50 year Old Agnes Bibi (Nugo) accused in blasphemy case released on bail

January 30, 2012 by  
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UntitledPakistan, January 29, 2012: She was charged at police station sadar Faisalabad against a Christian woman Agnes Bibi 50 years old and now she is on bail and the trial of the case is held in Faisalabad Court. The charge of the case against Agnes Bibi was also reduced after conducting investigation and co-operation of Christians and Muslims living in the same locality. She said that the Charge was reduced in lesser degree of punishment but she is still receiving death threats from militants and also her family bearing the agony due to this blasphemy case.

On 16 February 2011, there was registered one blasphemy case no 136/11 at police station sadar Faisalabad against a Christian woman Agnes Bibi 50 years old and now she is on bail and the trial of the case is running in Faisalabad Court. The charge of the case against Agnes bibi was also reduced after conducting investigation and co-operation of Christians and Muslims living in the same locality.
Agnes Bibi requested on phone to see with Missionary Pastor Mushtaq Gill and also requested for legal support as well as financial support for medical treatment and the loan which her family took from some persons for legal expenses of the case.she also requested that she has no money to pay the fee of the lawyers and other expenses of the court.

She told that the Charge was reduced in lesser degree of punishment but she is still receiving death threats from militants and also her family bearing the agony due to this blasphemy case.
She also told that no NGO or any church is supporting to her.She also added that she herself and her family are paying all expenses of the court etc due to which now they heavy loans and now are under heavy debts. Missionary Pastor Mushtaq Gill, president of  has assured that LEAD must give her free legal support and also will try to arrange some safe place for her life and her family.
 
– persecution

Attack on Jesuit College in Anekal by communal forces

January 30, 2012 by  
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Attack on Jesuit College in Anekal by Communal ForcesKarnataka, January 30, 2012: St Joseph’s PU College, Anekal witnessed tense situation over two days as saffron groups protested inside the College campus on 26 and 27 January for failing to hoist the national flag on republic day.  On 27 January a mob consisting of more than 100 members belonging to ABVP, Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, Rashtra Sakthi Sene, Karnataka Rakshana Vedike and some elected Councillors of Anekal Municipality entered the College campus and demanded that the classes be suspended with immediate effect.  When Fr Anil D’Mello, SJ along with the staff and parents of the college with the help of Anekal Tahisildhar Shive Gowda tried to diffuse the tense situation the police remain largely mute spectators.  The absence of Circle Inspector and even sub-inspector at the scene allowed the group to grow in number and continue agitation in the campus for nearly two hours.  As the atmosphere grew tense the Tashildhar demanded the presence of Principal Fr Melwin Mendonca, SJ in the campus.  He entered the College campus only to be surrounded by unruly mob.  As the situation looked grim and the mob unrelenting, Principal was not allowed to make any statement.  The group demanded that the Principal be arrested and taken into Police custody.   Fr Melwin and Fr Anil gave consent to the demand as it could disperse the agitating mob from the campus.

Unfortunately, instead of taking the Principal by Police vehicle to station, the police continued to listen to the diktats of the mob who forced the Principal to walk to the station in procession.  As procession moved from College to the Police station the mob continued to shout anti minority slogans and slogans against the college, Principal as well as management.  Though Principal maintain his calm and was protected by the police throughout 1km walk to the station, College students were beaten up by the mob as they came to protect the Principal who was being taken away unjustly.  Some of the students who are injured in this tussle are dalits.  Out of 378 students studying in the College 220 belong to scheduled caste and another 60 students belong to minority groups.  The College is only in the second year of its existence though Jesuits have been working in Anekal Taluka for the past 40 years. 

Fr Melwin Mendonca, SJ reached the station at 12.30 pm and was kept there until 9.00pm.  The police treated Fr Melwin with utmost dignity in the station.  During the day some of the group leaders entered the station and demanded that the Principal should not sit on a chair and if he is not arrested and put behind bars whole Anekal town would be closed on the following day.

