Christian forum raises concerns ahead of elections

March 29, 2014 by admin  
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discriminationNew Delhi, March 28, 2014: With general elections round the corner, the National United Christian Forum (NUCF) has called upon the Christians to elect leaders supporting the concerns of the community, including Scheduled Caste status and equal rights for dalit Christians at par with those from the Hindu community.

The forum has requested all member churches to call up on political leaders at their respective constituencies to organize gatherings and make meaningful efforts towards this end.

The NUCF is a forum of Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) and Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).

In a statement, the forum said that anti-conversion laws, enforced in some states, are used to intimidate and harass religious minorities, particularly Christians and there should be religious freedom in the country.

It noted that religious minorities run educational institutions even in the remotest villages as their primary purpose is to educate the poor and the marginalised.

“Minority rights should be upheld in its spirit and the government should continue its support to minority private schools and colleges,” it said.

The forum said that in the process of development and industrialisation, the tribal communities undergo displacement, losing their culture, identity and their livelihood.

It said that policies should be evolved to stop the mass displacement of tribes and protection be given for their livelihoods.

The forum underlined the need to strengthen anti-corruption laws and passage of Prevention of Targeted Communal Violence Bill in the Parliament. It also asked for reservation of 33 per cent seats in Parliament for women.

- ucan

American priest in India: Faith in Christ will help us find respect for other religions

March 1, 2014 by admin  
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New Delhi, February 26, 2014: Father Leo D. Lefebure, of the Archdiocese of Chicago, is in India for a series of lectures . He talks about his mission, founded on relations with Muslims, Jews, Buddhists and Hindus. We can learn something from every belief if we give up our negative attitudes towards others.

Father Leo D. Lefebure“The greatest contribution that India can give to interreligious dialogue is to promote reconciliation with Pakistan and try to resolve the situation in Kashmir”. The speaker is Fr. Leo D. Lefebure, an American priest, who is touring the Asian country giving a series of lectures. A native of the Archdiocese of Chicago, Fr. Lefebure is engaged in inter-religious. He is a professor of theology at Georgetown University and is an emeritus member of the World Parliament of Religions. During his visit to India, the priest gave a lecture at Jamia Millia Islamia, the historic Islamic university in New Delhi. Here he spoke of Paul VI and the new spirit that the pope has brought to relations between Christians and Muslims. He spoke to AsiaNews about the meaning of his mission and what he has learned from dialogue with people of other religions.

Where does your passion for inter-religious dialogue come from?

My faith in Jesus Christ pushes me to pursue respectful and harmonious relations with the followers of other religious traditions. Unfortunately, many religious traditions are too often in conflict in many regions of the world today, and many Americans have negative attitudes towards other religions, particularly towards Islam. I draw my energy and my support from so many wonderful colleagues that I have met in various interfaith activities.

What would you see as India’s contribution to Christian-Muslim dialogue in a global context?

The biggest contribution that India can give is to promote reconciliation with Pakistan and try to resolve the situation in Kashmir. This would have a global impact and would be a wonderful model for dialogue and inspiration for others.

What have you learned from dialogue with people of other religions and people who do not profess any belief in particular?

For a long time I have been involved in Jewish-Christian dialogue, in which I learned a lot about the Jewish roots of the Christian faith, of the tragic history of Christian anti-Semitism, the need to change Christians’ attitudes towards the Jews and Judaism.  Any changes in this relationship have important ramifications for all other forms of interreligious dialogue. I learned so much about meditation from Buddhism, which has greatly enriched my life as a Catholic. Right now I am involved in “Vaishnava – Christian” dialogue and I am learning more about this strand of the Hindu tradition. I have never been involved in a formal dialogue with people who do not belong to any specific religion, but I learned a lot from the writings of intellectuals who are non-believers.

- asianews

India refuses to ban sharia courts

February 28, 2014 by admin  
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Indian supreme courtNew Delhi, February 27, 2014: Supreme Court says fatwa is often ‘for the general good’.

India’s Supreme Court has declined to interfere with orders from religious courts, refusing to ban Islamic sharia courts from operating in the country.

It said on Tuesday that the country has systems to protect those who refuse to follow the decrees of such courts, stressing that no one can impose the ruling of a religious court.

However, critics say the Suprems Court’s refusal to impose a ban will increase obscurantism and religious fanaticism in the country.

