Christians Under-represented – CSF. K Rehman Khan is the new Minority Minister

October 29, 2012 by  
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Two more Muslims sworn in, total number up to six.

K Rehman Khan

K Rehman Khan

New Delhi, October 28, 2012: K Rehman Khan, Congress Rajya Sabha MP from Karnataka, is the new Cabinet Minister for the Minority Affairs. Khan was so far Deputy Chairman of the Upper House.

So long Salman Khurshid was holding the additional charge of minority ministry, along with the Law Ministry. Khurshid is likely to become the next Minister of External Affairs.

Ninong Ering, Congress MP from Arunachal Pradesh, becomes the new MoS in the Minority Affairs ministry. Tarique Anwar of NCP was also sworn in as minister of state (MoS). He will work under his his party supremo Sharad Pawar, as Mos for Agriculture & Food Processing Industries. Abu Hasem Khan Choudhury, Congress MP from Malda South in West Bengal and brother of late Ghani Khan Choudhury, was also sworn in as MoS. He will be in the ministry of Health & Family Welfare.

This brings the total number of Muslim ministers in the Manmohan Singh cabinet to six. Besides Khurshid, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Farooq Abdullah are ministers of cabinet rank; while E. Ahmed is a MoS. In all a total of 22 ministers were today administered the oath, in what PM Manmohan Singh described as the last probable reshuffle before the elections.

– tcn

Laughter is the Best Medicine – 15 Fascinating Facts About Smiling

October 27, 2012 by  
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Laughter is the Best Medicine 1

Everyone loves the quote “laughter is the best medicine,” and as a nurse, I have experienced the benefits of smiling and laughter with my patients.

In fact, smiling can boost your mood and even your immune system.

Keep reading for more fascinating facts about our smiles.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 1

1. Forcing yourself to smile can boost your mood:
Psychologists have found that even if you’re in bad mood, you can instantly lift your spirits by forcing yourself to smile.

2. It boosts your immune system:
Smiling really can improve your physical health, too.
Your body is more relaxed when you smile, which contributes to good health and a stronger immune system.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 3

3. Smiles are Contagious:
It’s not just a saying: smiling really is contagious, scientists say.
In a study conducted in Sweden, people had difficulty frowning when they looked at other subjects who were smiling, and their muscles twitched into smiles all on their own.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 4

4. Smiles Relieve Stress:
Your body immediately releases endorphins when you smile, even when you force it.

This sudden change in mood will help you feel better and release stress.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 4

5.  It’s easier to smile than to frown:
Scientists have discovered that your body has to work harder and use more muscles to frown than it does to smile.

6.  It’s a Universal Sign of Happiness:
While handshakes, hugs, and bows all have varying meanings across cultures, smiling is known around the world and in all cultures as a sign of happiness and acceptance.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 4

7. We still smile at work:
While we smile less at work than we do at home, 30% of subjects in a research study smiled five to 20 times a day, and 28% smiled over 20 times per day at the office.

8. Smiles use from 5 to 53 facial muscles:
Just smiling can require your body to use up to 53 muscles, but some smiles only use 5 muscle movements.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 7

9.  Babies are born with the ability to smile:
Babies learn a lot of behaviours and sounds from watching the people around them, but scientists believe that all babies are born with the ability, since even blind babies smile.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 8

10. Smiling helps you get promoted:
Smiles make a person seem more attractive, sociable and confident, and people who smile more are more likely to get a promotion.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 9


11. Smiles are the most easily recognizable facial expression:
People can recognize smiles from up to 300 feet away, making it the most easily recognizable facial expression.

12.  Women smile More than Men:
Generally, women smile more than men, but when they participate in similar work or social roles, they smile the same amount.