Flag

Jesuits and Catholic College Principals swung into action

Fr Anil D’Mello SJ and Fr Melwin Mendonca, SJ quickly passed on the information to all concerned people immediately.  A team of Jesuits and a few Catholic Principals of Bangalore city Colleges swung into quick action.  The political pressure and the intervention of top cops started showing results only at 7pm.  The top cops from Bangalore city called up to inform me that there was no case and to remain calm.  They also wondered why I have been kept in the station for so long! (I was kept in the station to pacify the agitating mob!!)  As the station realized their mistake they wanted me to be out of station without formally registering a complaint for the illegal entry of the mob into the college, attack on staff and dalit students and the long procession.   Before I was released the group leaders who were called to the station and warned

Analysis

1.       ABVP has visited the College 8 times this academic year.  They have forced that the college to be closed down twice for Anna Hazare agitation.  They wanted our students to become members of their association.  The management rule says that no outside association can conduct enrollment of students inside the college campus.  This episode was used to malign the College Management and Principal by ABVP.

2.       The associations wanted to collect from the management by harassing the College and management.

3.       Some institutions thought that the cancellation of recognition of St Joseph’s PU College will be beneficial to their institution as Tashildhar was forced to write to the PU board to take stringent action.  My meeting with DDPU at Basvangudi revealed this, as the DD accused the college on the basis of religion and threatened that the recognition will be cancelled from next year.  I was not allowed to present, our part of the whole episode though we had conducted Republic day function at Jnanjyothi where the registered office Society is situated.

4.       The Jesuits and their works have faced stiff resistance for the past 15 years by the communal forces. In year 2000 students who were on NSS camp to Anekal village were violently attacked, a little later a Jesuit Scholastic was stabbed on his way to a village.  There are more and many such instances where the Christians are persecuted in this part of the state.

5.       The issue not flag hoisting on republic but larger designs of saffron groups to destroy secular fabric of the country. As Kannada Prabha reporting on the incident says: “Christians should not be allowed to open educational institutions, Principal should be thrown out of the country, Christians destroy culture of India and hence take strong action on them”.  This only reveals on the hidden agenda behind the agitation.

6.       Many reliable sources have told me that there are many institutions in Bangalore District alone who have not hoisted the national flag on republic day.  Will the above organizations protest for the closure of all those institutions?

Future                                                                                                                           

Future is tough and belongs only to the daring and the committed Jesuits.  Crisis management groups and quick response teams to help men and works in such situations will strengthen our apostolate.  The journey has only begun and there is a long way to go.

– fr melwin

Big-hearted Gesture: Humble man gifts 34 houses to poor at ‘Souharda Nagar’

January 30, 2012 by  
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Brij HouseJanuary 27, 2012: This is the story of a young and humble entrepreneur, who started his career as ‘office boy’ and climbed the ladder of success with sheer hard work, dedication, and fearless pursuit. And now, he has realised his dream of building and donating 34 houses to the poor, single handedly.

Eric Correa has now become a role model for all those who have the will to help others and make a difference in society. The only intention in glorifying this exclusive news is to send message to thousands of daijiworld readers to take an initiative in their own way to help others and make this world a beautiful place, without barriers like community, religion, langauge, caste or creed. Though Eric Correa himself does not like his deeds to be highlighted in the media, he believes that his next venture of building 64 more houses for the poor at Kodyadka, Moodbidri could do with more helping hands.

******************************

It was a Republic Day gift for 34 beneficiaries of ‘Souharda Nagar’ as they were handed over the keys of the houses built and donated to them by Eric Correa. Souharda Nagar is the name given to the colony that houses these 34 residents of the colony located at Padumarnadu Village, Moodbidri. The keys were handed over to the beneficiaries by NRI businessman Ronald Colaco in a glittering inaugural ceremony of ‘Souharda Nagar’, held in the presence of many dignitaries. Needless to say it was the perfect gift the beneficiaries could ask for on India’s Republic Day as it meant realizing the long drawn dream of having a roof over their head for these beneficiaries who were selected taking into consideration the overall condition of their family. Of the 34 beneficiaries in the new colony 12 each are Hindus and Catholics and 10 Muslim families.

