes for how
deep the rot had spread and how close the collusion was. It is
again a total break down of the Constitutional mandates and
an indication that the State Government itself was responsible
for destroying the law and order situation in the District. That
this should have happened in an area of the State where the
communities had lived happily together for centuries is
indicative of the fact that a small percentage of fundamentalist
bigots with political patronage can target and destroy an entire
area.
146
A few kilometers ahead from Bajpe town, one comes
across a village by the name of Permude. This place has
assumed some prominence because the Mangalore SEZ
authorities, taking advantage of the fact that the area consists
of vegetable gardens, paddy fields, coconut groves and fruit
orchards as also small farms where poultry, cattle, goats, pigs
etc. are reared and these activities form the livelihood of the
families in that areas. What is extra special about Permude is
that among the few hundred families who live there, almost
all of them profess the Christian faith. None of them are
affluent, they live off the land and the City of Mangalore
benefits from the fact that every day the women from the
Village take their organically grown vegetables, eggs and other
modest farm produce to the city and the town and sell it at
prescribed areas. In addition to these items, they also carry
the local flowers such as the very special scented jasmine, the
orange coloured “abolim” which is a must for weddings and
celebrations and the strings of yellow “sevanthi” which are
used in all forms of poojas, prayers, garlands etc. This is a
century old tradition and in and around Mangalore, it is these
catholic women who are the only and regular suppliers of
these items that are known for their quality and speciality.
These rural folk were suddenly attacked by the SEZ
authorities headed by a bunch of thoroughly dishonest officers
and aided and assisted by a bunch of musclemen under the
guise of contractors. Without following any legal procedures
CHAPTER-XI
ATTACK ON PERMUDE
VILLAGE CHURCH
147
and in rank breach of the specific directions of the Government
of India, that no agricultural land or farm land can be touched,
the SEZ Authorities decided to use muscle power because the
poor Christians most of whom were tribals, had absolutely
no capacity to resist and possessed no fighting power.
Undoubtedly, the lands were valuable because if converted
into commercial, it was a virtual goldmine. It did not matter
to the Pais and Hollas and Shettys who headed this operation
that they were destroying precious paddy fields, village
families and destroying a whole generation of tribals under
the guise of so-called industrialization. The entire matter had
taken a communal turn because there were a small group of
very prosperous and influential persons belonging to the Bunt
community whose area was included in the SEZ. They were
most willing to trade in for money, but they insisted that they
must be resettled in this particular area along with their family
deities or temples. Under the law, it was necessary for these
persons to be resettled in non agricultural areas and you
cannot destroy paddy fields, fruit orchards, farm lands, farms
and an entire generation of tribals for such resettlement. Some
of the local organizations had taken up the issue and were
trying to resist the action but without much success. Two of
the country’s very prominent Swamijis did not approve of
these atrocities, Swami Agnivesh from Delhi and the Swamiji
from Pejawar Mutt openly stated that no such atrocities should
be permitted. This virtually took a communal turn because
the equation was that the Catholic Village be totally destroyed
in order to turn it into a prosperous residential colony for
another community.
To my mind, not only was the whole action illegal, but it
was barbaric and unpardonable. Even when I visited the area,
I have personally seen the paddy fields being bulldozed by
148
the SEZ Contractors and the Press and TV have recorded this.
The vegetable gardens were destroyed in an identical manner,
the poultry and livestock was physically lifted by these thugs
and taken away to the slaughter houses. THIS INCLUDED A
LARGE NUMBER OF COWS. The houses were physically
pulled down, the occupants beaten up and thrown out from
the area and the wells were filled with mud. The SEZ Officers
whom I questioned told me that they had opened bank
accounts in the names of the villagers and deposited the
compensation there.
These Officers led by a fellow by the name of
Raghavendra Holla were extremely insolent and aggressive.
They had a bunch of anti-social elements with them who beat
up the villagers in our presence with the assistance of the Bajpe
Police who were obviously on their payroll. I have vivid
memories of an old man by the name of Giria Gowda telling
me “these people have finished my family, destroyed my
home and even my grand children have been taken out of the
school. We are left to die on the footpaths of Mangalore, but
before that happens, I will kill atleast 20-30 of them particularly
the police who have taken the leading role. I do not care what
happens to me.” I pointed out this incident at a lecture
delivered by me on the origins of the Naxal movement and
the so-called Maoist terrorists, both of whom are regarded as
anti-social and anti-national emphasizing that they are
villagers who have been subjected to what I briefly described
above and thrown out of whatever little they possess and
driven into the jungles like wild animals. This has been done
by the Government of India, the State Governments, the Police
and the Revenue Authorities and a set of shameless and
thoroughly corrupt bureaucrats who in the name of so-called
developments, such as the Mangalore SEZ have committed
149
crimes that are worse than what the Nazis did in Europe. I
have related these facts because I am fully supported by the
findings of the Lokayukta who has held that the revenue
records were tampered with and fabricated and forged by the
Government Officers at the instance of the SEZ Officers in an
attempt to try and create false evidence that these lands were
infact barren lands and not villages and agricultural and farm
area. The State Human Rights Commission has passed severe
strictures on the State Government and the SEZ as also the
Police and the revenue authorities for the brutal and horrifying
manner in which the Kunbi tribals in the area have been
illtreated. Despite all this, the SEZ Authorities continued
unphased. The sad reason being that the Karnataka High
Court dismissed every PIL filed on their behalf holding that
all the atrocities committed by the SEZ authorities were in
the PUBLIC INTEREST!
As mentioned earlier, what was basically an economic
and social problem had taken a communal turn because all
the Christian families were to be destroyed to make way for
rehabilitation of the deities, the temples and the influential
members of the Bunt community. Several of the local
organizations held dharnas in the areas, moved the Courts
and tried their best to help the poor villagers. The media
was so well taken care of by the money power of the SEZ that
they refused to record any of the atrocities. I did not find it
strange when the High Court kept adjourning the cases
without granting any relief(s) though it is a matter of life and
death and the Petitioners had a 100% case. I recall in my
junior days that under similar circumstances, the late Mr. E.
M. S. Namboodaripad had defined the Courts “as the bastions
of the vested interests and the enemies of the poor and the
down trodden.” The Kerala High Court convicted him for
150
contempt and the Supreme Court confirmed that Order. The
only bright spark of that very sad proceeding was that Mr.
Namboodaripad never apologized and in a celebrated
Judgment, the then Chief Justice of India said that “I am
constrained to hold that it would be difficult to disagree with
this view.”
It was in this special background that the small village of
Permudi was virtually in the eye of the storm. The SEZ has
enlisted the saffron power to assist them in their illegalities
and no opportunity was lost to attack the poor Christians.
Even those who were outside the SEZ area were being beaten
up on their way to back and looted of their earnings. These
incidents were repeated with impunity in broad day light with
the full assurance that nothing would be done to the culprits.
Every thing that is being related above is a matter of record
and it would be interesting to further point out that on the 8th
of November, 2008, when the Media along with a Swamiji
and myself went to personally verify the facts that we were
all severely intimidated, the SEZs hirelings had threatened to
kill the Swamiji on the spot and the police who were present
told me that they had been given instructions to only take the
side of the SEZ. The photographs and the videos of the incident
speak volumes. The man who was leading the operation was
an SEZ Officer by the name of Raghavendra Holla who told
me that he was the brother of the State Advocate General –
Mr. Uday Holla. When I verified with the AG – Mr. Uday
Holla, he told me that this was absolutely false and that serious
action would be taken against the Officer including a
prosecution for impersonation. Nothing happened and I was
informed that Raghavendra Holla was liberally rewarded
monetarily and through promotions. It is necessary for me to
present the total picture of the situation because the Church
151
incident at Permude was never reported in the Press and it
was treated as small and insignificant. To my mind, the
implications of that incident in this background are very grave,
because it was almost the last nail in the coffin and an attempt
to eliminate the entire community of Christian tribals.
On the same day when the congregation was attacked
by the Police and their partners in crime, the daily mass was
held at the Permude Church. The entire community which
consisted of about 300 persons came to this small Church for
the religious service and special prayers were offered by all
of them for their survival. The Police and the Saffron people
who have been targeting these poor people individually and
in small numbers but who were a little worried by the presence
of the local Media and the activists who were fighting for them
decided to take full advantage of the fact that they were
altogether in a secluded place, that the Media was absent and
so were the persons who were fighting for the villagers and
they decided to capitalize on it. There was the background of
the attacks in Mangalore and several places in the District on
the previous day and more importantly, the police had
organized the entire operation for the attack on the Bajpe
Church. Permude was very close-by, the entire Army was
available, they drove to the little Church which is on the side
of the road and completely sealed off the single entrance to
the property. The tempo with the stones was parked in front
of the gate which was closed and the police were standing
armed with lathis and teargas shells. The unsuspecting
congregation came out of the Church into the compound.
Without any ground for even provocation, a volley of rock
pebbles was rained on them. Simultaneously, the police
entered the compound. The victims who were all adults, 70%
women and 30% men had no form of escape except to run
152
back into the Church. The police and the persons from the
Tempo ran into the Church, beat them up and chased them
out. Once they were trapped in the compound, unable to exit,
teargas was used. There was only one reason why these
people were saved from being beaten to death or gassed out
which was the fact that hearing their shouts and screams, a
relatively large crowd rushed to the spot and about a dozen
vehicles stopped. Seeing the police mercilessly attacking
helpless people, the bystanders opened the gate and rushed
inside to their rescue. It was this that saved their lives because
the police realizing that they would be lynched and further
more, that they would get into serious trouble, suddenly
halted the attack. The victims were helped away from that
place and the eye witnesses state that the Officers who were
incharge of the operation insisted that all the teargas shells be
picked up. Only one of them which had rolled behind a tree
was later found by the Media people who visited the place.
The entire quantity of stones were collected and carried away.
The Media only found four stones which were obviously
brought from the river bed and which totally matched every
one of the stones used in the earlier incidents.
In this case, there are no photographs or video recordings
of the incident. With the assistance of all those who knew
about the incident and who had seen it, we spread the word
around that everybody who was in the Church that morning
must come there on the 9th of November, at 10.30 in the
morning. I considered it almost unbelievable that there was
100% turnout and all the 307 persons came to the spot, what
almost brought tears to our eyes was that we met each of these
persons and we found that all the 307 of them were injured.
There were 172 persons who had sustained head injuries
probably because of the stones. The majority of persons had
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severe bruises on their arms and backs which is attributable
to lathi blows. As many as 63 of them had sustained fractures.
Out of the 307 persons, every single one had relatively bad
injuries on their hands and it is their version that this had
happened because they tried to protect their heads when the
lathis were used. Again, very few of them had sustained any
injuries below the waist. The implications of this are extremely
serious because even where a lathi charge is justified, the
police are required to aim at the lower part of the body where
the least damage can be caused and injury should not be to a
vital part of the body like the head or the chest. In this case, it
was obvious that the object was to maim or to kill and that
assumes extreme seriousness.
I have earlier pointed out that when the police attacked
the congregation and sealed off the only exit that they were
forced to run back into the Church. In this case, the police
did not damage the Church but they made liberal use of
teargas to get the persons out. I have already held that all the
teargas shells were hopelessly outdated and shells used in
this batch were obviously of the same type which is why the
special effort was made to take them away, but the one shell
that was recovered had the expiry date of the year 2000.
Without our even asking them, all those present stated
that for varying periods of time from one to three weeks, they
were severely immobilized through bouts of vomiting,
breathlessness, dizziness and general toxicity. They all had
with them slips of paper from Doctors and Medical Centres
where they had been treated and evidence of the medicines
that they have been forced to use.
It has already been recorded that the cries and screams
raised an alarm which brought almost everyone within a
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radius of over one kilometer rushing to the spot. These are
all complete outsiders to the incident but they were people
who are living and working in the area. The interesting aspect
of their evidence is that their versions tally 100% which is
why I have attached a high level of credibility to it. Secondly,
as many as 107 of these villagers state that there was a lot of
commotion prior to the commencement of the incident
because the police were obviously preplanning the assault
and were aware of the Mass timing and the fact that there
was the entire congregation attending it. The service normally
takes between 30 and 45 minutes and the police decided to
get into position well before it was over. What they did not
realize was that when a large contingent of police arrive in
vehicles at a small village, it creates such a stir that everybody
rushes to the spot to find out what has gone wrong. The other
aspect of the matter is that the Officers and Police and the
Saffron brigade were intent on sealing off the exit that they
positioned themselves with their backs to the road facing the
Church. The property is slightly recessed and this explains
why the crowd that had gathered on the opposite side of the
road and who had a ringside view of the entire event did
not readily attract the attention of the police who were
concentrating on waiting for the congregation to exit from
the Church. The admitted position is that the police did not
try to disperse them for whatever reason and this is why we
have almost 200 eye witnesses to the incident apart from the
victims. They are all simple villagers and they felt very
strongly about their own co-villagers being mercilessly beaten
up for nothing. When they gave evidence before me, they
were still under the impression that this was a terror tactic
adopted by the SEZ Authorities who had been using a lot of
violence in the area. I did not find even the slightest flaw in
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the evidence of any of these persons.
What is the balance sheet of this so-called small and
insignificant attack?
(a) To quote the words of the Home Minister who went on
to say that nobody died and according to him, there is no
record at the Government Hospital of any injuries. The
man should be ashamed of himself because unlike the
other incidents, in this case, we have cent percent injuries.
(b) All the victims belong to the category of the poorest of
the poor and the proper definition would be extremely
meek, humble and helpless. For the State Machinery, to
target this category of Society with zero justification is
not only illegal, unpardonable, atrocious and
unforgivable but above all else INHUMAN. In some of
the other incidents as a face saving device, some meager
compensations were paid. Permude is too small and
remote and not one of these persons received even a paisa
by way of compensation. City dwellers can at least
manage to find the money to meet with medical expenses
when they are injured. None of these persons could
afford it and it is just horrifying to hear how they went
deeper into debt because of this merciless attack.
(c ) Though, the SEZ had been wining and dining and heavily
bribing the police to do their dirty work, in this particular
instance, though, the violence cannot be said to be
unconnected, I am satisfied that this was part and parcel
of the State-wide planning and execution of the Church
attacks. The reason for this is because, I have
unimpeachable tell -tale evidence of the fact that the
police had made very detailed enquiries with regard to
the nature of the service that was to take place in the
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Church and further more, to make sure about the exact
timing. I am fortified in my view that this was a 100%
attack against the Christian community and the Church
because of the fact that it was an extension of the Bajpe
Church attack with the same police contingent, the same
vehicles, the same modus operandi and the same Officers.
(d) The fact that no damage was done to the Church is
merciful but is also a pointer to the fact that it was an
attack on the Christian community i.e. human beings. The
use of teargas inside the Church makes it also evident
that the object was to target the persons and not the
property which only worsens the nature of the attack.
(e) As earlier recorded, the intensity of the blows which are
evident from the type of injuries caused and secondly from
the fact that so much force was used that this was the only
incident in which as many as eleven of the lathis were
broken into pieces and these were collected and thrown
in a corner plus the fact that the blows were aimed at the
higher part of the body along with the all important aspect
that the entire congregation was trapped inside the Church
compound and not allowed to escape, all goes to show a
definite criminal intent to maim and to kill.
FINDINGS:
This was a deliberate, pre-planned, cold blooded, not
brutal but savage attack on the Catholic congregation in a
private and secluded area. The presence of the police itself
was unjustified and uncalled for because the villagers had
come for a simple prayer service. They were decent and
harmless people. They were unarmed. There was not even
the slightest provocation or possibility of violence and I would
say that the State Government is 100% guilty for what had
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happened. Even in banana dictatorships, these sort of
incidents do not take place.
The attack was pre-planned as was 100% evident from
the fact that the police came with everything from lathis to
teargas and their saffron accomplices in the tempo armed with
the rock pebbles. When confronted by the Press, the Home
Minister stated that the Police had information of a communal
clash between the Christians and the Non Christians and that
is why they had come there. When asked who informed the
police about the so-called false clash, the Home Minister stated
that they had gone to the Bajpe Church because they had
anticipated violence there and that they “received
information”, but that the source is unknown. One lie requires
a cover up of a multitude of lies. There is zero evidence of
any communal clash at Permude which is something that has
never happened in the last century, though, the Hon’ble Home
Minister is ignorant of this.
Lastly, what makes the incident to be categorized as one
of the worst in the chain of incidents of Church attacks in the
State, is that in this case, all the victims were poor tribals who
were already fighting for survival and who were virtually
pulverized. I have categorized the other attacks as hate crimes
and I would rate this even higher by defining it as hate mixed
with the worst form of venom. The State Government will
have to take 100% responsibility for these atrocities and the
consequences.
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Three weeks after the main set of attacks which I have
dealt with in the earlier chapters and after almost a dozen
assurances on Press and TV by the Chief Minister of the State
and his worthy Home Minister that stringent steps have been
taken in order to ensure that there are no attacks against places
of worship belonging to the minorities or against any of them
personally, Bangalore City and the State woke up on a Sunday
morning to one more horrifying incident at the State Capital
itself. This was a clear act of defiance and was a very strong
signal from the saffron brigade that they would still not spare
the Christians.
After the incidents that took place around the 14th of
September 2008, there was a continuation of these attacks, but
the targets in the following weeks were mainly smaller prayer
halls, shrines, grottoes etc.. From the reports that are available,
which took considerable amount of time and labour to verify,
in the coastal belt running from Karwar to Mangalore, there
were as many as 31 incidents, all of which, were categorized
by the Home Minister as being of a very minor and trivial
nature. There are a number of shrines otherwise known as
Grottoes which are erected often times in the Church compound
or even at various places by pious persons and over the years,
it has become customary for the local people to pray there, to
place flowers or to have a special little service on feast days etc.
These are what I would categorise as mini Prayer Centres.
Invariably, there will be a picture or a small statue of Jesus
CHAPTER-XII
ATTROCIOUS ATTACK ON THE
MARIANAPALYA CHURCH AT
BANGALORE
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Christ or his mother or of some other saint and in many of the
cases, there is a protective glass in front of the statue. Some of
these are lighted at night but the majority of them are not. I
have ascertained in all these cases and found out that none of
the targeted grottoes was new one. They are all in existence for
upwards of 50 years and most of them for more than 100 years.
They are also located at such sites that do not cause either
obstruction or problems to anybody, those which are not around
the Churches have been privately erected in private properties
on the roadside etc. As is inevitable in our country, whether it
be a temple or a grotto, the local people consider the object a
sacred one and it was quite usual for persons of all
denominations to oftentimes pray before them. These places
were systematically targeted because it only required a stick or
a few stones to cause the damage. When this happened, the
local police were instructed to issue a statement that it was the
handiwork of vandals or of a drunken person and that the
culprit was not traceable. In one case at B.C. Road, where it
was pointed out to the police that the location is such, in an
isolated area, that neither of these two categories of persons
would have occasion to reach that place, the Police issued a
press statement that some school boys were playing cricket and
that the glass was smashed by the cricket ball. The Press people
questioned the Inspector because there is not even 10 sq. ft. of
play area in that place nor is it on the path of any school boys.
It was very clear that this was a cover up action.
We inspected each of these sites and found that it was a
clear case of deliberate vandalism out of hatred and what was
interesting was that on every occasion where the sacred place
was damaged, they had boldly put up a whole lot of saffron
flags. The assailants were not interested in hiding their identity.
To quote one example, right from my school days, I remember
a shrine dedicated to St. Francis of Assissi, the Patron Saint of
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Animals, Birds and Nature, at the corner of the Friary at Bijai
in Mangalore. The statue had been imported from Italy and
was a piece of art and persons passing by irrespective of their
religious loyalty would always say a silent prayer. The local
Bajrang Dal activists threatened the Priests several times that
they would smash the place if the statue was not removed.
The priests tried to reason with these people that it was not
causing any problem to anybody and that it had been there for
85 years and requested them not to cause any harm to it. Five
days later, the entire front of the grotto was smashed by these
fellows not clandestinely but in the day time, and huge saffron
flags put up there.
The matter was reported to the Police who came there and
refused to register any offence. They stated that Mr. Acharya
had ordered the authorities to make good the damage wherever
it happens and within the next few hours, persons were brought
who replaced the glass, restored the lights and undid the
damage. The Fathers told the police that they would have got
the work done at a reasonable cost and the police told them
that the Government would pay for the damage. After a week,
the persons who had done the restoration demanded Rs.65,000/
– for work that should not have cost more than Rs.10,000/- on
the ground that the Government had not sanctioned any money.
When the Police were asked to honour the commitment of the
Home Minister, they stated that it was only done in order to
remove the evidence of the assault at the earliest point of time,
that no funds had been sanctioned and that the bill must be
settled by the victims. The nice part of the story was that the
workmen were Bajrangdal members who collected FIVE
TIMES normal bill! This was the story in all the 31 cases during
that short period of time. There was no doubt about who was
doing the damage, Mr. Acharya had directed that no complaints
be recorded on the ground that the State would undo the
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damage, the evidence was immediately destroyed and the
victims were made to bear the costs.
What is even more interesting is the fact that in every one
of the incidents, where prayer halls were vandalized also, the
police and the local authorities would immediately order a total
clean up of all the debris. The glass, lights, grills or any of the
damaged fixtures were immediately restored and repainted in
an effort to destroy the evidence so that no action was
warranted. In the majority of these cases, where the priests
and the local people objected to the immediate restoration on
the ground that they wanted the damage to be recorded and
assessed and the culprits to be punished so that there was no
recurrence, the authorities stated that they had instructions from
Bangalore to immediately undo the damage because the state
was very concerned about what had happened. This was not a
process of undoing the damage but it was a very intelligent
form of encouraging the culprits because through what was
commonly called the ACHARYA FORMULA, no case was
registered, nobody was arrested and 48 hours later, there would
be one more target. Initially, it perplexed me as to how the
costs of restoration were being accounted for. It was not
surprising in the BC Road and Kuloor incident that the local
people brought the glass repairer, the electrician, the carpenter
and the painter all of whom have small local businesses who
frankly admitted that under the Orders of the SP, they had been
brought there, made to do the needful and were paid nothing.
I must credit Dr. Acharya on his craftiness and unusual
brilliance because even in these two cases the priests had to
make good the bill.
The purpose of recounting the above is in order to establish
that the functioning of the State Government at this point of
time was exceeding the devious. While open assurances were
publicly made that the situation was being monitored and
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controlled the truth of the matter was that a subtle formula
had been adopted whereby the terror tactics would continue
but the evidence was wiped out. It is in this background that
while the reaction both national and international was one of
shock, horror and disapproval, the incidents continued
unabated. I have earlier dealt with the incident at
Yedavanahalli and the immediate public statement by the
brilliant Police Commissioner of Bangalore even before he
visited the place that it was a case of electrical short circuit and
it was very clear that these incidents were being carried out
not only in the coastal belt but all over the State and that
Bangalore had to also have its share. What happened at
Mariayanapalya on the Sunday morning, three weeks later was
therefore an extension of the earlier chain of events.
This particular place resembles a small town, because it
was one of the suburbs of Bangalore off the Ring Road not very
far from the highways. With the location of the New Airport
close by and the Ring Road etc., the area has developed and
there are approximately 2000 Christian families who belong to
the local Church. The Church itself is a medium to large
structure not capable of accommodating a large gathering and
this is why on Sundays and feast days, there is more than one
worship service or mass, the first at about 7.00 a.m. and the
second one, at about 10.00 a.m. Both these services are largely
attended by devotees from the whole of that area. The Church
is quite recessed from the road and hence, it does not cause
any inconvenience or disturbance to the area even when
services are going on. There is also a small structure adjoining
the Church in which the priest resides and another small
structure where one or two of the staff members reside.
Adjacent to the Church, is a school which caters to the
educational requirements of the area. What is of significance
is the fact that children of all denominations are educated in
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this school and the local persons, several of whom I spoke to
tell me that the school is extremely well run’ that everybody is
happy with it and that there has never been any incident of
communal disharmony in the area for as long as one can
remember.
On the Sunday in question, the Priest left the residential
quarters on his two wheeler at about 5.30 a.m. and proceeded
to another Church to conduct the Mass and he was to return
after about one hour. At about 5.45 a.m., one of the staff
members went to the rear left side of the Church to open the
door and to prepare the Church for the Sunday services. The
Church used to be locked from the inside and the exit was
through this door which was also locked. Some of the devotees
as also two of the nuns would arrive by about 6.00 p.m., put
the lights on, open the Church and make all the necessary
arrangements for the Mass. The staff member was completely
taken aback to find that the lock broken, the door was open,
the inner door was also open and SACRISTY had been
vandalized. As this person was alone, he decided to wait until
the others arrived and until the Priest returned at about 6.45
a.m. Only the two nuns came there at about 6.00 a.m. and were
completely horrified to see what had happened. They found
that the SACRISTY had been completely vandalized. All the
sacred objects from the cupboard which was lying open had
been thrown on the floor and badly damaged and these
included a crucifix (cross) as also altar objects that are used for
the mass. The vestments had all been torn to pieces. The statues
there had been broken and even the light fixtures had been
destroyed. They immediately telephoned the Priest who came
back in a short time.
They then went into the Church and to their complete
shock and horror, they found that the Church had also been
vandalized to the extent that everything around was broken
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but the main target was the holy area namely the altar where
the Mass is celebrated. This had not only been damaged but it
appeared that some filthy material which looked like cowdung
had been thrown on it and around the sacred areas. What was
really intolerable was the fact that the Tabernacle was lying
open. It is customary to keep a Chalice which contains the
consecrated hosts inside the Tabernacle which has a metal door.
The Tabernacle is kept locked and the key is kept in the
cupboards of the Sacristy. The Churches really have no security
problems and the usual procedure was that the key was brought
from the cupboard and kept on the altar during the Mass
services so that the Priest could open the Tabernacle and take
out the Chalice when required.
It was very clear that the object of the attack was to
desecrate the holiest areas of the Church and the hate levels
were so high that the Chalice had been thrown on the floor, the
hosts scattered on the ground and there were obvious marks
in the area of footprints clearly indicating that the hosts had
been “TRAMPLED”, which is the highest form of desecration
and contempt. I need to record here that the consecrated hosts
are regarded by devout Catholics as being the body of Christ,
because during the mass, the hosts are consecrated in keeping
with Christ’s directive to his disciples to repeat what happened
at the last supper. It is universally known and accepted that
the consecrated hosts are extremely sacred objects which are
treated with the highest levels of reverence, so much so that
even if one is accidentally dropped, that special prayers are
said as reparation. The Priest immediately gathered the hosts
and the chalice after the entire damage had been photographed.
The unanimous version was that when the local police were
informed telephonically, they stated that nobody was available
as they were busy with the RSS BAITHAK and that they would
come after three hours. Word spread like wild fire particularly
165
in the background of the earlier Church attacks and within less
than 45 minutes, the media arrived on the scene. The Press
and TV representatives state that none of the local police were
either present nor were they responding even to phone calls
from them. They contacted the Bangalore Police Commissioner
whose response was extremely interesting. He put three
questions:
(a) Has anybody been killed ?
(b) Has anybody been injured ? and
(c) Has there been any large scale loss of property ?
When informed that none of these three things had
happened, he stated, he would instruct the local police to look
into the matter because it was not a serious incident. What is
even more interesting is that according to the version of the
media persons, in the background of the earlier Church attacks
and the assurances from the State Government that preventive
steps would be taken to ensure that such incidents do not recur,
they telephoned the Home Minister to ask him for his reaction.
Interestingly enough, his reply was that he was aware of the
incident which according to him was trivial, that it is a problem
of the local politics and that he had instructed the police to
look into the matter.
In the course of the next one hour, the incident took a
serious turn, because it was photographed and relayed live on
all the morning TV channels around the State, around the
country and even Internationally. A huge crowd of devotees
arrived at the Church and they were visibly agitated. The
videos indicate that several of the Congress leaders arrived on
the scene and that they tried to pacify the crowd. Several of the
other political leaders including from the JD(S) also came there
and mercifully enough, they were able to prevent a flare up.
What is significant is that for a good two hours, while all this
was going on, not a single BJP MLA, Minister or any other leader
166
came to that spot. The videos indicate that long after all the
others had left, the BJP Chief Minister made his way there. By
this time, tempers had run high and irrespective of a relatively
large police force led by the Police Commissioner himself, the
CM was not able to reach the Church. The videos indicate that
the Police Commissioner had even ordered the Police to use
force and to lathi charge all those present, but seeing the mood
of the persons and the fact that it would lead to violent
consequences, this did not happen. The reason for this is
because it was very clear by then that this was not a case of
theft as the Police Commissioner was trying to put across but
was infact a hate attack at the instance of the local RSS leader.
This had caused a violent eruption because the crowd that had
gathered consisted of all the residents of the area only 30% of
whom were Christians and they were worried about the fact
that a place of worship had been attacked, that it was obviously
a preplanned job, that the police had not even responded, that
they had been obviously taken care of and that there was
good reason for the State Government leaders right up to the
Chief Minister to be the last to come there even though all
the other politicians had come and gone. In view of the hostile
situation, the CM, the Police Commissioner and the entire group
of persons with them left the place hurriedly. It must be said
to the credit of all those present that a decision was taken not
to escalate the matter and to maintain peace and after about
three hours, a Prayer service was held and the persons were
asked to disperse.
In the other incident, the Bangalore Police Commissioner,
had loudly proclaimed that it was a case of short circuit. In this
case, he stated that it was a case of theft. The next day the TV
channels pointed out to him at the Press Conference that a
detailed inventory had been made and that not a scrap of
paper was missing, everything had been vandalized but not
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even a rupee worth of property had been taken away. He
stated that Churches have collection boxes at different points
in the Church and these are full of money and that these were
the targets. He was immediately confronted with two pieces
of irrefutable evidence:
(a) The fact that many of the valuable objects such as
chalices, monstrance etc. which are all gold plated had
been vandalized and thrown there. Not a single one of
them was missing.
(b) More importantly and surprisingly enough, the four
small collection boxes which had tiny locks on them were
all intact. After a statement on the previous day that the
object was theft, these four small boxes were opened by
the Priest in front of the Media. They were found to
contain small amounts of money, all of which totaled
127 rupees – very few notes and mainly coins.
Obviously, the Police Commissioner had no answer.
Who was responsible for this incident ?
A detailed investigation done by me indicates that the local
RSS Chief by the name of C had been throwing his weight
around and using a lot of muscle power in relation to illegal
acquisition of property mainly through the use of force. He
was very close to one of the local ministers who was obviously
a beneficiary of these deals and who used to visit the area often
and it is common knowledge that the man wielded tremendous
influence and that all the local authorities including the police
were on his payroll. He had a fleet of vehicles, but his favourite
one was a white Scorpio which was characteristic because of
the heavy decoration. There had really not been any conflicts
between the RSS / VHP / Bajrang Dal, all of whom were under
the control of this man and the Church or the Christian
community except for the fact that on the previous Sunday, an
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RSS Baithak has been organized by this C and a couple of
hundred persons had attended this function which was at a
distance of about one and a half kilometers up the road from
the Church. Two things had happened, the first thing that the
persons attending the Baithak had come in a number of jeeps
and other vehicles and were playing very loud music and
creating a commotion as they passed by the area. According
to the local shopkeepers, persons attending the Church service,
had requested them not to disturb the Mass to which they took
serious offence and there were several arguments near the
Church but nothing beyond that.
During the Church services, for no reason at all, persons
attending the Baithak which was at a sufficiently long distance
came in a group to the Church and objected to the singing on
the ground that it was offending their proceedings. This
interrupted the Mass and there would have been an unpleasant
incident. Fortunately, the Priest immediately came out and
pacified those who had come there to object and told them that
the service was effectively over and that there was no more
singing. The eye witnesses to these incidents state that there
was a reaction from the congregation who came out after the
Church service and they told the objectors who were carrying
saffron flags and thrishuls that they had no business to disturb
the Sunday mass and it was at this stage that a number of threats