This finding leads scientists to believe that gender roles are quite flexible.
Boy babies, though, do smile less than girl babies, who also make more eye contact.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 10

13. Smiles are more attractive than makeup:
A research study conducted by Orbit Complete discovered that 69% of people find women more attractive when they smile than when they are wearing makeup.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 10

14.  There are 19 different types of smiles:
UC-San Francisco researcher identified 19 types of smiles and put them into two categories:
polite “social” smiles which engage fewer muscles, and sincere “felt” smiles that use more muscles on both sides of the face.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 12

15. Babies start smiling as newborns:
Most doctors believe that real smiles occur when babies are awake at the age of four-to-six weeks, but babies start smiling in their sleep as soon as they’re born.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 13
Even If you think after the reading the whole article that there is no reason to smile and life is hopeless…
I wanna introduce you to the author of all smiles…

Yes..He is Christ Jesus Our Lord and Saviour.

Laughter is the Best Medicine 14

He is Smiling at You… He is eagerly waiting to hug you.. and that love which you receive at that moment… no human can comprehend.. and the joy that proceeds out of it is indescribable..

Come Give Christ a Hug…
Be filled with Joy…

Laughter is the Best Medicine

You will have eternal joy.. Yes.. eternal laughter and eternal fun…
Knowing the Author of all Smiles.. Will lead you into the valley of eternal Smile and laughter

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Look at His Face.. He is smiling at you…My Child… He wants you to come to Him.. so that He can impart the laughter you are longing for…
He will carry you in His arms and He will never leave you nor forsake you...

Laughter is the Best Medicine

Run into His outstretched arms.. He is waiting.. the only reason He is delaying His return is that.. You will repent of your sins and turn to Him..
It’s time dear friend… Don’t delay it…

Laughter is the Best Medicine

The Joy of the Lord will become your strength and you will smile at all times.. Yes at all times..
I Pray that You shall be filled with the Joy of the Holy Spirit and thereby continue to impart the contagious joy to all around….

Laughter is the Best Medicine

– fwd: hazel remedios

Sunni Militiamen Murder Syrian Pastors

October 27, 2012 by  
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Murdered Pastor Fadi Haddad

Murdered Pastor Fadi Haddad

Syria, October 26, 2012: CBN News has received information about the recent murder of two Syrian pastors by Sunni militiamen.

One report comes from Ishtar TV. They say the throat of Pastor Fadi Haddad was slit near the Syria/Lebanon border town of Qatana. The martyred pastor, 43-year old Haddad, had gone to meet with Suni militiamen to secure the release of kidnapped Christian doctor Shadi Khoury.

Another report came to us from Christian Aid Mission.

They say Pastor Sami was a Muslim Background Believer (MBB) who led a house church. His house meeting was recently interrupted by gunmen who ordered church members to leave the house. The jihadists then proceeded to open fire on the pastor, his wife and three children.

Folks, this is deja vu for Middle East Christians. The kidnapping of Christians, demands for ransom, and the targeting of church leaders occured during the Iraq War. Christians are facing daily dangers in Syria and the persecution is increasing. A Sunni-dominated government may make matters even worse as these Islamic extremists fight to cleanse the country of non-Sunni Arabs.


Sri Lanka: What happened to the refugees?

October 27, 2012 by  
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The camps are closed but the problems haven’t gone away.

Tamil refugees at the Menik Farms refugee camp in Sri Lanka

File photo: Tamil refugees at the Menik Farms refugee camp in Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka, October 17, 2012: The world’s largest camp for internally displaced persons was closed permanently on September 24.

Menik Camp was the last one still open after the end of the civil war. Having heard the experiences of other resettled people, tales of broken promises, of not being allowed back to their original villages, of harassment and ill treatment, some of the last occupants of Menik Camp did not want to leave. But their views were unheeded.

On the day the displaced persons – comprising about 381 families – were moved out, the army bulldozed the camp to the ground.

Where were these people taken? Were they taken to their original villages? It isn’t clear. Moreover, no one seems keen on asking these questions and any news that does come out is monitored or suppressed. So much for media freedom.

The officer in charge of the resettlement did categorically state that the refugees would not be taken to their original villages, citing reasons of “national security.” So why were they moved at all? Was it simply to remove the term “Internally Displaced Persons [IDPs]” from Sri Lanka’s political landscape? Was it because of the UN Human Rights Council’s scrutiny of Sri Lanka’s rights record? Was it so that Sri Lanka can say to the UN and the world that there are no more IDPs here?

