Let Your Children Speak

March 31, 2012 by  
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Sh…..! Don’t talk, be silent. The world is on its toes to strive for high ideas and everywhere life is full of heroism. The virtues of perfection and competition echo in the minds of every parent which they experiment on their young minds.
“Listen to me, someone listen to me, I too have my story, listen to me”, is the lonely cry of a child today. “Students don’t talk, be silent”, is the normal song of a teacher, during class ours. Absolutely there is no chance for a child to speak.
Then after lunch break, children are busy finishing their assignments. Games time is substituted to learn computer. In system like CBSC or ICSC, a child may not have talked to his classmate for months together or a child may not be aware that his/her friend is absent for many days, because present interaction remains only at the intellectual level and fails reach the heart. The chains of punishments are the common remedy made use of by teachers to silence the children which gradually instills fear in them.
A child comes to school with its lonely face, remains lonely and goes back home carrying loneliness. When a child takes two steps down from school premises with his/her friends, school bus will be ready to separate them. Silence is as sweet as honey but is it wise to insert our head into the nest of the bees in order to taste honey? Alas! Great will be the result.
A child reaches home but finds no one except a few servants. Hot Tiffin and tea are ready but the child is not happy. It is in search of someone to share its day’s experience but finds none. Soon after tea, the child runs to the room to finish its heavy homework.
Then it hears a voice, “hurry up, baby, hurry up, it is already time for tuition, fast, you need to be quick”. The child returns home, when it is almost dark. For months together, it has not seen a play ground because the child is busy with its intellectual work. In the context of a city, children are not aware, who is the nest door neighbor. TV, music and modern technologies are the only companions at home.
When the mother is very busy on the phone, conversing with her friends the child comes to the mother and says, “Mamma”. “Sh…..! Your mamma is very busy, go to your room and study!” is the answer of a mother. At the corner of a room daddy is confined to his desk with some files or computer, continuing his second shift of office work at home. So naturally to child has no opportunity to speak to daddy.
The child comes to dining hall and the table is set. Delicious dinner is ready. But there is no one to accompany the child. And yet again after the dinner TV becomes its only companion because parents are busy discussing office matters, the future of the child, the problems of the country, the problems in neihbourhood etc… Parents you are discussing the future of the child, but what about the present? The same story continues in the morning because before child could get up, parents are out of the house. A child lives a lonely circle of life.
Parents your child wants to shout, scream, laugh, play, share and recreate that means it desires to recreate itself once again. The fountain force of emotions and feelings of children are tied up in their subconscious level as a volcanic force. A time comes, when the volcano will burst into a tsunami and great will be its tragedy.
Parents if you’re grown up children are not on the track, don’t ask the children for reason, rather ask yourself. If they are all the time on the cell phone or not relating to you in a proper manner, don’t question your children, but question yourself. Parents let your child speak; let it have a holistic and an integrated life.
– fwd: christable frank

Focus on Scripture, not Worries *600,000 lives lost to cancer in 2010

March 30, 2012 by  
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“I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread.” (Job 23:12b NIV)

The Bible repeatedly urges us to meditate on who God is, what he has done, and what he has said.

It is impossible to be God’s friend apart from knowing what he says.

You can’t love God unless you know him, and you can’t know him without knowing his Word.

The Bible says God “revealed himself to Samuel through his word” (1 Samuel 3:21).

God still uses that method today.

While you cannot spend all day studying the Bible, you can think about it throughout the day, recalling verses you have read or memorized and mulling them over in your mind.

Meditation is often misunderstood as some difficult, mysterious ritual practiced by isolated monks and mystics.

But meditation is simply focused thinking — a skill anyone can learn and use anywhere.

When you think about a problem over and over in your mind, that’s called Worry.

When you think about God’s Word over and over, that’s Meditation.

If you know how to worry, you already know how to meditate!

You just need to switch your attention from your problems to Bible verses.

The more you meditate on God’s Word, the less you will have to worry about.

The reason God considered Job and David his close friends was that they valued his Word above everything else, and they thought about it continually throughout the day.

Job admitted, “I have treasured the words of his mouth more than my daily bread” (Job 23:12)

When you read your Bible or hear a sermon or listen to a CD, don’t just forget it and walk away.