The new colony was blessed by Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D Souza, Bishop of Mangalore Diocese. Rohan Monteiro Managing Director of Property Infra Tech India Pvt Ltd., publicly launched the Souharda Foundation through which this project is implemented. Fr Basil Vas, Parish Priest of Alangar blessed the foundation stone of the second project of Souharda Foundation coming up at Kodyadka. Moodbidri MLA Abhaychandra Jain laid the foundation stone for the same. The Foundation will come out with 64 houses in this second project at Kodyadka. A third project with 94 houses from this foundation is also in the offing. Speaking on the occasion Ronald Colaco who also inaugurated ‘Souharda Nagar’ pointed out that by this noble deed Eric Correa has overtaken everyone in charity. Reiterating the importance of giving back to the society from which they have benefitted from, he said ‘Eric had written to me saying he was inspired by my advice during one of my speeches that it is our responsibility to pay back to the society and that is how he decided to take this little step of providing roof over the head of poor people. I am touched by this gesture of Eric and wanted to be a part of this important event’.

Further he added that it was his father who had primarily inspired him to donate followed by Dhirubai Ambani and Infosys founder Narayana Murthy as these people provided career and employment to thousands of people and they have been his role models. ‘Today Eric Correa has surpassed them all as richness is not merely amassing more wealth for self. If a person who has Rs. 50,000 donates Rs. 5,000/- his contribution is much greater than a person having 50 lakhs and donating Rs. 50,000/-. On that count Eric has overtaken me because his contribution comes to almost Rs. 3 crores in this Souharda Nagar alone’. Ronald Colaco opined that Eric Correa has done this from the savings he has acquired through his generator business. ‘What can be a greater donation than contributing more than 75% of the savings as is done by Eric? I feel I am a small donor as compared to you and I am inspired by your noble act’. He also said that he had taken a pledge in 1983 to donate 1% of his savings to the poor and needy and another 1% for social causes. Following that promise he said he cannot be happy if he does not stand by his own promise. He also called upon people to make such a promise and pay back to the society in whatever little way the can. Colaco also announced that he would donate Rs. 20 lakhs for the 2nd project of Eric Correa being planned at Kodyadka, about 4 kms from Souharda Nagar.

Rev Dr Aloysius Paul D Souza pointed out that Eric Correa has set a good example for communal harmony by providing houses to the needy without discrimination on grounds of race, language or religion. He called upon the residents of the colony to live up to the name of the colony by maintaining peace and harmony in and set an example for others to follow. ‘These 34 families should be a model for others by living in peace and amity. Sowharda Nagar should provide an example for other people of Dakshina Kannada district by demonstrating that they can co-exist in peace and friendship’, he declared.

Quoting bible where god says ‘the one who helps others helps me’, the Bishop pointed out ‘amassing wealth is not richness. But those who share the wealth with others are the real rich people in the eyes of god’. He went on to add ‘if we keep a small step we can change the entire society. Mother Teresa on receiving the Nobel Prize for Peace had said I am doing what Jesus Christ had said – you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Every religion preaches this. But how many of us follow this in our lives’?

Eric Correa, the brain behind the entire project whose generosity resulted in 34 people getting homes of their own spoke on the occasion describing it as ‘an unforgettable event of his life’. He said he could not have made his dream a reality but for the help of his mentor and friends. He thanked Asif and Mohammed Sharif from whom he bought the land, for their cooperation. Recalling that Dakshina Kannada people have always lived in peace and friendship he called upon the residents of the new colony to prosper by living in harmony. He also thanked his mentor and guide writer J L D Souza for his constant support and for helping him to realize his dream.

Builder Rohan Monteiro stated that Souharda Nagar the dream project of Eric Correa demonstrates his love for the poor and the needy. In today’s standards it is a project of 3 crores, which is not a small amount to donate. Appreciating the work that has gone in making the colony he said ‘this could not have been done without god’s help. I pray there should not be any person without a roof over his head’. He also declared that building houses of this nature is like giving loan to god or like building temple to god. God does not keep the loan given to him and I am sure Eric will get back more than what he spent’.

Rohan Monteiro also announced a donation of Rs. 20 lakhs to the second project of Souharda Foundation coming up at Kodyadka.

Moodbidri MLA Abhayachandra Jain opined that life will be useless unless people help the poor and those who are in need. ‘Eric has done something that touches the heart and the mind. Souharda Nagar will be an example and an inspiration to the entire country that we in India have unity in diversity. He also promised all possible help for the colony for its total development.

