India: Communal attacks on the rise in Karnataka

Public protest Against Assault on Brother Philip Noronha

Over 200 people, mostly students belonging to St. Joseph group of Institutions under the aegis of Bangalore Citizen Initiative, gathered on 4th Nov, 2010 at the city’s protest spot Mahatma Gandhi Statue in Bangalore to protest against the assault on Brother Philip Noronha, Vice Principal of the Holy Cross School (Whitefield, Bangalore), on 23rd Oct. Prominent speakers at the protest meeting included Jagadish Chandra (New Socialist Alternative), Qureshi (Tipu Sultan United Front), Fr. Roshan Lobo (Principal St.Joseph evening College), Rajendran(PUCL), Fr. melvin (St. Joseph’s) Varun Jaganath (St. Joseph), Gabriel (Student of St. Joseph) & Vishwanth (New Socialist Alternative).

Jagadish Chandra, New Socialist Alternative, addressing the protest

What made this pre – planned attack by over 300 hooligans led by Jaya Karnataka Vedike (a fringe group in the Saffron Brigade) more shocking was that the assault took place right in front of the press & the police, who not only remained mere spectators but joined the attackers in assaulting & demonizing a helpless man. There was a clear collusion of all these right wing reactionary forces & the so called defenders of free speech – media & the upholders of law – police. It was very clear that the attackers colluded with the press to grab headlines & which goes to show the partisan nature of the right wing capitalist media in India which is hell bent on sensationalism & profit.

The cause of the assault, according to the Vedike, was the alleged ‘misconduct’ of Br Philip with girl students. This ghastly incident took place while Brother Philip was traveling in a public bus & was intercepted by a Maruti van with 4 men, who dragged Br. Philip out of the bus & took him back to the school where a mob of 300 people & news channels were waiting for the kangaroo court spectacle Not only was he assaulted by the mob but was slapped by an inspector of the White Field limits Police Station.

The dubious charge of misbehavior with girl students was only used by parents (one of whom was a local member of BJP) of the girls as pretext to settle scores with Brother Philip, who has been steadfast in his opposition, of a larger game plan of the real estate mafia to seize part of schools property.

The state machinery allowing the mobs led by hooligans to deliver “ quick justice” is nothing but a semi-fascistic trend encouraged by the BJP all over the country. The recent incidents in Mangalore, Tumkur and now in Delhi where Arundathi Roy’s home was attacked by the BJP led mobs speaks the fundamentalist character of this party and its mentors.

The incident should come as no surprise in a state that is being run by a highly corrupt, communal – casteist, right wing government of the Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP). A party whose primary interest has been to serve the whims & fancies of a rotten capitalist class, landlords & use of religion to divide the minds of the people in order to serve those interests. This is the truth behind what may appears to be a case of personal vendetta.

We condemn the increasing communal polarization facilitated by the BJP

We Demand

– Immediate arrest of the goons who attacked Br Philip.

– Erring police officials to be brought to books.

– Press council to act on the irresponsible conduct of the Medi

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