Develop the practice of reviewing the truth in your mind, thinking about it over and over.

The more time you spend reviewing what God has said, the more you will understand the “secrets” of this life that most people miss.

– fwd: valliamannil Mathews

600,000 lives lost to cancer in 2010


New Delhi, March 29, 2012: The study was conducted by 800 professionals.

A recent study has revealed that cancer claimed 600,000 lives in India in 2010.

The new Million Death Study published in The Lancet journal was conducted by 800 professionals, who went door-to-door across one million urban and rural homes.

A major finding of the study was that 70 per cent of cancer deaths occurred among the age groups of 30 to 69 years.

The study is significant because till now all the cancer data available was derived from Cancer Registries and 90 per cent of them are based in big cities.

“The young are more affected with cancer in India whereas in the western countries people who are 70 years and above are the most affected. One reason could be that life expectancy in the west is much more,” said Poonam Khetrapal Singh, Deputy Regional Director, WHO-SEARO.

The most common cancers in men are that of stomach and lung while cervical and breast cancers affect most women.

Jammu and Kashmir has the lowest rates of cancer and Mizoram the highest. Experts say this sort of variance across the country needs an urgent study.

The study also found tobacco to be the biggest killer responsible for 40 per cent of male cancers.

– ibnlive

Two USCIRF Commissioners appointed

March 30, 2012 by  
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USA, March 26, 2012: The U.S. Congress has appointed two individuals, Dr. Robert P. George and Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, to serve as Commissioners on the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF).

Comprised of nine commissioners, USCIRF monitors and advocates for religious freedom abroad wherever that right is being abused.  USCIRF also offers policy solutions to improve conditions at the critical juncture of foreign policy, national security, and international religious freedom standards. On March 20, the Commission issued its 2012 annual report which recommended to the Secretary of State that the Obama administration designate 16 nations as countries of particular concern under the International Religious Freedom Act.

Dr. George was appointed by The Speaker of the House John Boehner. Dr. Jasser was appointed by the Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“USCIRF welcomes the appointments of Dr. George and Dr. Jasser,” said Leonard Leo, USCIRF chair. “Along with my fellow Commissioners, Azizah al-Hibri, Rev. William Shaw, and Theodore Van Der Meid, we look forward to the many contributions they will make to the Commission’s work. USCIRF has accomplished much, but much is left to be done.  The Commission will continue to work with Congress and the Executive Branch to ensure that religious freedom is upheld as a universal human right, and that policies advancing its protection are fully integrated components of U.S. foreign and national security policy.”

Dr. Robert P. George is McCormick Professor of Jurisprudence and Director of the James Madison Program in American Ideals and Institutions at Princeton University.  He has served on the President’s Council on Bioethics and as a presidential appointee to the United States Commission on Civil Rights.  He is a former Judicial Fellow at the Supreme Court of the United States, where he received the Justice Tom C. Clark Award. A graduate of Swarthmore College and Harvard Law School, Professor George earned a doctorate in philosophy of law from Oxford University. He was elected to Phi Beta Kappa at Swarthmore, and received a Knox Fellowship from Harvard for graduate study in law and philosophy at Oxford.  He is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and is a recipient of the United States Presidential Citizens Medal and the Honorific Medal for the Defense of Human Rights of the Republic of Poland.

Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser is president and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy which advocates for the preservation of the founding principles of the U.S. Constitution, liberty and freedom, through the separation of mosque and state. He is also a founding member of the American Islamic Leadership Coalition which represents a diverse group of reform minded American Muslim leaders. The son of Syrian immigrants, Dr. Jasser is a former Lieutenant Commander in the United States Navy where he served 11 years.  Dr. Jasser is a nationally recognized expert who is widely published and has spoken at hundreds of national and international events and given testimony to Congress on the value of the centrality of religious liberty in the contest of ideas within Islam. Dr. Jasser is an author and a physician currently in private practice in Phoenix Arizona specializing in internal medicine and nuclear cardiology.

– uscirf

Syria: Growing Islamist influence; Christians vulnerable *Bombed Iraqi church reopens, but…

March 30, 2012 by  
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Syria, March 28, 2012: The uprising in Syria is taking on an increasingly Islamist character as al-Qaeda militants infiltrate the country, rebel bands declare “jihad” and the Muslim Brotherhood gains political strength.