Konkani writer J L D Souza, who Eric reveres as his mentor and guide congratulated his protégé for his good deed saying ‘Eric has done what he is expected to do without anticipating anything in return’. He said he had suggested the name Souharda Nagar for the colony and also explained the modus operandi used to zero in on the 34 beneficiaries of the project from the 600 odd applications they received. He also said the beneficiaries were allotted the number they selected through the lot system to avoid room for any grievances. J L D Souza was felicitated on the occasion by Ronald Colaco and Fr J B Saldanha read the citation in his honor.

In a return gesture of benevolence and gratitude, the new residents of Souharda Colony felicitated their benefactor Eric Correa for his kind gesture in helping them find a roof over their head. Glen D Souza, Project Manager of Souharda Nagar was also felicitated on the occasion.  Guest of Honour Roy Castelino stated that Eric Correa has done a miracle in Souharda Nagar and a great service for the needy. He promised his cooperation and also support for the second project of Souharda Foundation.  Abdul Rauf Puthige, who was also the guest of honour said, in Eric Correa he has found another role model who has inspired him to do whatever little he can for the betterment of society.

NRI businessman Frank Fernandes who had come specifically for the event having inspired by Eric Correa’s act described righteousness as the greatest virtue and it is righteousness which makes humans what they are and not the other way round. He also announced a donation of Rs. 5 lakhs for the second project of Souharda Foundation.  Mohammed Aslam, President Padumarnad Grama Panchayat also spoke on the occasion. Fr Victor Machado Parish Priest of Bejai and Fr Basil Vas, Parish Priest Alangar were also on dais. Ronald Colaco also felicitated Mary Rebello, one of the recipients of the house at Souharda Nagar, for her largesse of donating Rs. one lakh to Souharda Foundation and thus became its first donor.

Earlier, Bishop Rev Aloysius Paul D Souza blessed the new colony and the formal function began with prayer song. Titus Noronha compered the programme.

Souharda Nagar

Souharda Nagar is located in an area of 2.25 acres of pristine and picturesque surroundings of Muragoli, in Padumarnadu Village. The 655 sq ft 34 houses built here stand testimony to what a single person could achieve if he decides to give back to the society from which he has taken. Eric Correa who has come up in a hard way starting his career as an office boy slowly graduating to have his own business has set an inspiring example for others to emulate. A little inspiration he received by taking a cue from others and incidents of his own life prompted him to do something to help those in need of homes. While people usually are able to feed and clothe themselves, having a home of their own is a dream for many and Eric decided to build houses for these people and help realize their dreams. The result was Souharda Nagar.

– daijiworld

Mamata wants inclusion of two non-minority districts under MSDP

January 30, 2012 by  
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L R Pmo advisor TKA NairKolkata, January 27, 2012: Finance Minister of West Bengal Mr Amit Mitra raised demand for more than Rs 1000 Cr in the Union Budget for welfare of minorities in the state, after meeting with Union Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee on 18th January in New Delhi. The Central Government had earlier announced Rs 8000 Cr for the development of West Bengal.

State Finance Minister Amit Mitra requested the Central Government to allocate funds specially for Minority development of West Bengal. The state government has proposed five Polytechnic Colleges & Degree College along with Hostel facilities exclusively for Minority women, amounting to the tune of Rs 175 Cr. Mr Mitra also demanded Rs 1500 Cr to establish five Medical Colleges, but he did not mention in which districts they will be set up. Moreover, Rs 800 Cr has been demanded to combat arsenic contamination. Most of the arsenic effected areas are in Muslim dominated Murshidabad and Maldah.

On other hand, West Bengal Government has sought to include two more districts under the Multi-Sectoral Development Programme (MSDP). Currently there are 12 minority concentrated districts under MSDP.

A few days ago a team of Prime Minister’s Office headed by Advisor of Prime Minister Mr TKA Nair came to Kolkata. Mr Nair visited two Minority concentrated districts of Burdwan & Birbhum and observed the activities under the MSDP project. Then he visited Metiaburuj & Gardenrich areas in Kolkata. TKA Nair, accompanied by PMO Director Rajev Topno, met with Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee, Chief Secretary Samar Ghosh & Principal Secretary of Minority Affairs Sk Nurul Haque. They discussed progress of various development programmes of Minority Development under the MSDP project.