The official explanation for keeping these citizens for so long in sub-human and unhygienic conditions is that the land had to be de-mined. But this is questionable, as security forces and people from the South moved freely around these areas. Of course, another reason for maintaining the camps would be to prevent any future uprising.

But now the camps are closed, the question is how are the returning Tamils going to live? They have not been deployed for development work. In rebuilding the nation’s infrastructure in the North and East, Tamils have been excluded from the workforce.

In Mulativu district, the children of resettled families have no local schools and have to walk many kilometers if they want an education. There is no electricity, no medical facilities and people are not allowed to hold meetings without the approval of the armed forces. Recently in a parish church, there was a function to welcome a new priest, but the parish priest had not told the relevant authorities. He got into a lot of trouble as a consequence.

Sister Nicola, who regularly visited the people at Menik Camp, confirmed the appalling conditions there. In a report she sent to concerned people and activists, she made the point that their needs and wants are simple: they want to go back to their original villages, cultivate their property, rear cattle and make their own living.

“Today the Tamil people are forced to become paupers and scavengers, digging through rotten garbage,” she said. “Even buses refuse to take them. This was the scene in all the places I visited and all I could do was weep. I just could not stop my tears when I saw children and women carrying loads on their backs. These children should be in school, yet the government says they have freed the people and resettled them. Assistance was given only by the UNHCR and some other NGOs. Their future is bleak and dark. Can they hope for a bright future? Only God knows.”

Let’s hope that help will be announced in the 2013 national budget. If not, it will be up to Church organizations, NGOs and social activists. I do feel that this is a God-given task, to show solidarity with these suffering, innocent people.

– fr. reid shelton fernando

India chokes NGOs dependent on Western charity

October 27, 2012 by  
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After arbitrarily cancelling as many as 4,300 FCRA permits the Union government is now issuing orders virtually banning some European and US funding agencies from the country.

Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA)New Delhi, October 26, 2012: After trying to bludgeon the Catholic church in Tamil Nadu into submission and withdrawing its support to the protest against the Russian-aided nuclear power plant in Koodmakulam, the Indian government now seems bent upon choking civil society voices seen as challenging it on issues such as torture, religious freedom, and the life and death powers the military exercises over citizens in the country’s north eastern states.

The weapon of choice is the threat to cancel licenses under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act that allows non-government organization, especially religious groups of all faiths, and Human Rights advocacy activists, to carry on their work with foreign financial help in an impoverished country where corporate and individual philanthropy is virtually unknown.

While a large number of Hindu God men and women are also major recipients of donations from international charities, including church agencies in Europe and the United States, Indian Catholic and Protestant groups, with slim local resources, are to a large extent dependent on foreign funds to carry on their charitable and development work among India’s poor and marginalized communities. The Christian institutions working in education and health sectors among the Tribals and the Dalits, once branded, as untouchables in the iron Caste system, are particularly vulnerable. As it is, the meltdown in the west has severely impacted on their work.

After arbitrarily cancelling as many as 4,300 FCRA permits – on specious arguments that their addresses could not be verified — the Union government is now issuing orders virtually banning some European and US funding agencies from the country. Indian groups have been told they need to take prior permission from the Ministry of Home Affairs, which also controls the intelligence agencies and some central police forces, before they can submit their projects to funding agencies named in the government’s prohibitory list.

Prime among them is Cordaid, a Dutch Catholic charity that is accused of having given funds to some Indian NGOs who are working for the repeal of the Armed Forces Special Powers Act that is responsible for many human rights abuses in Kashmir valley and the North Eastern States. The Reserve Bank of India has circulated an order to all banks in India that they have to inform it if they notice any transfer of funds from Cordaid to local NGOs. Cordaid is also held responsible for partly funding the India Against Corruption trust headed by social activist Anna Hazare and his erstwhile colleague Arvind Kejriwal whose newly formed political party is challenging the ruling Congress and main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party.

