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BANGALORE, July 4, 2009: Christians have welcomed newly appointed Governor Karnataka H.R.Bharadwaj's promise to protect minorities and ensure secularism in all walks of life even as the state government is mulling to impose a total ban on cow slaughter.

Bharadwaj ,who took over from Rameshwar Thakur, said secularism is his prime motto, a sentiment that has enthused confidence in the minorities, shaken by the spate of attacks by militant Hindu groups like the Sri Rama Sena.

Bangalore Archbishop Bernard Moras called on Thakur on Friday and assured him of full cooperation of the Christian community.

Moras had openly come out against Chief Minister B.S.Yeddyurappa after radical Hindutava organisations carried out a series of attacks on churches last year.

Moras hailed the Govenror for his assurance to "ensure secularism and freedom of faith."

Anti-Christian violence has been witnessed mainly in the coastal district of Mangalore and Chickmagalur districts. Attacks on Muslims too have been reported from the coastal belt, considered a stronghold of the BJP.

Christian organisations said the new Governor had given them hope that the state will restore the constitutional freedom of religion to minorities. "Christians face continued harassment in the state" said Father Faustin Lobo, spokesperson of the Church in Karnataka.

Former MP of Bengaluru North H.T.Sangliana had quit the BJP in protest against its anti-minority stand. He contested on a Congress ticket in the recent parliamentary elections but lost his seat to the BJP.

Sangliana and other Christian leaders had moved the earlier Govenor, seeking action against Hindutava organisations for fuelling anti-Christian feelings.

In fact, Archbishop Moras had sought the then Governor's intervention to rein in communal forces attempting to vitiate peace in the state before the elections. Moras had called ffor action against what he called hate-campaigners.

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