There are 12 Minority concentrated districts in West Bengal namely, Murshidabad, Maldah, Birbhum, North 24 Parganas, South 24 Parganas, Howrah, Nadia, North Dinajpur, South Dinajpur, Coochbehar, Burdwan & Kolkata.

West Bengal has seen most of the allocated funds not being utilized earlier. They are likely to be used after special initiative of Minority Affairs Department of West Bengal.

In the meeting with PMO delegation, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee proposed to add two districts Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri (Where Muslims are not living in a large number) under the MSDP project. Principal Secretary of Minority Affairs Sk Nurul Haque said, `We have requested them to allocate the increased fund for development of the Minority and to include Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts under the MSDP in the 12th Plan’.

It is fact that, Rs 750 Cr was allocated in 11th Plan. Regarding this fund utilization Mr Haque said, `Six ITI colleges and two polytechnic colleges would be set up. Beside this, Two lakh students are to be given pre-matric Scholarship and one lakh post-matric scholarship’.

The CM has recently laid down foundation stone of a Polytechnic College for Minorities at Mallickpur of South 24 Parganas.

If added two more district with 12 Minority district funds would be shared with additional districts.

A few months back the Chief Minister had visited Darjeeling and Jalpaiguri districts and met Gorkha Janamukti Morcha leader. After that, she declared special package for these districts and now she has demanded inclusion of the two districts in MSDP project which is specially for Minority concentrated districts.

Besides this, after assuming office, CM Mamata visited Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri and some Maoist affected districts and announced special funds, but she has not yet visited Muslim dominated districts like Murshidabad, Maldah and North Dinajpur.

However, the Director of Cultural & Information Affairs, West Bengal, has recently said in a statement that, from 1-6-2011 to 10-1-2012 the state Government has completed the following works:

1. Rs 111.23 Cr has been distributed for Pre-matric & Post Matric Scholarship to the 6.84 lakh minority students in the year 2010-11. The same scholarship will be distributed among 8.77 lakh students up to 31-03-2012.

2. Allocated 20 acre land for Aliah University’s 20-storied building and 5 acre land for 12-storied Haj Bhawan at Rajarhat-New Town area.

3. 4500 Minority Young Boys & Girls have been given skill related training and this kind of training will be given to 5000 young boys & girls within 31-03-2012.

4. In last seven months the state govt. built 3279 homes under Indira Awas Yojana, 1458 ICDS centres, 896 additional classrooms and 155 Health centres.

5. Rs 6 Cr was granted for boundary wall of graveyards in several districts.

While Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee claims she has completed 90 percent works of Minority welfare development, the reality can be checked by the data given above. Muslim community leaders also allege that development of the minority community has not taken place on the ground as per chief minister’s announcement.

– zaidul haque, twocircles

Salafist threats against Christians must stop: Mahmoud Salem

January 30, 2012 by  
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Salafist threats against Christians must stopEgypt, January 27, 2012: Mahmoud Salem, a moderate Muslim and a member of the Free Egyptians Party, filed a suit against Yasser al-Bourhami, a Salafist cleric, accusing him of inciting hatred against Copts. He is also against any outrageous and violent use of Islam. So far, the authorities have ignored other suits filed by members of moderate Islamic parties.

For Mahmoud Salem, Islamist threats against Christians and other religious minorities are an outrage and must be stopped. A Muslim blogger and defeated candidate for the Free Egyptian Party (FEP), he spoke to a newspaper, Egypt Independent. Last week, he filed a suit against Yasser al-Bourhami, a Salafist cleric, for his hateful statements about Egypt’s Christian community.

“I filed this suit as someone who is a Muslim and who dislikes such claims being made about his religion as if they represent me,” he said. “I’m not the first person to file a lawsuit against them, but nobody follows up and investigates it,” he added.

The suit was filed with the General Prosecutors’ Office. Now, Salem will have to wait a week to get a response, and if nothing happens, he will have to follow up on the case with his lawyer.

During the elections, al-Bourhami and other Salafists called on Muslims to boycott Christian stores. Also during Coptic Christmas celebrations, Islamist clerics called Muslim politicians and religious leaders who expressed Season’s Greetings to Christians as heretics.

“Disdain for religion, specifically Christianity, is something the Islamists completely abuse as a tool to terrorize the people they disagree with,” Salem told Egypt Independent.