were issued to the effect that they would see how the services
were conducted in the area.
There is a further nexus to C and the incident. About 100
meters from the Church, as one approaches it from the highway,
is a little bazaar. There are several shops there and it is a slightly
spread out area where it is easy to park vehicles. In fact, when
I had visited this place, I had always parked my vehicle there.
There are persons who sell non-vegetarian food namely a small
chicken stall, there is a meat shop and there are also small shops
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which sell various types of vegetables and fruits. On week
days, this place gets operational by about 6.30 a.m. but on
holidays and Sundays, the customers come earlier and hence,
the activity starts by about 5.00 a.m. Since, it was obvious from
the timing of the incident that it had taken place sometime prior
to 6.00 a.m. and since the shops opposite the Church open
around 9.00 a.m. I decided to ask the persons in the market as
to whether they could throw any light on the incident. As is
always the case, they showed some hesitation but they willingly
wanted to disclose whatever they knew provided their names
were not indicated and provided they were not made any
parties to court cases or legal proceedings. The interesting
picture that emerges is as follows:
(a) Those who were selling the non-vegetarian items such as
chicken, meat and fish stated that their customers usually
came in very early when the climate was cool because all
the stuff deteriorates after the sun comes up and none of
them have any cold storage. The birds or animals are
slaughtered and the meat is kept ready for the customers.
In view of this pattern, the vegetables shops also get their
stocks, open them and display them quite early. In fact,
the market is active between 5.30 a.m. and about 8.00 a.m.
but I was informed that the bulk purchases from the hotels
and restaurants are the earliest. That explains why the place
is busiest between 5.00 a.m. and 6.30 a.m.
(b) That there is a fair amount of movement on the road which
is a single access and therefore, they find it easier to get
the vehicles carrying all their supplies coming in and
leaving between 4.00 a.m. and 5.00 a.m. More so, on
Sundays and weekends when the demand is very much
higher.
The investigations reveal that on the date of the incident,
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C had come to that area with a group of persons in his vehicle
and parked it at that place and this was around 5.00 a.m. There
was also a convoy of five other vehicles, mostly jeeps with the
saffron flags very prominently displayed and these six vehicles
had been parked there. All the occupants who numbered about
20 to 25 persons had got down and proceeded on foot towards
the Church. This incident was unusual because none of these
persons had come to do any marketing. They were seen
entering the Church compound. The occupants of the jeeps were
in the usual RSS attire of khaki shorts and white vests and black
caps and carrying lathis. They did not interfere with the
shopkeepers nor did anybody take any special notice of them
except for the fact that they all came back after about half an
hour, got into their vehicles and drove away. The only reason
why they were noticed is because the white Scorpio and its
owner are both very well known and he never visits that area
nor does he park his vehicle there. Similarly, the five jeeps and
their occupants had nothing to do with the marketing, they
had nothing to do with anybody in that area and it was therefore
a little unusual as to why they came there so early in the morning
and left soon thereafter. The answer became obvious after about
an hour when news spread that the Church had been attacked.
These are all very simple people but even as far as they
are concerned, the nexus was more than clear. They remember
the previous Sunday when some unpleasant arguments took
place in the vicinity around the Church and the fact that just
one week later, on the following Sunday, the Church had been
ransacked in order to make it impossible for the service to take
place. It is true that there was no investigation by the police
into the Church incident and therefore, none of these persons
were either asked by the police nor was there any other
investigation. It was not accidental that it occurred to me that
they would be the persons most likely to know as to what had
171
happened because the only access to the Church compound is
from the Road, this is a relatively quiet area and whoever did
the vandalizing would obviously had come on vehicles which
would have been parked at that spot. From the scale of
vandalism, it was also clear that a group of persons were
responsible and that this would attract attention. More
importantly, from the manner in which the Vandalism had been
done, it was very clear that sticks or iron rods had been used
extensively and anybody carrying such implements would
again attract attention.
The most important key to the incident arises from the
question as to who is most likely to have committed an attack
of this type. The needle of suspicion points to the persons
involved in the previous Sunday incident who had even openly
threatened that they would see how services were conducted
there. Secondly, they were people belonging to the RSS baithak
and this was the organization that was behind the series of
attacks that have taken place. Thirdly, the degree and nature of
the vandalism which was directed towards desecration is a
common factor in all these attacks.
One does not really need to go by circumstantial evidence
when one has the unanimous evidence of 18 eye witnesses from
the area who have seen and identified the culprits. It is most
deplorable in this background that the Police Commissioner
tried to cover up a motivated, pre-planned vandalisation of
the Church and desecration of the sacred hosts as an act of theft.
The local police contend that they have not registered any
offence because nobody has reported loss of property nor was
there any complaint lodged. This is contrary to the evidence
because apart from the whole series of oral complaints, a written
complaint was also lodged with the local police which is not
traceable.
172
The overall conduct of the authorities is reprehensible and
unpardonable. I have assessed the damage in monetary terms
at Rs.16.00 Lakhs (Rupees Sixteen Lakhs Only), but more
importantly, the nature of the incident, whereby all the holy
areas of the Church were deliberately vandalized and
desecrated. This was most certainly a HATE CRIME. It was
again preplanned, pre-meditated, deliberate and totally
unpardonable and from the circumstances of the case, it had
the full and total support of the State Machinery. According to
the Law Enforcement Authorities right upto the DG Police, no
offence has been registered and consequently, there was no
investigation conducted, though, the Government Authorities
and the Police at all levels were bending over backwards to
cover up and justify what had happened.
This case is extremely important because even though
nobody was hurt or injured that the sacred hosts were
desecrated which is the highest form of a hate crime against
Christianity. Secondly, this incident has taken place in the
suburbs of the State Capital at a point of time when the Chief
Minister and the Home Minister had assured the State that every
preventive step would be taken to ensure that no attacks of
this type would take place. The conduct of the Chief Minister
who arrived at the place approximately six hours after the
incident, did not express even an apology and who walked off,
very clearly indicates the arrogance and hostile attitude of the
State and above all, the fact that no offence was registered and
no action followed clearly shows that the State Government
fully approved of the incident and colluded with it. In Criminal
Law, facts speak for themselves and this is a case in which, the
local RSS Leader and his followers had vandalized the Church
after their open threats and their institution is an integral unit
of the BJP. The irresistible conclusion that arises in Law is that
this was just one more of the series of Church attacks by the
173
saffron units which had the complete approval and backing of
the State Government.
I would have expected that at least as an indication to the
public, that the State does not approve of crimes of this type,
the Chief Minister and the Home Minister would have made a
pretence of ordering immediate action. This was not done and
it was no accident and it is therefore, quite clear that the incident
met with the full approval of the State Government which is
something extremely unfortunate. The media questioned the
Home Minister as to why State Security as promised by the
Chief Minister has not been provided to this Church, to which,
his answer was that it was not possible to protect every place
of worship. He was quick to volunteer that according to him,
this was a case of attempted robbery but that the culprits ran
away because the Staff came there. They alleged that the
Churches were asking for trouble by using gold vessels at the
mass which they should stop doing. This is an inane and
untenable reply from a man who is proved to be neck deep in
these attacks and who seems to forget that unlike these gold
plated vessels which are worth nothing and which were not
stolen, that the temples invariably have very valuable gold and
jewellery and that there is just no sanction for anybody to lay
their hands on any of these sacred items. The State is 100%
guilty and there is no getting away from this.
174
The road from Mangalore City to the Airport crosses the
National Highway and continues for some distance to a place
by the name of Bondel. In earlier times, this was a village suburb
of the City, but in the course of the last three decades, it has
turned into a busy residential area. This particular part of the
city is rather hilly and the Church itself which is located off the
Main Road is on a slope. With the rise in population over the
years, the Church has been completely renovated and it is
relatively large, capable of catering to the population of over
1000 families of Christians. A visit to this area will indicate that
about 50% of the houses are still the old structures with little
compounds around them but with the pressure on
accommodation, there are also a large number of new buildings.
It so happens that the residents of this area are predominantly
Catholic. Most of them have been living there for several
generations. The original Church which was smaller is about
200 years old, but the structure has given way to the new Church
which is about 40 years old. There has never ever been a single
incident of communal disharmony in this area. There is a fair
representation of persons of other communities apart from the
Catholics, but as is characteristic of village life in India, they
have lived together in friendship and goodwill for the last few
centuries.
After the BJP Government came to power in Karnataka,
one of the agendas was that all areas howsoever small where
there was a predominance of minorities should be penetrated,
attacked and terrorized. I am constrained to observe this
CHAPTER-XIII
ATTACK ON THE BONDEL
CHURCH HILL
175
because there is no other ground or reason why these muscle
flexing exercises should have been indulged in. The young
activists were provided with free two-wheelers, the license
to drive into any petrol pump and fill up the fuel free, the
liberty to enter any eating house and not to pay the bills after
consuming unlimited amounts of food, similar liberties with
the bars, the clothing stores and the footwear shops. The
photographs and videos show these totally unemployed
young men with saffron scarves around their necks, carrying
sticks, thrishools and at times swords riding through minority
areas shouting slogans and putting up saffron flags and
banners. They would station themselves at the cross roads
and beat up people for no reason at all. This background had
created an air of uncertainty, but the general reaction of the
minorities was one of fear, because even in the case of serious
incidents where little hotels were attacked and the employees
were beaten up, the police were on the side of the law breakers.
The victims who went to the police stations were beaten up by
the police and even arrested on false charges. Every single
time, an eating house was attacked, since it was run by either a
Christian or a Muslim, the excuse was that they were serving
beef. This was the general background and the situation was
extremely uneasy.
The Bondel Church adjoins a small hill. This is a totally
barren hill with absolutely no residential structures on it. My
enquiries indicate and establish that ever since the Church was
set up there, which is over 200 years ago, this hill was part and
parcel of the Church property. It is true that there was no
occasion to develop the hilly part because it is relatively steep,
stony and extremely difficult to negotiate. Some religious
services used to be conducted on this hill because it became a
pilgrimage place not only for the persons from the area but
also for people from far and wide. The Church authorities have
176
enclosed the entire hill and the walls themselves indicate that
they are over a 100 years old.
According to the Catholic history and tradition, Jesus
Christ was put on trial in Jerusalem, condemned to death and
was made to walk all the way up Mount Calvary to the top
where he was crucified. The Catholic religion has a very holy
ritual which is called the Way of the Cross. This consists of a
historical reproduction of some of the main events that occurred
since Christ was condemned to death and what happened after
that. For instance, he had been tortured to such an extent that
he was in no condition to carry the Cross, the soldiers kept
whipping him and forcing him on and he actually fell to the
ground on three occasions. Finally, realizing that he would
die if they torture him anymore, another man was forced to
help with carrying the Cross. Many painful incidents took place
in the course of this last journey and they are vividly depicted
in the 14 stations of the Cross. Wherever there is adequate
space available, these 14 stations are represented in the form of
statues or images and those of the devout persons who make
the Way of the Cross stop and pray in front of each of these
stations. It is a very sacred and special form of prayer for
Catholics. Wherever possible, all over the world and even in
this country, these stations are replicated on a hill side as a
memento of what happened 2000 years ago. To quote an
example, in Lourdes in France, huge life like images have been
made all the way up the hill and it is almost a true life
representation of the original way of the cross.
The Bondel Church is one of the very few places in India
where the entire way of the Cross has been reproduced on the
hill adjoining the Church. Regular services are held every
Friday and during the sacred season of lent everyday. During
the services or even if people decide do it privately, the devout
do the entire journey up the hill and stop and pray at each
177
station. At the top of the hill, there is a small Chapel which is
really a prayer house containing a few statues and other sacred
objects. It is customary to end the way of the cross with a short
prayer service here. Over the last about 200 years, devout
Christians started coming to this hill from all over the District
and even further, because it became a special pilgrimage centre.
During the holy season or on special days like Good Friday,
thousands of devout Christians would assemble on the scene
for prayer. Since, it is a secluded place, away from the main
road, there was never any occasion for interference from
outsiders.
There is a road leading from the Church around the hill
upto the top. The exit gate is at the top of the hill and it was
customary for people to go out from this gate after the service
was over and the Prayers were finished. This is a motorable
road and over the years, a housing colony had come up on top
of the hill. There are a couple of hundred families who live in
those buildings and the occupancy is mixed, since they belong
to different communities. After the BJP Government came to
power in Karnataka and the muscle flexing activity was
commenced, for absolutely no reason at all, the young activists
decided to target this area. My research indicates that these
fellows were in the habit of coming to the top of the hill with
liquor bottles and using it as a site for drinking and lots of other
anti-social activities. This included womanizing particularly
late in the evening and at night. The gate is a short distance
away from the housing area and these fellows decided to use
the chapel as the centre point for their activities. They broke
the lock on the gate, entered the place and started dissipating
in the area. This was objected to by the Church authorities
who complained to the local police, but the police refused to
interfere. The complaints were lodged all the way up to the SP
and to their misfortune, the Church authorities realized that
178
not only was the SP on the side of the anti-social elements but
that he was a regular visitor to the area himself. He told the
Church authorities that this was an open place and that
everybody had access to that area and further more that nobody
could be prohibited from coming there. The only saving feature
was that if these fellows interfered with any of the religious
services, there would have been a serious flare ups and
therefore, they refrained from doing this. The situation
however, became extremely uneasy as the liquor, drugs and
womanizing went out of control, the Police getting their share
of the business and it becoming dangerous and unpleasant for
any decent person to go there. The area was prominently
decorated with a large number of saffron flags.
Since, this area was Church property, the Church
authorities went to the DC and requested his intervention as
the situation was becoming extremely unpleasant. The Chapel
at the top of the hill had been broken open and was used for
drinking and prostitution. There were also reports of wide
spread drug addiction with a whole lot of drug addicts
frequenting the place and misbehaving there. The DC made a
pretence of looking into the case, but what he did was to not
only come there and meet the persons who were creating the
trouble, but he sent a written communication to his partner in
crime, the SP to station some police there, on the ground that
there was likely to be a communal flare-up.
Instead of improving the situation, it got worse, because
the police started preventing the Church authorities and the
pilgrims from entering the area on the ground that the Bajrang
Dal activists were objecting to it. They told these persons that
the SP had instructed them on the basis of direct instructions
from the Home Minister that this was Government property
and that they would not allow any religious services there.
When the authorities went back to the DC, he stated that there
179
were written applications from the Bajrang Dal asking for the
hill to be allotted to their organization and that they intended
to conduct melas and RSS Baithaks at that place.
The residents of the area whom I met and interviewed
extensively informed me that they were going through a
difficult time ever since these anti-social activities started,
because drinking, drugs and prostitution was going on round
the clock and it was extremely unpleasant and obnoxious,
particularly for the women and children to even go there,.
Along with the anti-social elements, the police constables had
also joined the fun and they were in the habit of walking into
the nearby houses and demanding food and liquor and
threatening the residents if these were not provided. The
residents collectively had sent six written petitions to the SP, to
the DC and to the DIG Police asking for appropriate action, but
nothing happened.
All of a sudden, the DC is supposed to have passed an
order under Section 144 Cr.PC whereby:
(a)he prohibited the assembly of five or more persons, but
in actual fact, no member of Christian community was allowed
to go there, and secondly, the DC passed some kind of so-called
sealing order U/S 145 Cr.P.C. whereby he is supposed to have
held that there was a dispute between the communities over
the immovable property and that he had consequently
temporarily taken possession of it and sealed off the area in
order to prevent a breach of peace. Despite three written notices,
to which there was no reply from the DC, these Orders were
not forthcoming. The Church authorities desired to challenge
these Orders, they applied for them several times, but the DC
refused to furnish the so-called Orders.
The reason why the Church authorities could not take the
matter to Court was because they were never furnished a copy
180
of a single Order, but the worst part of it was that the Parish
Committee and the Priests were repeatedly threatened by these
anti-social elements that if any action was taken, they would
be finished off and the Church would be burnt. These terror
tactics worked because the Christian community decided that
it was better not to provoke these persons, since they had the
full backing of the police and the Government authorities.
In order to verify the facts, I visited the place for the first
time on the evening of 7th November. There was a lock on the
gate from inside. There were three or four motorcycles with
saffron flags parked near the Chapel. It was about 6.00 p.m.
and a noisy party was going on inside the Chapel. The two
police constables were part of the fun. There were about a dozen
young men and about 15 to 20 young women. There was plenty
of food and an abundance of bottles, most of them were beer
bottles. When I asked the constables to open the lock, they
initially refused. They asked for my name and then telephoned
their bosses who were good enough to tell them to open the
gate. I went around the entire area and did my verification,
after which, I politely asked the crowd there as to who they
were. They told me that this was a regular picnic site,
particularly in the evenings and at night and that they had come
there to have fun. I pointed out to them that this was a holy
place belonging to the Church and that the structure which
was occupied by them was a Church. Their reply was that it
was a public place taken over by the Government and that they
have every right to come there. Considering the mood of these
fellows, I decided not to provoke them and left the place. In
order to do a more detailed research study, I went there early
on a Sunday morning at about 7.00 a.m. This time the gates
were wide open, there was no evidence of the police, but there
were a couple of two wheelers, lots of bottles and food thrown
all over the place and three young couples were fast asleep
181
there. The last visit was on a Saturday afternoon when I had
taken some of the elderly persons of the area who had offered
to show me the statues and some other evidence of the fact that
the wall and the structures were over a century old. On this
occasion, again, the gates were open, there was a police jeep
parked outside the gate and all the four occupants were fast
asleep. There was a wild drunken party going on in the Chapel
and about 20 two wheelers parked there. On this occasion, there
were about 15 young men and 6 young women with them. Loud
music was being played and from what I could see, a lot of
dancing was going on. The old people who were with me
requested that for our own safety, we should leave the area.
It is deplorable and pathetic that a two century old sacred
pilgrimage centre should have been converted by the State
Government into something that is worse than a brothel. All of
this was officially done under the patronage of the SP and the
DC. When I personally brought this to the notice of CM, and
the Home Minister, at the Circuit House in Mangalore, and
asked them what they had to say about it, the CM pleaded
ignorance. The Home Minister told me that it was a deserted
area and that it was difficult for the police to patrol that area all
the time. I specifically confronted him with the history of that
sacred place and how it had been forcibly taken over by the
Government authorities and handed over to the anti-social
elements where every form of obnoxious and illegal activity
was going on under the police protection. Initially, he told me
that the newspaper reports were false, but when I showed him
the photographs which the media had taken, when they
accompanied me, he stated that he would look into the matter
and put a stop to these activities if it was true.
The only encouraging aspect of this meeting was that when
the CM and the Home Minister were shown my findings that
this was Church Property which should be protected as such, I
182
was assured that the Revenue and the Police authorities would
be instructed accordingly. Dr. Acharya who obviously knew
much more told me that the Bajrang Dal had contended before
him that this was Government land and that they had a claim
to it. He told me that he was aware of the fact that this claim
was false and that he would instruct the DC and the revenue
authorities to pass appropriate orders confirming the possession
and ownership of the Church.
In the course of two meetings at the Church premises
which were largely attended where I had asked the eldest
members of the community to remain present, over 70 aged
men and women confirmed the fact that during their lifetime
and to their knowledge, this hill had been part and parcel of
the Church and that the religious services were regularly held
there right from their childhood. From the dates given by them,
my finding is that there is overwhelming evidence to confirm
that both the ownership and possession of the hill vested with
the Church for at least the last 70 years. A careful examination
of the walls and other structures which I had asked
knowledgeable persons to do confirms my findings that they
would be much older at least 100 to 120 years.
In all the other attacks on the Churches, the Government
authorities and the saffron brigade showed zero respect for the
fact that it was a sacred place. In this instance, they have gone
miles ahead in so far as this hill which was a holy pilgrimage
centre and the Chapel which was a small Church have not only
been forcibly taken over from the Church with the full blessing
of the Police and the Government authorities, but what is
atrocious, shameful and utterly unpardonable is that the area
has been converted into a den of vice and a Brothel thanks to
the orders of the DC and the State Government. My personal
inspection confirmed the fact that since it is a secluded place
around and on the top of a hill that it is an excellent area for
183
every form of illegal activity and under the muscle power of
the Bajrang Dal and with the Police and Government protection,
Crores of Rupees worth of illegal business is running there. As
indicated earlier, there can be no dispute about the fact that it
is Church Property and despite assurances from the highest
authorities in the Government, no Orders for restoration of the
property to the Church have been forthcoming for over two
years. To my mind, there is no need for the Church to go to the
Court to reclaim its own property but there is also a procedural
difficulty in so far as I have already indicated that the Priests
and the Parish Council have been warned of dire consequences
if they take this step. The bigger hurdle is that the performance
of the subordinate Judiciary all over the District indicates that
it is pro-saffron and this is why even simple Bail Applications
are not disposed off for 3-4 months, injured persons are not
provided medical assistance and wherever custodial beating
and torture is alleged, the Complaints are rejected. In this
background, where the subordinate Judiciary is ever willing to
issue Non Bailable Warrants against innocent citizens as
happened in the Editor – Seetharam case, where nine NBWs
were issued in respect of the same Complaint; It is extremely
dangerous because an adverse Order can land the party in
greater difficulty. That there is a total breakdown of the Rule
of Law is an under-statement.
184
Apart from the Catholic community, there are several other
Christian denominations who conduct their own form of Prayer
and worship in the State of Karnataka. Some of them have
regular Churches like the very prominent Shanti Church in
Mangalore which is one of the oldest and is a heritage building
which dates back to the years of the BASEL MISSION. This
particular Church was spared and was not attacked or
damaged. However, what the activists did was that they
targeted all the small Prayer halls irrespective of where they
were located and I shall very briefly summarise on a
representative basis, some of them which had been visited by
me. The modus operandi and the damage and the pattern
followed were the same all over the State. It was a pre-planned
operation, it was executed on Sunday, 14th September 2008 and
in the period that followed and there is absolutely no need to
try and find out as to who the attackers were because the Bajrang
Dal chief in the course of the next one month repeatedly stated
in his speeches, press releases and appearances on TV that it
was the Bajrang Dal activists who had taken these steps. He
put forward the justification that these groups had indulged in
large scale conversions to Christianity and that this was the
reason why they had been attacked.
I have already dealt with this allegation in other parts of
the Report and only need to reiterate that on verification with
the authorities right up to the highest level, this Conversion
CHAPTER-XIV
ATTACKS ON CHURCHES / PRAYER
HALLS BELONGING TO OTHER
DENOMINATIONS- ALLEGATIONS OF
CONVERSIONS/FOREIGN MONEY
185
charge was established to be absolutely groundless and false.
No complaints with any authority leave alone the police had
been filed in respect of these allegations. No cases registered
and no action taken. Irrespective of this, in each of the places
visited by me, I followed a uniform pattern in so far as I made
independent enquiries with regard to this allegation from
persons in the area, persons some distance from there such as
Hotel Owners, Shopkeepers etc. and lastly, from the Pastors
and the congregations concerned. In every single case, the
conclusions are identical. It was a relatively small group of
persons who would come to the Prayer Hall and conduct their
prayers and most of the time, it was only once a week on
Sundays. They would assemble peacefully and after their
religious service was over, they would return. They did not
cause any problems to anybody around nor did anybody object
with regard to their prayer services. It is therefore, abundantly
clear that there was zero justification for this allegation.
As far as one denomination is concerned mainly the New
Life Group, there was an additional charge that they were
responsible for circulating the publication Sathyadarshini which
has been dealt with by me in a separate Chapter. I had asked
the Pastors and the congregation wherever I had visited their
Churches and they flatly denied having any knowledge of any
such publication. Their version is that they are least hostile to
any other religion or any other faith or belief and that they
would never ever indulge in any such activity. There was also
no allegation from any independent quarter with regard to
anybody being in possession of this publication or circulating
or distributing it. In fact, nobody had even heard of this book.
I made it a point, in order to resolve the issue, to ask the
local police authorities wherever the New Life Prayer Halls
were located about this allegation. They admitted that there
were rumors to the effect that these books were being circulated
186
by the New Life people and that this was the only reason why
they had been attacked. Two pertinent questions arose:
(a) If the allegation was true, the activists who did not hesitate
in using force would most certainly have been able to get
hold of the publication from whoever had them or were
circulating them and the fact that despite numerous
incidents all over the State, not a single copy was seized
or handed over to the Government or the Police Authorities
conclusively establishes that this rumour / allegation was
baseless.
(b) Since, this was a serious charge on the basis of which the
Bajrang Dal had indulged in a lot of violence and since,
the Police at every centre were aware of this allegation, if
the New Life people either possessed distributed or
circulated the material, the police would have most
certainly taken charge of it because in addition to
everything else, the police are vested with the power of
seizing any property or material that is involved in the
commission of a criminal offence. My conclusion is
reinforced by the fact that it was a sad reflection on the
Police Department in these areas that it had virtually got
saffronised. How this sudden transformation took place
after the BJP Government came to power in Karnataka has
a very simple explanation, since, the Home Department
was headed by a person who instigated, encouraged,
colluded and protected all such activity, the Police
Department at all levels decided for their own good that
they would fall in line. I am only concerned with the end
result, namely the fact that with such a highly committed
and dedicated police force, there is not even a one percent
chance that anyone who possessed, circulated or
distributed this offensive literature could have escaped.
The fact that not a single seizure was made anywhere in
187
the State right through this long period of time,
conclusively establishes that the New Life people had been
wrongly accused.
Every singe New Life Prayer Hall located in the State of
Karnataka was attacked on 14th September 2008. The modus
operandi was the same in all these operations and I shall only
deal with one case from Udupi Town. The Prayer Hall is located
in a commercial complex right in the centre of town. Though,
it is a busy area round the week, the building is completely
deserted on Sunday mornings because it is a weekly holiday
for shops and offices and even if a small number are open for
sometime, it is after about 11.00 a.m. The Prayer Hall in question
consists of a single hall which can accommodate about 50 to 60
persons. There is a modest amount of furniture inside, some
tables, a stand and a sound system for the speaker. There are a
few cupboards which contain the Prayer books and some of
the other items that are used for Sunday worship. This hall has
more than one entrance but we are basically concerned with
the two main ones, the entrance and the exit both of which lead
on to the common corridor. The Prayer service commenced at
about 9.00 a.m. and would have lasted about one hour. It was
known to everyone around that the congregation met at this
time on Sunday mornings for about one hour. The version of
the Pastor and of the congregation is identical. About ten
minutes after the group of about 30 persons had met and while
their Prayer service was going on, about six persons armed
with sticks and dressed in saffron outfits rushed in through the
two doors. They immediately started assaulting everyone
present including the Pastor. There was a commotion and
naturally, people tried to avoid being beaten up. Nowadays,
since everybody carries mobile phones, two of the ladies
managed to run out into the corridor and phoned the police
emergency numbers. I am told that the police station is next
door and that the police immediately responded by rushing
188
there. One Officer with about four of his men immediately
rushed to the spot. The attackers who had caused a fair amount
of damage to the furniture, electrical fittings, glass and who
had also targeted the prayer books and other holy items were
alerted by the fact that a Police Jeep with a siren was heading
towards that place. While hurriedly running out from there,
they snatched whatever chains or mangal-sutras they could
from the ladies and decided to leave the place.
Unlike in the case of all the other attacks which were
identical, in this case, the police had responded so fast that they
ran up the steps and the miscreants were all caught in the
corridor. They were brought back to the prayer hall with the
sticks that they had in their hands. They were all identified as
local Bajrang Dal activists. The jeep with the siren happened
to be the vehicle in which the SP himself came. He immediately
ordered that all the six persons the arrested and that a proper
investigation be conducted. The Pastor and the congregation
were extremely impressed even by the fact that the six attackers
had disclosed the names of another seven persons to the police
and these consisted of the Drivers of their two vehicles and a
support group who were supposed to wait downstairs to ensure
that nobody interfered with them and that they could escape
from the place. This was unusual because in the case of all the
other attacks, the culprits got away, the police had refused to
respond and did not even register the complaints in respect of
the attacks. The Udupi case had a sad ending because the SP
received a telephone call while he was still there not to arrest
anybody and to leave the place without even making an
inventory of the damage. Thirty two people are witness to this
phone call and when the Pastor and the victims protested, the
police only stated that the Orders had come from very high up
and that there was nothing that they could do. As indicated
earlier the over two dozen attacks on the New Life Prayer
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Houses in different parts of the State that took place on this
day and subsequently, was supposedly because of the offensive
anti-Hindu literature but since that ground is found to be
absolutely false, the irresistible conclusion which emerges is
that the attacks were directed out of religious hatred. It is also
obvious that even though these are relatively small prayer
houses catering to a few dozen people, that the hostility levels
were extremely high. Even the authorities of the commercial
complex were pressurized into asking the New Life people to
shift their prayer hall away from that place and it was only
after a lot of persuasion that this did not happen.
We then come to a slightly different type of incident. There
is a small place by the name of Kuloor which is a few kilometers
outside Mangalore city. There is a three storied building which
is known as Skanda Hotel building. The Third Floor was vacant
for a long time and these premises were taken by a small group
of persons who belonged to Blessing Assembly of God Prayer
Fellowship. This is essentially a prayer group which does not
belong to any particular religious denomination, though, the
Head of the Group was earlier a Christian Pastor. Apparently,
the Assembly of God people are a Christian denomination.
They meet occasionally and pray together and the place on the
Third Floor of this building was their Prayer Hall. The existence
of their Prayer Hall was not even noticeable because unlike
other places of worship, it had no distinguishing features like a
Church or a temple. I visited the place and found that it has a
little simple furniture, some rugs on the floor because most of
the persons who come for Prayer used to sit on the floor. The
usual sound system, lights etc. were present in this Prayer Hall.
The persons who come there never exceed 20 to 30, they usually
pray on a Sunday morning and go away and the rest of the
time, the place is closed. My enquiries at the hotel and in the
building indicated that they have never created any problems
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or any nuisance in the area – in fact, there were only good reports
about them saying that they are nice friendly people and that
nobody has anything to complain about them.
On the morning of Sunday, 14th September 2008, while the
Prayer service was going on, at about 10.15 a.m., a huge group
of about 20 persons entered the place and without any
provocation started beating up everybody including the Pastor.
There is only one door to this hall and nobody could leave.
The assailants were armed with cricket bats, wickets and
wooden sticks. Though, they assaulted the congregation, the
blows were mainly aimed at the back, arms and lower parts of
the body and the attackers kept shouting out that they should
stop Christian services, as otherwise, they would be killed on
the next occasion. I would not categorise any of the congregation
as being even upper middle class or rich. They all belong to the
lower middle class and poor strata, about 85% of them were
women, about 10% men and the rest children. The object of
the assault appeared to be threat and intimidation rather than
the desire to assault or kill because even though the incident
went on for about five minutes, nobody sustained any injuries
of any seriousness such as cuts, stab injuries or fractures. The
bad and inhuman part of the incident was that they snatched
every single piece of neck jewellery which the women had on
whether it was a mangalsutra, a gold chain or even artificial.
None of these poor people could afford to loose their small
possessions. After threatening and beating the congregation
and strongly assaulting the Pastor, they left the place.
What was most surprising was the fact that the corridor
and the staircase outside the door were occupied by two Officers
and a number of police constables. The Assailants had walked
through the police lines and from what transpired, it was clear
that they knew each other. What aggravates the situation even
more is the fact that my enquiries in the area confirm the fact
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that one police jeep, one police van and an orange coloured
tempo with about 20 activists in it had come together. The
activists went up and carried out the attack with the police
sealing off the stair-case and the exit, firstly, in order to prevent
the victims from running away, but more importantly, to
prevent the outsiders intervening and apprehending the
Assailants. As soon as they had left, the police came into the
hall and pretended as though they had come to survey the
damage. They did something very unusual in so far as they
asked everybody to leave the place, closed it up and took charge
of the key. The Pastor was told to come to the Police Station
and to lodge a complaint. He informs me that an FIR Number
120/2008 was registered at 11.45 a.m. on that day, but that no
arrests have followed nor has any action been taken.
The reason why I have singled out this case is because the