Authoritative sources in the government say several other European charities, specially from the Scandinavian countries, are also on the government’s radar, as are many Indian NGOs with whom they have had relationship in the past.

The NGOs affected by the government withdrawing their FCRA permits have protested, but only a few of them have had the precious license restored. In a few other cases including some high profile advocacy groups, permission has been given for them to operate their bank accounts for payment of essential services, but they cannot withdraw any money in cash.

This has, understandably, created a panic among organisations working in development and training at the grassroots. Among those who risk going bankrupt for want of funds are several groups working among victims of violence against the Christian community in Kandhamal district of Orissa state.

Mr. Sanjay Patra, a highly respected transparency expert heading the Financial Management Services Foundation, there is no reason for the government’s paranoia, as there are several other laws on the books to check any misuse of funds, or diversion of money to terrorism on insurrectionist activities. Mr. Patra is also a leading light of the Voluntary Associations Network of India [VANI], which provides an interface with the government. VANI is now engaging with the government to get the FCRA licenses restored for the NGOs that have fallen foul of the authorities. VANI is also urging the government to change provisions in the FCRA rules that make it mandatory for all NGOs to seek a renewal of their permissions every five years instead of the earlier permanent ones. Anyway, money received from foreign charities under FCRA rules can be used only in designated activities and cannot be diverted to other areas.

Of the more than two million NGOs registered in the country those registered under FCRA are 38436. Of them, 21508 Associations reported a total receipt of an amount of Rs. 10,337.59 crore [about US Dollars 195 million] as foreign contribution. Many have FCRA permits but actually do not get any funds from abroad.

The government says the NGO sector in India is vulnerable to the risks of money laundering and terrorist financing, and therefore requires some form of policing of their funds and activities. But it has not been able to adduce any real evidence indicting the NGOs or linking them with terrorist or other unlawful groups other than in political rhetoric. According to government data, list of donor countries is headed by the USA (Rs. 3105.73 crore) followed by Germany (Rs. 1046.30 crore) and UK (Rs. 1038.68 crore).

The FCRA law is a reflection of India’s paranoia on what is euphemistically called the “foreign hand”, or fears that the West is intervening in Indian politics and culture. India’s right wing has accused the West of financing conversions to Christianity and supporting “Christian” insurrectionist groups in states such as Mizoram, Manipur and Meghalaya in the North East. No evidence has ever been adduced for this, other than political gossip and innuendo.

The law was drafted by Prime Minister Indira Gandhi’s government in 1975 when she declared a State of Internal Emergency, all but suspended the Constitution and imposed censorship on the Media, arresting thousands of political dissidents and leaders of political parties. The government then said that Socialist leader Mr. Jaiprakash Narain, leading a movement against corruption and for democratic reforms, and several Gandhian groups supporting him were funded by western agencies and were trying to induce the Indian army to mutiny. Subsequent governments overturned many of Mrs. Gandhi’s laws, but retained the FCRA as a useful instrument to tame civil society.

– john dayal

Kerala: The Next Hindutva Lab, After Karnataka in South India?

October 27, 2012 by  
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Saffron hate campaigns finds acceptance and practicality through new equations

The mammoth gathering of 1 lakh Swayamsevaks at Kollam, Kerala

File photo: The mammoth gathering of 1 lakh Swayamsevaks at Kollam, Kerala

Kerala, October 24, 2012: Hindutva has myths associated to most regions in India and this indeed has served the purpose of their self proclamation as the most genuine inheritors of the ‘birth land’ compared to people belonging to other religious and ethnic groups.

Kerala, according to Brahmanical myths, has been the land reclaimed from the sea after Parasurama, an avatar of Maha-Vishnu threw his battle axe into the sea. This myth, however, unlike Ayodhya [Ramjanma bhoomi] hasn’t until now helped the Hindutva tactics, as they are still unable to find a political grip through BJP.

But that doesn’t keep away the potential threats offered by Saffron agenda in the state because RSS has been functioning quite efficiently through thousands of Shakha’s, which has now found grounds even in the hilly districts of Wayanad and Idukki, where until few years back they were struggling to find cadres and resources.

