Kyrgyzstan tightens restrictions with changes to religion law

December 29, 2012 by  
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Literature will be examined for “ideas of religious extremism”Kyrgyzstan, December 27, 2012: is adding harsher censorship rules to its Religion Law, while other proposed amendments would make it much more difficult for smaller religious groups to obtain state registration.

President Almazbek Atambayev signed on 7 December the censorship amendments, which had previously been approved by the Kyrgyz Parliament, the Zhogorku Kenesh.

The 2009 Religion Law allowed for some state examination of religious literature and banned the distribution of religious literature and other materials in public places. But lawyers from various religious communities said that the amendments would have the effect of imposing total censorship on all religious literature.

The new article says:

Control on the import, production, acquisition, transportation, transfer, storage and distribution of printed materials, film, photo, audio and video productions, as well as other materials containing ideas of religious extremism, separatism and fundamentalism is conducted by the plenipotentiary state organs for religious affairs, national security and internal affairs.

It is not clear how materials will be vetted; one senior official said that an “ad hoc expert group” would be created to assess each suspected infringement.

Human rights defender Ivan Kamenko warned that “implementation is likely to be chaotic, selective and arbitrary” with groups deemed “non-traditional”, which include Protestants, most likely to face problems.

He said that if a religious organisation was found to have literature branded “extremist”, the organisation itself could also be declared “extremist” and thereby banned under the Religion Law.

Religious groups other than those that are part of the Muslim Board and Russian Orthodox Church already suffer discriminatory state censorship; the amendments seem likely further to restrict their exercise of religious freedom.

Under other proposed amendments to the Religion Law, which are at a less advanced stage than the censorship clause, religious communities would be required to have 200 adult founders in one locality to be legally allowed to exist; students would not be permitted to travel abroad for religious education without state permission; and foreigners would be banned from taking part in religious activity without a state licence.

Since the Religion Law came into force in January 2009, the government has repeatedly tried to harshen its provisions. It already requires religious organisations to register with the state. and many groups have had their applications arbitrarily declined.

State approval would become even more elusive, especially for smaller groups, if the amendment that requires 200 local adult founders is passed; the current law does not specify where they must live.

– barnabas team

The Comedian’s Message

December 29, 2012 by  
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Isn’t it amazing that George Carlin – comedian of the 70’s and 80’s – could write something so very eloquent…and so very appropriate.

The paradox of our time in history is that –
Beautiful message from George Carlin1. We have taller buildings but shorter tempers.

2. We have wider Freeways , but narrower viewpoints.

3. We spend more, but have less, we buy more, but enjoy less.

4. We have bigger houses and smaller families, more conveniences, but less time.

5. We conquered outer space but not inner space. We’ve done larger things, but not better things.

6. We have multiplied our possessions, but reduced our values. We talk too much, love too seldom, and hate too often.

7. We build more computers to hold more information, to produce more copies than ever, but we communicate less and less.

8. A time when technology can bring this letter to you, and a time when you can choose either to share this insight, or to just hit delete…

9. We have more degrees but less sense, more knowledge, but less judgment, more experts, yet more problems, more medicine, but less wellness.

10. We drink too much, smoke too much, spend too recklessly, laugh too little, drive too fast, get too angry, stay up too late, get up too tired, read too little, watch TV too much, and pray too seldom.

11. We’ve learned how to make a living, but not a life. We’ve added years to life not life to years. We’ve been all the way to the moon and back, but have trouble crossing the street to meet a new neighbor.

12. We’ve cleaned up the air, but polluted the soul. We’ve conquered the atom, but not our prejudice. We write more, but learn less. We plan more, but accomplish less. We’ve learned to rush, but not to wait.

These are the times of fast foods and slow digestion, big men and small character, steep profits and shallow relationships. These are the days of two incomes but more divorce, fancier houses, but broken homes.

These are days of quick trips, disposable diapers, throwaway morality, one night stands, overweight bodies, and pills that do everything from cheer, to quiet, to kill. It is a time when there is much in the showroom window and nothing in the stockroom.

Remember to hold hands and cherish the moment for someday that person will not be there again.

Beautiful message from George CarlinRemember; spend some time with your loved ones, because they are not going to be around forever.

Remember, say a kind word to someone who looks up to you in awe, because that little person soon will grow up and leave your side.

Remember, to give a warm hug to the one next to you, because that is the only treasure you can give with your heart and it doesn’t cost a cent.

Remember, to say, ‘I love you’ to your partner and your loved ones, but most of all mean it. An embrace will mend hurt when it comes from deep inside of you.

Give time to love, give time to speak! And give time to share the precious thoughts in your mind.

And Always Remember –

Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away.