police kept the key with them for the whole of that week. On
the following Saturday, the key was returned and surprisingly
enough, there was zero evidence of the incident because
everything including the broken glass had been cleaned up,
repaired and restored and it is only the Prayer books and holy
objects that could not be replaced. The Pastor was told that the
Government was extremely concerned about the incident and
that the State had restored all the damage, so that, there should
be no cause for complaint.
Later on, the persons who had been made to repair /
restore the place threatened the Pastor and the Congregation
that if they do not pay Rs. 28,000/- they would be severely
beaten up. These were again Bajrang Dal persons who stated
that they have not received the Government money and forcibly
extorted it. The Pastor and the Congregation told me that they
are an extremely poor group, that the damage could not have
been of more than Rs. 800/- to Rs. 1000/-, that they had never
asked the Police to restore the place and that they were put to
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serious difficulty. This is a case of adding insert to injury –
first, the Prayer Hall is destroyed virtually under police
protection and cover and then, the very miscreants charged 28
times the price of the damage in order to restore it.
These are not alleviating circumstances but are aggravating
ones for the reason that there is conclusive evidence of the fact
that the attackers had been given police cover and assistance
which clearly indicates that there was official Government
sanction for the commission of the offences involved in the
attack. Secondly, the fact that the police were present when the
incident took place and that they greeted and allowed the
attackers to leave is a highly incriminating circumstance. There
is little doubt about the identity of the attackers because apart
from the Bajrang Dal President openly proclaiming that his
organization had carried out all the attacks on 14.09.2008,
everybody from the area were unanimous that they were the
local Bajrang Dal activists who had come in a tempo displaying
the saffron flags.
Though, the police undid all the material damage to the
Prayer Hall, obviously for oblique reasons in order to
obliterate all traces of evidence, at the same time, though the
Accused were local persons all of whom were known, none
of them were arrested or proceeded against. Significantly, all
the personal jewellery that had been looted was never
recovered. Those of the women who tried to agitate the matter
at the police station were asked to produce the purchase
documents which they were not able to do, after which, they
were summarily thrown out.
Though, no appreciable injury or serious damage took
place in this incident, I have singled it out because it clearly
establishes the complicity of the State Machinery in the attacks
that took place on that day. Secondly, it was a small group of
poor insignificant people and the fact that even they had been
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attacked clearly establishes the hate levels that provoked the
incidents. There was no allegation that this Group had
converted or tried to convert anybody or that they had
distributed any literature or had done anything against the
Hindu faith. The fact that they had been chosen for attacks
indicates one other very significant factor namely that the action
on that day was directed to move all the way down to the
poorest of the poor and the object seems to have been to terrorize
every strata of Christians right down to the smallest. These
people had obviously not done their home work because I had
met the congregation on the Sunday that I went there and not
strangely enough, out of the 27 persons present, only 9 were
Christians, 11 were Hindus and 7 were Muslims. This was a
cosmopolitan Prayer group and it is difficult to understand why
even such a congregation was attacked. It is clear that it was
reckless violence with a byproduct of looting that was behind
the incident.
VANDALISM AT MADANTYAR
About 50 Kms away from Mangalore on the main road
leading to Dharmastala and some distance away from
Belthangady is the town of Madantyar. The population here
consists of a good representation of Christians most of whom
are Catholics but some belonged to another denomination
namely the New Life Faith, and a small percentage are Muslims.
This place has grown from a village into a prosperous town
and most of the residents do agricultural work as also trading.
There is a very good educational institution which is run by
the Catholic fathers, maintaining excellent standards and
catering to all the denominations. There are also several other
schools in the town. Several of the persons educated in these
institutions hold prominent positions in the City of Mangalore.
For obvious reasons, I have refrained from quoting names as
far as possible in this report as I consider it unnecessary. When
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a public meeting was called at Mangalore, shortly after the
Church attacks, a group of persons who belonged to Madantyar
reported to me that on the same day i.e. 14th September 2008, a
violent attack took place against the Mahima Prarthana Mandir
at Madantyar and that apart from loss of property, injuries of
some seriousness had been caused. They requested me to look
into this incident, the reason being that in the course of the last
century, there has never ever been any communal violence in
that town or in the surrounding areas. The additional feature
in this case was that unlike most of the District, there was no
prominence of Bajrang Dal activity in that town, there was no
looting of any shops or eating houses and it was therefore very
disturbing that this incident took place. Again, they pointed
out that the Catholic Church and the other institutions had not
been attacked and it was extremely worrying that this incident
had taken place.
I visited the Mahima Prayer Hall and met the person
incharge of it who was a Christian aged about 48 years. He told
me that the Prayer hall had been operating for 16 years and
that he was the Pastor for the last seven years. He had a group
totaling about 125 devotees who used to come there and pray.
According to him, small groups of about 25 to 50 persons would
assemble for prayers on different days of the week but this
was not a fixed routine. On Sunday mornings, the fellowship
service and worship used to take place at about 9.00 a.m. and it
lasted for about one hour, an average of 100 persons would
attend this service. Out of the total number of devotees, there
were about 25 who belonged to the other communities who
used to join in the prayer services and about 100 of them were
Christians.
On 14.09.2008, at about 9.20 a.m., while the Prayers were
in progress, a mob of 7 to 8 persons who were armed with
knives, iron bars and sticks forcibly entered the Prayer hall and
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started shouting at those present that if they move from their
places, they would be severely assaulted. These persons first
targeted the furniture which was all broken to pieces, the light
fixtures were smashed, the sound system was destroyed, after
which, all the bibles, prayer books and other holy objects were
completely vandalized.
This hardly took a few minutes. There was a collection of
Rs.2700/- (Rupees Two Thousand Seven Hundred Only) in cash
which was taken away by these persons. Apart from the
furniture, the tubelights and the fans, even the switchboard
was smashed, a projector costing Rs.12,000/- (Rupees Twelve
Thousand Only) was destroyed. The devotees were warned
that they should not raise any alarm nor should they try to run
outside because two vehicles with about 50 armed activists had
been stationed there. These were tempos with saffron flags on
them and in order to intimidate the gathering, they were
shouting loud slogans.
The attack on the prayer-hall was completed in a few
minutes, after which, all those present were ordered to come
forward one by one and deposit their mobile phones in a bag.
They were also ordered to deposit their wrist watches, gold
chains and whatever cash they were carrying. Two of the group
checked each person and they did not even spare the children,
some of whom only had a few coins in their pockets. Out of
terror, they parted with everything that they possessed. They
were then told that they should leave the place one at a time
and as each person left, they were given a sound beating and
told that if they complained about the incident, they would be
finished off. In this incident, every single man, woman and
child sustained injuries. One of them sustained a bleeding
injury on his head. Two of the young men, who incidentally
were not Christians were hit on the face, as a result of which,
they sustained severe bleeding injuries and each of them have
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lost two teeth. The worst assault was directed against the Pastor.
Inspite of sustaining about 27 injuries, he was fortunate enough,
he had no fractures and no internal injuries to any vital organs.
It took him one and a half months to recover from the assault.
Subsequently, a complaint was registered at the Belthangady
Police Station around noon on that day. This police station is
about 15 kms away from the place of incident. The Police
registered offences of rioting, assault, mischief, causing hurt
etc. against a group of unknown persons. The possible reason
for this is because as indicated earlier, there had not been any
noticeable saffron activity in that area prior to this incident and
the attackers as also the group of persons who had accompanied
them in the vehicles were not locals and from their
conversations, it was apparent that they had come from the
B.C. Road area. It is not surprising that the police took absolutely
no action, nobody was arrested and none of the property that
had been looted which would aggregate to over Rs.1.5 Lakhs
was ever recovered. Also, unlike in the several other cases,
neither the police nor the local authorities took any steps to
make up for the damage or to restore or replace any of the
property that had been destroyed.
I had occasion to meet almost all the victims because I
made it a point go there on a Sunday morning when they had
assembled. This was three weeks after the incident, they told
me that the police had not even visited the area to assess the
damage. The interesting thing that happened in this town was
that on the same evening i.e. on 14.09.2008 itself, a public
meeting was held which was attended by the leaders of all the
communities and a decision was taken that if anybody either
locally or from outside tried to create any trouble in the area or
attack places of worship that they would be severely dealt
with. In other words, a civil defence unit was set up of persons
belonging to all communities, who expressed not only their
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preparedness but their intent to meet violence with violence.
This was also published in all the local papers and thanks to
the warning there was no more trouble in this town.
The Prayer hall is located in a quiet area surrounded by a
lot of vegetation and trees. Persons residing in that area state
that there was neither any cause for disturbance nor did the
Prayer hall create any problems. They put the attack down to
the statewide violence that had been planned and executed by
the Bajrang Dal against the Christian community on 14.09.2008.
This incident assumes seriousness because there was zero
justification for it and it was directed against a group of persons
belonging to the lower middle class who had assembled for
Prayer. Though, extensive damage was caused to the Prayer
hall and ever single one of those present was assaulted, it was
very clear that the object was in order to attack and terrorise
and LOOT these poor persons.
What distinguishes this incident from all the other attacks
was that it was nothing short of an act of dacoity. The main
object of the attack appeared to be to loot every one of the
persons present. For a person belonging to the lower middle
class, to loose a mobile phone, for a woman to loose whatever
little jewellery they possessed and for even the children to be
relieved of their possession, clearly establishes a case of dacoity.
This is another angle to the attacks that took place on that day
because it clearly shows that the so-called activists who were
displaying saffron flags were in fact professional criminals. In
this background, the non action on the part of the police is
significant. It also adds a dimension of dacoity / criminality to
the communal angle and is indicative of the type of persons
who had been recruited by the party for carrying out these
activities.
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PERSONAL ATTACK AT KALLADKA:
There is a small town by the name of Kalladka in Bantwal
Taluk which is about 30 Kms. away from Mangalore. This place
was constantly in the news particularly during the Church
attacks because the Head of the RSS operates from this place.
According to the several articles that appeared regularly in the
Press, this particular individual who is supposed to be very
close to the Central Organisation is an extremely powerful
person as far as the State Government is concerned. In order to
highlight his influence, regular reports appeared in the Press
that the Home Minister visits him on every occasion and one
of the prominent Kannada papers even displayed a photograph
of the Home Minister prostrating himself before the old man.
The other aspect is that he is asked to play the VIP role in all
the saffron functions organized in the District and his speeches
are carried in the headlines. I was shown a number of them
where he has not only incited communal violence on every
occasion, but has also stirred up extremely hostile emotions
against the Christian community. While something like 20 false
cases for allegedly inciting communal disharmony were
registered by the Police against Editor, Seetharam, all of which
were false and devoid of substance, as far as this man is
concerned, he could say anything, write anything and get away
with it. I had occasion to point out to the Chief Minister and
the Home Minister from a file full of news reports and TV
videos that he had exhorted Hindus in the District during
the Dasara of 2008 to do poojas not to their implements of
trade but to do pooja to knives and swords which should be
used to eliminate the Christians from the District. Both of
them smiled and told me that they had met the person
concerned and he had stated that he was misquoted. The videos
were live recordings of his statements and yet, no action was
taken. The reason was obvious.
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Thanks to such leadership and official patronage, the
situation around that area of the District was totally out of
control as far as the Christian minorities were concerned. They
were being attacked in their fields, in their homes, in their shops
and even on the roads. I shall indicate only one such incident
which is representative. There is a shop entitled “SOUZAS”
which is owned by a Christian gentleman. It is a textile shop in
the village of Kalladka and has been in existence for over 60
years. The husband and wife run the business, they are among
the most respected persons of the place and are on extremely
good terms with all the communities.
On 15th September 2008, at about 11.00 a.m., while the shop
was open, 8 to 10 Bajrang Dal activists carrying Trishuls, swords
and lathis came on a motorcycle and a couple of other vehicles
and attacked the shop. They caused extensive damage to the
material and also damaged the Maruthi Omni Car bearing
Registration No.KA-03 MC 9419 belonging to D’Souza’s
brother. Both D’Souza and his wife who are elderly persons
were attacked with deadly weapons and sustained serious
injuries which included head injuries which started bleeding
profusely. They were taken to the local Government hospital
where they were refused treatment, the reason being that they
were seriously injured and they were then taken to a private
hospital in Mangalore. They were out of action for five weeks.
After the morning’s incident, a bigger group attacked the
shop again, at about 9.30 p.m., poured kerosene and set fire to
it causing very extensive damage. The matter was reported to
the police who registered an offence against unknown persons
but nothing has happened thereafter. In my view, there was
absolutely no difficulty in identifying the Accused in both the
incidents because I had visited the place and asked all the
adjoining shopkeepers who stated that the attackers were well
known Bajrang Dal activists who have no known occupation
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except looting and thieving and that they have the full support
of the party and the police and that nobody can touch them.
That there was a total breakdown of the rule of Law in the
District is an under statement because this paragraph will
indicate what precisely was going on at that point of time. This
old couple have nothing to do with conversions, they had
nothing to do with anti-hindu literature. They were running a
textile business which wasn’t even connected with any religious
activity, in spite of which, they were attacked and almost killed.
The Doctors at the Mangalore Hospital confirmed the fact that
both husband and wife had suffered fractures of the skull which
was life threatening and yet, no police action followed. Their
business has been completely ruined. The car was destroyed
and the State Government has not given them a single rupee
by way of compensation.
This place, as indicated earlier, was the centre from where
all the hatred emanated and the individual who was spreading
it was virtually running the Government. An article in the local
press stated that there were long queues of people who were
coming there from all over the State in order to get their work
done. Prominent among these were the Government Officers
who could arrange their transfers from Kalladka. The most
prominent among these was the Police Department. Since, the
Politicians headed by the Home Minister and the Chief Minister
regularly visited that place, there was a prominent police
presence there and if in the midst of this, an incident in a public
place of the type mentioned by me has taken place, there is no
doubt about the fact that it was with the full knowledge and
consent of the State Government. What could be more
conclusive evidence of misuse of power and breakdown of the
Constitutional Machinery ?
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ATTACK ON PASTOR’S FAMILY:
About 30 Kms outside Mangalore, there is a small town
by the name of Moodbidri. At a place called Mastikatte, at
Hosabettu Village, there is a Prayer hall belonging to the New
Life Prayer Group. This hall is attached to the house in which
the Pastor lives. It is used for prayer services which are
sometimes held on week days and usually on Sunday mornings.
A very small group of persons numbering not more than 30 to
40 come to that place for Prayers. It is a relatively secluded
area, these prayers are being held for the last several years,
there has been no problem or dispute from anybody and none
of the other communities have had any cause for complaint.
14th September 2008, was the day on which every Christian
Institution had been targeted for attack. This place is so small
and remote that its existence is hardly known to anybody. On
that Sunday morning, the service was held from about 9.00 a.m.
to 10.00 a.m. after which everybody left the place. The Pastor
himself had gone out. At about 10.45 a.m. more than 10 persons,
some on two wheelers and some in other vehicles all displaying
saffron flags came to the Pastor’s house. They forced their way
in and beat up the Pastor’s wife and two minor children and
started vandalizing the place. Apart from the furniture, they
destroyed the TV and caused extensive damage. These persons
were carrying sticks with them and the Pastor’s wife screamed
for help. Persons from the area came running to the spot
whereupon all the attackers got on their vehicles and left the
place. A police complaint was lodged by the Pastor with regard
to the injuries sustained by his wife and children and the
damage to his property. The police have registered the offence
but nobody was arrested and no action was taken. He has not
received any compensation from the Government. His wife had
sustained grievous injuries and so had both the children. It
took them about 8 weeks to recover from these injuries.
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I refer to these incidents because in this case, the target
was not the Prayer hall nor the Pastor nor the congregation.
The wife and minor children were badly injured. The house is
a very small one. They are not rich people. They have not created
any hostility or problems to others and yet, they have been
terrorized. All the non-christian neighbours and people of the
area, none of whom are Christians have condemned the
incident, more importantly, they have identified the attackers
as the biggest and well known criminals of the area and persons
whom the police know very well. It is their case that these
fellows have obviously joined the BJP and are being used to
spread terror against the minorities. Again, this incident is very
representative of how even small unconnected persons in
remote areas were being singled out for being targeted and
terrorized.
ATTACK AT PUTTUR:
Puttur town is a saffron stronghold, principally because
of its proximity to Kalladka. At any given time, the entire place
is full of saffron flags, hoardings and activists riding the streets
on two wheelers and the minorities are at the receiving end
here. There is a small Church which is called the Believers Local
Church which is located at Jodukatte. This Church is about 7
years old and is looked after by a Pastor. It has a congregation
of about 100 persons who assemble there on Sundays for the
Prayer service. The Prayer services have been going on
uninterruptedly for several years without anybody either
objecting or for that matter interfering or taking note of these
activities. They are independent and harmless. All the persons
who attend this Church which is located in a small hall are
persons who profess the Christian faith. They belong to the
middle class or lower middle class strata of society.
On 14.09.2008, the Pastor was conducting the Prayer
service at about 11.30 a.m. A group of activists carrying sticks
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and iron rods entered the place and immediately started
damaging and vandalizing everything within sight. After they
had damaged the property, they turned on the congregation,
beat up the Pastor and started attacking the men, women and
children present in that place. Out of fear, everybody started
running outside. There were a number of vehicles displaying
saffron flags with about 50 persons collected there. Not only
were the devotees assaulted, they were also stoned and they
were told that if any Christian Prayer service was conducted in
that place, that they would not only burn it down, but that, all
those present on the next occasion will be killed. As many as
78 persons sustained injuries in this incident. A Police
Complaint was lodged but nobody was arrested nor was any
action taken. Everything within sight in the Prayer hall was
completely destroyed. No compensation was received and not
a single one of the injured persons received any compensation.
This is a relatively busy area of Puttur and the enquiries made
by me with regard to the identity of the attackers reveal that
they were all the well known anti-social elements of the Town
and that the Police would not have taken more than five minutes
to arrest them if they wanted to. The fact that this did not happen
clearly indicates that the Government machinery which under
the Constitution of India is mandated to protect the minorities
has not only failed to do so but has on the other hand colluded
with the attackers. One can only painfully record again that
this is a total and complete breakdown of the law and order
situation and the Constitutional obligations of the State
Government.
ARSON AT JODUMARGA, B.C. ROAD, BANTWAL:
As indicated earlier, the Bantwal region has been the
hotbed of anti-minority activity for a long time and the Pastor
of the Believers Church at Modamkap, Bantuguri at Jodumarga,
B.C. Road, reports that since the year 2006, there have been
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repeated attacks on the small Church which is located
there. On 16.04.2006, during the service, a group of persons
attacked the Church and severely beat up the Pastor who
sustained serious injuries and was unable to continue with his
duties. At that time, the Police registered an offence against
unknown persons and the case was closed after a few weeks.
The Pastor was unable to resume his duties and never came
back to that Church. The Police, for some strange reasons asked
for all the records and documents pertaining to the Church
which were taken away and never returned despite several
requests.
In the month of August 2008, the tension in the area was
growing and hence, the Pastor and the Christian community
requested for police protection. Two Police Constables were
posted at that place round the clock. The Pastor was staying in
a small house close by. At about 1.30 a.m., the front door of the
Church had caught fire. A group of persons who had come
there on motorcycles had poured petrol on the front door and
ignited it. When this happened, the two police constables raised
an alarm, the neighbours and the Pastor rushed there and
extinguished the fire, though, considerable damage had already
taken place. The interesting part of it is that this incident
took place when the police were present there. Why they
remained quiet until the fire was started and the culprits have
fled is not known. When I visited the place and assessed the
damage as being of the order of Rs.1,00,000/- (Rupees One Lakh
Only), I asked the police as to what was their explanation for
the incident taking place when they were present there. They
tried to cover it up by saying that they were asleep and that
they only woke up after the fire had started. They also maintain
that they were not in a position to identify the persons or the
vehicles in question. Once again, just 4 days later, a group of
persons arrived at that spot around 5.30 p.m. and seeing the
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Pastor and his wife near the Church, they pelted stones at them
and told them that if they continued to hold any services at
that place, that they would be killed. Again, this incident took
place in the presence of the police, on this occasion, the Inspector
had come there in his jeep to check on the presence of the police
and there were six constables, apart from the Officer. The sad
part of the incident is that the attackers threw stones and
threatened the Pastor and his wife in the presence of the police
who did not interfere. Minor injuries were caused to the
Pastor and his wife and when they asked the police as to why
they had not apprehended the culprits, their explanation was
that they have protection from the Government and that it
was useless for the police to do anything against them.
I have recorded this incident for the limited purpose of
illustrating how total the breakdown of the Law and Order
Machinery in the District was in September 2008. The attackers
were running wild in broad daylight, attacking, looting, stoning
and burning and this was even being done not only in collusion
with the police but in their very presence. This particular Church
is located in a remote area. There are not too many people
staying around and it has not created any problems for
anybody. Why was it then targeted ? It is obvious that a lot of
research and ground work had been done to identify each and
every little place howsoever small or remote or poor it was,
that was part of the Christian worship and the idea was to not
only terrorise those who carried on their religious activities there
but to virtually stamp them out. These were the same tactics
used by the Bajrang Dal in the State of Orissa which had earned
global disapproval and indignation. The State of Gujarat had
also experienced similar activities where violence and fire were
the main weapons and the identical modus-operandi came to
be used in Dakshina Kannada. As in the case of those two
States, all these illegal activities had the full blessing and
approval of the State Government.
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MURDEROUS ATTACKS ON PASTORS AND
CONGREGATION:
For reasons that are more than obvious, I have, in this
report avoided mentioning names and even sometimes, dates
and places. The reason for this is because almost all the victims
and even the witnesses had been so terrorized that they would
always request me not to disclose their names as they were
afraid of reprisals. As a Lawyer and as a Judge, I fully
understand the implications of this fear because whenever an
illegality takes place, the perpetrator of the offence and of course
the advisors not only corrupt the police because the Police
Department does not need any outside agency to corrupt it,
but the combination of these factors is used to intimidate the
victims and the witnesses. This is one of the main reasons for
the failure of criminal cases though it has been my experience
that the Prosecutors play an excellent role in withholding
evidence and destroying the case provided they are well taken
care of. In my Lawyer days, some of the most successful trial
lawyers told me that when everything else fails, the Judge has
to be “managed”.
In this case, a virtual reign of terror had been let loose and
it took sometime before the Christians and Muslims organized
themselves and various measures were undertaken to bring
the situation under control. That still did not help the victims
and the witnesses because it takes a long time for the fear to
ward off. When I describe the status of the victims in these last
two attacks, it will straight away become evident as to why I
have not disclosed the names or for that matter even the
locations. The victims are all very poor persons living in remote
areas where they have zero protection and where their lives
are in danger. With this background, I do not consider it at all
correct to add to their problems.
The Coastal or Karavali area is a hilly terrain and there are
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places in these small hills with tiny hamlets. The local people
live off the earth in so far as these are essentially plantation
areas and it is out of the produce whether it is agricultural or
fruit or coconuts or arecanut or the like that they do some
trading and earn their livelihood. The cattle and poultry act as
a small supplement, even transport is difficult in these areas
and it took a lot of effort and several hours for me to reach
these places. There was a special reason why I went there
mainly to assess the impact of the attacks but more importantly,
to find out the gravity of the venom that impelled the
organizations which had planned these attacks to target these
areas. So deep was the hatred against the Christian community
that elaborate research had been done to find out even remote
unknown pockets where there was a very small and simple
prayer room and to send a band of armed persons in vehicles
to destroy it.
The first of these places is in a hilly area which is difficult
to approach because though there are mud roads, they are not
in very good condition. Even the hills provide a livelihood
because they yield a lot of laterite stone which is building
material and this has to be cut out of the hills. There is also
some business in timber and minor forest produce and a fair
amount of fruit trees, coconut trees etc. There is a small prayer
hall which has been set up in this area by one of the Christian
denominations. It is a very modest shed which can hold not
more than 50 persons. Next to it there is a small house where
the Pastor, his wife and two children live. This place is not a
Church, it has no furniture because everybody sits on the floor
and there are some very ordinary coverings, mainly gunny bags
placed on the floor. There is one small table and an electric
light and the usual set up for a simple prayer service. The
congregation consists of about 40 persons from the adjoining
area. They belong to the Christian faith but there are about 14
others who profess Hinduism and Islam. These persons have
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been meeting on Sunday mornings for about an hour and they
attend a Prayer service which is conducted by the Pastor. He is
a middle aged man and extremely loved in the area because he
is more a social worker who helps out the poor people in their
various day to day problems than a religious head.
The absolutely horrifying feature about this case was the
fact that after the initial stone throwing which virtually
destroyed the roof and caused extensive damage to the structure
because that was the intention of the assailants, they entered
the prayer hall, smashed whatever little was there, at the same
time barring the exit of the terrified congregation. They were
beaten up rather badly with the Pastor and his wife being the
main targets.
Though, they screamed for help, it was totally useless
because it was such a remote area that nobody would come to
their assistance. Every single one of the persons assembled
here has suffered at least one fracture with the Pastor and his
wife having suffered multiple fractures as also bleeding head
injuries.
Then comes the even worse part of the incident when the
entire lot of victims was made to come out of the prayer hall,
they were surrounded by the persons waiting outside and they
were all told that if ever any prayer service was conducted in
that place that they would all be killed on the next occasion
and the place would be burnt down. In order to display the
level of hatred that the assailants had for the victims, they were
then told that they should run for their lives as otherwise, they
would be stoned and finished off. There were a small number
of children in the congregation who are really able to run but
the adults and old people were not able to do so. They were
mercilessly stoned in the same way as one reads about the
barbaric stoning to death of condemned persons in some parts
of the world. Before the victims could get out of range, they
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were virtually followed and mercilessly stoned and this added
to the number of injuries sustained. There would probably
have been number of deaths because relatively large stones
were used and the victims were not in a position to run or
dodge. An announcement had already been made that the
prayer hall and the Pastor’s house would be burnt and this
would have also happened but for one providential fact.
There is a Railway Station relatively close by, but there
are very few trains on this line in the day time and the place is
deserted. Some project work was going on and hence, there
were a number of workers there. Hearing the desperate
screams, they got into two jeeps and rushed to the spot. Just as
they arrived there, the attackers had taken out a can of petrol
and were about to set fire to the place, but seeing a number of
witnesses arriving, they got into their vehicles and hurriedly
left. Thanks to the presence of the railway workers, several
lives were saved and the prayer hall was not burnt down. One
of the redeeming features was that both the jeeps chased these
persons in the hope of apprehending them but did not succeed
in doing so. Having seen them attacking the locals, these
workers had shouted at them and also warned them that if
ever they tried any mischief in the area, they would be finished
off. This warning apparently worked because in the following
days and weeks, they were no further problems in that area.
As is to be expected, though a complaint was lodged with the
police who was supposed to have registered an offence, nobody
was arrested, the police did not even visit the place to make an
inventory of the damage and the case was closed. Mercifully,
none of the persons were looted, but this is probably attributable
to the fact that they are all so poor that they have nothing of
value with them.
Apart from the communal and human rights angle, this
case requires to be highlighted because it is indicative of the
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horribly deplorable levels to which the attackers have gone.
First of all, they choose the poorest of the poor in an absolutely
remote area, they attack them and cause injuries that have
maimed many of them for life. Next, they have destroyed the
little place where they used to meet and pray which is
something not only deplorable but virtually disgusting. The
worst part of it is that they have displayed unthinkable levels
of venom and contempt in having virtually stoned these poor
victims – a type of treatment that even wild animals would not
be subjected to. The victims and the railway workers very
clearly told me that all these persons belong to the Bajrang Dal
which was very active in the adjoining area. Naturally, they
were not able to provide their names and addresses and the
police told them that unless the full names and addresses were
provided it was impossible for the police to do anything. The
other good feature about the police was that they wanted the
vehicle numbers. Hardly any of the victims is even literate and
naturally, they were unable to provide the vehicle numbers.
The police even ridiculed all of them stating that the incident
had gone on for more than 30 minutes and that it is impossible
to accept that nobody had been able to note down the vehicle
numbers. The railway workers told me that the reason for this
was because every one of the vehicles had white paper pasted
over the numbers.
My inevitable finding is that this was a preplanned
communally motivated attack. There is no doubt about the
fact that it was instigated by Bajrang Dal – in one of his speeches,
the President had proudly proclaimed that stoning to death
was a punishment that is referred to in the Bible and that they
had got the idea from there that Christians should be subjected
to this! I would like not only the whole of India but the whole
world to be aware of what has been going on in the State of
Karnataka with full Government patronage. Having been a
Criminal Lawyer for 32 years and a Judge for 15 years, I can
211
say with authority that an incident like this in that particular
area during broad day light could never have taken place unless
the police authorities had been taken care of. This was more
than obvious from the fact that where over 40 persons had
sustained serious injuries, some of them life threatening, that
no action was taken by the Department. One needs to condemn
this incident in the strongest of terms and also record, that it is
indicative of a total breakdown of the law and order situation,
a human rights atrocity of the worst order and a breach of the
Constitutional guarantees. This is one of the grounds on which
the Central Government had issued a notice to the State
Government calling upon it to show-cause as to why it should
not be dismissed.
SAVAGE ATTACK IN A RUBBER PLANTATION
If the last incident is to be considered as having taken place
in a remote area, then I would have to describe the next one as
having taken place in an almost inaccessible area. A long
distance away from Dharmasthala and virtually in the foothills
of the western ghats, there are some rubber plantations. Half
way up a hill near one of these plantations, there is a Prayer
Hall that belongs to one of the Christian denominations. This
place is isolated because there is not even a village close-by.
The Pastor who has set up the Prayer Hall was one of the
Plantation Workers who used to hold small Prayer meetings
for some of the workers in the adjoining area. Due to illness
and old age, he left the place and since there was nobody to
conduct the Prayer meetings, he asked the present Pastor to
take charge of the Prayer group. The Pastor and his wife with
their two children live in a small house next to the Prayer
hall. They carry out some agricultural activities and I would
categorise them as lower middle class persons. Their economic
conditions are not very favourable and it is with great difficulty
that he maintains a two wheeler. Their children walk long
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distances to the nearby village school.
According to the Pastor, the Bajrang Dal activists from the
adjoining area came there about a week before the incident and
told him that no Christian activities can be carried out at that
place. He was also warned that if the instructions were not
followed that they would resort to violence. He states that since
it is a remote area and he was afraid about the safety of the
family, he went to the police and requested them for protection.
The police refused to provide any protection and told him to
immediately close down the prayer hall and also warned him
that they would not be responsible if anything happened to
him and his family in case he did not follow the orders. On the
morning of 14.09.2008, a small group of about 15 persons had
come to the Prayer Hall. The Pastor told them about what had
happened and that he was worried about safety and they
decided that they would not hold their prayer service and that
they would disperse. Just at that time, three motorcycles with
Bajrang Dal flags on them drove up to the place. One of the
pillion riders was carrying a sword, the second one had a Trishul
and the third one had a lathi. They straight away entered the
Prayer hall and smashed whatever meager items were there.
Being a very poor set up, there is next to no furniture in the
place as all of them sat on the floor and prayed. The doors,
windows, glass etc. were all smashed and the bad part of it
was that the persons present were trapped inside because the
man with the sword was standing at the door. Everybody inside
was mercilessly beaten by the fellow who had the lathi but the
cruel part of it was that the man with the Trishul was also using
it and he has caused bleeding injuries to almost everybody there
including the children. The Pastor was the main target and
apart from having sustained two fractures, he had not less than
about 27 bleeding injuries on his person. His two children had
over a dozen injuries each but no fracture. His wife sustained
a fracture of her arm. Due to the beating, everyone virtually