The Saffron elements of the state united under an umbrella organisation ‘Hindu Aikya Vedi’ has been running several campaigns in the state for years, like ‘If Hindu wakes up, the nation wakes up,’ emphasising on the need to get the Hindu population unified citing that the Muslims who constitutes 25 percentage and Christians making up 20 percentage of the state population are organised enough to protect their interests whereas the Hindus, constituting 55 percent of the total population are scattered and so marginalised in every spheres of public life.

The modus operandi of ‘Hindu Aikya Vedi,’ resembles most other Indian states as they quite well knew that, the low castes, the fishing communities and agricultural daily wage labourers belonging to the Dalits communities in Kerala can be attracted to this Brahmanist Hindu alliance if and only if they are adequately brain washed with Islamophobia.

The extent to which the Kerala public sphere has fallen victims to Hindutva campaigns targeting minority communities is well evident from the statements of two earlier chief ministers of Kerala. First it was then CM, AK Antony, and currently the Union Defence Minister, who stated that the Muslims and Christians with the help of their organised structure get undeserving benefits.

It was then the turn of the then opposition leader and last Kerala CM, VS Achuthanandan who said that ‘the secret behind the success of students from Malappuram district in entrance examinations is through malpractice in the examination halls.’

These two leaders in reality, whether consciously or unconsciously, parroted the stand Sangh Parviar and its cadres have been taking against minority communities in Kerala.

Case of IUML:

Now these campaigns have found further acceptability because the Nair Service Society [NSS] and Sri Narayana Darma Paripalana Yogam [SNDP] has found it ideal to attack Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), based on any of the governmental decisions taken.

NSS and SNDP who were earlier found vehemently opposing each other have decided to ally with each other, recognising the scope of Hindutva politics in the state especially in the absence of a full-fledged BJP.

With lot of sympathisers within both ruling and opposition fronts having expectations of getting mutually benefitted through this relationship, these secular politicians appear keen to take up the NSS-SNDP agendas against the IUML and minorities of the state. What these sympathisers get in return is their support and references to back them in electoral candidature, KPCC [Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee] reformation meetings etc.

NSS and SNDP through these pressure tactics finally get benefit from the government by free allotment of lands for their institutions, governmental sanctions and other benefits in favour of their trusts.

With the educational ministry’s decision to conduct school art festival at Tirurangadi in Malappuram district, the IUML party statement that toddy (a kind of liquor also regarded as ‘health drink’) should be gradually banned in the state [Kerala High Court too had earlier made a similar observation asking the gradual banning of toddy].

However, this was portrayed as Muslim League’s communal agenda to favour Muslims in specific and as examples of their Islamic fundamentalism. But the most astonishing fact was that league was not ready to counter campaign using factual evidences or proofs and resorted to mere statements by leaders saying that there are Savarna [elite class] agendas against Muslim league.

The SNDP leader Vellapalli Nadeshan being an Abkari [Liquor business giant] in Kerala found the Muslim league statement harming his interests and he was no late in terming the IUML statement against toddy as one favouring Muslim community’s interests [because it is forbidden in Islam].

SNDP has been formed to uphold the great Hindu reformatory leader Srinarayana Guru’s teachings and what he taught was that ‘alcohol is poisonous’. It is now the very same Guru’s followers who came up in protest against a statement demanding the gradual banning of toddy.

The IUML’s statement against toddy which should have only been taken in the sense of their longing for an ‘alcohol free society’ any way got subjected to some serious criticisms even from the part of few ministers. And this was the time League leaders openly came up with statements like there are Savarna conspiracies against IUML, that too with support from leaders of the ruling ally.

[NB: 1. IUML’s sincerity in their stand against toddy is anyway under question, because they have made only statements before the media and no affirmative actions to pressurise the ruling front with whom they forms an ally to enforce a ban at least on a gradual basis.

2. The other thing is that, Muslims are competent enough to challenge any other communities with regard to toddy consumption in Kerala].