“It simply shows the weakness of the Indian constitutional system and the moral poverty of the government,” Nava Yogendra Swami, a senior monk for the International Society for Krishna Consciousness.

“We are not yet secular. We need to revise the constitution,” he told ucanews.com.

The court’s observation came on a case challenging the fatwa of an Islamic court that forced a Muslim woman to desert her husband and marry her father-in-law, who allegedly raped her.

“We can protect people who are subjected to suffering due to this … If somebody forces them on you, then we can protect you,” the court reportedly said.

Ahmed Bukhari, head cleric of Jama Masjid mosque in Delhi, welcomed the court ruling and said sharia courts are “a religious necessity” for Muslims.

“[Sharia courts] are part of a right Muslim life according to the Qur’an, they do not interfere with secular values of the country and they do not impose the order on anyone,” Bukhari told ucanews.com.

The petitioner, lawyer Vishwa Lochan Madan, challenged the constitutional validity of the sharia courts, saying they represented a parallel judicial system.

Madan said sharia courts are active in some 60 of India’s 670 districts where Muslims are a majority. Poor villagers, who live away from the courts and police systems, cannot oppose the decrees and fatwa of these courts, which violate the basic rights of citizens, he argued.

The court countered that Madan was assuming that all fatwas are irrational.

“Some fatwas may be wise and may be for the general good. People in this country are wise enough,” the court said. “These are political and religious issues and we do not want to go into it.”

The All India Muslim Personal Law Board, a body established to apply and protect Muslim personal law in India, told the court that no fatwa is binding on people and their religious courts have no power of implementation.

The latest observation of the court, in an election year, comes in contrast with its own 2011 order against khap, or community, courts. The court had deemed such courts “wholly illegal” and said persons behind them “deserve harsh punishment”.

One reason for the change is seen as the general elections due in May and the unwillingness of the ruling coalition to offend the voting bloc of 176 million Muslims, observers said.

- ucanews

Where are the Muslims in Aam Aadmi Party? Where are Christians? asks CSF

February 28, 2014 by admin  
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Arvind KejriwalDelhi, February 26, 2014: Currently the Aam Aadmi Party’s nationwide campaign is in full swing. It is both an electoral campaign and a public relations campaign to reform the country’s political and governance system from the very grassroots. In December only about five AAP leaders (Arvind Kejriwal, Yongendra Yadav, Prashant Bhushan, Kumar Vishwas, Myanak Gandhi) could be recognized from their earlier public achievements.

But since then another dozen prominent Indians with records of upright service to the public and struggles in pursuit of public causes have joined AAP, and every week we hear of more prominent people joining this resurgent political party. Thus people like Medha Patkar, Rajmohan Gandhi, Meera Sanyal (former CEO – Royal Scottish Bank), V Balakrishnan of Infosys, Parveen Amanullah (minister, Bihar government) have joined AAP.

Yesterday I heard a video interview with Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, in which he praised AAP a lot. Maybe he may join AAP or become a member of its advisory board. While AAP’s short term objective is to make a good showing in the parliamentary election in May and be an influential payer at the Centre; it has a long term objective to gain public recognition as a viable and reform oriented political party that has a future in India. In the months and couple of years thereafter they plan to compete in the elections to various state Assemblies, hoping to form government in some states in addition to Delhi. That will help them in their quest to implement their impressive reform platform.

That brings us to the question that if AAP is gaining so much popularity among prominent Indian thinkers, in addition to among the masses, where are the recognizable Muslim-Indians in it? And if they are not there, what are they waiting for? To date Parveen Amanullah is the only prominent Muslim face to join AAP. As the election campaign heats up we will hear from her, at least in relation to Bihar, if not India as a whole. But where are the other prominent Muslim citizens? Let us hope that by end March when the election campaign heats up, another few prominent Muslim names will be found on the AAP platform.

Browsing the AAP Facebook page one finds that quite a few Muslims are participating in the discussion on AAP and its programs. Muslims’ participation in AAP, both masses and prominent citizens, should be in rough proportion to their population in the country. This is not to invoke any special demands of the Muslims, or to bring religion into politics, but to participate in the mainstream movement that AAP has now undoubtedly become. As AAP is successful in helping implement a justice based political system, it is hoped that some of the core grievances of the Muslim community like security, educational improvement, economic uplift will get serious consideration and implementation in due course of time.