Salafists are the worst offenders in the anti-Christian hate campaign. Thanks to their good showing in the polls, they have 20 per cent of the seats in parliament.

Fear among Christians and moderate Muslims has increased since Islamists won. Together, the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists took 73 per cent of the vote, for a total of 358 seats out of 498.

In order to avoid losing support, the Muslim Brotherhood-controlled Freedom and Justice Party has tried to reassure religious minorities about their future, stressing that they would enjoy the same rights as Muslims.

However, emboldened by their good showing at the polls, the Salafists have continued to call Christians ‘infidels’, promising to throw them out of the country.

Sources told AsiaNews anti-Coptic slogans and statements are daily occurrences on TV, radio and the Internet.

In an interview on 17 January with Al-Ahwat, a British-based Arabic satellite TV network, Mgr Yohanna Golta, bishop of Andropolis and vice patriarch of Catholic Copts, said that Christian fears are real. In the future, radical muslims will exploit their electoral breakthrough.

“Salafists keep on saying that Christians must leave the country or pay the jizya, the poll tax imposed on non-Muslims or dhimmi.” If this passes, “Copts will become strangers in their own land.”

However, Christian salvation cannot and must not come from Western nations, but from moderate Egyptian Muslims, who were with many Christians the real architects of the Jasmine Revolution. They are example of an Islam that respects people, minorities and human rights.

– asianews

Religions meet in Jakarta for the Week of harmony

January 30, 2012 by  
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IndonesiaIndonesia, January 28, 2012: A great religious event takes place in Jakarta in early February, with the participation of all major faiths of the country. In addition to forums, discussions and speeches of the representatives there will be a ceremony of peace, the planting of some trees in the ‘Indonesian Parliament House.

A major event will take place in February in the wide spaces of the ‘Indonesian Parliament House (DPR) in Senayan, Central Jakarta. It is entitled: “World Interfaith Harmony Week.” This year, the Indonesian Inter-religious Council (IRC) will organize the event, founded by the King of Jordan, Abdullah II, September 23, 2010, during the UN General Assembly in New York.

The Secretary of “Religions for Peace in Indonesia,” Theophilus Bela, told AsiaNews that several meetings will take place during the event. On February 5, will be an open discussion with young interfaith activists, and this forum will be held at the headquarters of the second largest Islamic organization in the country, Muhammadiyah in central Jakarta.

On February 10, the Indonesian Parliament House will host participants in a ceremony where some trees will be planted for peace. February 12th, a long list of protagonists in interreligious dialogue will give interventions and reflections. All major religious organizations attended the event: the Indonesian Muslim Council (MUI), the Indonesian Bishops Conference (KWI), the Protestant Christian Synod (PGI), the Nahdlatul Ulama (NU), Muhammadiyah, the Hindu organization Parisadha Hindu Dharma, The Indonesian Buddhist community (Walubi) and the Indonesian High Council Kongchu.

Indonesia has long been shaken by incidents of violence against Christian minorities and Ahmadis, although the majority of the population practice a moderate form of Islam.

– asia news

Family Problems…

January 30, 2012 by  
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Family Problems

– fwd: fr.yesudas a

8 tips to be happy:

1 – Never be late

2 – Dont cheat

3 – Live simple

4 – Expect little

5 – Work more

6 – Alwayss smile

7 – Have faith in God

8 – Never lose hope !

Dalit Christians live in fear after attack *Bishop Cottons boys raise the bar

January 30, 2012 by  
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Dalit Christians living in fear after attack Karnataka, January 29, 2012: Nearly 20 days after a group of men attacked a gathering of Dalit Christians in Kooguru village, near Sarjapur, the handful of Dalit Christians in the village now live in fear of being ostracised. Ever since the nine-member group barged into the house of Puttamma when she was celebrating her son Suresh Babu’s 25th birthday on January 9 night, the four Dalit Christian families, mostly daily wage workers, in this 300-household village have been receiving explicit threats. The attack, which left 10 persons — including a pastor — injured, has largely gone unnoticed by the media. The attackers, who allegedly came from Sarjapur town 6 km away, fled when the commotion attracted other villagers.