It seemed like IUML enjoyed these campaign from the part of NSS and SNDP which then got every sought of applause from the so called ‘secular’ political party leaders belonging to both the ruling and opposition fronts as it was more like IUML leaders were rather happy to be acknowledged as the one’s making use of their power to win undeserving benefits to Muslim community, when the fact was that it was only their political aspirations like fifth ministerial berth, which were accomplished.

So the issues in a way turned a boon to IUML leaders, to whom these controversies were an opportunity to give an impression that they are doing something relevant for the Muslim community, so IUML seemed silently enjoying it and the Muslim community as always were entitled to overcome another accusation of religious fundamentalism.

The IUML Educational minister Abdurabb’s decision to rename his official residence as ‘Grace’ from ‘Ganga,’ his decision to stay away from lighting ‘Nilavilakku,’ green jacket as teachers uniform in a college [it was Mehendi green and not even the bright green of IUML flag] were all then criticised as Muslim religious fundamentalism preventing religious coexistence, harmony and individual freedom.

Another minister Ibrahim Kunju, who in a party meeting like most other party leaders would do, to raise the spirit of his party workers went on to say that it is IUML, who is ruling the state. The congress party leaders were there in the forefront along with left parties to attack govt, asking the CM to regulate the IUML influence in the govt. All this hue and cry were meant to appease the NSS, SNDP leadership, who in turn would assure them adequate representation in the governmental functions or KPCC reformation next time as they are quite capable of pressurising congress leadership to accommodate their favourite ones in the name of appeasing majority community interests.

More than PFI or JIH, now IUML has been the victim to Sangh ideology campaigns in the state and they were earlier found taking sides with these so called ‘secular’ leaders and saffron elements to attack JIH and PFI to call them fundamentalists, extremists and isolate them in the society. Now the very same party who took sides with the saffron interests and attacked their own brethren is indicted of religious fundamentalism and is found going clueless before the hate campaigns targeting them in specific and the Muslim community in general.

Intolerant towards minority organisation:

The Saffron elements for years have been intolerant towards the political scenario of the Kerala because it has been a state were all religious groups found political representation with regard to population. They appear aggrieved to see minorities organising themselves and getting into administrative power.

This has been part of the Sanghparivar agenda of portraying minority communities and their organisations as potential threats keeping in mind their own political benefits. Their tactics in Kerala with BJP finding it hard to turn a real contender in electoral politics will focus on the soft Hindutva approach of taking in to faith-the secular politicians of the state to carry out their campaigns against politically organised minority communities and any sought of emancipation attempts from their part.

The threat is not saffronisation, but the trajectory of modernity

Jenny RowenaRowena spoke to TCN’s Abdul Basith on the Hindutva attempt to saffronise Kerala, and an attempt at making it another Karnataka.Jenny Rowena says – “First of all I am against the thinking of RSS, and its Hindutva brand as a stand-alone category, which is removed from left parties and other such secular institutions. Instead, I think of the RSS Hindutwa ideology as inherent to the left itself and coming from Malabar/Thalasserry, I can tell you that there is really no difference between how a secular Malayalaee , the RSS and the left stand on various issues. Kerala hegemonic culture itself is caste Hindu in nature and it does not allow space for Dalits /Muslims or OBCs who refuse to act savarna [Elite caste].
The problem for me is not in RSS, saffronisation, etc. but in Kerala modernity itself, and its literature, cinema, popular discourses, intellectuals. I hold all this responsible for the high level of casteism and Islamophobia in Kerala. So Sangh people don’t have much work in Kerala – they just tap into all this.

The anxiety about Muslims getting more positions is a misplaced OBC anxiety and sheer OBC Islamophobia – this is again not because of Sangh or anything – this is because of the lack of any kind of understanding of caste in Kerala. So the OBCs who want to articulate their position is able to do it only by taking on the Hindu-Muslim discourse – by taking the ‘Hindutva’ position the OBCs are trying to be savarna and not speak of caste.