- tcn

No death for rapists: Church group

January 10, 2013 by admin  
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It has demanded introduction of gender-sensitive curriculum at the school level.

make India a gender sensitive nationNew Delhi,  January 08, 2013:  Caritas India, the social service wing of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), sent its suggestions to make India a gender sensitive nation but said it cannot support death penalty as punishment for rape.

In its eleven-point recommendation made last Saturday to the Verma Committee set up by the federal government, Caritas asked to introduce gender-sensitive curriculum from school level onward to promote and foster a balanced gender perspective in India.

The government set up the committee after massive crowds lay siege to the national capital for almost two weeks in December and the first week of January 2013 calling for justice for the 23 year old physiotherapy student victim of gang rape.

Six men raped her in a moving bus and male companion who sought to defend her was also attacked. Both were dumped on a roadside by their attackers presuming them to be dead. The woman died 13-days after the incident in a Singapore hospital of her injures.

Several groups have demanded revise laws to award death penalty for rapists. Although, justifying public rage and protests, Caritas said it does not support death penalty as a punishment to rape.

The official teachings of the Church also do not support death penalty on the ground that God alone is the owner of life and no one could legitimately interfere with life.

Caritas also noted with concern the failure of the country to protect girl-children and women.

Other recommendation of the Caritas include setting up of special fast track courts with women lawyers, women welfare committees at district levels, anti-sexual harassment task force with 60% women at Panchayat levels, higher rank of police officers for handling rape and sexual crimes, national toll free women helpline, CCTV cameras with announcement facilities in public spaces.

While strict and effective enforcement of the law is required for the safety of women, Caritas has also cautioned the government against appropriate safeguards to prevent misuse or taking any undue advantage of such laws.

The Verma Committee’s recommendations would be placed before the government in less than a month which is expected to pave the way to amendment of existing laws to deal with rape and other crimes against women so as to provide speedier justice and enhanced punishment in sexual assault cases in India.

-  press release

Asaram: Rape victim responsible. Mudita: Change mindset

January 9, 2013 by admin  
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Asaram Bapu says the girl should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop.

Asaram: Rape victim responsible. Mudita: Change mindsetNew Delhi , January 07, 2013:  Spiritual guru Asaram Bapu has blamed the recent Delhi gang-rape victim for the horrific incident that shook the nation last month.

He said that the girl was equally guilty as those responsible for the barbaric sexual assault on her.

“Only 5-6 people are not the culprits. The victim daughter is as guilty as her rapists,” he said.

Bapu said that the girl should have called the culprits brothers and begged before them to stop… “This could have saved her dignity and life. Can one hand clap? I don’t think so,” he added.

According to media reports, the self-proclaimed godman further said that he is against harsher punishments for the accused as the law could be misutilized.

“We have often seen such laws are made to be misutilised… Dowry harassment law is the biggest example,” he said.

The spiritual guru’s remark comes at a time when the entire nation is mourning the death of the 23-year-old braveheart who died in a Singapore hospital 13 days later after the heinous crime.

The Delhi Police had last week filed its charge-sheet in the Saket metropolitan magistrate court against five men arrested in the case, slapping on them murder, rape, kidnapping and other charges.

The sixth accused is a juvenile and proceedings against him will be conducted by the Juvenile Justice Board.

The victim’s father has demanded that the juvenile should be hanged like the other five accused.

The victim, a physiotherapy student, was brutally raped and assaulted in a moving bus on the night of December 16, 2012.

She died of her injuries on December 29 in the multi-specialty Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore.

- zee news

NEED FOR CHANGE OF MINDSET

On Sunday December 16, 2012 Nirbhaya/Damini/Aamanat was brutally and inhumanly raped in a Delhi bus by six men. She was accompanied by her male friend who was beaten up and left unconscious as she battled courageously with the six rapists and finally with life. Safdarjung Government hospital indicated that the severe internal injuries could have been caused by an iron rod which the men had initially used to beat her. 90% of her intestines were removed. Nirbhaya was flown to Singapore for treatment where she finally succumbed to death.

Nirbhaya is dead but rapes continue unabatedly. The problem with our society is much bigger. The sleeping nation finally awoke and took to the streets. Delhi is India’s “rape capital” with 414 rapes in 2010 and more than 600 in 2012. Only one in three reported cases ends in a conviction. Many police officers believe that victims are to blame and victims are so afraid of the police that only one in 50 rapes is registered.