The opposition to President Assad comprises disparate groups with varying agendas, but, as happened in Tunisia, Egypt and Libya, Islamists are now becoming prominent in Syria. Their influence is coming from both inside and outside the country, and while some, such as the Muslim Brotherhood, are pursuing a political agenda, others, including al-Qaeda, are using terrorist tactics.

US officials have warned that al-Qaeda militants from Iraq are infiltrating Syria; recent suicide bombings in Damascus and Aleppo have borne the hallmark of the group. Worryingly, Christian neighbourhoods have been targeted in a number of the blasts.

Al-Qaeda supporters are largely Sunni Muslims extremists; Sunnis are the majority group in Syria and central to the opposition. The regime is dominated by the minority Shiite Alawite sect and closely allied with Shiite Iran.

Call for Jihad

Some rebel bands are using the language of jihad and urging others to join them in a holy war. A spokesman for the “god is great” Brigade said on the Internet:

To our fellow revolutionaries, don’t be afraid to declare jihad in the path of god. Seek victory from the one god. God is the greatest champion. Instead of fighting for a faction, fight for your nation, and instead of fighting for your nation, fight for god.

Influential Muslim clerics have been calling on Syrians to bring down President Assad. One Syrian Salafi cleric, Sheikh Adnan al-Aroor, who is based in the Gulf, regularly delivers provocative speeches broadcast on Saudi TV channels calling for jihad against the “infidel” Assad regime.   

And Safwat Hejazi, a prominent Muslim cleric in Egypt, told a rally in Cairo in support of the uprising that it was the duty of every Muslim to kill the Syrian president.

Political sway

Meanwhile, the Muslim Brotherhood, which emerged from the Egyptian revolution as the biggest political winner, is gathering strength in Syria. Their dominance in the Syrian National Council, the body that is establishing itself as the opposition’s political leadership, has provoked several prominent figures to quit.

One of them, Kamal Labwani, a veteran secular dissident, said that the council was “a liberal front for the Muslim Brotherhood” and that the Islamist group was trying to build allegiances on the ground in Syria. He and others say that the Brotherhood is distributing money and weapons in its bid to win support.

President Assad and his father before him kept a tight leash on the Brotherhood; membership of the group has been punishable by death.

Christians vulnerable

The increasing influence of Islamists in Syria is extremely concerning for the country’s sizeable Christian minority, who, before the revolution, enjoyed considerable freedom and peace. As perceived supporters of the government, they have already been suffering grave abuses at the hands of the opposition.

The Christian community in Homs has been the worst affected. They have been subject to kidnappings, gruesomely brutal murders, and severe damage to their homes. Last week, anti-government forces there occupied the evangelical school and the evangelical home for the elderly. In response the army shelled both buildings. Despite several direct hits on the home, only one person was killed. The anti-government forces fled and the army then moved in to clear the landmines planted at the school by the rebels, as well as advancing on two other Christian neighbourhoods. 

One senior Christian leader in Aleppo expressed his fear that as the insurgency becomes increasingly militant, the terrorism may be geared in part “toward the non-partisan, defenceless and easily victimised Christian communities”.

– barnabas team

Bombed Iraqi church reopens. Anti-Christian attacks continue


Iraq, March 27, 2012: Beleaguered Iraqi Christians gathered for “a moment of real celebration” as a church that was bombed over six years ago was officially reopened.

The church in Kirkuk has now been fully restored after the car bomb attack on 29 January 2006, in which a 13-year-old Christian boy, Fadi Raad Elias, was killed. The teenager had stopped at the church on his way home from school to pray and thank Jesus for good school grades.

Last week, at the official reopening, the building was packed with Christians and church leaders from other parishes for what one believer described as “a moment of real celebration”.

Archbishop Louis Sako paid tribute to the young “martyr”, Fadi, and said that such bloodshed was “an invitation to persevere” despite the “challenges” that the Christian community continues to face. He called for Christians not to leave Iraq, but to stay and witness for Christ.

The attack on the church in 2006 was part of a coordinated series of bombings, timed to coincide with the end of Sunday services. Another church in Kirkuk was targeted, plus two in Baghdad.

The reopening celebration was but a brief respite in the ongoing suffering of Iraq’s Christian community, signalled by two further attacks last week.