By doing this they are becoming secular citizens (perfect Malayalees) who see all problems in terms of Hindu-Muslim – because in Kerala to be Hindu and to support such distinctions and not see caste is the way to be modern, progressive, secular, etc.I also do not see the Sangh as a ‘Hindu’ problem – but I see it more in terms of the caste hegemony they are trying to establish. The Hindutva discourse is only something that they use to hide their caste agenda and present themselves as Hindu/Indian – as shown by G. Aloysius {in his book: Nationalism without a Nation] Hindu/India was actually a caste discourse carefully manufactured against the British [and Muslims] but actually against lower castes /Dalits.

So my answer is that the saffronization of Kerala needs to be probed urgently in its history, its secular institutions, the left party and its discourse, etc. – putting it all on RSS is just generating the Hindu-Muslim, caste-Hindu binary, which will not interrogate or understand anything about the violent anti-Dalit, anti-OBC culture of Kerala.”

– abdul basith, tcn

Only men to manage 3,000 Hindu temples

October 27, 2012 by  
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Chief minister’s announcement sparks controversy. Hindu temples are run by boards whose members are picked by the state government. The spokesman of the Syro-Malabar Synod says religion and politics should not mix, approves the idea of women board members.

A temple in Kerala

A temple in Kerala

Kerala, October 26, 2012: The Kerala government has decided to reserve posts on Devaswom (literally God’s property) boards only to Hindu legislators who believe in god. Devaswom boards are trusts that manage the state’s 3,000 temples. The decision has come under attack for violating the constitution on religious and gender ground.

The decision was announced by Chief Minister Oommen Chandy. It specifies that Hindu legislators who believe in god will be eligible for appointment on Devaswom Boards. The latter run Hindu temples and ensure they operate properly.

Usually, community leaders and government officials are appointed to these boards, but the four largest Devaswom that exist in Kerala-Guruvayur, Travancore (the most important), Malabar and Cochin-are under direct government control.

According to Fr Paul Thelakat, spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Synod and editor ofSathyadeepam (Light of Truth), the problem is not reserving seats on temple boards to Hindus alone, but rather “the contradictions that stem from mixing religion and politics.”

“I believe that religion should be separated from politics and government,” Fr Thelakat said. “Religions should rule themselves. Here the Devaswom system interferes with the Hindu religion because of its huge wealth and assets.”

“Still, I do believe that the 3,000 temples should be managed by people who truly believe.” At the same time, “the presence of women on the boards would be something positive.”


5th arrest in Pune blast case, IM planned fidayeen attack: police

October 27, 2012 by  
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Indian Mujahideen terrorists were planning to carry out a ‘fidayeen’ attack at Bihar’s Bodh Gaya to avenge “atrocities” against Muslims in Myanmar, Delhi Police today claimed after arresting a fifth man in connection with Pune serial blasts this August.

A suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist being taken to Safdarjung Hospital for medical check-up in New Delhi on Friday

A suspected Indian Mujahideen terrorist being taken to Safdarjung Hospital for medical check-up in New Delhi on Friday

New Delhi, October 26, 2012: Sayed Maqbool, a resident of Maharashtra’s Nanded whom police claimed is the district president of All India Majlis Itehad-ul Muslimeen which has an MP in Lok Sabha, was apprehended from Hyderabad on October 23, S N Srivastava, Special Commissioner of Police (Special Cell), said.

Maqbool, a fruitseller who allegedly taught suspected IM terrorists on how to make IEDs, is the fifth person to be arrested in connection with the August Pune blasts 1 to avenge the killing of operative Qateel Siddique in Yerwada Jail.

“Maqbool was in close association with the four others — Asad Khan, IUmran Khan, Sayed Feroz and Langde Irfan Mustafa — who were arrested and together they planned to commit fidayeen attacks on Buddhist shrines in Bodh Gaya,” Srivastava claimed.

The suspected terrorists had got the approval of IM’s Riyaz Bhatkal, a fugitive believed to be in Pakistan, for carrying out the attack as a “retaliation to the alleged atrocities on Muslims in Myanmar”, he claimed.