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collapsed and they were hardly able to move. They were told
that if at all anymore Prayer meetings were conducted there
they would not survive.
Before leaving, the main fellow who had the sword told
the other two that they should finish off the Pastor, so that,
there would be no more trouble in that place. The Pastor was
in a sitting position unable to stand up. This man hit him with
the sword and the blow was aimed at his head. In order to
defend himself, he lifted his right hand and the full impact of
the sword was taken by his hand and his arm. There was major
damage done to his right arm because of this blow. Not only
had it to be sutured, but the bones were also damaged and he
had to spend two and a half weeks in hospital as an inpatient.
When the National Television channels carried a report on the
Church attacks in Karnataka, he was featured prominently in
the National and International news and the whole world
expressed shock and distress at what is going on in India. The
Pastor had collapsed due to the blow and the assailant would
have probably landed another one in order to finish him, but
the other four persons had run out and started their vehicles
and were shouting to him to leave the place as some of the
other workers were coming in that direction. This probably
saved the life of the Pastor.
The matter was reported to the police and in view of the
serious injuries sustained by the Pastor, his wife, his children
and the persons present there, an FIR was registered. Again,
on the ground that the names, addresses and vehicle numbers
were not furnished, the case was closed. The interesting part
of this incident is that the small local publications carried a
feature on the attack and mentioned that the local unit of the
Bajrang Dal had taken a decision to attack the Prayer Hall and
drive away the Pastor as they did not want any Christian activity
there. When it was pointed out to the Correspondent that there
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were no Christian services being held there that less than half
the group were Christians and that the others belonged to
different faiths and further, that it was a Cosmopolitan Prayer
Group, the ground taken was that the original Pastor was a
Christian and so was the present one and that was why they
had an Objection. There is another interesting angle to this
case in so far as the Pastor and his wife possess a small area of
land which they have developed and are cultivating and
according to them, the persons who had earlier warned them
came and stated that it was a prominent area and that they
wanted to build a small temple there. They did not offer to
either buy the place or lease it out but stated that they will take
it over by force and throw out anybody who tried to stop them.
I have already dealt with the Bondel Church case in Mangalore
where the Bajrang Dal activists forcibly entered the Church
property, put their flags there and used muscle power, after
which, the State authorities namely the DC and the police
prevented anybody from the Church entering their own
property and they handed over the area to the activists who
have converted it into a liquor den and a brothel. This would
have happened in the present case also except for the fact that
the Plantation workers who do not like aggression from
outsiders went to the local police station and told them that if
any such steps are taken that they would be resisted by force.
Also, after the Pastor was shown on National television as also
on the International media, there were very strong reactions
and the Minorities Commission asked the State Government
to explain its position, at which stage, an assurance was given
to the Minorities Commission that the Pastor, the Prayer Hall
and their little property would not be disturbed.
This particular attack is indicative of the plan of action
that was put into operation against the Christian community,
but more importantly, the type of persons chosen to execute it.
In all these incidents, it is not religious fanatics or party members
215
who have done the dirty work but the assailants have been
identified as being the local anti-social elements and criminals
or in other words, the local mafia. Whether they have been
inducted into the party or whether their services are being used,
it costs a massive amount of money to keep these people happy.
The State Government and particularly, the Home Department
had given them the absolute freedom to loot and plunder, to
eat and drink where they want and to help themselves to
clothes, shoes, electronic gadgets and the other good things of
life without paying for them but history has shown that this
class of people despite doing all of this, still want huge amounts
of money for their services.
In order to provide these funds, the State Government has
been announcing massive grants and donations to every temple,
mutt or Hindu religious society in the State. These public funds
have only been channelised to the hindu community but not to
anybody else. The next thing that is being done is to organize
massive melas and functions every few days and to sanction
crores of rupees for these purposes. Swami Vivekananda was
one of our very renowned Indians – I have immense admiration
for him and for his teachings and he deserves to be revered
and emulated. The State Government has so far undertaken
forty three functions in different parts of the State in his honour
and has released funds ranging between Rs.5.00 to Rs.15.00
Crores for each of these functions. There is zero accountability
with regard to where all of this money has gone. There is no
doubt about the fact that a fair amount of it has been channelised
towards paying the trouble shooters.
To my understanding, the Chief Minister of a State is only
the Legal custodian of public funds and public property over
which he exercises powers. Under the present regime, this has
been understood to mean proprietary interest giving the Chief
Minister the power to grab whatever land areas he wants and
216
to Gift them to persons of his choice and to indiscriminately
donate and gift hundreds of Crores of public money to
whomever he chooses. This has led to serious repercussions
legal and otherwise which I will not deal with here. The media
reports that the Hon’ble C.M. is a very devout person and that
he is a regular visitor to Mutts and Temples and the Media
Channels and the Press publish huge reports of what he does
when he goes there. On every occasion without fail, massive
amounts of money starting with Rs.1.00 Crore to Rs.20.00 Crores
are donated to the institution, some of which, are among the
richest in the country. This generosity has been extended to
the Temples in the adjoining States particularly Kerala and
Tamil Nadu. A Professor friend of mine has kept an account of
how much public money has been donated by the present C.M.
since the time he has assumed office and the figure amounts to
Rs.2,716/- Crores. Between him and the Home Minister,
instructions have been issued that all the saffron organizations
can freely use Government transport which includes the bus
services and on every occasion where Melas, Baithaks and
Sammelanas are conducted, all the public institutions have been
instructed to foot the bills. Apart from this, the Government
officially announces massive amounts of money as a grant for
these functions. There is therefore, absolutely no dearth of funds
but the only question being asked by responsible citizens is as
to whether this activity is within the Constitutional framework?
My answer is in the Negative. One of the T.V. Channels put a
question to me as to whether this would constitute the offence
of Criminal breach of Trust within the definition of Section 406
IPC and I answered in the Affirmative.
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Karnataka is representative of any other part of India, in
so far as there is no predominance of any particular community
in the State. While the assumption is that those owing allegiance
to the Hindu faith in all its diverse forms are in a majority and
that all the other followers of Christian, Muslim, Parsi and other
streams are in a minority is not really true. We are in this
enquiry basically concerned with the West Coast Region i.e.
from Mangalore Northwards upto Goa and the surrounding
interiors; a careful analysis will indicate that there are pockets
in which one particular community dominates. For instance,
in the City of Mangalore, the Hindus, Christians and Muslims
are approximately in the ratio of 40 : 35 : 25. On the other hand,
there are pockets where just one of the community dominates.
Again, if one goes to the Udupi area, while the demographic
proportions are more or less the same, the Hindu community
plays a dominant role, where as the other two are comparatively
overshadowed.
Over the last 50 years, there has been a significant growth
in the numbers of the Muslim community. One of the reasons
for this is because there has been a lot of migration from the
State of Kerala and Maharashtra to this region. As a result of
this, the number of Mosques have gone up. One of the friction
points is the practice of installing loud speakers on the Mosques
and of loudly reciting prayers in Urdu or Arabic at different
parts of the day.
This has created problems all over the country and the
Calcutta High Court in a celebrated Judgment had laid down
that nobody has the right to disturb the public peace even if it
CHAPTER – XV
VICIOUS ATTACKS ON THE MUSLIM
COMMUNITY
218
is pleaded that this is on religious grounds. This led to a violent
reaction from the Muslim community, threats to the Judges
and a very unpleasant record. I do recall that a PIL was filed
before the Karnataka High Court on the ground that the practice
of calling the faithful to prayer by loud proclamations from the
top of the Mosques might have been justified in the old days
such as when people were living in desert areas and that this is
just not permissible or tolerable in the cities. I had at that time
directed that every citizen is required to conform to certain rules
and noise pollution is one of the important ones. It was therefore
essential that the State Governments would hold a dialogue
with the leaders of the community and bring about a situation
whereby such compliance take place. Unfortunately, both in
the States of Maharashtra and Karnataka, there are frequent
eruptions between the communities over this issue and
sometimes it takes violent turns.
The food habits of the communities sometimes cause
unpleasant reactions. While the majority of Hindus are
vegetarians, the practice of eating meat is common among the
other communities and this country has seen a lot of debate
over the practice of eating beef. The objection to the eating of
beef is on many grounds, one of them being that beef is obtained
from the cow and since, the cow is considered a sacred animal,
it should not be slaughtered and used as a source of beef. What
has happened in recent times is that the non-vegetarian homes
and hotels have slowly shifted away from mutton which is more
expensive and in relatively smaller supply to the practice of
eating beef which is cheaper. This has caused a lot of public
debate and there are many groups of persons who insist that
the law of banning cow slaughter should be enforced and that
in those of the States where there is no such law, that it must be
enacted. When feelings run high, there are many of the vigilante
groups who decide to enforce their regulations on those around
and this has led to harsh consequences.
219
In the region with which we are concerned, the meat trade
is predominantly in the hands of the Muslim community. In
this region, beef is not the only form of meat that is eaten because
in the markets, mutton which is derived from goats and sheep
to which nobody objects, chicken which is produced in large
quantities through farms which cater to the meat business and
pork which is derived from pigs and which, has a selective
market are all available. The slaughter houses for the reason
that most of the meat trade is in the hands of members of the
Muslim community as also the wholesale and retail meat
business have a large representation of the Muslim community.
Whenever the issue of cow slaughter comes up inevitably, these
areas are targeted. Again, inevitably, since, it is a matter of
one’s trade business or livelihood, those persons stand their
ground and there are unpleasant consequences. This issue has
been simmering for a very long time but by and large, in the
State of Karnataka and even in the geographic areas with which
we are concerned, it has not assumed any alarming dimensions.
There is then another psychological area with which we
need to be seriously concerned. After Partition, the country
has witnessed the most horrifying type of communal riots and
ever since 1947, there have been many occasions when such
flare ups have taken place. What happened in Bombay after
the bomb blasts and the Gujarat riots which assumed
uncontrollable dimensions after the train burning incident are
among the major issues. We have the India – Pakistan issue
and the unsolved Kashmir problem and the constant terrorism
problem faced by this country where all sorts of militant groups
are involved. This has aggravated the relationships. I have
briefly set out these delicate factors to illustrate that almost any
justification can be pleaded when communal skirmishes take
place and the Governments and all right thinking leaders of
Society have been working hard to contain these feelings.
Mangalore and the Karavali area have had a history of
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peaceful coexistence with all the communities living in
harmony. It so happens that I spent long years both in school
and college in the City of Mangalore where we respected,
understood and loved all religions. There are a large number
of impressive temples in Mangalore City and there is a very
old and famous Mosque located immediately outside the huge
educational complex where we received our education. We
enjoyed all the festivals, visited Churches, Temples and
Mosques on these occasions without feeling that we were
entering “another” place of worship. It is only in the course of
last two decades when the aforesaid factors started taking
unpleasant dimensions that violence was resorted to.
In the last ten years, Mangalore City, as also some of the
adjoining areas like Chikmagalur and Bhatkal got singled out
for virtual communal riots. At one time, curfew had to be
imposed in Mangalore before peace was restored.
Unfortunately, after the BJP Government came to power,
religious fundamentalism took the upper hand and these
instances started increasing. Security problems in the country
required the law enforcement authorities to be extra vigilant
and in many of the instances, the Government claims that there
was support to anti-national activities and to terrorism from
different remote parts of the country. In at least two or three of
the investigations, the Media reported that the persons or
groups involved had their supporters and in some instances,
financiers in the coastal area particularly Kerala and Mangalore.
If the Security aspects require measures to be taken from
the point of view of ensuring security, there can be absolutely
no objection, on the contrary, it is a necessity. What
unfortunately happened simultaneously with the attacks
directed against the members of the Christian community was
that persons belonging to the Muslim community were also
being targeted. In the City of Mysore for instance, repeated
provocative acts such as the throwing of a pig’s carcass into a
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mosque which is considered highly offensive, was deliberately
done in order to infuriate the minority community and cause
very violent eruptions. These acts are a combination of
irresponsible behavior, mischief and hatred but the
consequences are deadly.
During the period with which we are concerned, groups
of activists started targeting and attacking shops and business
places belonging to members of the minority community. There
are thousands of them in the whole region, most are very small
establishments whereby the person-in charge earns his
livelihood through that little business. They have no fighting
power or protection and if a group of persons enters the shop,
loots it and vandalises it, the victim is virtually finished and
the same applies to his family. The police never ever provided
any protection, they would not register a single case nor were
any deterrent steps taken to ensure that this did not happen.
There is no justification for these acts and my investigation has
revealed that it became the order of the day for these activists
to enter the shop, pick up whatever they wanted and then beat
up the shopkeeper if he asked them to pay. The position held
good when it came to a small hotel or eating house. The
argument was not that they objected to the type of food sold
which under the Law, they have no right to do. On every single
occasion, a group would enter the place, “EAT THE FOOD”
and when it came to paying the bill, they would beat up the
owner and vandalize the place and raise a huge issue that it
was because beef was being served in that hotel. What amazes
me is the fact that if you are genuinely and strongly opposed to
the practice of eating beef, how is it that you enter the place
and eat this very meat and thereafter, once your stomach is
full, use this as a ground for violence. It just goes to show how
hollow the whole objection is.
There is a very large cattle population in the whole of this
region. Some of the cattle are undoubtedly taken to the
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slaughter houses but this rule does not hold good whenever a
cow or a bull is being taken from one place to the other. I have
dealt with the specific instance in Bajpe wherein before our
very eyes, the cow which was on its way to the hospital was
forcibly seized on the ground that it was being taken for
slaughter. Later on, when we followed up the matter and tried
to retrieve the cow because the poor owner could not afford to
use it, we found that it had been taken straight to the local
market, sold to the traders and that it could not be retrieved
because they in turn had already slaughtered it. This was
roughly the fate of everyone of the cases where animals were
forcibly seized.
Right through this period, vehicles carrying cows or
bullocks or even if these animals were being taken from one
place to the other, the activists would beat up the persons
concerned and take away the animal, these were never returned
and the consequences to the farmers, whether they were owners
or traders were extremely painful. These instances would take
place almost everyday, as a result of which, the meat trade
suffered immensely and not hundreds but thousands of persons
most of whom belonged to the minority community were
economically ruined. This is not something that has come into
focus but what I found happening virtually everyday wherever
I went. When I asked the respective SPs and the DIGs of the
areas, they flatly deny that anything of this sort is going on, on
the ground that not even one offence has been registered
anywhere in Karnataka. Significantly enough, the food habits
of the communities has been exactly the same when all the other
State Governments were in power but no incidents of this type
were permitted because the Law Enforcement Authorities were
ordered to ensure this. Immediately after the BJP Government
came to power, the situation changed drastically. The truth
comes out, sadly enough through the mouths of the smaller
persons such as the Constables and the SIs who frankly and
223
often sadly admit that for the sake of their jobs they have to
follow directions and that there were specific instructions not
to interfere in these cases. The end result is summarized below:
(a) That the small businessman and hoteliers as also the
persons whose livelihood depended on the meat trade
which is a perfectly legal activity went through absolute
hell because their economics was ruined apart from which,
they also suffered serious bodily injury whenever they
were targeted.
(b) Not only was there no legal redress but the humiliation
and indignity which the members of the community had
to face were extreme encroachments on their human rights.
The State Human Rights Commission received virtually
thousands of complaints during this period but there were
tens of thousands of those who could not complain or did
not complain.
(c) That this situation represented a total and complete
breakdown of the law and order machinery, that this was
consciously brought about sponsored and encouraged by
the State Government, that apart from the Home Ministry
which was the direct culprit, the responsibility of the State
Government to maintain the constitutional guarantees of
the minorities was not accidentally flouted but was
deliberately transgressed.
HORRIFYING ATTACKS ON INDIVIDUALS:
In the course of my enquiries, I was informed of virtually
hundreds of instances where members of the Muslim
community were targeted only because they were Muslims. If
these were to be recounted, it would probably take at least 100
pages but it is necessary for me to illustrate in just two or three
instances as to what was the degree of atrocity that was going
on.
224
(a) A vegetable Vendor in the Moolky market, a young
Muslim, aged 23 years, whose livelihood depended on the
sale of vegetables was targeted because he was the only
Muslim vegetable vendor. The local activists first beat
him up and destroyed his little stall. He was thereafter
taken to a Police Station in another town and handed over
to the local police on the complaint that he is a Pakistani
Terrorist. The police mercilessly beat him up, threw him
into the lock-up and since, nobody knew where the man
was, he was not even produced before the Court. He was
assaulted for about five days in the most inhuman fashion
merely because he was a Muslim. The brutality was
uncontrolled, as a result of which, he was severely injured
and would have died. When the Police realized that they
would have problems, he was put into a tempo which was
proceeding to Mangalore with instructions to the Driver
to deposit him on the footpath near the Mangalore Market.
The man was unconscious and he was found on the
footpath in Mangalore near one of the Mosques. The
authorities took him to the Government Hospital which
refused to admit him as a result of which he had to be
taken to a private institution. It cost a lot of money to
revive him and he was in the Hospital for two months
with fractured bones and severe internal injuries. When
he was finally discharged, the case papers indicated that
he had suffered permanent kidney damage as a result of
the police assaults. Written complaints were submitted
to the D.G. Police in Mangalore and to the I.G. Police in
Mangalore, but nothing happened.
(b) In the suburbs of Udupi, a young Muslim boy who was
working as a Driver but who used to supplement his
income by distributing milk was attacked by the Activists
who beat him up on the ground that he is a Terrorist. He
was put into a vehicle and taken to a Police Station about
225
20 kms away and handed over to the local police. He was
again mercilessly assaulted and this torture went on for
six days. His family were unaware of where he was. At
the end of this period, the police realized that their brutality
had gone too far. There were no records of arrest nor had
he been produced before the Remand Court. In this
instance, he was thrown on the National Highway in a
badly injured condition. To his good fortune, since it was
early in the morning, the Traffic came to a halt, he was
picked up and taken to the closest hospital because he was
not only unconscious but his face had been badly
mutilated. The Hospital refused to admit him, so the
persons who had taken him there, did not know what to
do. He was revived and on hearing that he is a Muslim,
he was taken to the local Mosque, where the authorities
arranged for medical aid. Apart from injuries which took
one and a half months to heal, the worst part of it was that
his facial bones were fractured and his face is so badly
mutilated that even after two months of hospitalization, it
is difficult to recognize him. When a complaint was lodged
with the local police, they refused to register it on the
ground that it must have been a hit and run case on the
highway and that nothing could be done. It was only after
he revived that he was able to disclose that the injuries
had been inflicted by that very police station. Written
complaints supported by medical documents were
addressed to the Police Authorities starting from the SP,
Udupi to the IG, Western Range to the DG Police, but
nothing happened. The interesting part of it was that he
was told by the local activists that if the social workers
and community organizations persisted with the
complaint, that this time, he would be picked up and
finished off. With this track record, when the Home
Minister was confronted with the fact that between August
226
and December 2008, there had been as many as 216
prominent assaults of this type, he stated that it is
absolutely false because not a single complaint had been
registered with the police.
(c ) That after the Pemannur Church attack, the Police from
all the Police Stations around that area started targeting
the members of the Christian and Muslim community,
particularly young men and beating them up because
this assault had been reported on International TV and
several teams were visiting the area. This terrorization
was in order to ensure that nobody came forward to
complain. A young Catholic boy who was working as a
Mechanic and who used to supplement his income by
delivering newspapers early in the morning was
intercepted by the activists and taken to the local police
station. Though, he was a Catholic, unfortunately, he was
caught in the vicinity of a Muslim area, his moped was
taken away from him and has never been found and he
was beaten unconscious. These very persons took him to
the local police station, gave his name as Usman and told
the police that he was a notorious thief who had been
beaten up by the members of the public. The police threw
him into the lock up. There are no records of his arrest nor
was he produced before the Court, but for two days, he
suffered horrifying physical assaults on the assumption
that he was a thief and a Muslim. When his family
members came to the Police Station, they were told that
he was caught with stolen property, beaten up by the
public and that a passing police jeep had rescued him.
They were made to give in writing that they had no
complaint of any type and that they would arrange for
private treatment for his injuries. They were also warned
that if they took up the matter, they would not be spared
by the police. He had to be removed to a private hospital
227
and his family had to spend Rs.60,000/- on his medical
treatment. They are extremely poor persons and since, it
was a matter of life and death, they had to incur the
expenditure, because the Government Hospitals would
not admit the boy. Both his shoulders were dislocated
and in the course of the assaults, he has suffered spinal
damage which has made him an invalid for life.
What I have recounted above is merely representative but
it is indicative of what was going on in the District during this
period of time. It is true that the Media hardly reported these
incidents because the victims were all small persons. The
assailants were essentially the police and more importantly,
they had absolutely no fighting power. It is characteristic with
the Courts and all other quasi-judicial bodies or for that matter
Departmental Heads who ask for evidence in support of the
complaints and even when that is forthcoming, to accept
whatever cover-up explanations coming from the
establishment. It is a matter of great credit to the whole of the
Police Department and most importantly, to the Home Minister
and the Home Ministry that during this entire period, despite
the couple of hundred recorded incidents of serious assaults,
that not one case has been registered nor has action been taken
against any member of the police force. One needs to
congratulate all these people and particularly the Home
Minister for this unblemished record!
ATTACKS ON THE RESIDENTIAL AREAS:
Starting from September 2008, the members of the Muslim
community who lived in areas such as Ullal where there is a
predominance of only one community started facing a very
peculiar problem. After sunset, the local police would enter
the area and start going around it on the ground that they had
information about anti-national activities. On this ground, they
would enter the houses and beat up persons for no reason at
all. To quote one example, two of the school children were
228
doing their homework. The police got hold of an atlas and on
the ground that it contained maps which according to them
were being used for planning terrorist attacks, the children were
beaten up and all their school books were confiscated. The
parents and relatives were taken to the police station, threatened
with detention, and released after spending the whole night
there after they had agreed to part with all the jewellery in the
house.
The so-called surveillance activities continued on a large
scale and when the community complained to the SP, he told
them that the police had information of anti-national activities
in the Muslim areas and that from the point of view of National
Security, it was essential to comb the areas and even do surprise
checks of the houses. In the course of the surprise checks, the
police were picking up whatever items of value they could lay
their hands on. While money and jewellery were the main
targets, they even went to the extent of taking away electronic
gadgets upto the size of TVs. It was only after three Writ
Petitions were filed in the High Court and Prohibitory Orders
were issued after seven months that there was relief to the
community.
Before I part with Chapter, it is necessary for me to
illustrate how, even after the High Court Orders, the State
Government Machinery continued terrorizing the Muslim
community. A middle aged Muslim male arrived from the
Middle East to visit his family. The documents show that within
30 minutes of his arrival, the local police arrived, took him to
the police station and took away all the money that he possessed
including a small amount of foreign exchange on the ground
that he is a Pakistani spy. All the male members of the family
were also taken to the police station, six of them were placed
under arrest on the ground of suspicion that they were involved
in the Mumbai Bomb Blasts Case. The Remand Court asked
the police to produce evidence in support of this allegation.
229
They asked for one week’s time to contact Mumbai and then
filed an Application that the Accused should be sent to Mumbai
as the police there wanted to interrogate them. This was done.
The Human Rights Organisation in Mumbai after the Court
had given the police one week’s time, insisted on justification
for the arrest as there was zero evidence on record. After
detaining them in Mumbai for three weeks, they were taken to
Delhi, on the allegation that they were connected with the Delhi
Bomb Blasts Case. The same story is repeated in Delhi for two
weeks and the Delhi Police told the Court that they had
information that they were connected with the Ahmedabad
incidents for which they were then sent to Ahmedabad.
The Human Rights Organisation here again asked for
evidence which was not forthcoming, whereupon, after sixteen
days of illegal detention in Ahmedabad, they were discharged.
They had to travel back to Mangalore at their own expense,
after going through absolute hell for almost three months of
illegal detention. I WAS INFORMED BY THEIR LAWYER
THAT WHEN THEY FILED A PETITION BEFORE THE
HIGH COURT, THE PETITION WAS DISMISSED ON THE
GROUND THAT THEY SHOULD MOVE THE HIGH
COURTS OF MUMBAI, DELHI
OR GUJARAT ON THE GROUND OF JURISDICTION!
The purpose of my including this Chapter in this Report
is in order to illustrate that the hate crimes were essentially
directed against the minorities and that they extended beyond
the Christian community. Secondly, what emerges is the
disturbing fact that most of the violence and the real damage
was at the hands of State Machinery which took full advantage
of the communal activists with whom they were acting in
tandem. More importantly, the irresistible conclusion is that
all of this had not only the approval but the blessing of the
State Government.
230
In justification for the attacks against the community and
the places of worship, the saffron brigade, and particularly
the Bajrang Dal leaders officially proclaimed that the Christian
community has been circulating a publication entitled
Sathyadarshini and that this publication contains highly
offensive references to Hinduism, to Hindu deities and that
the statements are so very bad that they are in fact obscene in
many instances. Not only did the leaders proclaim this in
writing and issued numerous press statements but for a period
of about two months, they referred to this extensively on the
electronic media and the TV statements put out the argument
that since the Christian community had attacked Hinduism
and Hindu beliefs, that counter attacks were necessary. In as
many as 19 instances in different parts of the State, where the
activists vandalized Churches and Prayer halls belonging to
denominations other than the Catholics, the strange part of it
was that copies of this publication were alleged to have been
in circulation but were never seized.. Public statements were
thereafter issued that it was the Christians who were
circulating this highly offensive material. One of the
denominations that was strongly targeted was the New Life
Church and it so happened that the Chief Minister and the
Home Minister repeatedly referred to the fact that it was the
New Life people who were circulating this highly offensive
material, that they had given cause and provocation for the
attacks that followed because that literature was so very bad
that it was absolutely intolerable.
In the two open meetings that were held with the CM
CHAPTER-XVI
THE SATHYADARSHINI
CONTROVERSY
231
and the Home Minister where several of their Cabinet
colleagues were present, I had asked that since the issue was
so very serious, the Government should be in a position to
produce at least one copy of this publication, so that, we could
ascertain for ourselves as to what were the contents. The DG
Police and the Commissioner of Police, Bangalore, as also the
SPs of Mangalore, Udupi, Chikamagalur and Davanagere
were present. None of them was in a position to produce the
material and they admitted that the Police had not seized any
such documents. We then asked the Government Authorities
as to why legal action had not been instituted against whoever
the culprits were as this was a very serious matter, that inciting
communal disharmony was a criminal offence and that since
it was an issue in the forefront of the attacks, as to why this
material had not been seized, confiscated and those who were
circulating it prosecuted. As a face saving device, the SPs in
question stated that the Police had raided all the Churches
and Prayer Halls as also other areas and searched them very
meticulously but that they could not find a single copy with
anybody. Since, the Government was caught out in its own
falsehoods, we got it from the horses mouth that this charge
/ allegation had been pleaded by the Bajrang Dal in
justification for the attacks and that the Police could have got
the copies from their activists who would certainly have got
hold of the material if it was in circulation as they had referred
to it extensively. Then came the startling admission that the
police authorities had repeatedly called upon the Bajrang Dal
leaders in all the Districts to assist them by producing the
copies of this publication but that not a single copy was
forthcoming.
What then was the truth of the matter ?
There is something very curious about this allegation that
has been made against the Christian denominations. As
indicated above, none of the State Authorities right up to the
232
highest levels was able to substantiate this allegation which
on the material indicated above is clearly established to be
false. There can be no doubt about the fact that the police who
were totally and completely hand-in-glove with the saffron
brigade and who were acting at their command, all over the
State, would not have lost a single opportunity of seizing this
material and prosecuting all those involved in possession or
circulation if the allegation was true. In an extremely volatile
and serious matter like this, it is impossible to accept that not
a single offence was registered anywhere in the State right
through this long period of time which itself establishes the
total falsity and hollowness of this charge. Since, this
allegation had in fact emerged from no less than the Chief
Minister and the Home Minister, I decided to find out the
origin of the allegation. In the course of my visits to these
Prayer halls which had been attacked, in every single case, I
was informed that the attackers who had followed hit and
run tactics tried to throw a copy in that place before vanishing.
In every single attack, the pattern was identical in so far as
within less than five minutes of the culprits leaving the place,
the police would arrive. They would come equipped with
persons to clean up the debris or damage whether it was torn
religious books and the like right down to broken furniture,
glass pieces, electrical fittings and sound systems. The so
called copy of Sathyadarshini would be removed along with
this material and no traces of it were available thereafter. Why
the police did not draw up a single inventory in any of these
cases and why they did not seize this material separately is
not a mystery. It was an accident. The modus-operandi that
was followed by the attackers and the police yields the
following very interesting conclusion:
I have recorded in Chapter-1 that the attackers of the
Adoration Monastery were given police cover for two reasons,
firstly, that if there was a counter attack or if there was
233
resistance or if there was the possibility of their being caught,
the police were there to intervene and assure that this did not
happen. Secondly, it was equally important that the culprits
should make a safe getaway and the police jeep was the best
insurance if they were stopped or intercepted anywhere. This
pattern was replicated with 100% precision in every single
one of the attacks. In all the subsequent cases, it went a stage
further. The damaged crucifix of the adoration monastery
was projected by the Media all over the country and
worldwide and it shocked everybody globally. The Karnataka
Government decided that this should be prevented. So, the
subsequent pattern in the later set of incidents was that the
police would accompany the attackers to ensure that they did
their job without disturbance and would also ensure a safe
getaway. Before the Media arrived, or the aggrieved could
complain, a total clean up job was done, so much so that there
was almost zero evidence of the attack.
Then comes the nicest part of the operation. The Home
Department had instructed the police to get hold of the local
shopkeepers and workmen to immediately restore all the
damage that had taken place. Broken glass was replaced,
damage to all other items was undone and the Pastors were
told that the Government has instructed the police to ensure
that whatever damage has taken place is immediately undone.
The speed at which this counter operation was undertaken
was absolutely amazing. To my mind, this was a brilliant
move on the part of the State Government because on the one
hand, the congregation was beaten up, they were terrorized
and in every single instance, items such as Mangalsutras, gold
chains and other valuables including ladies handbags, watches
and mens purses where physically looted, the place was
vandalized and after all of this, a pious impression was
projected by the police on behalf of the Government that the
authorities were very concerned over the incident and had
234
decided to make good all the damage. By following such a
brilliant procedure, the Government was able to officially state
that not a single incident of this type had taken place and that
the allegations with regard to these incidents are not only false
but are motivated.
Despite the best of efforts, since no copies of
Sathyadarshini were traceable anywhere, officially or
unofficially, as a last resort, I decided to ask for them from
the Bajrang Dal office near Pumpwell because this was the
booth where I had been given my membership. The persons
present were extremely cordial and I frankly told them that I
was very much concerned with the allegation that this book
had been circulated but more so because I was totally opposed
to anybody writing, publishing or for that matter distributing
or circulating material of this type. It is a matter of truth that
I have done a lot of deep study as far as the holy books and
literature of Christianity, Islam, Hinduism, Jainism and
Sikhism are concerned and I was genuinely interested in first
of all finding out the origin of this publication and secondly,
as to who exactly was circulating it. Since, the allegation had
come from the Bajrang Dal and there were extensive references
to the deplorable contents, I tried this avenue as a last resort.
I even offered to pay for the copy and assured them that I
would be the last person to circulate it but that they must
help me. Several phone calls were made and I was asked to
come on the next day. I was however, told that the copy in
question was one of those which had been seized from a Prayer
hall and that I could see it, read it but could not take it away
because it was the official record. I requested that five copies
be called for or that I be allowed to xerox the copy as we were
a team of five persons. After some discussion over the
telephone, I was told that we would not be allowed to take
the copies out even for xeroxing because there was a possibility
that we would make more copies and circulate them which
235
was intolerable. To this, I pointed out that their own persons
could go and get the copies xeroxed and that I would pay for
the costs, in which case, there were no security risks involved.
This was also turned down but I was very happy when they
told me that ten copies would be brought on the next day that
all of us could read them and return them free of cost. The
only restriction was that no notes were to be made nor could
anything be copied.