“We have been threatened by a few in our village who said they would cut off water supply from our homes and seek the removal of our names from the ration card list,” Ms. Puttamma told The Hindu on Saturday. She herself was hit on the leg when she tried to stop the men attacking the pastor. Narayanamma, who was present in the house during the attack, said: “Some villagers have also asked people not to employ us in their farms. I haven’t found work in some time.”

None of these families even contemplate moving out. “This is my home. We have no other place to go,” Ms. Puttamma said.

Even though the village had not seen violence against their community for some time — villagers recall an incident around eight years ago where a Christian woman was forced to perform Hindu rituals and burn of copies of the Bible. A Hindu shopkeeper, on condition of anonymity, said that around four years ago she was threatened with dire consequences after she was found reading the Bible.

Anatomy of the attack

It was around 11 p.m. that the group of about 20 people, after dinner, knelt on the floor to sing religious songs. According to Pastor S. Shantakumar of the protestant church, Agape Prayer Hall in Anekal, everyone was in prayer barring two uninvited guests. “They had told [Ms.] Puttamma they had come for the prayer, but I could see that they were constantly fiddling with their phones,” said the pastor. He suspects that these two sent messages to others, who barged in at the end of the second song.

Grabbing whatever they could — curtain rods, brooms, even a keyboard in the house — the men assaulted those gathered, tearing down pictures of Jesus Christ put up on the walls, hurling abuses at the pastor, asking him to “stop conversions”.

Out on bail

Some victims recognised one of the gang members as being from Sarjapur, which led to the arrest of one person. Five surrendered before the court and three others remain absconding. The six men are currently out on bail, a fact the victims are unaware of.

Police officials investigating the case said though they believe the men were not connected to any organisation, they have been earlier named in cases involving attacks on those transporting cattle.

– mohit m. rao, thehindu

Bishop cottons boys graduate: event tweaked to perfection!

 

Bishop Cotton Boys SchoolKarnataka, January 30, 2012: There are three reasons why the huge crowd came to witness the impressive graduation of Bishop Cottons Boys School on 29 January 2012:
 
1. To see their sons cross the first great academic milestone in their lives;
2. To meet the Guests of Honour:
 – Ms Anita Gale, space Scientist, Boeing, USA
– Ms Heather Paul, Head Crew and Thermal systems, Johnson Space Center, USA
– Mr Jim Christensen, President, Aerospace Engineering Competition Corp, USA
 who selected the Terrific Ten Cottonians in the worldwide space design competition held at NASA and who praised the quality of their futuristic vision.
 
3. To experience the several emotional highs evoked by Paul Robeson-like baritone reminding one of the great biblical prophets! No eye was dry when the solemn pledge was administered to the graduating candidates to strive for honesty, integrity and excellence coupled with compassion for the less fortunate. The formal vocal delivery was christianed as the organ voice of the church!
 
Sitting through three and a half hours of speeches, songs and ceremony is no mean feat. But the audience stayed still purely on account of the quality of the uplifting ceremonial experience.
 
The visual display of each graduate on the giant screen gave importance to each individual. The soft music in the background was thoughtfully chosen. The “Be the Change” background issued a challenge to the 400 graduating pupils.
 
Chief Guest GK Pillai, former Union Home Secretary, most telling comment: Usually it is not the toppers who shine later in life; it is the middle rankers and laggards. This should give impetus to those who did not make it to the acme where there is little room
 
School Captain Rudra Gopinath spoke ex tempore and with ease; he will be remembered by the school for several years. He has gravitas and magnetism far beyond his years.
 
The graduation ceremony was perhaps the school’s best ever. It certainly will be difficult to beat by competition. The CSI Bishop Vasantha Kumar, the parents, the alumni and citizens saluted this achievement and this triumph. May God continue to make his countenance to shine upon them
 
– bg koshy

UP Phase 1: 51% candidates millionaire & 38% have criminal cases

January 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Election, Government, National, newsletter-india, State, Uttar Pradesh

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Uttar Pradesh ElectionUttar Pradesh, January 28, 2012: In the 2012 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, there is a clear rise in both the number of rich candidates and those with pending criminal cases across political parties. Compared to the 2007 assembly polls, in the Phase-1 poll due on 8th February, there are about 30% more millionaires and 10% more ‘criminals.’