It will be true homage to Nirbhaya’s memory if we are able to channel our emotions and energies into a constructive course of action. Can we analyse the problem? What are the symptoms? Behind the symptoms is a consciousness i.e. ideas, ideology, mind-set etc. When the self meets the other, what are the differences we notice? Besides culture, education, ideas, identity, religion, nationality etc.; Gender, Ethnicity, Economics and Mother Earth are the four most important differences we notice.

There are many types of relationships: Personal-kith (marriage), kin (blood), commercial, ecclesiastical, professional etc. Let us concentrate on Structural Relationships which are social relationships between groups or types of persons in a given society.  A structural relation is not based on occasional and individual patterns of behaviour, but on a permanent established and fixed type of behaviour between groups.

In these structural relations there is a power equation. It can be that of equality or of a dominant-subordinate, superior or inferior nature. Common use of words, actions and behaviour, forms an identity. According to this identity roles are given e.g. A woman in a Government office is the sweeperess, the girl child washes the dishes in the house. Cooking for example, if paid, is done by men, if unpaid then by women. These roles are further justified by Tradition, Scripture and Law. (E.g. St Paul in the Bible says -Wives be obedient to your husbands, Eve and the Fall or the Hindu Dharampatni, where the husband is the Lord (i.e. if a drunken husband asks his wife to take him on her shoulders to the prostitute’s house, she must. In the Ramayana, Sita is the servant of Ram).

If efforts are made to change these roles, sanctions are imposed e.g. Women were not supposed to ride cycles and thus whistled at or nuns were not supposed to be doctors. Anna Dengel the foundress of the Medical Missionary Sisters fought for this and won. In institutions of society like the Judiciary, Police, Business, Hospital, Government, Education etc., access to positions with higher status, decision making and money power is denied to women and later used as proof of her inferior identity. Often, this results in no struggle, no mentality change or paradigm shift and finally no social change in society.

However, when words, actions and behaviour forms are challenged, then new roles are claimed and a new identity is sought. When internalised dominant groups as norms of goodness are rejected, then equal social relations slowly emerge. We slowly realise that we are different, but we can treat all human beings equally.

The Rape Case in Delhi, India’s Daughter and Brave heart has created a challenge. What is the Challenge? What are the symptoms? The whole society is responsible. Men dominate women. Boys are sent for higher studies. Girls are not allowed to go out late at night. Boys play cricket, while the girl child is cooking food at home for the family. Big jobs are given to men, while the lesser, lower jobs are given to women. Men don’t like to admit that women do more work than them. Men don’t like to be told anything by women. Who is stronger? Women are stronger. She works the whole day in the field, cooks on her return home, and looks after the baby crying at night.

In the arena of jobs – Let us take the example of a hospital. Who are the most important people in a hospital? Who has the most status? Who makes the decisions? Who gets the highest salary? It is the Doctors. Therefore status, decision making and the highest salary goes to the doctors. Status=Social, Decision Making=Political and Salary=Economics.

When a boy wants to relax, he goes to the cinema hall, but if a girl goes to the cinema hall alone, she will be teased (whistled at). Who eats last in the home? When food is short who goes hungry? It is always the woman. Let us analyse the situation. What are the different images of women that we commonly see? Mother, wife, housekeeper, dance girl, model, cook, pin-up, religious sister, prostitute, Virgin Mary, Mother Mary, film star, school girl, sports woman, politician etc. In society what is the identity given to women? Women are generally given a negative identity i.e. weak, stupid, emotional, and dangerous because she can conceive a child from another man and this involves land and possession.

Words are very powerful and Identity is given by words. E.g. Where are you going? Mal dekne ja rahe hai (Going to see goods/objects). The identity given to a woman falls into three types of relationships:

  1. Higher than Human i.e. Goddess-where we romanticize the Ideal Woman, the stay-at-home mother, self-sacrificing, serves the husband, whose work is the well-being of the man, gharki rani, Lakshmi, devi etc.
  2. Lower than Human i.e. the Temptress, the one who is a danger to man e.g. randi (prostitute) bahari (deaf) korhi (Lazy) Langadi (with a limp) haramdari (deceitful) churail (witch). Bad words e.g. Ma ki —–, Behen —-, Bastard etc. all target the woman, rarely the man.
  3. Equally Human i.e. a two-way companionship, mutual intimacy, partnership, equality.