I must say to the credit of my friends there that on the
next morning at 11.00 a.m., when we went to the booth, there
was a pile of 10 copies of the book on the table. Unfortunately,
none of my colleagues could accompany them as they were
all busy. I was also required to do lot of other work and hence,
could not spend more than about 20 minutes to go through
the book. I again requested them to give me a copy on
payment since they had several of them but this was refused
and so was my request to loan the book for a few days so that
I could read it at night and return it the next morning with
the assurance that I would not show it to other persons or
copy it. This was turned down.
The interesting part of the operation is that it is a book of
about 40-50 pages and that it is in English, which surprised
me because I was all along under the impression that it would
be in Kannada or some other language. There were no
indications anywhere as to whether this was the original or
whether it was a translation. All the copies were brand new.
They were also unopened and unused because many of the
pages had to be cut open. I casually pointed this out to my
friends present who told me something amazing. According
to them, with great difficulty, the organization had been
able to seize only one copy from a Prayer hall and since, it
was necessary for everybody in the party to know what
exactly the material was that it had been reprinted in large
numbers and provided to those who ask for it. If the
236
publication is offensive and obnoxious, my common sense
view is that attempts would have been made to destroy the
material and not to print hundreds or thousands of copies
and distribute them, even if it was within party circles because
something disgusting should never be disseminated.
Let me straight away come to the contents. The author
claims to be a person who was born a Hindu and who
practiced the faith for many years. He also claims to be a
scholar and a sadhu. The book appears to be in the form of
biography or rather his personal views about Hinduism.
According to the author, he was disillusioned with the Hindu
faith, its rituals in particular and its beliefs and his conclusion
is that this not the truth. It is obvious from the tone of the
language used that the author is a person who has not only
fallen out with Hinduism, that he has revolted against it and
that he has ended up as being a person who is violently hostile
to Hinduism. It is true that there are many uncomplimentary
references to the religion but particularly to many of the beliefs
and more importantly to the gods and goddesses in the most
uncomplimentary and unparliamentary language which I
personally found positively revolting and disgusting. Any
right thinking person will condemn a publication of this type
and if the leaders of the Bajrang Dal came out strongly against
the publication, they were fully right and justified in doing
so. To my mind, publications of this type required to be
banned, because they are offensive and inflammatory and in
my view, all copies should also be destroyed. My friends
were quite happy to hear what I thought of the book but they
were not willing to share my suggestion that the copies be
destroyed and they should not be circulated because according
to them, they were required for official purposes.
From what I could ascertain, this publication first came
out from a Publisher in the city of Shimoga in Karnataka. It
also seems to have been published about 15 years back and
237
there is no indication as to whether it was at all reprinted.
Also, since there did not appear to be any indication of the
price from the copy which was given to me, I presume that it
was not for sale but was for free distribution.
I have cross checked with the New Life Authorities with
the Pastors and the congregations of all the denominations to
find out as to whether any of them was responsible for the
circulation of this material. Not only were they all ignorant of
it but the unanimous view was that anything which attacks
religion or religious beliefs is sacrilegious and that they would
have nothing to do with any material of that type. When I
went to Shimoga for a Law Conference, I contacted the Police
Authorities and asked them as to whether they had tracked
down the Press, the Printer, the Publisher and the Author.
They told me that since there was an allegation that the book
had originated from there, that the addresses were carefully
checked. There was no such Printer or Publisher traceable
nor was there any such publishing house and even the name
of the Press which was indicated was false. It was very clear
that either because of efflux of time that all of this might have
disappeared or the second possibility was that all those details
are false. In any event, the police were not able to get to the
origin of this publication.
I need to end this sordid Chapter with the observation
that even though the publication was briefly traceable, the
charge against the Christian denominations of having
circulated this material is totally false and baseless. As often
happens, when rumours or lies are repeated as GOEBELLS
had brilliantly pointed out in Nazi, Germany, “when lies are
repeated often enough and with conviction and vehemence,
that they pass for the truth.”
238
(THIS CHAPTER WAS SEPARATELY EXTRACTED AND
PUBLISHED IN A BOOKLET FORM AS IT WAS ASKED FOR
BY SEVERAL OF THE NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL
INSTITUTIONS AND AUTHORITIES. IT IS REPRODUCED
BELOW IN THE SAME FORM).
DEDICATION
In the year 1963, I completed my course in Journalism
which I was doing along with the LL.B course in the then
Bombay and I was required to work with different
publications – I started off with the Indian Express, then the
Times of India and moved on to Journals and it was only after
five years of a journalistic career that I went over to Law as I
had then completed my LL.M degree. Having started life as
a Journalist, it ingrained in me a lifelong commitment and
through the years as a Lawyer and thereafter as a Judge, I
have relentlessly fought to uphold the rights of the media even
to the extent of seven hard hitting and controversial judgments
where I upheld the freedom of the Press even to the extent of
being critical of the Judiciary and of Court decisions when
they were wrong. Six other reported decisions followed
refusing to uphold contempt charges in situations where the
media was unjustifiably hauled up for critical reporting of
controversial Court decisions. Finally, in the Vasudevan case
CHAPTER-XVII
THE EDITOR, SEETHARAM CASE
– ATTACKS ON THE MEDIA
239
which made International headlines I emphatically laid down
the principle that the fundamental rights which included the
freedom of speech and expression, cannot be fettered by
misusing the provisions of the Contempt of Court’s Act. At
long last, pursuant to this Judgment, which was confirmed
by the Supreme Court, the Government of India, amended
the Contempt of Court’s Act, providing for a situation where
truth is an absolute defence against contempt.
In several of my lectures, I have pointed out that during
the emergency when every institution including the Judiciary
failed the citizens of this country that there was only one set
of human beings who risked their necks and liberty by acting
as the “conscience- keepers of society”. If the emergency
failed and fundamental rights had to be restored, it was
principally because of the relentless and stout hearted battle
that the media fought. I am proud of this tribe to which I
almost belong! To those of you who read this pamphlet, it
will be an eye-opener as to how there are dangerously evil
forces even in a democracy which will not hesitate to kill, and
which can corrupt and defile and which can seriously
undermine the independence of the media.
This is the alarming but distressing story of how the
Courts failed in a crucial area to curb the atrocities of the
Government and how the Judicial Officers who are entrusted
with the sacred duty of safeguarding fundamental rights and
more importantly, the safety and liberty of the citizen can turn
a blind eye to horrifying levels of human rights violations by
the persecutors and destroy the rule of Law. True, in this
instance, it was Seetharam, but I want every media person
in this country to realize that tomorrow, it could be you,
240
because there is no knowing when the Government or the
vested interests or the rich and the powerful could suddenly
decide to target you. It is also a sad reflection of the fact that
the confidence which once existed that the Courts would
safeguard the citizen is now hopelessly shaken.
We have venerable institutions like the Lokayukta and
the State Human Rights Commission, both of which are
headed by two of the finest Judges that one could ever look
for, but even they can do nothing in a situation where the
politicians have deprived them of the requisite power, the
requisite infrastructure and who callously, arrogantly and
defiantly disregard their Orders and directions with impunity.
The situation is alarming. The Press Council has been set up
with the specific purpose of ensuring that the rights and
interests of the Media are rigorously safeguarded but even
that institution has achieved nothing in this case. This is
not sad, it is pathetic.
Where do we go from here ? If the independence of the
Media, its status and dignity are to be upheld, it is this
fraternity alone which will have to fight for it and ensure that
these guarantees are not illusory. There is serious work ahead
and much to be done in this area. Let this case sound the
alarm bells and send out the right signals. I am deeply
disappointed at the role of the higher Judiciary in this and
other similar cases – the Constitution invests the High Court
and the Supreme Court with unfettered powers to uphold
the cause of Justice and more importantly to ensure that the
Constitutional guarantees are living realities. Those powers
are expected to be used and applied properly with a level of
moral courage and fortitude that has become a rare
241
commodity today. I have many times said in my Judgment
that Justice cannot be divorced from Dharma and that Justice
and Dharma when intertwined can lead Nyaya in its truest
sense.
This little publication is dedicated to the Journalistic
community, to the men and women who comprise of it and
from whom I have the highest expectations. I travel a lot and
feel extremely proud at International levels when there is an
acknowledgement that the Indian Media is about the finest in
the world, I want the standards to be raised even higher and
for that to happen, the fetters will have to be eliminated. That
is the sole purpose of circulating this publication globally.
To the People’s Union for Civil Liberties which has
relentlessly fought for human rights and has fearlessly taken
up even the most difficult of causes, I pledge my support at
all times. Transparency International, of which, I am the
Chairman, has always stood for the elimination of corrupt
forces and the maintenance of the Rule of Law and it is
organizations such as these which are the finest safeguards of
the citizen.
242
Never in the history of civilized nations have the levels
of State Tyranny plummeted to such deplorable depths as to
witness a situation wherein the Editor of a prominent paper
is arrested on an utterly ridiculous set of circumstances by
the State Machinery, an attempt is made to eliminate him and
his wife through a familiar “encounter” situation which fails,
the Judge then compounds the matter by refusing bail at night
and the next day, the Editor is produced in Court, handcuffed
and secured in chains, despite the Supreme Court of India
having mandated that this cannot be done even in the case
of dangerous criminals. The Presiding Judge, in spite of
vehement objections from the Bar, turns a blind eye to this.
Then follows a month long horror story which the world must
know about. That is the reason why I have been requested
that this Chapter be published and circulated separately.
What followed is even more disturbing. I wrote officially
to the Chief Justice of the State, as the case required an Enquiry
to be held against the Judicial Officer who sided with and
covered up for the Police by wrongfully refusing Bail and not
taking immediate action when the Editor was produced in
chains. Nothing happened. I had also demanded that the
High Court take suo-moto action against the State
Government for the inhuman atrocities and more importantly
the human rights violations. I received no reply either from
the Hon’ble Chief Justice or from his Registry. After about
six months, a Lawyer informed me that my letter had been
placed before the Division Bench and the Judges had
dismissed it on the ground that I had not appeared before
them. Ironically enough, I had spent TEN precious years of
my life as a Judge of this very High Court and proud global
FOREWORD
243
fame to the institution for upholding Human Rights, most of
the time through suo-moto action because the victims were
too poor or too weak to complain or to appear!
Thanks to this brilliant approach, the Government also
got away. Even when Seetharam’s Habeas-Corpus petition
was disposed off by the High Court and his Counsel had
effectively presented the horrifying details of five weeks of
State Tyranny to which the Government had absolutely no
defence, the Court awarded a princely compensation of a
magnificent amount of Rs.10,000/- (the State of Karnataka did
not pay the amount but went in Appeal to the Supreme Court
and spent Rs.2,00,000/- and the Petition was ultimately
summarily dismissed). This was a case that called for
exemplary compensation- had the High Court awarded a
deterrent figure of Rs.Ten Crores which was perfectly
commensurate with the atrocities and directed the culprits
to individually pay a good part of it after identifying them,
starting with the State Home Minister, there would never
have been a repetition. When Flea-bite punishments are
awarded it is the strongest inducement and encouragement
for the guilty to repeat the offence-nothing is a finer slap in
the face of the victim- sadly enough we call this NYAYA or
JUSTICE!
This case was placed before the Press Council of India to
whom I had occasion to furnish all the details because such
attacks on the Media are intolerable. A two member
Committee was appointed, they verified all the facts, they even
had a sitting with me in Bangalore, but nothing happened
thereafter. The case was placed before the State Human Rights
Commission which took cognizance of the matter but the
result was zero.
This is disturbing, and in India, which is a Democracy
and the rule of Law is supposed to prevail, the poorest of the
poor are shot down every day and the media reports that they
244
are Naxalites, Maoists or Terrorists and the citizens believe
that the police should be commended for killing them. I have
investigated into eleven such encounter killings in Karnataka
and found the charges to be downright false. The victims
were all poor villagers who had been inhumanly thrown out
of their homes and lands by the Government agencies on the
ground that SEZs are other forms of so called “development”
were being undertaken. They had been consigned to the hills
and the forests and were perhaps fighting the very agencies
who were responsible for their condition.
What is the strongest signal that emerges from these
sordid facts – it is that SECULARISM HAS BEEN A
CASUALTY UNDER THE BJP GOVERNMENT IN
KARNATAKA. Media sycophancy is synonymous with media
corruption and in this case, it was not the common desire on
the part of unprincipled journalists to appease the State
Government that was a capitalised upon but a simple bold
shameless situation where the media support was bought
through money patronage channelised through hundreds of
crores of rupees of useless self publicity of the State
Government and those in power that has brought the
exchequer to the brink of bankruptcy. The few who resisted
this bonanza had to survive on their own and the one who
opposed it, was attacked and almost finished. It is a strange
paradox that whereas the Constitution of India mandates for
secularism that the State of Karnataka, on the other hand, does
everything that the Constitution prohibits and for that matter,
what the IPC defines as Criminal Offences. The right thinking
citizens of this sub-continent and of the world need to take
serious cognizance of this case because the repercussions
are exceedingly dangerous. I would therefore like the
contents of this pamphlet to be read and discussed and for
decisions to be taken at every level to put a final stop to this
state of affairs which is not only life threatening as
245
Seetharam and his wife have experienced but would be
democracy destroying.
When will the world open its eyes and understand where
the truth lies ? How long do we have to wait before the Indian
Courts effectively stop these atrocities by Policing the Police
and more importantly jailing the errant politicians who are
the real culprits. What have we set up specialist bodies like
the Press Commission and the Human Rights Commissions
if they are handicapped and cannot, or do not function as
expected? Above all, what about an independent Press- IS
ITS SURVIVAL THREATENED? This case suggests just that.
NOBODY CAN ALLOW THAT TO HAPPEN IN INDIATHAT
WILL BE THE END OF OUR DEMOCRACY.
AN EDITOR IN CHAINS – HIS MIRACULOUS
SURVIVAL – THE SEETHARAM EPISODE
The coming to power of the BJP Government in the State
of Karnataka in the year 2008 was synonymous with incidents
of violent hostility against the minorities and this was more
perceptible in the whole of the coastal or karavali area which
covers the South West Coast of India. As often happens, some
of the publications openly supported what was going on and
the most volatile and communally offensive type of articles
and editorials started appearing in the Press. Though the Law
prohibits this, no action was taken by the State Governmenton
the other hand the politicians in power openly instigated
and supported these campaigns and those who propagated
them. Interestingly enough, I was not aware of the fact that
Chief Minister and the Home Minister were RSS Pracharaksthey
regularly appeared in the media with RSS and
BAJRANGDAL leaders at functions in Khaki Shorts and white
banians carrying Lathis and more importantly, dressed in
saffron with religious leaders. Hundreds of Crores of Rupees
of State Funds were donated to Temples and Mutts- not a
246
Rupee to the minorities!
It was not the pro-hindu line that was alarming but the
fact that there were open and direct attacks against the
Christian community. The State Government, not only did
not take action to curb this or to prosecute the persons
advocating communal hatred, but on the other hand,
encouraged it by going out of its way to organize various
activities on a mammoth scale all over the State which were
attended and presided over by the Chief Minister, the Home
Minister, the Education Minister and their colleagues, with
the BJP and Bajrang Dal leaders sharing the dais with the
prominent pontiffs of the area. These mammoth melas were
held in Udupi, Mangalore, Puttur, Chickamagalur, Shimoga,
Davanagere and almost every part of the State on a regular
basis. Public funds were siphoned out like water with the Chief
Minister announcing massive donations at every function,
only to his own community- the minorities got nothing.
Only that section of the Press & TV who were supportive
were liberally fed with funds running into hundreds of crores
of Rupees by the State Govt. through all sorts of dubious
heads. For instance, seventeen huge functions were held in
honour of Swami Vivekananda all over the State and Rupees
Eight Hundred and Seventy Crores of Rupees were spent by
the State Government in just SEVEN WEEKS. The two-fold
objective of these activities was aimed at terrorizing the local
population, because those attending would invariably indulge
in a show of force on the way to these venues and on the way
back. What was characteristic was the fact that apart from
the leading politicians of the State Government at all levels
attending these functions, hundreds of KSRTC buses and
Government vehicles were all mobilized for them. Crores of
rupees of Government money was diverted towards these
activities. The Times of India which is basically a neutral paper
published a news report on the 31st of August 2008 to the effect
247
that in response to a query under the RTI Act, that the Chief
Secretary of the State Government had admitted that in the
preceding period which covered just five months that the State
Government had spent Rs.3,118.00 Crores on these activities.
This was apart from an amount of Rs.289.00 Crores which the
Chief Minister had personally (again out of State Funds)
donated to various mutts and Hindu religious places which
he had visited. The weak justification that was put out was
that these were all places of pilgrimage which required to be
developed.
The role of the media during this period was interesting
in so far as since the Government was feeding them with a lot
of money there was next to no adverse publicity. When
violence was let loose, when other communities were attacked
and when Churches and mosques were targeted, the Press
and the TV would maintain a discreet silence by closing the
other eye and the argument was that the Police have not
registered any offences and therefore, no incidents have taken
place. This chapter is devoted towards illustrating how in a
democracy the Media can be virtually bought over and
pressurized into not reporting incidents of communal
disharmony. This was important because if the real stories
were carried, the State Government would run into serious
difficulty and could even have been dismissed from Office.
Secondly, the World Media would have attached a lot of
importance to these disturbing incidents and the repercussions
would have been very serious. To illustrate, the incidents on
14th / 15th September 2008, when absolute violence was let
loose by activists but mainly the police and the State
machinery against the members of the Christian community
and their places of worship, were impossible to suppress. The
electronic media did carry the incidents live and so did the
Press and the whole world took serious note of it and the
President of the US and the President of France both made it
248
a point to personally highlight this matter with the Indian
Prime Minister and the Government of India immediately
stepped in and issued a notice to the State Government under
Article 355 of the Constitution to show-cause as to why it
should not be dismissed from Office.
Truth can never be totally hidden or suppressed and some
of the publications ran the serious risk of carrying the stories
as the incidents took place. Their reporters and presses, offices
and staff were targeted by the Bajrang Dal and the Police
refused to either protect them or to even register an offence.
There is a small publication in the Karavali area which is a
daily paper in the Kannada language and it is extremely
popular in the whole of this belt. The name of this paper is
“KARAVALI ALE”. The Editor of this paper is B.V.
Seetharam. He also brings out an English edition called
Canara Times, which is published once a week. Seetharam
popularly known as BVSEE not only carried regular reports
and pictures of the communal atrocities, but he also wrote
strong editorials disapproving of the atrocities and
condemning them. He and his entire team received numerous
threats over the telephone and were subjected to even physical
violence from time to time with absolutely no relief from the
Police. His office was regularly stoned and vandalised and
despite whatever security measures he could afford, damage
to property became a regular affair. Instead of being
intimidated, BVSEE kept up the campaign.
One Sunday morning, a Jain Sadhu took out a procession
through one of the Main Roads of Mangalore City. The Sadhu
was nude, as that was his religious custom and he was leading
the procession with a group of his followers. This incident
created a controversy in the area because it was a
predominantly Christian part of town and the procession went
through the area at the same time when the majority of the
residents were making their way to the Church for the Sunday
249
Mass. There were no confrontations but it raised a raging
controversy on the question of whether it was permissible for
a procession of this type to move on the Main Road of
Mangalore when women, girls, children and the general public
who also use the same road had to witness what was
happening. One of the readers wrote a strong letter to the
Editor, in which he stated that obscenity is an offence under
the IPC and that even if it is done on religious grounds, if the
offence is committed in a public place that it is actionable
under Law, because it is highly offensive to the general public.
It so happened that BVSEE published this letter. The
Government and the authorities were just waiting for an
opportunity to hit back at him. He and his wife were arrested
under half a dozen charges of inciting communal disharmony
etc and TWO CRIMINAL CASES WERE REGISTERED
AGAINST THEM, ONE IN MANGALORE AND THE
SECOND ONE IN THE CHIEF MINISTER,S HOME TOWN
OF SHIMOGA. His wife had nothing to do with the
publication and she was only a Director of the Company.
BVSEE also had nothing to do with the publication of the letter
which was done in routine course by the News Editor and the
Staff. The two of them were arrested by the Police late in the
evening on a weekend. When they asked for bail, it was
refused. What is most shameful is that when their Lawyers
went to the Magistrate’s residence and requested for bail, the
Judicial Officer refused to hear the Application. The two of
them were put in the filthiest possible lock-up which was
virtually stinking and it was infested with rats and every
other form of vermin. They had the most notorious antisocial
elements for company and the Police refused to even
allow them clothes or home food on the ground that they
had instructions from the highest quarters in Bangalore i. e.
the Home Minister himself, not to allow this. (POLICE
OFFICERS ADMIT)
250
Seetharam had reported the matter to the Human Rights
Commission, in which, he very clearly pointed out that
normally the Police in Mangalore would not have the courage
to treat an Editor and his wife in this manner without express
orders from the highest quarters of the Government. He has
also pointed out that because of the condemnation of the
atrocities against minorities and the fact that the State Home
Minister who hails from Udupi was actively instigating and
supporting these activities because of his staunch RSS
background, that instructions had been given to torture his
wife and him. The State Human Rights Commission has
passed strictures not only against the State Government and
the police but also against the subordinate judiciary.
The behavior of the Magistrate was not only unfortunate
but downright shameful. When BVSEE and his wife were
produced in Court, and an Application was presented for their
release on Bail, the Magistrate loudly proclaimed that these
persons have indulged in serious offences and that they should
be remanded to police custody for two weeks and that he will
hear the Bail Application on the next day as he was busy.
Since, the Application was not rejected, there was no scope to
move the Higher Court. On the next day, the Magistrate
passed an Order that the Prosecutor should file his reply
within three days and that the Accused should continue in
custody. An Application was presented to the Sessions Court
which was promptly rejected by the Judge on the ground that
the Lower Court had not yet disposed off the Bail Application.
After the lapse of three days, the Prosecutor asked for
further time on the ground that the Police were busy and that
they have not given him necessary instructions. Despite
objections, this Application was granted. On the expiry of
this period, the Magistrate heard the arguments for five
minutes and adjourned the hearing to the next day on the
ground that he had no time. On the following day, he heard
251
the Application for five minutes and adjourned it for the
Prosecutor to reply. On the following hearing, the Prosecutor
was heard and the Application was kept for Orders. No
specific date was given. By following these dilatory tactics,
the Magistrate illegally retained the Accused in custody all
this time and made it impossible for them to approach a
Higher Court because technically, the Application was still
pending and no Orders had been passed though there was
Zero ground to refuse Bail.
BVSEE’s lawyers applied to the High Court pointing out
the conduct of the Police and the Magistrate. Not only did
the High Court straight away order the release of both of them
on Bail, but passed severe strictures against the police for
registering an office which was supposed to be on the basis of
the letter that had appeared in the paper regarding the naked
procession of the Jain Muni. The refusal to grant bail by the
Magistrate at his residence was held to be downright improper
and motivated and the manner in which the Bail Application
was deliberately delayed and dilated came in for
condemnation from the High Court. The High Court even
directed that a Disciplinary enquiry be held against the Judicial
Officer for the biased manner in which he had conducted
himself. Nothing happened.
My personal view of this incident is that the High Court
should have suo-moto directed action against the police
authorities and the State for having registered a whole set of
unsustainable offences. The entire conspiracy was exposed
when the Prosecutor before the Mangalore Court told the
Magistrate that eight of the Police Stations in Mangalore City
and suburbs have registered similar offences. This was
seriously contested by BVSEE’s Lawyers who insisted that
the names of the Complainants be disclosed. When these were
verified, it was found that the so-called Complainants were
non-existent and that the addresses were also false. Mercifully
252
for BVSEE, the High Court while releasing him on Bail ordered
that neither his wife nor he could be arrested on the same or
similar charges in any of the other cases which are supposed
to have emanated from the same incident. This matter created
a nation wide sensation and one of the issues that was widely
projected was the question as to why the High Court had not
ordered exemplary compensation against the State
Government for the illegal detention on false and malicious
grounds for a period of 13 days. The cheerful reply that came
from the Home Minister was that the Accused had not applied
for compensation and therefore, the question did not arise.
How could the higher Judiciary have closed its eyes to these
illegalities ? Not surprisingly, no further steps were taken in
these nine cases on the ground that the Complainants had
disappeared. After all of this the couple were rearrested and
taken to Shimoga where they were harassed for another Five
days in custody on the excuse that there was a separate case
filed there. WE ARE SUPPOSED TO BELIEVE THAT THE
RULE OF LAW EXISTS IN KARNATAKA. This
incident had a chilling effect on the other publications all of
whom decided that it was too dangerous to invite similar steps
against themselves. It must be said to the credit of BVSEE
that despite threats, regular attacks at his office and attacks to
his editorial staff that they continued their campaign and not
surprisingly, this was highly appreciated by the readers and
the popularity of the paper increased by about 10 times. The
Church attack incidents had swung public opinion heavily
against the State Government all over the country and all over
the world and this was the reason why the police and the
State Government did not openly attack Seetharam for
sometime. It was however, clear that they were looking for
an opportunity.
All of a sudden, attacks were started against the
distribution channels. The bundles of the newspaper were
253
targeted in the course of distribution, forcibly seized and
burnt. More than a hundred complaints were filed with the
police even pointing out the names of the persons doing this,
but they refused to act. It became exceedingly difficult for
the paper to be distributed to the Cities, Towns and Villages
because it was being targeted at the distribution points. The
more effective tactic that was used was that every newspaper
seller was attacked and beaten up if he so much as kept even
one copy of this paper. This was being done on a daily basis.
One bold hawker opposite Moti Mahal Hotel still insisted on
selling the paper until his little stall was smashed to pieces
and he was told that on the next occasion, he would be finished
off. In respect of this incident, since, I was in Mangalore, I
had occasion to see the damage and meet the victim who told
me that the police had refused to even register an offence.
He had identified and named the attackers who were known
anti-social elements. He had also provided the vehicle
numbers and he had personally gone to the SP with a written
complaint. Instead of acting on the complaint, the SP told
him that he would be locked up if he dared to come up with
any false complaints.
It was at this time that I had called on the IG, Western
Range, who appeared to be a good officer, as I required certain
information with regard to the attacks. He was extremely
polite and courteous but the visit turned to be a waste of time,
because I found that he was being totally bypassed by the SP
and the other Police Officers who were receiving instructions
directly from the Home Minister. Even as far as the attack on
the hawker was concerned, the SP who was present had the
gumption to tell his superior officer that the hawker had
lodged a false complaint, that no damage had taken place,
that the investigation indicated that the names of the culprits
and the vehicle numbers were false.
BVSEE had taken up the matter seriously with the Press
254
Council of India and that body immediately deputed its team
to Mangalore and because of their presence and the
investigations that followed, there was a temporary lull in
the situation. From the information gathered by me, which
was carefully verified, I found that as far as these attacks on
the newspaper and on the BVSEEs Offices, distribution
network and hawkers were concerned, that the culprits were
gang members of the well known Dons of Mangalore. One
such attack was directed against the residence of the President
of the People’s Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL). His house
was targeted and he suffered minor injuries in the incident.
On this occasion, the Police pretended to act with a degree of
expediency. They arrested half a dozen of the local petty
criminals and issued a Press Statement that the incident was
because of some personal quarrel and rivalry.
It was at this time, on a Sunday evening, that BVSEE and
his wife had decided to visit a temple some distance outside
the city. A jeep and two police vans turned up at his residence
where his student daughter was alone. They forced their
way into the house on the ground that they had to search the
place. Extensive damage was caused, a lot of valuables and
cash disappeared from the place and the police party left.
They had obtained information as to where BVSEE was going
and all of a sudden at a lonely place in the dark, the Police
Jeep overtook his car and stopped it. The Police Officers told
BVSEE that he was under arrest but refused to disclose the
charges. His Driver was ordered to follow the Police Jeep
with the two vans behind the car. For the next one hour, this
convoy proceeded from area to area in the hope of finding a
sufficiently lonely place. Despite attempts for over an hour,
the difficulty that they ran into was that there was a regular
stream of buses, cars and two wheelers and they found it
extremely difficult to find the secluded spot that they were
looking for. BVSEE and his wife were terrified principally
255
because the District Police have become infamous for the
number of so-called “encounter killings” that they have been
involved in. I had occasion to study the modus-operandi
which had been identical in eleven cases over a period of less
than one year. In all these instances, the victims have been
shot by the police on the ground that they are supposed to
have attacked the police party with fire arms that have been
planted near the bodies. Some glasses of the police vehicles
are broken and a false Panchanama is made that this happened
when the police were fired on and that the victims were shot
by the police in self defence. No records maintained, no
questions asked and in the few instances where the relations
or the Human Rights Organisation have taken up the matters,
the High Court has dismissed the Petitions on the ground that,
the deceased appeared to be Criminals, or Naxalites, or Antisocial
elements and that they were the aggressors. I sometimes
wonder whether these temples of Justice are dishing out
NYAYA or AN-NYAYA?
When the attempts to assassinate BVSEE and his wife
failed, they were driven to the Police Station in Udupi. They
were made to sit there for about two hours and the Police
refused to disclose the ground on which they were being
arrested. Udupi incidentally is the home base of the State
Home Minister. The operations were being directed by the
Home Minister Acharya’s Doctor son. Finally at about 10.00
p.m., the Police informed BVSEE that there was a Non Bailable
Warrant issued against him by one of the Courts and that he
was under arrest pursuant to this.
What did that warrant pertain to ? A long time earlier, a
person in one of the small towns was arrested by the Police
on a charge of molesting a young student and attempting to
rape her. This incident had created a sensation and was
reported by all the papers including BVSEE’s paper. The
Police had investigated into the matter and filed a Charge
256
Sheet against the Accused as a prima-facie offence had been
disclosed. This Accused filed a Private Complaint before the
Magistrate alleging that BVSEE in his capacity as an Editor of
the paper had defamed him. The Magistrate held a preliminary
enquiry and dismissed the complaint, very rightly, on the
ground that the Police Charge Sheet itself disclosed a primafacie
offence of molestation and attempt to rape against the
Complainant and that it was absolutely absurd for him to
contend that the publication of a factually correct news report
constituted defamation. The Complainant is supposed to have
gone in revision and the Sessions Court without hearing
BVSEE, he supposed to have set aside the Order of Dismissal
ex-parte and directed the Magistrate to hear the matter on
merits. The Trial Court is supposed to have issued summons
to BVSEE which were never served on him, after which, the
Complainant and his Lawyer get a Non Bailable Warrant
issued on the ground that the Summons was disregarded.
Again, for weeks and months, this NBW was not even
attempted to be executed and it is this particular NBW which
pertained to a different place altogether that the Udupi Police
were referring to and using on that night. Judicial officers who
indiscriminately issue Non-Bailable Warrants on false, nonexistent
and unsustainable grounds deserve to be dismissed
from service, but again, this is not happening. Instead, they
get promoted!
Mrs. Seetham was not arrested, she contacted a Lawyer
who came there and demanded that BVSEE be released. The
police politely told him that they were acting on instructions
from a very high authority. A Bail Application was then
moved before the Magistrate. This was in a case of defamation
where the NBW pertains to alleged non appearance. Any
Judicial Officer was duty bound to order BVSEE to appear
before the competent Court on the next date of hearing and
to release him on Bail. This Magistrate refused Bail and
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BVSEE was retained in custody for the night. I ask myself
the question as to whether there were some outside
influences at work- how else can you justify such an order?
As he was extremely unwell, the only concession made was
that he could be retained in the Hospital.
Then follows something that is not only shameful and
atrocious but which has brought a black name to the Karnataka
Judiciary both Nationally and Internationally. On the next
morning, in order to humiliate him, BVSEE was chained
hand and foot and was paraded through the Court Premises
in Udupi. There are photographs of this in the National
and International Media. His Lawyer raised a serious
objection to a Newspaper Editor being chained as though he
was a dangerous criminal. He was also hand-cuffed and the
Lawyer cited the Supreme Court Judgment totally prohibiting
the use of chains and handcuffs in such situations on the
ground that it is an aberration of human rights and human
dignity. Instead of passing appropriate orders and taking
action against the police and the State, the Magistrate told the
Ld. Advocate that he should take up the matter with the police
authorities and that he was not concerned with the condition
in which the Accused Editor was produced before her. So
much for the Judiciary’s sacred duty and responsibility!
BVSEE was offered Bail. He pointed out to the Court
that he was genuinely afraid of his life in Acharya,s hometown
after the previous night’s incident. The police told the Court
that there were eight other Non Bailable Warrants pending
against him on grounds of inciting communal disharmony
and that they propose to arrest him in those cases if he was
released in this one. Since, BVSEE stated that for his own
safety, he would not avail of the Bail Order until appropriate
orders were obtained in respect of the other so-called cases,
he was remanded to Judicial Custody for the next two weeks.
What happened in this Court Room would certainly bring a
258
black name to the Judiciary. I had occasion to write to the
Chief Justice recording the sequence of events and pointing
out that it was very necessary that appropriate disciplinary
action be taken against the Judicial Officer after holding an
enquiry. The letter was not acknowledged and months later,
I was informed by the members of the Bar that it had been
registered as a PIL, that it appeared before the Division Bench
without any Notice or intimation to me and that the Division
Bench dismissed it on the ground of Non Prosecution. So
much for the manner in which the institution of which I was a
member for 15 long years is now functioning.
BVSEE was retained in the Hospital for a few days, while
his Advocates applied for Anticipatory Bail in the other eight
so-called proceedings. Though, he was in custody, these
Applications were dismissed by the Mangalore Sessions
