2008 Attacks On Christians in Southern Karnataka - 2011 Protest

2011 Protest

On 20 February 2011, following the publication of Saldanha's and Somasekhara's contradictory reports on the attacks on churches, more than 100,000 Christians representing some 45 Christian denominations and secular organisations gathered in Mangalore to protest. Present was Bishop Aloysius Paul D'Souza of Mangalore Diocese, Bishop Emeritus C. L. Furtado and Bishop John S. Sadananda of the CSI Karnataka Southern Diocese, AICC General Secretary Oscar Fernandes, Bishop Lawrence Mukkuzhy of the Catholic Syro-Malabar Diocese of Belthangady, Geevarghese Mar Divannasious of the Syro-Malankara Diocese of Puttur, Diocesan Vicar-General Msgr Denis M. Prabhu; and some 24 new-generation churches united under the Karnataka Missions Network (KMN) including the Campus Crusade for Christ (CCC), Operation Mobilization Bookstall (OMB), Good News Book Centre (GNBC), All India Catholic Union (AICU), Catholic Association of South Kanara (CASK), and International Federation of Karnataka Christian Associations (IFKCA). Secular organisations participating in the protest included Udupi Jilla Alpasankhyatara Vedike (UJAV), the People's Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL), the DK District Committee, the local unit of the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), and the Muslim Vartakara Sangha (VS) and Muslim Okkoota groups. The protest rally was "organised against a backdrop of an apparent whitewash by the B. K. Somasekhara Commission concerning Hindu radicals and government agencies." The protesters tied black cloths over their mouths and carried black flags as they walked silently for about a kilometre in one of the strongest Christian areas of the city. George Castelino, a Catholic lay leader who guided the march, stated that the black "symbolised that the action of the government and its commission have silenced Christians." Rev. Alwyn Culaso of the Full Gospel Church said that "This is a sea of Christianity that is wounded by the attacks on the churches by the fundamental groups. The government should look at the faith and patience of these people and give justice." On 17 February 2011, Ronald Colaco, Chairman of IFKCA and Higher Education Minister V. S. Acharya submitted a memorandum to Yeddyurappa, demanding that the cases filed against Christian youths be dropped. Following the publications of the reports and subsequent protests, the government of Karnataka announced that it would drop 338 cases against Christians who had protested in the attacks. In December 2011, 23 cases against Christians were dropped upon request by the Karnataka Christians International and the Mangalore Diocese.

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