How are women used as objects? I.e. as an Instrument or Wastu

  • By which children are produced for men-khilauna (toy)
  • For men’s genital and emotional satisfaction-upbhog ki wastu
  • To have a nauker- safai ki wastu
  • To support the man’s prestige/ property of man – pratistha ki wastu (able to capture i.e. a 60 year old man marries a 20 year old girl
  • The body as an object for Exhibition- dikhawa ki wastu
  • The body seen as impure and defiling therefore the man goes to a prostitute but does not bother his wife (does not want to defile her).

Men want to control the bodies, labour and sexuality of women both in the family and in public life. They do this especially through the Media and Advertising images e.g. A skimpily dressed girl on a scooter. Both are mal (goods). Mostly fair skinned women are taken to advertise goods, never Adivasis, while gullible children too are used very often. The Television, Films etc. all give women an identity. Fashion Shows and Beauty Pageants do the same. The fewer clothes women wear the better. Religion too is no better. Men dominate (no women priests, no status for women religious etc.). The control of a woman’s fertility is also in the hands of the husband, the in-laws and society. In a land based economy and in the new cash based economy women share little in the productive world. Often they are house bound, have little or no share in family and community decision making etc.

The sorry state of affairs in India today, betrays the degradation of our moral values. Character building alone can curb this menace. Special training in honesty, fairness, a strictly no-nonsense attitude and the need to act quickly and decisively when the need arises for bureaucrats and police is the need of the hour. The police force and helpline managers need to realise that their indifference can be a question of life and death for the victim. Only then will bad elements in society lie low and the reluctant good elements of society feel more comfortable to approach them in times of real need. Laws leading to deterrent effects are important. Fear of law must be instilled into the hearts and minds of people, but this needs to be done lawfully and not in a violent way. Fast track justice too is vital, for justice delayed is justice denied and Juvenile laws urgently need to be amended in order to rein in rapists  and criminals who get scot free with such heinous acts merely because they have not yet attained the age of 18 years.

Can we dare to CHANGE WORDS, ACTIONS AND BEHAVIOUR FORMS to give women their true identity? Can we allow women to claim NEW ROLES? Can we grant her a NEW IDENTITY? Can we allow her to REJECT INTERNALISED DOMINANT GROUPS AS THE NORM OF GOODNESS? ONLY THEN WILL EQUAL SOCIAL RELATIONS EMERGE AND RAPES COME TO AN END.

- mudita  sodder

India Hindu mob attacks evangelical pastor, church members

February 2, 2012 by admin  
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Indian PoliceAndhra Pradesh, January 30, 2012: Evangelical Christians in southeastern India were due to worship Sunday, January 29, amid heightened tensions after Hindu hardliners attacked a pastor and church members, representatives said.  

The pastor, who was only identified as Pastor Kiran, was among those attacked on January 17 in Nalgonda district of India’s Andhra Pradesh state while trying to visit a church member, known as Ms. Rachel, said the All India Christian Council (AICC), a major advocacy group.  “Hindu fundamentalists” were angry as they saw the pastor and fellow church members “carrying some Christian literature”, said the AICC, which has close contacts with the Christians.

Hindus allegedly started to attack the pastor and attacked church members accusing them of forcible conversations”, a charge often used against devoted Christians.  Evangelical Christians have denied they accusation, saying the Bible teacher that believing in Jesus Christ is a free, personal decision. 

No Reports

There were no reports of serious injuries, but Christians said Hindus took the pastor to a local police station where he was apparently briefly. In a statement distributed by church umbrella group Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) police said “no case” had been filed against the church pastor.  

The EFI, a member of the larger World Evangelical Alliance and linked to the United Nations, said it had urged its supporters to write to the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradeshm, Shri Kiran Kumar Reddy, “appealing to him to safe guard the rights of the minority communities.”

Evangelicals also urged him “to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence.” It was not clear which organization was behind the violence.

Attacks against Christians have increased across India. Hindu nationalist groups have expressed concerns over the spread of Christianity in India, a mainly Hindu nation.

- bosnewslife

Government mulling quota for Muslims within OBCs: Salman Khurshid

December 3, 2011 by admin  
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Muslim CommunityNew Delhi, December 1, 2011: In a significant move ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Law Minister Salman Khurshid Thursday said the government is considering reservation to backward Muslims within the 27 percent quota fixed for Other Backward Classes (OBCs) and a decision on the issue will be taken soon.

Talking to reporters outside Parliament, Khurshid said a move on fixing a quota for backward Muslims within the OBC quota would come before the cabinet “soonest” but did not give a timeline.