Court on the ground that he should have been personally
present. ABSOLUTELY BRILLIANT JUDICIAL
REASONING! As soon as these orders were passed, at about
9.00 p.m., the Doctors in Udupi stated that BVSEE should be
moved to a bigger hospital in Mangalore. When BVSEE’s
Lawyers asked for the reasons, they were told that it was under
directions of the Home Department which were in turn,
surprisingly communicated by the son of the Home Minister
who is supposed to be a Doctor in Udupi.
Despite requests from Mrs. Seetharam that he should be
moved in an ambulance for which she would pay, he was put
in a police van, HANDCUFFED and driven over horrible
roads at break-neck speed for THREE HOURS and brought
to the Government Hospital in Mangalore at midnight,
virtually half-dead. Instructions had been issued to the
Doctors in Mangalore not to admit him in the Hospital and to
send him to the local jail. The Lawyers and the members of
the PUCL strongly objected to this, principally because BVSEE
was in a precarious condition, his blood pressure was 190/
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120 and he would not have survived if he were not put in the
ICCU. The poor Doctors kept arguing that they had telephonic
instructions from the State Home Department. A large crowd
of prominent persons had gathered, as a result of which, the
Doctors were forced to admit him into the ICCU. He remained
there for the next one or two days.
Why did the Home Department suddenly move BVSEE
away from Udupi to Mangalore and that too without obtaining
Orders from the Court, because technically he was supposed
to be within the custody of the local Court in Udupi and could
not have been moved without Court Orders. Irrespective of
this breach, the conspiracy was to some how put him into the
local jail in Mangalore. The reason for this was because there
was a group of Bajrang Dal activists who had been arrested
for some very serious criminal offences and had been
remanded to Jail custody. Three days earlier, they had
mercilessly assaulted two muslim students in the jail with
deadly weapons. This incident was widely reported in the
local press. It was found that the assailants inside the Jail
had used knifes, chains, iron bars and other deadly
weapons.No offence has been registered against the
assailants. They had caused multiple injuries and the victims
who somehow survived because of the intervention of the
other inmates, were hanging between life and death for the
next one month. No offence was registered against the
Assailants. When questioned by the Media, the Home
Minister stated that he had immediately transferred the
Jailor to Bangalore and was looking into the matter. Again
courtesy Home Minister Acharya! It was to this jail and into
the hands of these persons that BVSEE was to be sent. It was
fortunate for him that the PUCL, some of the lawyers and a
large group of his admirers were able to prevent this. Even if
was not assaulted in the Jail, he would have probably
collapsed and died.
260
The horror story does not end there. Hardly three days
later, telephonic instructions were received by the hospital in
Mangalore late at night to shift BVSEE to the Jail in Mysore.
Again, no Court Orders but instructions from the Home
Department. Despite strong protests from the family and all
those present and despite a request that at least he be shifted
in an ambulance, he was put into a police van and driven all
the way to Mysore where he arrived there 2.30 a.m. in an
unconscious condition. Mercifully for him, the PUCL office
bearers and a group of over 50 persons ensured that he was
retained in the hospital and not sent to the local jail. This was
done. Before he could be transferred to any other Jails in the
State, because the Home Department had ordered the Mysore
Hospital to shift him to Bellary, a Habeas Corpus Petition was
filed before the High Court and the Court immediately
intervened and stopped the atrocities of the State Government.
This Petition was heard a few days later. The Judges were
virtually livid, they directed his immediate release and
ordered compensatory costs of Rs.10,000/- (Rupees Ten
Thousand Only). Those costs have not been paid till today
and the State Government is supposed to have gone in Appeal
to the Supreme Court. BVSEE was also advised to collect the
copies of all the so-called cases registered against him and to
apply for quashing which he has done. That Petition cannot
be heard because once again, all the so-called Complainants
and the addresses are bogus and they cannot be served. Mr.
Acharya’s Police Department very shamelessly contends that
they had registered these offences in good faith.
I often regarded the Media in India as the conscience
keepers of society – during the emergency, when even the
Judiciary of this country all the way up to the Supreme Court
and to the then Chief Justice, failed India, it was only one
institution which stood its ground and that was manned by
the Journalists. The BJP Government in Karnataka which has
261
brought the corruption levels in the State to the highest in the
country distributed largesse by releasing publicity material
running into hundreds of Crores of Rupees to every
publication that would support it in covering up for corruption
and letting loose an unprecedented wave of fundamentalist
attacks against the minorities. One by one, every publication
and every TV Channel fell for this bait. I salute the few who
did not because they lost out in terms of money and were
mercilessly attacked in every conceivable manner. The world
needs to know what happened to Seetharam because it is one
of the blackest chapters in Karnataka’s Judicial history and
one of the most shameful in the annals of Journalism. The
Home Minister Acharya’s sons have a website that drips with
fundamentalist venom. The man who wrote one of the most
vicious articles against the Christian community has recently
been awarded a Ph.D by the Karnataka University on the
recommendation of the State Education Minister. The Editor
of the paper, Vijaya Karnataka who published this and dozens
of similar articles and editorials was also recommended for a
Ph.D by the same Politician – when the matter was brought
to the notice of the Governor and the University was asked to
how such a man could qualify for an Hon. Doctorate, the guilty
Vice Chancellor and his team removed the Award from the
Convocation Agenda on the eve of the Convocation. Despite
two FIRs against these two individuals, for inciting communal
disharmony, the Mangalore Police openly admit that they
were directed by Acharya himself not to proceed and to close
the cases. Another newspaper in the City of Mangalore has
been regularly targeting the Muslim community by publishing
the most offensive articles and the State Government is
protecting this Editor despite prosecuting others who did so
and caused communal riots and curfew over the last few
weeks. If this is not a total butchery of the Principles of
Secularism, nothing else is. In sharp contrast, Seetharam’s
only sin is that his little publication stuck to its secular tenets
262
for which his office was attacked six times, his Journalists have
been at the receiving end even physically, property is regularly
destroyed, not only are the paper bundles systematically
burnt, but the Vendors terrorized if they sell the paper and
we are asked to believe that there is a Rule of Law in
Karnataka.
The reason for my having included this Chapter in my
Report which reads like a virtual horror story, is because it is
necessary to illustrate as to what lengths the Government
machinery in Karnataka would go to in order to cover their
tracks and at the same time, hit back and destroy anybody
who was willing to truthfully expose the atrocities that were
going on. How BVSEE and his wife survived this ordeal has
been vividly recorded by a High Powered Committee deputed
to Mangalore, Udupi, Mysore and Bangalore by the Head of
the Press Council who is a very fine and forthright Judge.
They had requested me to share with them the evidence that
I had gathered in connection with this incident and the
members had occasion to express that there is just no rule of
Law in Karnataka. This is illustrative of the atmosphere in
which the Churches and the Christian community were
mercilessly targeted during this period of time and the hatred
levels that accompanied all these incidents. What makes
Karnataka worse than Orissa is that all the incidents in that
State which virtually shook the world conscience were at the
hands of communally motivated violent groups where as in
the State of Karnataka, it was State terrorism with these groups
playing a sub-serviant role and the Home Minister, the
reincarnation of Hitler. It is pathetic to have to record that
whereas the Media is the only watchdog in situations of this
type that in this instance, the State Government had succeeded
in bribing and intimidating the media in to silence. Nothing
can be more destructive to the Indian Democracy.
263
I have often been asked as to why the SEZ issue finds
place in an incisive report on communal attacks. Obviously,
the basis for the question emanates from the fact that SEZs
are related to economic and industrial development and are
far distanced from communal overtones and sociological
issues such as class war not to mention religious issues. The
few of my friends who have read this chapter raise their
eyebrows in shock and disbelief when they found that in the
Indian context and more importantly, under the present
Government in Karnataka, and the religious persecution that
has been let lose in Dakshina Kannada that the euphemism of
the term SEZ turned out to be a horrifying genocide. True,
the dominant forces and the State Machinery did not
physically hack the Christians and the poor tribals to pieces
but they did was even worse. To my mind, an instant death
howsoever horrifying would have been far more merciful to
a horrifying fate ahead.
In Judgment after Judgment, I had struck down the
misuse of acquisition powers by the State Machinery through
coercive steps for the benefit of the richest of the rich and the
CHAPTER-XVIII
HORRIFYING HUMAN TRAGEDY
CALLED MANGALORE SEZ
(THIS CHAPTER FROM THE REPORT WAS EXTRACTED AND
PUBLISHED AS A SEPARATELY AS IT WAS REQUIRED BY
SEVERAL NATIONAL AND INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTIONS
AND ORGANISATIONS. IT IS REPRODUCED BELOW IN THE
SAME FORM).
FOREWORD
264
most powerful in the land. It is this fattest class who are given
prime land at insane prices and all the possible tax concessions
even to the extent of feeding them lavishly with scarce
commodities such as power and water by physically throwing
out lakhs of tribals and farmers from their little holdings
because they have no power to resist. We are told that the
Central and State Governments have strictly instructed the
SEZ to concentrate on barren land and not to touch green areas
such as paddy fields, farm lands, forests, lakes, rivers, wells
and the like. The authorities contend that they have not
touched any such areas. The truth of the matter is that the
Mangalore SEZ does not cover even one square centimeter of
barren land. Every single piece of land had paddy fields,
vegetable and fruit gardens, fruit trees, small farms, lakes,
rivers and wells. The Lokayukta has convicted the Land
Acquisition Officer and several of the Revenue Officials all of
whom were heavily bribed by the SEZ Authorities to forge
and fabricate the revenue records and convert them to read
that paddy fields and farm lands were barren areas. When I
visited Mangalore, in connection with the Church attacks, I
was informed that the entire area covered by the SEZ consisted
of over 70% Catholics, all of whom grew paddy, organic
vegetables, they owned fruit trees and this fertile belt was
well irrigated by little rivers and thousands of wells have
provided the highest quality of water. All these little hamlets
had virtually hundreds of chapels, grottos and little prayer
centres, all of which have been bulldozed by the SEZ
authorities. It was this complaint which took me to the area
after visiting Bajpe.
The villagers themselves met me and requested me to
come and see for myself as to whether the horror story was
true and I found that the reports were a gross understatement.
On 8th November 2008, I personally witnessed the SEZ
Officers led by a barbarian by the name of Raghavendra Holla
265
who was strutting around like a bad-shah, a bunch of
dangerous looking thugs who were designated as the SEZ
Contractors and a whole lot of earth moving machinery all of
which was being protected by the local police. The paddy
fields that were ready for harvesting were being covered with
two feet of soil and thereafter leveled out and photographed
to give the impression that it was barren land. The vegetable
gardens which provided Mangalore with the choicest of
organic vegetables were first bulldozed and then leveled
under several feet of mud and again photographed to give
the impression that this was a barren area. I told Holla and
the Contractors that the wells, the streams and the little lakes
were precious and that they should not be destroyed. Holla
who claimed that he was the full brother of the then State
Advocate General – Mr. Udaya Holla, a Senior Counsel of
considerable merit, displayed his arrogance and if I may add,
contempt for the High Court because I had told him that the
Judges would take a serious view of what he and his hire
links were doing there, ordered the machinery to be brought
out again, all the wells, the streams and the two small lakes
were filled with debris and leveled and photographed and he
told me that nobody will believe that they ever existed. An
elderly Christian lady who was a neighbor and outside the
SEZs designated zone told Swamiji and me that on the
previous night, the Contractors led by one Kotian who was
an extremely dangerous looking man and threatened to kill
me if I opened my mouth, had encroached into her little farm
and taken away the cows, goats, four pigs and all the poultry
and sold them to the butchers there itself. Merely because
she came to complain, Holla sent the Machinery to her farm
and within 15 minutes, all the fruit trees and vegetable gardens
were destroyed and she was told that she should move her
belongings out before afternoon as the house was going to be
leveled down. All these under protection from the Police
266
Officers of the Bajpe Police Station who were also armed.
Holla and his mafia got the police to threaten the media
persons and all of us including Swamiji who was present that
we would be arrested on the spot, taken to the police station
and beaten unconscious if we did not leave. This is the
summary of how the SEZ claimed to have acquired the barren
land.
This particular spot was farmed by tribals who formed
the poorest of the poor. In their own small away, they had set
up a small prayer shed which was like a chapel and some
grottos which had statues in them. There were also two or
three similar religious structures put up by persons professing
the Hindu faith. These were raised to the ground in our
presence and Holla instructed the demolition squad to drive
the earth movers over the debris, so that it was completely
crushed and could never be recognized as being the remnants
of religious structures. What almost created a riot was the
fact that one small area was apparently used by the Christians
as a burial ground and there were several graves and crosses
there. When Holla had these demolished, sentiments ran high
and the persons present reacted violently. There was a joint
operation by the mafia and the police, I would equate one
with the other who mercilessly beat the poor villagers and
drove them away.
This is the kind of respect that the BJP Government in
Karnataka has for places of worship and even for sacred spots
like burial grounds. Not only is it deplorable, unpardonable,
but shameful to the worst degree. All of this has been recorded
by me in my letters to the SEZ Authorities, to the Chief Justice
of the High Court and to the Human Rights Commission.
What I need to highlight is the fact that when arrogance
reaches demonic levels, public servants such as Holla rise to
horrifying heights or rather, sink to disgusting depths. This
267
man who was dressed like a cowboy wearing Rayban glasses
with a string of gold chains dangling from his neck and
sporting a two lakhs rupee watch, had four mobile phones
with him which were being used constantly. For our benefit,
these were kept on the speaker mode, so that, all could hear
his conversations with two of his top officers by the name of
Prasad and Pai, as I understand, these two fellows were the
SEZ’s big bosses. Holla was reporting his every movement
to them and they were actively encouraging the fellow even
to the extent of telling him that money is no consideration
and that he should call in additional machinery and level the
whole hamlet to the ground within the next three hours. They
also told him to get the police and the revenue authorities to
make an inventory that it was a completely barren area, devoid
of human habitation and even any water source.
Not one of my letters to the SEZ Authorities was either
replied nor have any of the above facts been disputed. The
Judiciary of-course is so very busy that even when I reported
atrocities of these horrifying dimensions to the Hon’ble Chief
Justice, was any cognizance taken. Essentially, the atrocities
was part of the SEZ mafia in collaboration with the police
and the revenue authorities all of whom would have normally
come in for severe action had the High Court taken cognizance,
but this did not happen. It pained me to read in the papers
that the High Court was celebrating some kind of Centenary
for which the State Government had sanctioned over a Crore
of rupees which excluded a Centenary Arch costing Rs.68.00
Lakhs which to my mind has disfigured the period building.
The State Government was also kind enough to make a gift to
the High Court of a fleet of expensive new cars. I did not feel
sad because I spent fifteen long years using a broken down
Ambassador Car that was sent to the garage on every working
day. In my last year, I was thrilled to receive a substandard
brand new Ambassador Nova which I used for six months
268
and the log book showed that it had made 100 trips to the
Dealers in 180 days and the cost of replacements exceeded
the value of the car. When I took up the issue with the Vehicle
Department, I realized that the purchase of these vehicles is
intended to feed a large number of parasites starting from the
High Court Department to the State Government and the
Dealers.
Later on, in this Chapter, I have dealt with the human
trauma and what has happened to the human beings who
occupied this area and what is to be done with that part of the
District which is being turned into a new Hiroshima. The
irony of the matter is that the media by and large fully supports
the SEZs which regularly hold cocktail parties and other
enjoyable functions for them apart from which, ads worth
Crores of rupees are released. The entire population of the
area as also the State and the country have been indoctrinated
with the cheerful news that huge chemical complexes will
generate immense wealth and employment and prosperity to
the region and that even if it is at the cost of raping the earth,
it is still worthwhile. I would like the population of the subcontinent
and of the earth to whom thousands of acres of
prime, fertile agricultural land has been gifted for one
thousandth the market value to know who the stake holders
in these SEZs are and how poor they are that the Central and
State Government should be kind and charitable to them. One
of the stake holders is the Oil and Natural Gas Commission,
among the biggest and richest Corporation in the subcontinent
to whom these concessions are being extended. I
wrote to the Chairman of the Commission recording the
atrocities, the man probably threw the letter into his waste
paper basket, never even acknowledged it, but obviously
could not dispute one syllable of the horror story. The most
unpardonable and utterly disgusting fallout of the SEZ
Operation is that it has become a REAL ESTATE
269
GOLDMINE OF UNIMAGINABLE DIMENSIONS.
In terms of sociological consequences, approximately 3.00
Lakh tribals and subsistence level farmers aged between 1
month and 80 years have been physically uprooted and
thrown out of their lands and homes. The Law requires that
if any such person is required to be uprooted, that they have
to be rehabilitated. When I was Advocate General of
Maharashtra, in the famous Nhavaseva Port Trust case, where
thousand of acres of lands were acquired to set up a multi
billion dollar port, it was at my instance and for the first time
ever in this country that the Central and State Governments
followed a broad formula that is set out below:
(a) That every single family who was required to move
because of acquisition of their lands was shifted into
permanent alternate accommodation that was made
available before they were divested of their possession.
This was because citizens at this economic level would
be forced to migrate to the closest city to die on the
footpaths and the compensations would be pocketed by
the Project Officers and the other officials after fabricating
bogus documents. It was therefore necessary that they
be around and available to receive their compensation.
Several safeguards were observed to ensure that the
compensation does not get diverted to Government
Officers, Activists, Social Workers and Lawyers.
(b) That at-least one member from each family was given
permanent employment in the new project, so that, they
did not have to starve. (irrespective of when the project
was completed, they would receive an equivalent of
subsistence allowance till their salary commence).
(c) Steps were taken to ensure that in not a single case, was
the education of the children disrupted even for a day.
(d) More importantly, the principles of the Land Acquisitions
270
Act were not followed and the concept which later years
as a High Court Judge, I incorporated in 17 of my
Judgments was used for purposes of fixing the scale of
compensation. The market value of the land at current
rates in the hands of the new project was the barometer
and this amount was computed. Undoubtedly, it came
to much much more than the stingy impractical and
disgusting levels fixed a hundred years back under the
Land Acquisition Act (where the value of a yielding
mango tree is Rs.18/-) and the bulk of this amount was
really invested under a deferred payment scheme so that
the beneficiaries did not blow up the money nor were
they deprived of it by unscrupulous elements as always
happens and it was equally convenient of the project
authorities to pay the higher amount on a deferred
payment scheme over a prescribed period of time.
In the case of the Mangalore SEZ, none of this has
happened. Under the so-called rehabilitation scheme, the SEZ
Officers have sold the plots for payment in cash to the highest
bidders, as a result of which, these colonies have been fully
populated by outsiders and the Officers of the SEZ have
become Crorepathis overnight. One of the very convincing
methods used by these corrupt officers is to arm each of the
occupants with a false affidavit which can be executed for a
hundred rupees stating that the person concerned was earlier
residing at so and so place and has been rehabilitated. We
cross checked 93 such cases and found that the results were
100% in that the documents were fabricated and the persons
were total outsiders. As far as the Padav area is concerned,
the position is even worse because the fields in question were
sought to be converted into a kind of a temple colony. A large
number of extremely suspicious looking thugs were present
there and they stated that they were reconstructing temples
belonging to family gods that were shifted from elsewhere
271
and each of these institutions is an extremely lucrative money
centre.
What is the impact on the women and children? All those
who were earning their livelihood by growing healthy crops,
organic vegetables, fruit and farm products have had to work
as coolies and construction labourers and sleep on the
footpaths or slums of the cities. Not a single one of over one
lakh children has been able to go back to schools and they
will go back as beggars, criminals and drug addicts. The men
who cannot work as constructions workers will turn into
beggars, petty criminals, alcoholics and die a quick death.
The very worst consequence of these SEZ operations is
that since the nearby towns and cities cannot absorb the
uprooted human beings as every field right down to
prostitution, crime and drug addiction is beautifully saturated
in the sub-continent. They are required to migrate into the
hills, forests and barren areas and live like wild animals. This
is the transformation that the SEZs have achieved by
converting a sizeable part of the population into so-called
Naxalites and Maoists. They are desperate human beings,
their days are numbered and their lives mean nothing and all
they want is to settle score with the forces that reduce them to
this position and that is why they are driven to violence. Once
the situation gets as bad as these, the Law Enforcement
Agencies brand them as Terrorists and are heavily rewarded
and complimented for shooting them down. Unfortunately,
the sociological problem has not been understood and is
worsening and the Mangalore SEZ is one of the most shameful
and horrifying examples of precisely this.
272
If any state can lay claim to be “Gandhi’s own country” it
is India, and sadly enough instead of venerating and
perpetuating his sacred principle of ahimsa, on his death
anniversary this year, the Home Minister of the country
announced that every Maoist and Naxalite will be shot dead.
Nobody protested – these human beings are regarded as
dreaded terrorists and we are all led to believe that they are
“anti-social, a menace and a danger”. Would Gandhiji have
ategorized them as pests to be eliminated at sight, but more
importantly, would he have approved of the violence on either
side? Many a time, he was quick to point out that an eye for an
eye would leave the whole world blind! The real tragedy is
that he is not here to stop these State atrocities.
The very Politicians who go around in Khadi and
precariously climb ladders to garland statutes of the Mahatma
are totally committed to the so-called policy of development
which sanctions Industrial Areas and Special Economic Zones.
Nothing wrong in the policy as long as it is properly executednot
the way a lethal gas plant was located in the midst of the
city- in the USA Union Carbide had to observe a 90 mile radius
of a “no habitation zone “ as the gas was so lethal- in India life
is cheap and happily NO POLITICIAN OR BUSINESSMAN
DIED OR WAS MAIMED! There is a mad rush to create the
show-pieces called SEZ’s on the graves of the villagers and by
turning all the fertile green areas into disgusting concrete
jungles and factories. My research indicates that not even one
single SEZ in this country has observed the basic norm that
no green areas such as forests, no water bodies such as lakes
and rivers and no human habitations such as villages and
hamlets can be touched and that all these SEZs must be set
INTRODUCTION
273
up in the area comprising of the country’s 39.68% of barren
areas. The truth is that on an average 93% of the land that is
forcibly acquired using muscle power and the state machinery
riddled with corruption comprises of villages and green areas
as also water bodies. IN THE CASE OF THE MANGALORE
SEZ, THE FIGURE IS AS HIGH AS A DEPLORABLE 97%.
Shamefully enough, we have the country’s so-called richest and
finest corporate bodies such as ONGC involved in the
Mangalore SEZ – in West Bengal, it was the Tatas who were
beaten back for the first time, but were welcomed in Gujarat.
The wild life has been annihilated, the cattle has been butchered,
the livestock has been eliminated, the villages have been
bulldozed, the water bodies have disappeared and above all,
the whole of the population has either been killed or driven
into the barren hills and what is left of the forests. It is these
desperate human beings who are labeled as Maoists and
Naxalites because, like the proverbial wounded serpent, they
have decided to hit back at the very forces that reduced them
to this condition. Recently, when Arundati Roy told the Central
Government that the Adivasis and Tribals and the poorest of
the poor who have been consigned to the wilderness and whose
homes have been given to the industrialists and the richest of
the rich are not to blame for this humantragedy, that there must
be a stop to the insanity of locating SEZs in the wrong areas
and that rehabilitation and welfare measures required to be
undertaken for these desperate human beings, instead of
shooting them, she received strong criticism from the Media
for “siding with the Terrorists.”
I revere Gandhiji for many reasons, the most important of
which was that he had compassion for the weak, he took up
the cause of the underdog and he had his sense of values well
grounded. We were brought up to believe in survival of the
fittest- I ask, what about the survival of the weakest? When he
274
spoke of wiping every tear from every eye, he referred to this
strata of human beings and not to the political class or the rich
and famous who do not know what it is to shed a tear, but who
reduce the lives of the poorest of the poor to an unending saga
of endless misery and tears. Though he left us more than six
decades ago, his ideals are good for all time and if the insanity
of SEZs which he would never have approved of, is to be at all
curtailed, it will be through a return to the Mahatma. Below is
an extract from an inspiring publication “Gandhi’s Outstanding
Leadership” authored by my esteemed and exceptionally
brilliant friend Allan P. Nazareth, which I consider to be most
appropriate:
“Because we are “The finite created for the infinite”, the
leadership we need, and deserve, has to be rooted in immortal
values. In the final analysis good and trustworthy Leadership
calls for moral judgments on what is right action, because
history has amply demonstrated that in the long run Truth alone
triumphs. Decisions based solely on technical knowledge do
not require leadership. To make right choices leaders need to
have deep understanding of the lives and ideas of the world’s
great moral philosophers and of those who have applied them
to solve some of its most difficult problems.
Leaders who inspire, and command universal respect, are
those who espoused Right rather than Might, and truth, justice
and non-violent conflict rather than hate, violence and war.
Lincoln’s words “Let us have faith that right maks might, and
in that faith let us to the end, dare to do our duty as we
understand it” are still as powerfully inspiring as they were a
hundred and forty years ago when they were spoken.
Napoleon’s words, uttered at his remote St. Helena prison are
significant. “Glory is fleeting, obscurity is forever …. There are
only two powers in the world – the spirit and the sword. In the
long run the sword will always be conquered by the spirit.”
275
I would recommend the book to every right thinking
Indian or for that matter human being, but it would be difficult
to put its contents across to the political and business
community neither of whom is amenable to the art of reading.
To those who receive this booklet, another extract from the same
book is worth reproducing:
“The prime component of Gandhi’s leadership was his
elevated vision that humans, the highest manifestation of God’s
creation, can and would live in harmony and peace, firmly
adhering to Truth, Justice, Love and Non-Violence. “Nonviolence
is the law of our species as violence is the law of brute.
The spirit lies dormant in the brute and he knows no law but
that of physical might. The dignity of man requires obedience
to a higher law – that of the spirit… It is the law of love that
rules mankind. Had violence i.e. hate rules us, we should have
become extinct long ago. Mankind has to get out of violence
only through non-violence. Hatred can only be overcome by
love.
In his historical perspective, he saw dictators and tyrants
maintaining their fearful sway only temporarily. All empires
built with the sword end up in the dustbin of history; only those
built on the spirit with Truth, love and self-sacrifice by the great
seers and prophets have survived and flourished. Since humans
are created “in the image of God” and are imbued with the
“Divine Spark” they have to be led by Truth and love, not by
fear and hate. One has to live, and if necessary to die for Truth,
but never to hurt or kill anyone.
For Gandhi, Truth (Satya) was as real and omnipotent as
God himself. In fact, Truth is God, as Truth is what is and God
is the only reality that always is. “The world rests upon the
bedrock of Satya… which being what is can never be destroyed.
This is the doctrine of Satyagraha in a nutshell.”
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Truth is the ‘Right Path’ and it is ‘Right that is Might’ not
its opposite. He often quoted the Bhagwad Gita’s core
philosophical assertion ‘Satyanasti pao Dharma’ (There is no
greater duty than adherence to Truth).
Truth implies Justice, and both are essential requisites for
the attainment of peace. “Peace will come when Truth is
pursued, and Truth implies Justice”. Justice requires that the
adversary’s views and requirements be given due
consideration. “Three fourths of the miseries and
misunderstandings in the world would disappear if we step
into the shoes of our adversaries and understand their
standpoint”. Justice also requires that the final agreement made
be acceptable to all concerned.
Whereas Gandhi was passionately dedicated to Truth even
as a youth, particularly after he learnt about Harishchandra’s
unshakeable adherence to it despite innumerable hardships,
his deep commitment to non-violence came only in his early
thirties after he read Christ’s Sermon on the Mount and
Tolstoy’s The Kingdom of God is within you. The strong nonviolent
traditions of the Jain community of his native Gujarat
had of course mentally prepared him for this. Non-violence
thus became his immutable path for realization of Truth. For
him it meant complete abstention not only from all physical,
mental and emotional injury to others but also cleansing oneself
of all hatred and desire for revenge. One had to hate and
confront evil but nonetheless love and evil doer because even
he is endowed with the Divine spark which love can ignite and
induce his conversion. “Non-violence is based on the
assumption that human nature in its essence is one and
therefore unfailingly responds to the advances of love… The
hardest metal yields to sufficient heat. Even so, the hardest
heart must melt before the heat of non-violence and there is no
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limit to the capacity of non-violence to generate heat.
For him: “The objective of all non-violent activity is always
a mutually acceptable agreement, never the defeat, much less
the humiliation of the opponent” and “A non-violent revolution
is not a programme for seizure of power. It is a programme for
transformation of relationships ending in a peaceful transfer
of power.”
Gandhi’s vision, though considered utopian by some and
arcadian by others, was actually an elevated, wide spectrum,
deeply spiritual yet practical one. Like the tall redwood tree,
which views the farthermost horizon, yet is fully aware of every
environmental nuance around its sumptuous girth and at its
deepest root, Gandhi perceived the macro and micro effects of
human behaviour in diverse fields. His vision can justifiably
therefore be described as extraordinary.”
Ultimately, the return to sanity and Gandhiji’s principles
is the only answer to the problem. As the subsequent events in
Central India have indicated, state violence has resulted in a
backlash and the consequences will be horrifying if it spreads.
The Mangalore SEZ is a horror story to beat all others and that
is why, it is necessary to let the world know the truth. It does
not make pleasant reading but like the bitter pill, if we are
aiming at saving the sub-continent, it is a must.
THE GORY EPISODE OF THE MANGALORE SEZ
The greatest legal fraud and the social atrocity that has
taken place in the last decade has been the setting up of Special
Economic Zones by the Government of India and the State
Governments, both shamelessly acting as the agents of the
vested interests. A large amount of publicity is done creating
the impression that the SEZ in question is an unmixed blessing
because it will provide jobs and economic prosperity to the
entire region. All the big and small businesses pour money
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into the SEZ Company which in turn does high power publicity
and the first casualty is the Media. Huge unnecessary
expenditure on meaningless advertisements is undertaken and
the whole of the media regularly invited for so-called briefings
at Five Star Hotels, after which, the region is brain-washed into
believing that the SEZ will create a paradise on earth in that
region. WE HAVE THE CLASSIC EXAMPLE OF BHOPAL
WHERE THE WHOLE WORLD COULD NOT
UNDERSTAND AS TO HOW A PLANT USING LETHAL
CHEMICALS WAS SET UP RIGHT IN THE HEART OF
BHOPAL CITY AND THE DISASTER HAS RIGHTLY BEEN
DESCRIBED AS THE HIROSHIMA OF INDIA. THIS HAS
NOT HAPPENED IN ANY OTHER COUNTRY ON THIS
PLANET.
The SEZ story has been a uniform social disaster all over
the country because the first thing that the vested interests do
is to ask for land which is extremely well situated i.e. close to
all the facilities and further more, where there is the best
infrastructure such as rivers, water supply and the like. The
Central and State Govts. provide prime land belonging to the
poorest of the poor to the richest of the rich as an INCENTIVE
at 1868 acquisition rates in 2010 and all of these end up as
Corporate Assets worth thousands of Crores of Rupees. To
compound it all, the public are told that they will provide
Revenue whereas the fraud is that they are given TAX
HOLIDAYS! Next comes the Mega Fraud of providing jobs
responsible research evidences that not even 1% if those who
have LOST THEIR EVERYTHING get employed! The harsh
truth is that these so called SEZs are the biggest real estate
scam of rhe Century. The world ago. Judging from the
ptoposed dangerous Chemical unirs proposed for the
Mangalore SEZ, this is another MEGA-BHOPAL in the
making.
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All these prime lands in this sub-continent are occupied
by villagers and they are all under cultivation producing
different types of ORGANIC crops, fruits and vegetables and
other farm products like milk, eggs, chicken, sheep and goats,
pigs, cattle and the like. This is the normal structure all over
the country. Whereas prior to the Mangalore SEZ the satellite
images of the area reflect a total canopy of dense green
resembling a rain forest area, after the butchering of over 30,000
trees by the kind-hearted officers of the SEZ today it compares
with the SAHARA DESERT. The occupants are Adivasis,
Tribals, Dalits and the poorest of the poor. None of these people
have any fighting power and taking advantage of the situation,
the following pattern emerges:
(a) That the local leaders are bought over and they are asked
to get the consent letters from all the villagers which are
obtained virtually at knife point. The few who resist
DISAPPEAR. While the SEZ officials naturally do nor
admit that as many as 427 persons have been murdered,
they politely contend that they have LEFT. (for their
heavenly abode!) I am not impressed by their honesty. It
defies logic and human intelligence to contend that every
villager would give up their everything for a pittance of
money- whom are they fooling?
(b) That documents are fabricated showing the receipt of so
called payments which are usually in cash. In the case of
the Mangalore SEZ, in many of the cases, bank accounts
were created and the so-called compensation was
deposited without the villagers even knowing about it.
Thereafter, the same persons who created the Bank
Accounts have withdrawn the money.
(c) Documents evidencing surrender of possession were also
fabricated by the local mafia and a record created that the
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villagers had not only agreed to give up their lands, that
they had been paid compensation and that they have
surrendered the possession VOLUNTARILY AND
WILLINGLY- the SEZ Officers forgot to add the word
HAPPILY! The whole operation virtually stinks.
(d) The same mafia provided the so-called contractors who
were a bunch of thugs accompanied by musclemen and
the local police all of whom are on the payroll of the SEZ.
Bulldozers are brought, the entire village is demolished
within an hour usually at night, trucks of soil and debris
are kept ready, all the fields, farms and vegetable gardens
are buried under two feet of soil, all the trees are cut and
by the next day, before anybody can even raise a protest,
the area looks exactly like a barren piece of land. I HAVE
PERSONALLY WITNESSED THIS BEING DONE ON
THE MORNING OF 8TH NOVEMBER 2008 IN A
VILLAGE CLOSE TO MANGALORE OCCUPIED BY
CHRISTIANS WHO WERE ALL AGRICULTURISTS
AND PROVIDED MOST OF MANGALORE’S
ORGANIC VEGETABLES. THE REST OF THEM WHO
CARRIED OUT THE SAME AGRICULTURAL
OPERATIONS WERE KUNBI TRIBALS. THE POLICE
WERE PRESENT IN LARGE NUMBERS PROTECTING
THE MAFIA, THE SEZ OFFICERS WERE PRESENT
THERE AND MAINTAINED THAT THEY HAD
DONE EVERYTHING ACCORDING TO LAW. I HAD
REGISTERED MY STRONG PROTEST AGAINST
THESE ATROCITIES AND SO HAD THE SWAMIJI
WHO WAS PRESENT THERE. THEY REFUSED TO
LISTEN AND BY EVENING, WE CAME TO KNOW
THAT THE POLICE HAVE REGISTERED CASES
AGAINST ALL OF US WHO HAVE VISITED THE
AREA UNDER SERIOUS CHARGES
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OF RIOTING, TRESPASS AND EVEN ATTEMPT TO
MURDER. THESE CASES HAD BEEN FILED BY THE
OFFICERS AND CONTRACTORS OF THE SEZ. THIS THE
ROLE OF THE STATE MACHINERY.We were fortunate to
escape with our lives on that day
(e) What was even worse in this case was that all the land
records were destroyed and replaced with fabricated
documents to the effect that the area consisted of barren
land. The Government of India directions totally prohibit
paddy fields, vegetable gardens and farm lands being
either acquired or used for SEZs and in order to get over
this, the documents were fabricated. The matter was
reported to the Lokayukta because the local police had
been completely bought over and refused to register any
offences. The Upa-Lokayukta after holding an enquiry
has passed severe strictures against the State Government