On Thursday (22), the body of Salman Dawoud Salman (45) was found riddled with bullets in Mosul. He had been shot nine times at close range. The freelance photographer had been kidnapped four days earlier. Iraqi Christians are often targeted by kidnappers for ransom.       

A church in Baghdad was hit last Tuesday (20) in a series of over 20 bomb attacks across the country. Two guards were killed and five people wounded when a bomb exploded near the church. The attacks were carried out by extremists to coincide with the ninth anniversary of the US invasion of Iraq.

– barnabas team

Hindu girl to Pak SC: Rather die than convert to Islam

March 30, 2012 by  
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Pakistan, March 28, 2012: Seized by an influential Muslim, with the “political cover” of an elected official, 19 year old Rinkel Kumari launches a desperate appeal to the courts. “Justice is denied Hindus in Pakistan” and therefore asks to “kill me here” in the courtroom. The family, after reporting to police, forced to leave the village in Sindh. Each year there are 300 forced marriages and conversions.

“In Pakistan there is justice only for Muslims, justice is denied Hindus. Kill me here, now, in court. But do not send me back to the Darul-Aman [Koranic school] … kill me”. This is the desperate, heartbreaking outburst of Rinkel Kumari, a Hindu girl aged 19, who has entrusted her heartfelt appeal to the judges of the Supreme Court in Islamabad. Her story is similar to that of many other young women and girls belonging to religious minorities – Christians, Hindus, Sikhs, Ahmadis – kidnapped by extremist groups or individuals, most of the time lords or local mafia, which convert them by force and then marry them . And that is what the girl said on 26 March, before the judges of the capital’s court.

The drama of Rinkel Kumari, a student of Mirpur Mathelo, a small village in the province of Sindh, began the evening of February 24: A handful of men seized her and delivered her a few hours later into the hands of a wealthy Muslim scholar, the man then called her parents, warning them that their daughter “wants to convert to Islam.”

Nand Lal, the girl’s father, a teacher of an elementary school, accused Naveed Shah, an influential Muslim, of kidnapping his daughter. The man has the “political cover” provided by Mian Mittho, an elected National Assembly Member, suspected of aiding and abetting. After identifying the perpetrators of the kidnapping of his daughter, he was forced to leave the area of origin to escape the threats of people affiliated with the local mafia. The father found refuge and welcome in Gurdwara in Lahore, in Punjab province, with the rest of his family.

As often happens in these cases, even the judiciary is complicit: a local judge ordered that the girl should be given to the Muslims, because her conversion is “the result of a spontaneous decision” and also stated the marriage was above board. A claim that was repeated on February 27, at the hearing before the court, after which the girl was “renamed” Faryal Shah.

However, the story of Rinkel is not an isolated case: every month between 25 and 30 young people suffer similar abuses, for a yearly total of about 300 conversions and forced marriages. Hindu girls – but also Christian – who are torn from their family and delivered into the hands of their husbands / torturers.

On March 26, she appeared before the judges of the Supreme Court in Islamabad, while the Hindu community waited with bated breath for the girl’s statements in court. To avoid pressure, the presiding judge ordered the courtroom cleared and – later – the dramatic testimony was relayed: in Pakistan, “there is no” justice, “kill me here but do not send me back” to the kidnappers.

Speaking to AsiaNews Fr. Anwar Patras, the Diocese of Rawalpindi, condemned “with force” the kidnapping and forced conversion. “The Hindus in Sindh – adds the priest – live a hard life. The reality is getting harder for them, they are forced to migrate because the state is unable to protect them and their property.

– asianews

Resolve Maoist issue through talks, says archbishop

March 30, 2012 by  
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West Bengal, March 29, 2012: By initiating humanitarian service in Maoist affected areas, the rebels can be brought to the negotiating table, he said.

The Maoist issue in West Bengal could be resolved through a process of dialogue, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata has said.

By initiating humanitarian service in the affected areas, the rebels can be brought to the negotiating table, he said yesterday.

“Our solution to the (Maoist) problem is one of prayer, reconciliation and service,” he said replying to a query on whether the Church had any solution to the Maoist issue.

“The Church’s work in education and healthcare can help bring about reconciliation and pave the way for a dialogue.”