Crime

Uttar Pradesh Election Watch on Saturday released a study report on the candidates of Phase-1 in Uttar Pradesh. The group studied affidavits of 284 candidates out of 867 in the Phase-1, and found that 109 out of 284 (38%) candidates have admitted criminal cases pending against them. In 2007, only 28% had pending criminal cases.

All main parties have fielded candidates with pending criminal cases but SP leads others.

Congress: 15 out of 54 (28%)
BSP: 24 out of 55 (44%)
BJP: 24 out of 55 (44%)
SP: 28 out of 55 (51%)
JDU: 5 out of 20 (25%)
Peace Party: 12 out of 42 (29%)
RLD: 1 out of 1 (100%)

Wealth

According to the report, the Phase-1 is seeing more millionaire candidates compared to the 2007 polls.

Some 144 out of 284 (51%) candidates are crorepati. In 2007, only 22% crorepati were candidates. While only 6 candidates have declared assets worth less than Rs one lakh. In terms of average wealth per candidate, ruling BSP leads other parties.

Avg wealth per candidate in parties:
SP: 1.74 Cr
BSP: 3.83 Cr
BJP: 1.56 Cr
INC: 1.34 Cr
Peace Party: 1.01 Cr
JDU: 32.09 Lakh

Education

Besides, 163 out of 284 candidates whose affidavits were studied are graduate or higher degrees.

Women candidates

While in debates on the floor of Parliament each party was trying to score more points over other by supporting the 33% women reservation in legislatures, when it comes to the ground, hardly any party has fielded more than 10% women candidates.

In the Phase-1 poll of UP, there are only 65 women candidates out of total 867 (7%).

BSP: 5 out of 55 (9%)
BJP: 6 out of 55 (11%)
INC: 4 out of 54 (7%)
SP: 4 out of 55 (7%)

Await more such info from states going to polls.

– tcn news

Men need to be partners for women’s empowerment

January 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Lifestyles, newsletter-india, Women’s Empowerment

Comments Off on Men need to be partners for women’s empowerment

Men need to be partnersTamil Nadu, January 28, 2012: Recently the All India Muslim Personal Law Board (AIMPLB) women’s wing held a conference in Chennai for a day and threw it open only for women. The concept of the conference was “Muslim women’s empowerment”. The decision to allow only women to attend the conference surprised me. I will explain the reasons for my surprise.

Women empowerment concept has a broader and deeper perspective. Those who are not aware of the real meaning of it think that education and employment would empower women. Muslims are ready to accept the need for education and but not yet ready for employment and economic independence of women for various reasons. They do not understand that education, employment and legal awareness are, only the tools of empowerment and will not guarantee empowerment per se. If these tools have to succeed in achieving the end i.e. the empowerment of women, several other qualities are to be acquired by women. Even after acquiring the required qualities they can not truly achieve empowerment without men’s support. Behind every successful woman there is a supportive father or husband and even sons. Empowerment of women is not possible without men’s solid support.

Several of the offences against the women are committed by men. If many unfortunate women suffer in silence, driven to frustration and depression, it is because of the strangulating acts of men. No women can achieve empowerment if the men in their life have very narrow vision about women’s role in the family. Behind the menace of dowry, delayed marriage of Muslim girls the greed of men is there. Behind domestic violence and non dignified treatment of women are men. If education and employment rights are denied to women, the men in their life are responsible. If women are treated as non entity and not allowed to participate in the decision making process regarding the family matters, it is again, the men who do not want to give due credit to women’s wisdom are responsible. Therefore it is the mind-set of men which has to change regarding women’s role in the family, the society and the nation.

With a supportive father or husband and sons women can blossom with radiance and live with dignity. That is why Allah has created a world with both men and women and wants them to live in harmony. He has not created two worlds one for men and another for women. Therefore, half the battle regarding Muslim women’s empowerment can be won with changing the mind set of men towards women’s basic requirements. Then, why men are not allowed to participate in such conferences? What is the use of creating awareness only among women about women empowerment issues and without making men understand them? What purpose can be served if the struggles and problems which stand in the way of empowerment of women are not conveyed to men? It is time for the Muslim leaders to rise above narrow vision in the name of Islam. It is not at all wise to conduct conferences on women matters by banning the participation of men in the discussion.

– dr. prof . rameeza. a. rasheed

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