Maqbool first came in contact with Imran and later was introduced to the other members of the group. He allegedly taught them how to make IEDs using urea, diesel and fire cracker power at Asad’s farm house in Aurangabad, he said.

“In April this year, Imran introduced him to Bhatkal brothers. The gang had earlier discussed plans to carry out a fidayeen attack in Bodh Gaya. Since Bhatkals wanted to avenge the death of Siddiqui, they deicded to carry out the blast in Pune first,” Srivastava said.

– pti

Miss Venezuela – A very touching story…

October 26, 2012 by  
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Eva Ekvall, the former Miss Venezuela who finished third in the Miss Universe pageant in 2001, has died of breast cancer aged 28.

Aged 17, Ekvall was crowned Miss Venezuela of 2000 and the next year was third runner-up in the Miss Universe Pageant. Her name was also listed as one of the most beautiful on earth. As a Buddhist, she was the first non-Christian to have won the title of Miss Venezuela.

Miss Venezuela

Miss Venezuela

Ekvall was married to the radio producer John Fabio Bermudez and the couple had a 2-year-old daughter. In February 2010, just months after giving birth to her child, Ekvall was diagnosed with advanced breast cancer and underwent eight months of treatment that included chemotherapy, radiotherapy and a double radical mastectomy.

Eva Ekvall with her family

Last year, she told newspaper El Nacional of her need to send out a message about cancer prevention. And the model explained, “I hate to see photos in which I come out ugly. But you know what? Nobody ever said cancer is pretty or that I should look like Miss Venezuela when I have cancer”.

She chronicled this experience in a book of photographs, Fuera de Foco (Out of Focus), released on December 2010. She went on to become an advocate for SenosAyuda, a cancer awareness group.

Chronicle experience

In a heart-breaking Twitter post over the weekend, Eva’s husband posted a photo showing a close-up of his hand holding hers at her last moment, with the caption, “Always together … I love you wife”.

Her last moment's

Her family has confirmed the model passed away at a hospital in Houston on Saturday (December 17, 2011), according to the Huffington Post.
Everything in life is temporary, because everything changes… That’s why it takes great courage to love, knowing it might end anytime but having the faith it will last forever..

Another Maha Muslim youth arrested in Hyderabad

October 26, 2012 by  
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Map of MaharashtraAndhra Pradesh, October 25, 2012: Continuing arrests of Muslim youths belonging to Nanded district, the Maharashtra ATS last night arrested Syed Maqbool, who was residing and working in the city. He was arrested from his house in Shaheennagar in the suburbs of Hyderabad.

Maharshtra ATS informed his wife that Maqbool is arrested in a case pertaining to unlawful activities prevention act in Nanded.

Many Muslim youths have been arrested from Nanded district after the busting of alleged assassination group, which was allegedly conspiring to kill right wing Hindu leaders in Karnataka.

A DRDO scientist and a journalist from Deccan Herald were also held. Muslim youths from Hyderabad and Nanded were picked up by the police of different states on charges of providing logistic support to the alleged hit gang.

Syed Maqbool was into seasonal business in Hyderabad. He had earlier helped Akram Pasha in setting a fruit shop in the city, before Akram left for Saudi Arabia.

Akram pasha was also arrested in Bangalore, and termed as a link of alleged assassination group with its alleged foreign handlers. Last year Maqbool has also done a joint business with Obaidur Rehman in cattle trade during the Bakreid season. Obaid was also arrested from Hyderabad for allegedly providing logistics to the assassination gang.

32 year old Syed Maqbool has troubled history; he was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment in 2002 with many other Muslim youths for allegedly killing a Hindu jeweler in Hyderabad. But in 2008 he was awarded clemency by the A.P. state government and was out since then.

Even though Maqbool was settled in Hyderabad, he has to visit Nanded every 3 months to give attendance in a local police station for some case pending against him there.

Maqbool has a 2 year old and another 5 months old daughters. His wife claimed that police has been questioning him for over two weeks now.

Maqbool’s name had cropped up after the arrest of Akram Pasha, who is also from Nanded. Maqbool was under scanner for his relations with Pasha.

– tcn

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