He said the Church’s missions in West Midnapore were doing well in Maoists areas and were quite reconciled with the people there.

However, he lamented that the Church has not been able to reach out to Maoists active in the deep jungles of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts.

He was talking to the media on the sidelines of the Regional Mission Congress.

On Pope Benedict XVI’s remark that communism had lost relevance in the world, Archbishop D’Souza said “whether communism or Christianity, the love for the poor is common to both. But (Communist) methodology to achieve this may be irrelevant.”

Asked to comment on CPI(M) Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai’s reported call to the Catholic Church to collaborate with the party in improving the lives of the poor, he said, “We believe whoever is not against us, with us.”

He said late Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and Mother Teresa both treated each other with respect because both had concerns for the poor.

“The Church is not against working with others in improving lives of the poor.”

Earlier, Apostolic Nuncio Salvatore Pennachhio celebrated Mass to mark the close of the Mission Congress.

It was attended by bishops, priests and laity from the diocese of Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnagar and Raigunj.

– ucan

Kandhamal: Court acquits 156 & 1 given life term

March 30, 2012 by  
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Victims at the National People's Tribunal on Kandhamal held in Delhi.

Victims at the National People's Tribunal on Kandhamal held in Delhi.

Orissa, March 26, 2012: About 156 persons were acquitted by two fast track courts in Kandhamal last week.

The acquittal was in connection to three separate incidents that originated during the violence against Christians in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in 2007 and August 2008.

Citing lack of proper evidences, Additional Sessions Judge SK Das of Fast Track Court-I acquitted 14 persons in a house burning incident at village Dakedi under G Udayagiri Police station.

In another case, the Additional Sessions Judge of Fast Court-II acquitted all the 142 persons arrested by the Brahmunigam police in two cases of torching houses during the violence in 2007, according to the Press Trust of India.

In the midst of the large number of acquittals, only one person was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.  The Fast Track Court-I convicted Kartik Parmanik for the murder of Ramesh Digal of Dakarpanga village in the Raikia police station area on August 25, 2008.

Additional Sessions Judge SK Das sentenced Parmanik to life and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000. Raikia police had earlier arrested Parmanik after a complaint was lodged by the victim’s brother, Naresh Digal. According to sources, Ramesh was murdered while fleeing with his family when his house was set on fire.

The communally-sensitive Kandhamal district had witnessed largescale violence in the aftermath of the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.

More than 50 Christians were killed and at least 50,000 displaced during the violence that continued for over two months. It is reported that out of 3,300 complaints filed by victims in the local police stations only 831 have been registered as FIRs.

Last week, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, placed India on the ‘Watch List’ of countries with severe violations of religious freedom, primarily due to lack of progress in achieving justice for victims of past large-scale incidents of communal violence.

The independent federal agency called on US to urge the Indian government to strengthen the ability of state and central police to provide effective measures to prohibit and punish cases of religious violence to the fullest extent of the law while protecting victims and witnesses.

– christian today

The Indonesian government wants to ban miniskirts

March 30, 2012 by  
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Indonesia, March 29, 2012: The ban would take effect from May and is part of the country’s morality campaign. It will not regard the tourist resorts of Bali and Papua, where tribal people live. Criticism from human rights activists. Former President Megawati speaks of a diversionary tactic to divert attention from real problems.

Indonesia is banning miniskirts. According to Suryadharma Ali, Minister for Religious Affairs, the government is determined to “fight with seriousness,” the tendency of women to wear sexy outfits, including the world famous “mini” because it is inconsistent with Islamic principles and morals. The decision has been met with praise from radical movements, including the approval of the Ulema Council (MUI) which invites the female world to wear “Muslim clothing”. Opposition and human rights activists call on the executive to deal with the economy and dismiss the proposal as a desperate attempt to divert attention from the more concrete problems, such as rising fuel prices (see AsiaNews 28/03/2012 Clashes break out across Indonesia over rising diesel and gasoline prices, many injured), while ingratiating himself with the local extremist fringe.

The intention to ban “sexy” clothing was made by Ali – current president of the pro-Islamic United Development Party (PPP) – During a parliamentary session in Senayan, Central Jakarta. He has also covered the subject as a “secretary general” of the newly-created Presidential Task Force, called to fight against pornography as requested by Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono in mid-March.