“Of 27 percent OBC quota in jobs, the government is examining to fix a quota for backward Muslims,” he said.

He said the issue has been on the government’s agenda for the last two years and a decision was pending.

The Congress also backed the government on the move to provide reservations to minorities within OBC quota.

Khurshid pointed to the promise made in party’s manifesto for 2009 polls which talked of extending reservation to minorities to the central level.

“For having reservation within reservation for backward minorities as done in Karnataka, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Tamil Nadu, we are observing it as it is our commitment to do it. We are hopeful of fulfilling our commitment. We are working on it,” he said.

Asked why the decision was coming ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, Khurshid said that work cannot stop if elections were round the corner.

“Should we stop working ahead of the polls in the state… Whatever we think is our responsibility, we are doing,” he said.

He said the United Progressive Alliance II government had completed half its term and has to take stock of what it has done and what is left to be done.

Khurshid also took a dig at Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Mayawati saying she can provide quotas to minorities in the state.

“If she is so concerned, she could do the same for jobs in Uttar Pradesh,” he said.

Congress spokesman Raashid Alvi said the government was working at a fast pace to implement its promise for reservation to minorities.

“Government is working at a very fast pace to implement this part of manifesto so that they (minorities) get their share among other backward classes,” Alvi said.

The Congress manifesto had said that the party was committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of minorities were protected fully and their representation in public administration increases.

“The Indian National Congress has pioneered reservations for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh in government employment and education on the basis of their social and economic backwardness. We are committed to adopt this policy at the national level,” the manifesto said.

Uttar Pradesh is scheduled to go for polls next year and Congress has launched its campaign in the state. The announcement is being linked to the party’s efforts to woo minorities in the crucial election.

- ians

Government working on reservation for minorities: Congress

New Delhi, December 1, 2011: In a significant move ahead of assembly polls in Uttar Pradesh, the Congress Thursday said the government was working speedily to give reservation to minorities within the OBC quota.

Congress spokesman Raashid Alvi said here that the party had mentioned in its election manifesto of 2009 too that it had pioneered reservations in government jobs and educational institutions for minorities in Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh on the basis of their social and economic backwardness and was committed to adopting the measure at the national level.

“Government is working at a very fast pace to implement this part of manifesto so that they (minorities) get their share among backward classes,” Alvi said.

The Congress manifesto had said that the party was committed to ensuring that the constitutional rights of minorities were protected fully and their representation in public administration increases.

- ians

Aug 10 to be Observed as Black Day for Dalits

August 9, 2011 by admin  
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Christians demanding for Equal Rights for DalitsChristians from different denominations will observe Aug 10 as black day to to mark the 61st anniversary of the Constitution (Schedule Caste) Order 1950.

The protest is against the discriminatory third paragraph of the order, popularly known as the Presidential Order, which violates the human rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims on the basis of the religious faith they profess.

It stipulates that “no person who professes a religion different from Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of Scheduled Caste.”

Alwan Masih, General Secretary of Church of North India (CNI) and Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi will lead the protest at CNI Bhavan in New Delhi.

The protest is organised jointly by Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India’s Commission for Scheduled Castes and Backward Class and National Council of Christians in India.

An Update of the Afghan Christian Refugees Community

July 26, 2011 by admin  
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afghan_studentsPlease find below a brief report from Pastor Obaid S Christ, who has been taking up the cause of Afghan Believer Refugees, especially in New Delhi, India.

1. Situation of Believers in Afghanistan

2. Our situation in New Delhi

3. A Miracle

4. An urgent request to save a life

5. World Magazine

6. The Afghan Embassy

7. Distribution of Tracts (One family of 8 members were saved)

8.  There is plenty of harvest

9. Nine Baptisms 

10. The UNHCR Office shifted

11. Groceries and Stationeries Distribution

——————————————————————————-

1. Situation of Believers in Afghanistan

As our community is in regular contact with some of Afghan believer brothers and sisters in Afghanistan and other countries we have received very discouraging news from some believers in Afghanistan, it is painful to see that our brothers in the first line of battle are discouraged. I have talked to some Afghan Christian Leaders in Afghanistan, they were sharing their testimonies that how the Afghan Government is taking and keeping all records of their movements, sittings and activities, that all foreigner brothers and sister have left them and do not want to meet them because of the security situation, they are carrying all these suffering, persecution and pain on their shoulders and there is no one to give a hand or take their hands, it was very painful to hear all this, and my request is that please kindly and seriously pray for them and lets think how we can encourage them.