and even directed a prosecution against the Government
Officers particularly the Land Acquisition Officer and the
Revenue Officers. Till today, nothing had happened. The
land in question was hurriedly allotted to some influential
persons who are supposed to have been rehabilitated and
they were told to hurriedly construct houses and temples
there to make it a fait accompli. THE HON’BLE HIGH
COURT OF KARNATAKA, LIKE WHAT HAPPENED
IN THE BHOPAL CASE, IS STILL HEARING THE
PETITION LONG AFTER MOST OF THE POOR
VICTIMS ARE DEAD.
(f) The most shameful part of the entire SEZ operation is that
large and medium sized PRIVATE industry which grabs
this land which is a virtual goldmine, is misusing the State
powers under the Land Acquisition Act, These powers are
only permitted to be used in the case of acquisition for
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public welfare projects like roads, dams etc. I have in at
least 10 Judgments struck down any acquisitions of this
type which are entail public disaster and do not cater
exclusively to public welfare. The compensation which is
fixed at 18th century values never ever reaches the
beneficiary and the money- bags gets these lands virtually
free. In Judgment after Judgment, I have pointed out that
even if in a given instance, the acquisition can be justified,
nothing less than the current market value has to be paid
and this must reach the beneficiary before they are
dispossessed. In not one case has this happened and it is
shameful that the Central Government and the State
Governments are functioning as agents of the vested
interests.
(g) Every part of the country including Dakshina Kannada is
being ruined and devastated by these SEZs and the simple
results in terms of human mystery are unthinkable. We
are then told that the country is facing a problem from
Naxalites and Maoists. These human beings have not
emerged from another planet nor have they come from
another part of the world. They are all peasants villagers
and farmers who have been forcibly thrown out of their
lands as happened in the case of the Mangalore SEZ, and
who have been driven into whatever is left of the hills and
forests. Earlier, they used to die on the footpaths of the
nearest city which is still happening but a few of them
who survived decide that they will put up a fight before
they are shot down by the police and the army. A 69 year
old man Giriya Gowda, with tears in his eyes told me
that his paddy fields are gone, his vegetable gardens are
destroyed, his coconut trees and fruit trees have
disappeared, his cattle is finished, above all, the
bulldozer has destroyed his house, he and his family
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are on the footpath and his grandchildren are out of the
village school. Despite his age, he said that the Police
and the Government Officers assisted by the local mafia
who represent the SEZ and its Officers have done this to
him and he had resolved that he will take as many of
them with him before he dies. The Government will
define him as a Naxalite or a Maoist, the police will shoot
him down and the SEZ will come up over his dead body.
Why does this Chapter finds place in this Report ? It is
because the incidents took place at the same time when the
minorities were attacked and it forms an integral part of the
State terrorism that Karnataka is facing. The victims consisted
essentially of the members of the Christian community. The
rest of them were the poorest of the poor, the KUNBI tribals. I
have selected only one area, but this has been the story of the
Mangalore SEZ in respect of every inch of land that they have
illegally taken possession of. The elite of Mangalore, the leaders
of the Church, the businessmen and the Chambers of Commerce
who meet at the Five Star Hotels have commended the Officers
of the SEZ who are acting in tandem with them. The farm lands
that once produced organic vegetable for the full District, the
fruits, the coconuts, the poultry, the livestock and everything
else that was good for the region have been destroyed and we
are told that Toxic and hazaedous chemical complexes of the
same lethal character as the Union Carbide Plant at Bhopal will
come up in this region.
CLASS WAR/GENOCIDE/ SLAUGHTER OF THE
MINORITIES
It is the same class of human beings i.e. those belonging to
the upper class who planned and executed the Church attacks,
that have used the muscle power in the SEZ operation. They
would not have targeted any village or any area or any person
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who came within their social status but the oppressed classes
are easy prey, as happened in Orissa. The minorities i.e. the
Christians and the tribals, adivasis and the backward classes
are all soft targets. This is one of the most shameful CLASSBASED
attacks in the history of Dakshina Kannada and it is
not over, because the SEZ Officers have proudly proclaimed
that the next phase of the SEZ is now being taken up!
Apart from the violence and the muscle power used by
the State Machinery and the unlimited illegalities, what has
characterised this operation is the fact that in this instance again,
it is the State Machinery that has been 100% responsible for the
human social and ecological disaster. What I can never condone
is the fact that whenever there were protests or any resistance,
that extreme form of violence was used by the State and the
SEZ to put it down. One of the forms of State Terrorism is to
register unlimited number of criminal cases against the victims
and more importantly, any of the citizens who come to their
assistance. Every one of the social activists and volunteers has
been beaten up, arrested, the courts joining in cheerfully and
refusing bail and each of them has 30 to 50 criminal cases filed
against them. Nobody has been spared- I HAVE TWO
CRIMINAL CASES REGISTERED AGAINST ME BY THE
OFFICERS/AGENTS OF THE SEZ FOR HAVING VISITED
THE AREA THOUGH I HAVE NOT BEEN ARRESTED SO
FAR! One Raghavendra Holla who claimed to be the Major
Domo of the SEZ accompanied by a most dangerous and
offensive looking thug named Kotian were driving around
the area in an expensive SUV. Holla told me that he was the
brother of the State Advocare General (the AG subsequently
denied this and assured me that Holla would be dismissed
from service and prosecuted. Instead, he has become the
General Manager of the SEZ.) These were the two who
threatened to KILL us in the presence of the Police. When
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some of the poor tribals begged that their standing crops be
spared, rhey were kicked by these two. One Marybai came to
complain that her house and vegetable garden which were
outside the designated area werebeing raegeted Holla
andKotian sent the bull-dozers to destroy them immediately
which was done. The insolence was such rhar when I told
them not to destroy the fresh water wells, they filled them
up with mud in our presence. Shocking as it may sound, this
is a sample of the Human Rights violations in Karnataka’s
Dakshina Kannada! The next evenong on my way to the
Airport, O sropped at the Bajpe Police Station asI was told
that ithad been taken over bt the SEZ. Holla and Kotian had
thrown a big victory party, liquor was flowing like water,
everybody was dead drunk and having a great time at the
taxpayer’s expense. I spent ten minutes there UNNOTICED
and discreetly left. So muchfor Karnataka’s Police under
Home Minister Acharya.
What is even more pathetic is that apart from all of this
appearing in the local TV and papers, right down to our being
threatened, the kicking, bull-dozing and the drunken party,
NOTHING HAPPENED. I have elaborately recorded all of this
in my letters to the State Human Righrs Commission Chairman,
the C.M., Home Minister, D. G. Police, Central Minister Kamal
Nath, Chairman ONGC and to the CEO of the SEZ- no replies,
no denials, NO ACTION.
What did hurt me really was that I wrote to the Chief Justice
recording all the above horrors with supporting material and
requested the High Court to take Suo Moto Action in the case.
NO REPLY, NO ACTION. That Hon’ble C. J. is now in the
Supreme Court dispensing a higher form of justice. I ask myself
the question – would this have happened if Infosys or Reliance
were the applicants? Is it not true that the status of the victim
definitely counts and makes all the difference. When will our
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legal system make some time for the 98% of the Indian
population who do not belong to the rich and famous class?
Hundreds of futile complaints have been filed before the
Human Rights Commission on behalf of the victims. I must
say that it has tried to do its best but it is a powerless
organization, the State Government has deliberately deprived
it of any worthwhile infrastructure and it has not been able to
prevent or redress even one of these atrocities. The Karnataka
High Court has provided zero relief. That is not surprising
because a battery of lawyers representing the vested interests
sees to it that nothing happens in the Court(s) and the end result
is just sad and horrifying. To crown it all, every one of the
women volunteers who tried to fight for these helpless people,
apart from arrests and criminal cases, were repeatedly
threatened that they would be molested and gang raped and
that they would be mutilated for life with acid thrown on them.
This is the proud track trcord of the Mangalore SEZ.
The last and equally serious area of damage and human
misery, but which is directly in line with this Report is the fact
that the SEZ and its Officers in the areas of which they had
taken forcible possession, have demolished as many as 123
Churches, Chapels, Prayer Halls, Prayer Centres and Grottos
belonging to the Catholic community. Their explanation is that
the allegation is false because there are no records to show that
they existed. For that matter, there are no records (AFTER
MANIPULATION) to show that any villages, farm lands, wells
or trees existed in that area. To think that there is supposed to
be a Rule of Law in the State of Karnataka, that all of these
atrocities have happened in this very State under the present
BJP Government, that zero relief is forthcoming and that the
injustice is continuing, shows that there is something very
seriously wrong with our justice dispensation system- it has
been a disastrous let-down, it has totally failed.
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THE CASUALTY LIST
I now come to the most gory and blood curdling part of
this most sordid episode. In my letter to the Chairman of
ONGC, one of the country’s most prestigious Public Sector
Units which is a partner in the Mangalore SEZ, I had provided
the Hon’ble Gentleman with some statistics that nobody has
looked at – the cost in terms of human misery, devastation,
destruction and raw blood that is the price of this SEZ. The
letter was also addressed to Mr. Kamalnath, the Union Minister
for this Project, to the Prime Minister, to the Chief Minister and
the Home Minister of Karnataka. It was duly delivered to all
of them. Nobody responded, which is understandable because
the facts are indefensible, but more importantly, nothing has
been disputed nor can it be disputed. The Central Government
has laid down an inflexible rule that SEZs can only be set up in
barren areas – more than 1/3rd of the sub-continent comes under
this category- and there is a clear prohibition against
appropriating agricultural land, farms, villages, hamlets and
more importantly areas inhabited by the weaker sections
namely the poorest of the poor, the tribals, the depressed classes
and the adivasis. This rule has been breached in the case of
every SEZ set up in the country and the very worst of the lot is
the Mangalore SEZ. In other cases, the agricultural and
inhabited areas illegally appropriated vary from 15 to 40%.
In the case of Mangalore SEZ, the breach is 100%. The list of
Casualties:
(a) Agricultural lands illegally appropriated 100%.
(b) Fresh water wells destroyed – 2415.
(c ) Streams, Tanks and Minor water bodies destroyed – 614.
(d) Senior citizens over 70 years virtually finished off for life
– 704.
(e) Senior citizens over 60 years virtually finished off for life288
548.
(f) Children / School / College going virtually finished off
for life – 2150.
(g) Farmers ( men and women) virtually finished off for life –
4611.
(h) Tribals, Backward Classes and Christians – 100%.
(i) Upper Class persons – 0%.
(j) Number of Small Farms destroyed – 1616.
(k) Number of coconut trees destroyed – 6450.
(l) Number of other fruit trees – Mango, Jackfruit etc. – 13,860.
(m) Poultry including Broiler Farms and Ducks over 2,00,000
(n) Sheep and Goats over 18,000.
(o) Buffaloes over 11,000.
(p) Cows and Bulls over 19,000
(q) Pigs over 7,000
This is the trail of blood that this Mangalore SEZ has started
with. The later part of the Casualty list consists of birds and
animals belonging to households and little farms all of which
have ended up in the slaughter houses. The entire area has
been bulldozed and I recall telling the SEZ Officers headed by
one Raghavendra Holla and a bunch of thugs who had
threatened to kill Swamiji, myself, all those who accompanied
us and even the media persons that they should atleast spare
the fresh water wells which were being filled up with mud and
levelled. I then realized that when the vegetable gardens and
paddy fields were being bulldozed and covered with one meter
of mud that the idea was to falsely contend that only barren
lands had been acquired. This was the same reason why every
tree in the area was also destroyed. The SEZs Officers and
their contractors might have become crorepathis but there is
such a thing as Nemisis and it will be interesting to see how
long this ill-gotten wealth (BLOOD MONEY) lasts with them
and whether or not the tears anguish and deaths of all these
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forms of life which includes the trees which also have life and
are precious, will not catch up with all of these persons.
CLASS WAR:
It was only in the Tata Case in West Bengal that the
National Media projected the very important fact that industry
and big business is built on the graves of the tribals, the
backward classes and the minorities. That is the story of the
Mangalore SEZ. A checklist of the names of the entire SEZ
brigade throws up the fact that they belong exclusively to
the upper caste and the privileged class. Next we come to
their Partners in crime namely the Contractors who come from
the same category. A microscopic examination of the victims
will indicate that they all come from the category of Tribals,
Christians and backward classes. If this is not a class war or
to use a more appropriate term, virtual class genocide, what
else is it ? These are angles at which polite society and the rest
of the well to do Indians have never looked. Appropriately
enough, I have entitled this report “State Terrorism – Tyranny”.
The reasons are more than obvious. I do hope that a reading of
this Chapter which will also be published separately, will work
as a rude eye opener. One does not have to go to Africa and
other parts of the world to witness the most horrifying
transgressions of Human Rights, it has happened in the State
of Karnataka and more precisely in Dakshina Kannada under
the euphemistic and glorious banner entitled Mangalore SEZ.
THE CREATION OF NAXALITES / MAOISTS:
Both these are extremely unpleasant terms and conjure
up images of violent human beings who spread death and
destruction. The Governments tell us that these persons should
be shot at sight and when this is done, the citizens rejoice. Has
anybody every tried to do the elementary exercise of finding
out as to who created them. None of these human beings have
290
come from another planet or from another country. They are
native Indians who have turned violent out of desperation.
Earlier, it was the powerful upper caste human beings in the
villages and the rural areas who threw them out of their lands
and their meagre possessions with the active assistance of the
police and the revenue officials and they were driven into what
remained of the forest or the barren hills. They resembled
wounded animals driven out of their habitat and forced to fight
for their existence. I repeat the words of 69 year old Giriya
Gowda who wept when his house was bulldozed, his vegetable
gardens were destroyed, all his poultry and cattle gone and
even his wells filled up with mud and he was the so called
offender who had to be forcibly thrown out of his ancestral
land by the police, revenue authorities and the mafia hired by
the SEZ. He wept and told me that I have nothing left but
before I go, I will take a sizeable number of this lot with me.
Can he be blamed for this reaction?
The so-called Naxalites and Maoists are all the tribals,
adivasis, backward classes and the minorities who have been
the victims of terror and tyranny and who have no other
language except to hit back and try and get even. The
Government produces SEZs for big industry and this is the
human price. This is the origin of these movements and this is
the reason why their ranks are increasing. It was not very
different in the Chambal ravines when women like Phoolan
Devi were tortured, humiliated, raped and subjected to
horrifying levels of tyranny and a few of them decided to fight
back in the same language and the Government classified them
as Dacoits.
When the history of the Mangalore SEZ comes to be
written, it will be a horror story of an edifice built on graves.
291
Before recording the summary of my findings, I need to
clarify that I have not specifically dealt with incidents in the
Districts other than Dakshina Kannada, Udupi and Bangalore,
because none of those is as serious, incident-wise and
consequences-wise and more so because they have followed
the general pattern and the same findings hold good. In the
procedure which I have followed which was extremely
laborious and time consuming and involved huge amounts of
travel, an effort has been made to do a forensic job –
comprehensive and all inclusive. It involved visits to 413 places,
many of them repeatedly, examination of 673 witnesses, 2114
victims not to mention hospitals, courts, police stations, jails,
government offices and of course, the Churches and grottoes.
The exercise was undertaken at high speed because human
memory and evidence both fade, get polluted and even get
obliterated. In the majority of instances, records, videos,
photographs etc. required to be carefully examined and
researched. I have also had to obtain a lot of expert advice in
many areas such as the medical field, the chemical field and
even the finer points of the Law. The effort has been to produce
a Report of high quality, one of total credibility, absolutely
transparent and unbiased and above all, a faithful exposition
of the absolute truth. I am conscious of the fact that it is strong
in many areas and that is because the incidents themselves are
so horrifying. There is also a powerful indictment of some of
the Politicians and Police Officers but that was inevitable on
the facts of this case. I have tried very hard to look for any
mitigating and extenuating circumstance but none exist.
CHAPTER-XIX
SUMMARY OF FINDINGS
AND CONCLUSIONS:
292
SYNOPSIS OF FINDINGS:
(a) That these incidents are representative of the hidden
agenda of the party in power in this State, the BJP, which
is driven by a very strong casteist force and which is no
longer a secret after Gujarat and Orissa. Firstly, it consisted
of a violent attack against minorities and that is why I have
briefly indicated as to how the Muslim Community was
simultaneously targeted. Next comes the hatred and the
venom which the leaders have successfully transmitted
to their followers which explains the abnormal levels of
savage brutality in everything that took place, particularly
whenever violence was used. Thirdly, and the most
unfortunate distressing and shameful aspect of the
operation which will take this country backwards to the
days of the caste system, the results were manifested on
the poor, the down-trodden, the weak, the aged and all
the others who did not have the power to fight back.
(b) That every one of the attacks and incidents which took
place was instigated and pre-planned. They were State
sponsored and not only supported by the State but were
covered up for by the State. The responsibility for this
devolves squarely on the Home Minister – Dr. B.V.
Acharya and the Chief Minister – Dr. B.S. Yediyurappa
(the Doctorate was awarded by some obscure foreign
university).
(c ) That in all the incidents involving violence, the principal
culpability rests with the State Machinery namely the
Police Department. Not a single instance of violence – be
it Lathi charge, use of teargas, smashing of vehicles and
Church property or religious objects like the crucifix at
the Adoration Monastery and the Statues and sacred
objects – can either be condoned or justified. These are all
rank criminal offences for which the concerned Officers
and Staff deserve to be prosecuted. I have named some of
the Police Officers who have crossed all conceivable limits,
293
who, even at this stage, deserve to be suspended, an
enquiry held, and dismissed from service and prosecuted.
The same applies to the then D.C., Mangalore.
(d) That the promulgation of the so-called Order under Section
144 Cr.PC is thoroughly illegal and unjustified.
(e) That the procurement of the rock pebbles, the arming of
the saffron militants with lathis and other deadly weapons
and use of these persons against members of the Minority
Community was totally unjustified and Criminal.
(f) That the use of lethal and toxic gas which emanated from
teargas shells which were beyond the expiry date by 4 to 6
years was not only Criminal but was life threatening and
is reminiscent of the use of fascist methods by the Nazis
who gassed six million Jews to death.
The culpability and the gravity of this crime gets
immensely compounded because the media exposed this
factor on the 14th September 2008 itself after which, the Police
repeated the use of toxic gas in five subsequent events which
establishes that it was not accidental but DELIBERATE.
(g) That as far as the many, many occasions when a lathicharge
was resorted to, the facts do not justify the action
at all. There was no cause and it was naked aggression,
savage brutality was displayed, abnormal levels of
violence and above all, the intention to maim and kill was
100% evident when the victims were followed, chased and
assaulted. The liability of the State for these actions is 100%.
(h) The police violence committed inside the primary school
at Kulshekar is unpardonable and unprecedented and does
not seem to have occurred anywhere else in the world
where Police Officers and the Police in partnership with
the other assailants stormed a primary school with 607
young children and a staff of over 35 women teachers and
nuns and resorted to unmitigated violence on them was
savage, barbaric and unpardonable. Nothing can condone
these acts.
294
(i) The Police storming the Church at Pemannur obstructing
and stopping the Mass and assaulting the celebrant Priest
and then standing on top of the altar and directing the
assault of the congregation followed by total vandalization
of the entire Church and the theft of all the holy objects by
the S.P., apart from being downright Criminal are
absolutely reprehensible. The further use of out-dated
teargas shells containing toxic gas inside the Church and
as also inside the Primary School at Kulshekar was
downright Criminal and can only be defined as an attempt
to murder. The same applies to the assault by the Police
on the congregation after they were brought out of the
Church with their hands above their heads, all of whom
were heavily bleeding and were already injured and the
savage attack that followed was downright Criminal and
inhuman.
(j) The removal of the vehicles from each of the places where
the violence took place, the stripping of the vehicles and
the collection of massive amounts of money for their return
by the Police is not only Criminal but indicative of deepseated
corruption.
(k) The false arrests of innocent persons, custodial violence,
refusal to afford medical aid to the injured persons who
had been taken into custody and the retention in custody
of all these persons for periods of time extending up to
three months has absolutely no legal sanction. These are
grave infringements not only of the Law but of human
rights and the responsibility rests entirely and squarely
with the State of Karnataka.
(l) The ancillary damage in all these cases where the numbers
are not small is real and massive. Though, I could not get
to every single one, they exceed 2300 persons, out of which,
891 have suffered serious injuries such as fractures and
the like and as many as 36 have suffered permanent
damage and disability such as loss of an eye, damage to
295
the kidneys, permanent damage to joints and lifelong
crippling back injuries. The complaints made indicate that
107 of these persons who had their own little businesses
like Motor Mechanic, Tailor, Carpenter etc. have lost their
livelihood completely. This is in addition to the fact that
none of these persons come from the richer class, they have
had to spend unaffordable amounts of money on medical
treatment, transport etc. which they could ill-afford and
which has landed them in debt. 38 of them who are
employed have lost their jobs and 231 boys who were
students have had their careers seriously affected. The
State of Karnataka is liable for all of this damage because
the injuries were caused in the course of Police action which
was illegal and unjustified. As a façade, the Government
announced that compensation would be paid and then
announced that compensation had been paid. I was not
able to find out a single person who had received even
one rupee as compensation and if it was sanctioned, the
money has gone astray.
(m) More importantly, the Government announced that all the
cases would be withdrawn which has not happened. These
poor people have been attending Courts, losing their salary
and not a single case has come up for hearing so far. On
the other hand, in all those instances, where cases were
filed against the Assailants – the number is few and far
between because the Home Minister himself would never
disclose the figure – cases have been clandestinely
withdrawn and it is amazing that when the Home Minister
was questioned about this in the Assembly, he gave one
more of his unique answers by stating that these persons
are not Criminals, the activity they indulged in was
political according to him and they should therefore be
categorized as political activists and that is why, the cases
were withdrawn! Why this argument does not hold good
as far as the victims are concerned, only Mr. Acharya
knows.
296
(n) I have elaborately set out that all the major incidents were
commenced with something unique and unusual, viz.
protracted and violent stone throwing. These stone / rock
pebbles were specially brought in tempos by the saffron
activists and the evidence indicates that this part of the
operation of stone throwing was conducted by them in all
the cases. These stones have caused serious injuries, but I
am on an entirely different aspect. Historically, the act of
pelting stones is an act of hatred and contempt of the
highest order and one finds references in earlier times to
this form of activity indulged in against poor human beings
who were condemned to be stoned to death under the
barbaric Laws or customs prevalent at that time. The very
act of stoning human beings is the vilest form of venom
and hatred and the object is to mortally maim and to kill.
This is very representative of the entire operation that was
planned against the members of the minority community
and it indicates the abject hatred and contempt that runs
through this entire operation and from this angle, I would
single out this part of the violence as the very most horrible
and disgusting part of it. Much thought must have gone
into the planning and it must have been done at the
organizational level either at Kalladka or at Udupi or at
both places. I would like serious cognizance to be taken
of this positively disgusting facet.
(o) The police entering the Churches is again ultra serious and
assaulting the celebrant in the course of a holy service is
something globally unprecedented in this day and age.
The arrogance of the Police Officers standing with their
boots on the sacred altar table is again unpardonable and
unforgivable. Like the stone throwing, the nature of this
operation when directed against the Catholics is a clear
indication of the hatred and contempt with which these
operations were carried out. These are serious dangers to
the nation because the entire saga of attacks is in complete
297
violation of the Constitutional rights of the Catholics to
practice and profess their faith. The position of the State
Government is totally and completely indefensible.
(p) As far as the role of the Chief Minister and the Home
Minister are concerned, at no point of time, did they ever
even express lip sympathy for what had happened. They
have in their official capacity at all times through their
conduct and their speeches abetted what had happened
and covered up for what the Government Machinery did
and more importantly, for the whole of the saffron brigade.
The fact that both of them openly flaunt the fact that they
are RSS Pracharaks is not the issue because their personal
background is their own business but in their official
capacity, it is not an expectation but a requirement that
you cannot carry your communal hatred into your official
position but this is what has unfortunately happened.
From the recorded sequence of events, the presence of the
Home Minister in the District at all crucial times, from the
instructions that have come from him particularly to
the Police, the manner in which he has rewarded the errant
Police Officers and above all, the steps taken to grant total
immunity to the saffron brigade to run absolutely wild in
the State and to even order withdrawal of the few cases
filed against them are all personal acts of abetment from
the Home Minister. Unfortunately, the Chief Minister has
gone along with him at all times and therefore, is equally
responsible.
(q) As far as the saffron activists are concerned, the Bajrang
Dal leader and the leader of the Sri Rama Sene have at all
times boldly and openly admitted that it was their
organizations which had undertaken all the attacks, all the
intimidation and every single act of terrorizing the
minorities. There is no way that it can ever be argued that
the responsibility does not devolve on them, but more
importantly, on the organizations which they represent.
298
The evidence clearly establishes that the BJP Government
made no distinction between the party in power and these
two organizations but it is also clearly established that as
far as Dakshina Kannada and Udupi Districts are
concerned that the RSS was very deeply involved.
(r ) I need to record with extreme distress that the role of the
subordinate Judiciary right through this entire period of
time was extremely disappointing. It is with grave concern
that it has to be recorded that almost without exception,
the Judiciary put out the unmistakable impression that the
saffron influences were guiding every decision. It is
unimaginable that despite over 2000 applications that were
filed indicating injuries that required medical treatment,
custodial torture and above all, wrongful detention that
every single application was dismissed and no relief(s)
were granted. When the State and the Police Department
are pulled up for atrocities, one has no words to describe
the fault of the Judiciary for having refused to render
Justice in every single one of these instances. What was
most serious was the indiscriminate refusal to grant Bail
in thousands of these cases which is totally indefensible
in Law. Another ploy that was adopted was to reject Bail
applications on the ground that the Police are objective
and in case where the Lawyers insisted, the hearings were
protracted and there are instances that the Magistrates
have taken 6-8 weeks to pass Orders. If this was not
compounding of illegality and a total breakdown of the
Law and Order situation that too within the Court Room,
it also brought a very bad name to the Judiciary. At the
same time, we have the astounding situation of the
Judiciary acting as an extension of the Police Department
and the State Government by willingly discharging
Accused persons who belong to the saffron lobby and
conversely issuing the harshest possible Orders against
the other side. I have added on the Chapter relating to
299
the Editor – Seetharam case where for the first time
anywhere in the world, an Editor was brought to the
Court in chains and handcuffs and the Judge did nothing
about it. There was no case against him and he had
been refused Bail the previous night and when finally,
the Court had no option except to pass a Bail Order, the
Police pointed out that they had obtained Nine Non-
Bailable Warrants against him from different Courts in
respect of one and the same complaint. The Press Council
of India and the State Human Rights Commission as also
the Karnataka High Court had passed the severest
strictures in this case. The Hon’ble Chief Justice of the
Karnataka High Court is requested to kindly look into what
has happened and take firm steps to ensure that the Rule
of Law is restored. In an oppressive situation where
human rights are trampled upon and the Laws are
breached, if the Courts let down the citizens, it is total chaos
and disaster resulting in political anarchy and that is what
resulted in the State. AT LEAST AT THIS POINT OF
TIME, IF THE STATE HAS ANY RESPECT FOR THE
LAW, ALL THE PERSONAL INJURY AND DAMAGE
AS ALSO PROPERTY DAMAGE WILL HAVE TO BE
ASSESSED AND COMPENSATED FOR IN KEEPING
WITH THE WELL DEFINED PRINCIPLES AND THIS
WILL HAVE TO BE DONE ON A TIME BOUND AND
PRIORITY BASIS. BECAUSE THIS IS NOT AN ACT
OF COURTESY OR GOODNESS BUT A LEGAL
REQUIREMENT.
(s ) A serious allegation was leveled particularly by the Chief
Minister and the Home Minister that the minorities,
namely the Christians, are indulging in conversions. I had
devoted special attention towards examining this
allegation thread-bare and found it to be downright false.
It was pleaded as a Justification for the violence, it is a
sham allegation and an after-thought but all the same it
300
merited a deep examination and my finding is that it is
factually incorrect, completely baseless and it should not
have been pleaded at all.
(t) There was an allied charge that was making the rounds to
the effect that foreign funds have been received which have
been channeled towards conversions. I have pointed out
that the allegation regarding the conversions is false and
baseless but I have also investigated very thoroughly as
to whether any foreign funds have been received and
channeled for any unlawful or anti-social purpose and the
answer is that there is not only zero evidence but that there
is also no ground for suspicion as far as this is concerned.
The congregations that have been attacked, even where
the big Churches were concerned, are absolutely in the
clear. There were a large number of small Prayer houses
where the attacks took place and most of these are
exceedingly poor and some of them are at the subsistence
level and in this background, this allegation is a rank
absurdity.
(u) Another allegation that was doing the rounds was that
one of the denominations or some of them are alleged to
have circulated offensive literature in the form of the
booklet Satyadarshini. I have dealt elaborately with this
charge and given conclusive reasons to establish that it is
completely groundless. This was a ploy to justify the
unpardonable and indefensible attacks and when the
hollowness was exposed, copies of this offensive material
were procured and an attempt was made to plant them in
some of the Prayer Houses which also failed. This charge
is also completely false and unsubstantiated.
CONCLUSION:
It is true that this Report reads like a disaster story but
unfortunately, it deals with a disaster situation and can reflect
nothing else. It is shameful that these incidents took place in
301
the State of Karnataka and what is worse is that while the
intensity of the incidents may have been altered at later times,
the number of attacks on the minorities have only gone up
during subsequent period. It does not matter which party is
ruling the State, the Rule of Law has to prevail and the
Constitution has to be respected. This State has a long history
of communal harmony and of very high cultural standards and
these incidents have seriously eroded on that record. To my
mind, while reputation is a matter of consequence, respect for
human life, tolerance, good Governance and good behavior are
areas where there can be no compromises. And the forces of
evil that have seemingly gone out of control will have to be
stamped out. Having spent 15 years in the Judiciary, I expect
that when all else goes wrong, the Judiciary will be there to
correct the position. This confidence has also been eroded by
happenings in the recent past, but I am confident that the Indian
Judiciary which is one of the best in the world will ensure that
it lives up to its reputation.
(This investigation has been extremely long and tiresome
as also dangerous but God has been there to protect us. It has
been very depressing and unpleasant but like the diagnosis in
a case of serious medical ailments, it is something that was
absolutely essential. At all times, I have been assisted and
helped and supported by a team of very dedicated persons to
whom I am immensely grateful. As far as the preparation of
this Report is concerned, it involved hundreds of man-hours
spread into the early part of the morning and I would never
have been able to undertake and complete this massive
operation on a time bound basis but for the immense efficiency,
help and tireless support from Venkatesh to whom I am deeply
obliged and grateful. It was essential from the point of view of
the community, the public interest, the State and the Country
and I have done it willingly and I know it will be well received
and appreciated both Nationally and Globally).
302
1. In the light of the findings in this Report, the question
arises as to whether the two Politicians who have been
indicted for a variety of reasons should continue to hold
important positions in the State Government ?
2. What is the action required to be taken by the Centre and
the State Government in order to curb the unlawful
activities of the Bajrang Dal, Sri Rama Sene and the VHP
and those who profess allegiance to these organizations
while unleashing violence against minorities,
intimidating them, persecuting them and otherwise
targeting them ?
3. Whether it is not necessary to make an example of the
Police and other Government Officers who have been
guilty of gross misconduct themselves in the public
interest and as a deterrent to other like-minded persons?
Whether it is not essential that exemplary punishments
be awarded to them? Whether the Police Dept. of the State
should not be reformed and reminded that they are
required to safeguard life, property and rights of All
communities and not only one of them and conversely
that the minorities are not their enemies?
4. Whether it is not absolutely essential for the subordinate
Judiciary of the State to remember that they function as
guardians of all citizens and that it is a Constitutional
mandate that fundamental rights and human rights have
to be safeguarded at all times and that there can be no
SOME BURNING AND
RELEVANT QUESTIONS:
303
discrimination in the functioning of the Courts and above
all, that Justice has to be expedient and immediate?
5. Whether it is not high time that the Governments and
the Public authorities understand, realize and accept: that
the rights and property of the common citizens, the
tribals, the poor, the weaker sections and the
downtrodden are not to be trampled upon by the
dominant class and the persons who wield power and
authority; that they realize that under our Constitution
millions of these human beings have a right to equality
and a decent life; and whether the principle of survival
of the weakest has been forgotten ?
6. Whether it is not equally necessary to identify all the other
individuals who have been indicted in this Report and
that action according to Law be taken against them ?
7. Since serious unfounded allegations were made under
the heads of alleged conversions and alleged misuse of
foreign funds officially at the Government level, whether
it is not essential from the angle of good sense and good
governance that the Government apologize to the
communities for having leveled these charges ?
8. In the land of Gandhiji, who prescribed that every tear
should be wiped away, whether it is not absolutely
essential that every injured person be identified and every
head of loss be evaluated and fair compensation be
awarded to them ?
9. Whether it is not absolutely essential that all the false
prosecutions instituted be withdrawn and the victims be
compensated for the consequences of these proceedings?
304
10. More importantly, whether it is not absolutely essential
that the Central and State Government take all necessary
steps to restore the confidence and security of the
minorities in the State of Karnataka and do all that is
necessary to ensure the guarantee of their constitutional
rights ?
11. Whether it is not equally important that the
indiscriminate donations to only Hindu Temples and
Mutts and Institutions (which have exceeded Rs.3,000/-
Crores) at the hands of the Chief Minister be stopped
and that the citizens of Karnataka be informed as to how
the Government justifies personal donations of public
funds and whether it is legal that such disbursement
should be to only one community ?
12. Above all, whether the Government of Karnataka does
not owe an explanation to the Citizens as to how massive
Sammelanas of only one community are regularly held
all over the State at State expense as a muscle-flexing
exercise in order to intimidate all the other communities
(172 so far) and whether all the other functions under all
sorts of heads which are organized in the name of
Hindutva (218 so far) can be at public expense and
whether it is legal to take over every town, city and village
by displaying saffron flags, banners and the like almost
all round the year, again as a muscle-flexing exercise, or
whether the time has come to accept that all communities
are entitled to live in harmony in Karnataka?
These are all very, very serious and burning issues to
which the Citizens of the Sub-Continent want immediate
answers and solutions.
******