By Decree No 25/anno 2012, the Head of State marked the official birth of the Commission, under the direction of the minister for welfare Agung Laksono, it will monitor the customs, including clothing, and any performances of a sexual nature in public place. The “anti-miniskirt” law should come into force next May, tourist resort of Bali, where there are many foreigners, and the province of Papua, where tribal people native to the area continue to wear clothes traditional “mini” will be exempt.

Former President Megawati, leader of the nationalist Indonesian Democratic Party Struggle (PDIP) fiercely criticizes the government’s proposal, it only serves to distract the public from more concrete problems, such as rising fuel prices which has caused enormous social tensions. Criticism also from human rights movements: Andi Yentiani, the national commission for women’s rights, emphasizes that “there are more important issues that need to be addressed.”

Indonesia is famous for its campaigns of moralization, in the name of Shariah and Islamic custom: among them the recent proposal for cancellation of the Lady Gaga concert, the fight against the flag-raising “because Muhammad had never done it”; invectives against the popular social network Facebook because “amoral”, against yoga, smoking, jeans and the right to vote, especially for women.

– asianews

AP: Jesus statue vandalized twice *Karnataka: Hindutva persecution *Gujarat: Church refutes conversion charge

March 29, 2012 by  
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Andhra Pradesh, March 29, 2012: On 24th March, 2012, a statue of Jesus was vandalized in Jadcharla, Andhra Pradesh for the second time this month.

This act of vandalism occurred between 1 and 2 am on the 24th of March. This was the second time that the statue has come under attack this month. On the 1st of March, the statue’s glass enclosure was shattered by unknown miscreants. Ronald John, the district president of All India Christian Council (aicc-Mahabubnagar) rushed to the spot. A few politicians and Christian leaders from the locality also visited the location and expressed their solidarity over the incident. They vowed to see that the miscreants were penalized.

A forensic lab crew is presently investigating the crime scene for any clues that would yield leads to pin down the culprits. Security around the locality has also been beefed up with about 30 constables deployed to keep watch of the streets.

– aicc

Karnataka: Hindutvas beat pastor & believers


Karnataka, March 29, 2012: Pastor Mallikarjun has been active with his ministry in Gadag District of Karnataka during the last 2 and half years. He has a congregation of about 35 believers. In the surrounding 3 villages there are altogether 3 fellowships with a total membership of about 60 members. The pastor lives with his wife Manjula (33) and their 3 children two girls and a boy, aged 1, 5 and 7 years.

On Wednesday, 28th March, the pastor went for a prayer meeting at the residence of a believer which is about 15 kilometers away from his village. Also as there was a festival in the village yesterday, after the prayer meeting, the pastor along with 4 of his believer friends began distributing some handbills about the Christian faith to the people assembled for the festival. This infuriated some Hindu fundamentalists and at about 1.30 pm one Ravi Bagle and his friends, all members of the local RSS unit, attacked them and beat them up mercilessly. Then they dragged all the five of them to the police station and filed a complaint against them alleging that they were forcibly trying to convert Hindus to Christianity.

In the meantime the GCIC came to know about the arrest and got in touch with some of the known police officials and succeeded in getting 3 of the believers released at about 11 pm. The pastor was charged under sections 107 and 157 of IPC and was about to be produced before the magistrate. The GCIC immediately got a lawyer, and he succeeded in getting the pastor and the other believer too released at about 1.30 am. But the pastor had to meet the Tahsildar on 29th morning and give his version. The case is on. Please pray for Pastor Mallikarjun.

– persecution.in

Gujarat Church refutes conversion charge


Gujarat, March 29, 2012: Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity.

The Church in Gujarat has termed a probe into proselytization charge against it as “intimidatory and harassing” tactics by the state government.

A forum for Peace and Justice based in Petlad town of Anand district had alleged that 32 minor dalit children were converted into Christianity by a Roman Catholic Church at Khambat taluka.

Father Cedric Prakash, convenor Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace described the charges as “baseless, misleading and mischievous,”.

He said the forum was referring to the ceremony where some Catholic children were conferred sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation at the Khambat church.

Forum coordinator Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity at Roman Catholic Church of Nagra and on February 12 nearly 15 other minor children were converted at the denomination’s Church in Cambay.