2. Our situation in New Delhi

Our situation and status in Delhi is the same, there are still many brothers and sisters whose UNHCR Applications are closed, they are underground, hiding from the Indian Police and there is no response on their reopening from the UNHCR, New Delhi Office.

We had some great achievements in the past months, as Aman Ali and Rahimullah whose applications were rejected were called by the UNHCR Office for Appeal Interview and we pray that they may get the refugee status, but we have 7 applications still closed which means that the lives of 12 people (7 applications) are in danger, they are facing deportation and if deported execution will be waiting for them. Please pray for these brothers and sisters and please kindly help us and guide us how to save their lives with the help and power of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

3. A Miracle

One widow sister who has recently accepted the Lord Jesus Christ received a deportation order from the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs on 24 June 201l, the police came to her home and warned her that she should leave India on 27 of June 2011, otherwise they will arrest and put her in the Detention Center from where she will be deported to Afghanistan. I contacted the EFI Office and sent emails to the UNHCR Office on 24 and 27th June to help her, and it was unbelievable and a miracle that the UNHCR Office reopened her closed refugee application on 27th Afternoon and received a certificate from the UNHCR Office that would let her to stay in India and be protected by the UNHCR office, it was such a big encouragement for her in the Lord and also for us, praise God for this.   

4. An urgent request to save a life

Sahar who is a 5 years old child and whose photo is attached with this email has bones cancer (orthopedic cancer), her family has recently moved to India, the family has 8 members, father, mother, three daughters and three sons, the family has spent all their. Financial strength on Sahar’s treatment in Afghanistan and they are struggling with the different aspects of their life in India now. I kindly request you to pray for Sahar’s health and God’s providence for her treatment.

5. World Magazine

The World Magazine has published an article on the issues of Christian persecution, beheading of an Afghan Christian and the general situation in Afghanistan, they have interviewed me. I am getting very good response from brothers and sisters from different parts of the world that people are praying for Afghan Christians.

6. The Afghan Embassy

One Afghan Christian asylum seeker, who is working as a daily wage hospital interpreter in Delhi, has helped one of his Muslim friends who had cancer, his Muslim friend did not have money in hand and the believer brother helped him financially by paying a loan for his treatment. , but when the treatment was done, the Muslim friend told him that you are a pagan, I don’t return your loan, Allah give me reward if I hurt or mistreat a pagan. The believer brother asked the police to help him, but his Muslim friend went to the Afghan Embassy and the General Secretary of the Afghan Embassy warned the believer brother that the Embassy will come with the Indian police to his house and deport him to Afghanistan, his Muslim friend also warned him that he will kill the believer brother’s brother-in-law and brother in Afghanistan.

The Afghan Embassy has good relation with the Indian Government; they can arrest and deport people as they had deported one believer sister in the past and she was killed in Afghanistan, the Embassy give warning to individuals, they misuse their diplomatic rights and shelter. Please pray for this believer brother and please give us your legal advices what to do?

7. Distribution of Tracts (One family of 8 members were saved)

We have distributed more than thousand Dari and Pashtu Gospel tracts to hundreds of Afghan Muslims in New Delhi; we are receiving very good response from the people. One family of eight members who has received one of these tracts, have contacted us and they are coming to the Afghan Church regularly, please pray and support this ministry as India is the best place for Afghans to receive the Gospel now, there are plenty of opportunities to distribute tracts and share the Gospel. 

8.  There is plenty of harvest

During the past three months, 32 new Afghan Christians have come to India, and they have joined us, please pray for all of them as they are learning the Bible growing in the Lord.

9. Nine Baptisms

Nine Afghan Christians were baptized on 23rd of July 2011 by our church; please keep them in your prayers as they have started their journey walking with the Lord.

10. The UNHCR Office shifted

The UNHCR Office has shifted to New Building which is a remote area and it is very difficult to get there, their new address is:

B/16 Vasant Vihar, New Delhi, India.

11. Groceries and Stationeries Distribution

We have received some donation (groceries, school stationery and etc) from different individuals, we distributed a one month groceries packages (14) to 14 families, we distributed school stationery to 35 children , helped one teenager girl with her school admission last week, and we are regularly distributing the monthly school fee for 50 children.

This was a short summery of God’s blessings and our prayers request, our community is very encouraged and really helped by all of you, we request to keep praying for us.

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