Los Angeles priest removed for affair 40 years ago

– Sat Feb 12, 8:10 pm ET

LOS ANGELES – A Catholic priest who admitted having a sexual relationship with a high school girl more than 40 years ago was removed his position, and a high-ranking official who oversaw the background checks of priests resigned.

The Roman Catholic Archdiocese of Los Angeles announced Friday that the Rev. Martin P. O’Loghlen, who worked at Holy Name of Mary Church in San Dimas, was removed from any priestly activities.

The archdiocese said it was reacting to inquiries from a New York Times reporter researching an article about O’Loghlen.

The 74-year-old priest is accused of having a long-term sexual relationship with the teenage girl beginning in 1960, and seeking her forgiveness later, the Los Angeles Times reported.

Cardinal Roger M. Mahony separately accepted the resignation of the Archdiocesan Vicar for Clergy, Msgr. Michael Meyers. Archdiocese spokesman Tod Tamberg told the Times that Meyers had been in charge of procedures intended to ensure that no sexual predators remained in ministry positions. He had held that position since 2009.

The archdiocese said it had not received any complaints about O’Loghlen during the two years he had been assigned to the San Dimas church.

In Friday’s announcement, church officials said they did not fully consult records that revealed O’Loghlen’s past admission of sexual misconduct.

In 2007, the LA archdiocese agreed to pay $660 million to 508 people who accused priests of sexual abuse. The payout was the largest settlement in a scandal that involved an estimated 5,000 priests nationwide and cost the Roman Catholic Church more than $2 billion to resolve cases in the US.

___

Christian Conclave 2011

Christian Conclave 2011
Email: christianreforms@yahoo.in

A conclave of Christian laity [laymen] is planned on 7th and 8th of May 2011 in Mangalore to take stock of our assetts and liabilities and plan our Economic and Political future. It is intended to take stock of our Church asselts and empower the laidy in handling and managing these assetts. Time has come to take over the administration and management of landed properties businesses, and all other temporal matters of the Christian Church including Church buildings, cash etc., from the hands of clergy into the hands of men of the world.
The aim of this conclave is to plan on all India basis the economic revival of Christians, which is now at stand still.
Because the laity has not come forward and reposed too much of trust in the clergy, they have now become corrupt, arrogant and worldly. The roles are reversed. Clergy have become more worldly and laymen have become more religious and holier. In fact the life led by clergy is that of Mafia leaders, while laymen suffer in poverty.
Our young boys, young girls and our wives are misused by these priests and many of them think [and express] that they have a private life in the sense that private sex life, private business life, though they claim that they have abandoned their family and all worldly things and they sacrifice their entire life for the people. All bunkum.
Well let us spend some time in discussssing and debating and stop the rot.
It is possible to take up the leadership of the community which is now in wrong hands. Priests have no leadership qualities. People have wrongly thrust leadership on them and therefore we Christians have not achieved anything remarkable.
Please send in your registration by way of a simple letter. Nominal registration fees of Rs. 200/- will be charged. Those who wish to have accomodation for 2 days, same will be arranged at extra cost. Conclave is restricted only for 100 persons on “first come first served basis”. Therefore please register immediatly.
As we will be spending appoximately Rs. 2 lakhs for this conclave as we would be providing lot of literature and printed matters etc. in other words it will cost us Rs.2000/- per head.
Those who wish to contribute extra funds are welcome to do so, as we have no funds of our own, nor we approach any funding agencies.

P.B. D’Sa
Tel : 0824/4252170 Cell : 9008820186
Blogs : christianreforms.wordpress.com
wisdomfoundation.wordpress.com

Ecumenism:

Dr.Joe Lewis
Divisions are not overcome, but there is peace between the mother church and seperated churches. They work together but are not united, they all belong to Christiandom. After all we all worship Christ according to our traditions. No church has the monopoly of the truth. In the decree the Catholic church asserts that its the true church, as it is the mother church, to assert Jesus in this spirit is the work of the committee beyond the visible borders of the church. Among other things, too, there is a remarkable admission of guilt the council says divisions among Christians are the result of sins on both sides. But on the part of the Catholic church there is imprudence that harms not help, the cause of unity. For example the Anglicans (Episcoplanias) are interested to join the Catholic church insist that they believe in the “Presence” of Christ in the Eucharist. Anglicans do not believe this. But Anglicans say this is against the Gospel, “do this in memory of me”, Christ never proclaimed his presence in the Eucharist, this is blatant lie imposed on gulliable docile simple Catholics, educated and professional Catholics do not believe this. As no miracles and healings are attributed to “presence” in the Eucharist, some authorities presume that praying in front of a Ciborium is an idolatry a common practice in pagan cultures, and Catholics sometimes are reduced to observe idolatry practices. The doctrine of the Catholic church divides, but the service unites. Only Holy Spirit can unite all churches not humans with preconceived notions. The mystry of salvation is not a monopoly of any church or denomination, it is available to all Baptised Christians.
The Holy Spirit is at work in all ecclesial communities outside the Catholic church is a fact of life that we must all share. These days there is commendable cooperation among all Christians. Islam is undermining the church, and plans to overtake it by violence. May be in the near future there will be Third world war, between Islamic Nations and Christian Nations, in the end Christians will win. Recently the militant Islam killed nearly 200 Christians in a Cathedral at Mosul, Iraq. So far in this country Christians and Muslims have not yet confronted each other, but we do not know when they will cut us? Unless Catholic Church makes peace with the Patriotic Catholic churh of China, and tries to subdue its hegemony, Catholics of China will not be under the Pope, this confrontation will go on for some time, as Catholic church has yet to prove its credentials to the Chinese government. Let the Pope allow the Chinese Catholics to elect thier own Bishops who are not active in politicking. If democracy comes to this country, then things will be solved amicably. The church needs conciliatory approach with the Chinese government.

Communications:

Dr.Joe Lewis
The Pope has appointed not a professional as his spokesman, but a willy Jesuit priest Fr Lombardi who may not be knowing what the media needs, infact in two occasions he created embarassment to the Pope, on Muslim issues. Lombadi lacks professionalism. Unfortunetly the media was hostile to the church for 45 years, they exposed the church scandals, many Bishops and clergy had to resign. As we all know Media does not forgive, God forgives. This decree does not sound remarkable for the last 45 years. Vatican is powerless before the media, Media can dismiss a Bishop or priest. After all the Pope is not the hope of the world. This document is a classic example of how the Vatican II failed to come to grips with the world around it. Many people of goodwill say that the document directly, opposed to the ecumenical spirit and practice of Vatican II. The true basis of authority is to be found in the freedom of the press. Vatican considers that the press is not supreme than the Pope, that happend centuries ago when there was no press, those days Pope writ was largely accepted in the western world. After all these years Vatican lacked reform and renewal as hierarcy are afraid of the media, and always try to be in the good books of the media, even they know how to “manage them”.

The church today :

This document has failed to put itself consciously at the service of the family of man. Vatican II has narrowed god and has put God in a box… this tendency to narrow God has become common among the cheologians. The persistent temptation of symbolic theology is to become too self enclosed. As its worst such theology tends to treat God, Christ and grace as cipers to be manipulated within a system. Theology needs to nourish itself by a continued return to the sources of faith and piety. We must repent of the ecclesiocentrism that pots the church in the place of Christ. Let us repent of any ways we have grieved the Holy Spirit and through our pride or fear resisted his workings. This is happening in the church today. Pope has yet to ask pardon of the Holy Spirit on behalf of the church. It is a sinful church that needs pardon of Christ. Conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of man. But conscience implies responsibility and the responsible action must have freedom from coercion, but guaranteed opportunity in share in some life’s meaningful decision. Example “ condons culture and contraception, let the conscience rule not the magisterium. In this Archbishop Roberts was fir, he questioned the policy of Vatican’s morality?
The church has failed to learn from history— human history and salvation history and has failed miserably to deliver the message of Jesus Christ to the laity. Contraception/ abortions common now among the laity, the church is unable to impose its will. We must witness to the truth, as we live in a pagan country, that Christ exists in all men, they are our brothers, the Christian faithful that will share with others the mystery of heavenly father’s love. But evangelization in India is a dirty word among Bishops, they are not interested but instead Nadir Trium Phalism.
The church so far after Vatican II has looked outward than inward to reform liturgy, seminary education, diocesan administration, church government so on, but the church failed to look inward to reform and renewal.
Populism does not thrive on majorities. So the mother church cant offer solutions to the ills of the world, nobody is going to listen, as it happened in topics like abortion- Fthunisia, contraception etc. secularism, materialism and relativism are the whipping boys of Pope Benedict XVI and of the Catholic theologians. Infcat many church historians and scholars say that Vatican II sowed the seeds and the tree is grown big, it cant be chopped or cut. Vatican II respected the directive of Pope John XXIII that the council should not issue any condemnations and anathemas. Vatican II lacked full fidelity to the gospel, on the part of Catholics it is acknowledged as an important cause of Mans unhappy condition today. But this concept is changing as most Catholics have gone back to the Bible and believe the word of God than the church. For majority of Catholic Bible has become the church and everything. Vatican II has failed to achieve the full emancipation of the laity as Bishops in India consider the laity as their subjects, as most of these Bishops due to our culture as feudal oriented. They believe in triumphalism, money , power and glory, because of the funds they generate from their institutions. Bishops are never poor they do not imitate the poverty of Jesus or the Apostles. The Catholic Church, does not care for the good of the whole person and neglect the laity’s aspirations, as they subdue them. The church today document urged Catholics to cooperate with all men, the document suggests that some agency of the universal church be set up for the poor and destitute. So far for 45 years such organisation has not been set up.why? The church as usual proclaims and preaches but doesn’t practice.