Karna panel for ban on bodies preaching against any religion

Mangalore: A judicial commission which probed attacks on churches in Karnataka has recommended a ban on all communal organisations which practise and preach activities against any religion.

The Somasekhara Commission, in its interim report, said the existing laws were insufficient and suggested enactment of special legislation to punish such organisations, including forfeiting their assets.

"All communal organisations, whatever name or form, preaching or practising activities against any religion in any form, should be banned as per the law," retired Judge of Karnataka High Court B K Somashekhara said in the report submitted to Karnataka Additional Chief Secretary Abhijit Das Gupta here, according to sources.

All material in any form -- literature, books, pamphlets, publication including in the media -- using abusive or insulting expression whether direct or indirect, touching religious sentiment should be banned, he suggested, the Commission said.

Compensation to victims of such attacks should be paid within a month, said the Commission appointed in the wake of a series of attacks on churches in parts of the state in September 2008 for which the first-ever BJP Government in the South is under fire.

The attacks had also led to the Centre to depute a team to study the situation and ask the state government to take steps to prevent recurrence of such incidents.

Miscreants had attacked the Milgress Church here and desecrated the Holy Eucharist meant for distribution among devotees, on September 14, 2008, causing a furore with strong protests from Christians.

Police, who had lathicharged the protesters, were accused of not sparing even women and children. Later, some more churches came under attack in the state, including in Bangalore.

The government had recently extended the term of the Somasekhara Commission till March 31.

Chief Minister B S Yeddyurappa had described the attacks as a conspiracy to dislodge his government.