He alleged that the schedule caste children, who belonged to the weavers’ community, were converted without their parents knowledge.

However, three church officials including Frs. Andrews Silvera, Vinay and Piyush from the Cambay church have rubbished the claims.

“All the children whose names have been mentioned are Christians by birth so there is no question of conversion. Their parents were present during a ceremony that was held,” said Fr Silvera.

He said they have made their statements to the police on Tuesday.

“This is another clear instance of how minorities in Gujarat continue to be intimidated and harassed by right-wing forces in nexus with powerful vested interests,” said Fr Prakash.

– ucan

Delhi Catholic NGO sore with Congress selection of candidates *Orissa: Unfulfilled deals behind abductions

March 29, 2012 by  
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Sheila DixitNew Delhi, March 29, 2012: Being the official laity organization of the Catholic Church in Delhi, the Federation of Catholic Associations of Archdiocese of Delhi  (FCAAD) decided its prayerful manpower support to the Congress Party for the coming three municipal corporation elections in Delhi state and proposed two eminent Congress Party workers / leaders for considering their names for the said election as candidates. We specifically requested that the selection of candidate should be on merit basis with a focus to the congress workers, those who are having grass root work experience with secular mind setup.

However, the said request of FCAAD for genuine candidate for the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections were rejected by the Congress Party without any justification and reasons. Therefore, FCAAD has appealed to Catholics and citizens of Delhi to cast their valuable votes for the best candidate beyond their regular political affiliation. They have urged that the candidate’s track record and those who have good work experience for the respective constituency be considered for a better Delhi. The FCAAD council also unanimously decided to revoke the earlier decision for its prayerful manpower support to the Congress party for the coming three municipal corporation seats in the state.

Orissa: Unfulfilled deals behind abductions


Orissa, March 28, 2012: Some members of opposition parties accuse the Biju Janata Dal government of having reached a secret pact with Maoists before last year’s state elections. Yesterday, the uncle of a witness in a 2008 anti-Christian pogrom trial was abducted. A local judge does not intervene. Only the action of the Global Council of Indian Christians obtains his release.

Negotiations between the Orissa government and Maoist rebels are at a standstill because of unfulfilled promises. Some members of opposition party accuse the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of a secret deal with the rebels in exchange for votes in the last elections. When the state government failed to keep its part of the deal, Maoists abducted Jhina Hikaka, the BJD MLA for the Koraput District. For their part, mediators from both sides want Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to give indications as to which of the 13 rebel demands he is willing to meet in order to get the release of the abducted lawmaker and Italian tourist Paolo Bosusco.

Hikaka was kidnapped last Saturday by the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zone Committee (AOBSZC), a rival Maoist group to the Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC), which abducted Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo in Kandhamal District on 14 March. Colangelo was released on Sunday. In exchange for their electoral support, the BJD government was supposed to release three jailed Maoist leaders and put an end to Green Hunt, an anti-Maoist operation.

“Ties between the BJD and the Maoists are not a secret,” said Ashok Sahoo, vice president of the Orissa branch of the Hindu ultranationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).

“This speaks volumes of the government’s sincerity to tackle the Maoist menace in the state,” said Prasad Harichandan, a senior Congress leader.

According to other members of the opposition, Patnaik also knew about the secret deal.

In the meantime, more people are being abducted in the state and the government is not saying much about it. This is the case of Saira Nayak, who was briefly held yesterday by a group of kidnappers.

His nephew, Keshab Nayak, is a key witness in a trial involving a former village council head, Susant Pradhan, and 27 other council members who were charged with torching a house in Mahaguda village during the 2008 anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal.

Yesterday morning, Keshab Nayak and four other people gave evidence in court. After they finished, the accused threatened to kill the witnesses and make their relatives suffer if they did not retract the accusations. Sometime later, at 3 pm (local time), Saira Nayak was kidnapped.

His relatives turned to a local judge for help, but all they got was advice to wait. Only when the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) and its lawyers intervened did police act, eventually securing the kidnap victim’s release.

However, whilst Saira Nayak’s abductors are still free, his nephew Keshab has decided to retract his testimony.

This has pushed GCIC president Sajan George to appeal to Orissa’s Justice Minister. “Please,” he urged, “protect those who can testify in the Kandhamal pogrom cases”.

– asianews

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