 

 

 

 

– george carlin


Iran re-arrests Nadarkhani & 12 Nigerian Christians killed

December 29, 2012 by  
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Iran re-arrests Pastor Nadarkhani on Christmas

Family of  Pastor Nadarkhani Iran, December 28, 2012: The Iranian Christian pastor who had been imprisoned in Iran for converting from Islam to Christianity was taken into custody again on Christmas Day, according to several Iranian media sources and individuals close to the pastor and his family.

Youcef Nadarkhani, 35,  had been summoned to return back to Lakan Prison in Rasht, the facility where he served time and was then released, based on the charge that he must complete the remainder of his sentence, according to several reports and confirmed by those close to Nadarkhani in Iran.

In September, the pastor was acquitted of apostasy, but the court maintained his three-year sentence for evangelizing Muslims. As he had already served close to three years, the pastor was freed after posting bail.

The court had then stated that the remainder which equaled roughly 45 days, would be served in the form of probation.

Nadarkhani, married and father of two young children, came under the regime’s radar in 2006 when he applied for his church to be registered with the state. According to sources, he was arrested at that time and then soon released.

In 2009, Nadarkhani went to local officials to complain about Islamic indoctrination in his school district, arguing that his children should not be forced to learn about Islam.

He was subsequently arrested.

Since Nadarkhani’s release in September, his attorney, Mohammed Ali Dadkhah has been imprisoned and remains in Iran’s notoriously brutal Evin Prison where his health is rapidly deteriorating and is being denied proper dental care, according to his family. He has been incarcerated for advocating Nadarkhani’s case and other human rights cases.

After his release, Nadarkhani wrote a public letter thanking all those who helped release him. In November, he traveled to London to speak at a national human rights conference thanking those who advocated on his behalf.

Nigerian gunmen killed at least 12 Christians


Nigerian gunmen killed at least 12 ChristiansNigerian, December 28, 2012:  At least 12 Christians, including a pastor and a deacon, were killed by unknown gunmen in separate attacks in northern Nigeria on Christmas Eve, International Christian Concern reports. Witnesses said the gunmen also set a church on fire in connection with the attacks. Late on Christmas Eve, gunmen opened fire on the Evangelical Church of West Africa in Peri, killing the pastor and five worshippers. In a separate attack, gunmen attacked worshippers at the First Baptist Church in Maiduguri, killing a deacon and five church members. The Islamist group Boko Haram is suspected to be behind the attacks, even though the group has yet to claim responsibility. Boko Haram, which is fighting to establish an Islamic state in Nigeria’s north, is known to target Christians, their places of worship, and government institutions. Leading up to the Christmas holiday, Christians and government officials had been preparing for potential attacks by Boko Haram, with many Christians considering not attending church services becaus
e of the potential of being attacked.

-agencies

 

 

Vakola Rock Concert & Shabnam Hashmi resigns

December 29, 2012 by  
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Vakola Christmas Rock Concert

ANNOUNCEMENT: Today – St. Anthony Church, Vakola, Santacruz (E) – in collaboration with the Diocesan Youth Centre and Mumbai based Christian Rock Band ‘Open Secret’ – invites you to ‘O COME ALL YE FAITHFUL’, a concert aimed at putting Christ back into Christmas. Relive the meaning and mystery of the Nativity through this one-of-its-kind worship experience.

Date: Saturday, December 29, 2012Time: 7.30 – 10 pmVenue: St. Anthony Church Grounds, Vakola, Santacruz (E)

A Christmas Concert at Church of St. Anthony, Vakola, Santacruz East, Mumbai

To know more, get on to the band page at: facebook.com/opensecretofficialpage

– frs. clarence & lawrence

Shabnam Hashmi

Shabnam Hashmi

New Delhi, December 28, 2012: Shabnam Hashmi, renowned socio-political activist, has resigned from all UPA government committees in protest against what she called “connivance” of the leading UPA partner to make sure the victory of BJP in Gujarat.

In a statement released to the media, she begins by saying, “I feel deeply disturbed at the betrayal of the hard work and faith of the thousands of activists who worked in Gujarat against the dictatorship and the fascist regime of NarendraModi and also crores of Gujaratis who voted against Modi in the assembly election.”

She adds, “There was a strong anti-Modi wave but suddenly everything changed between December 15 evening and 17th morning…the overnight reversal and the following victory of the communal –fascist regime was not possible without the connivance of the political party that leads the UPA.”
As a protest against the betrayal of the aspirations of the marginalized people of Gujarat to throw out the Modi regime, Hashmi said she is resigning from all UPA government committees that she has been part of so far.
The statement says she has accordingly sent her resignations from the membershipsof :Maulana Azad Education Foundation, Ministry of Minority Affairs, CABE (Central Advisory Board of Education), NMCME (National Monitoring Committee for Minority Education) and NLM Council (National Literacy Mission) MHRD and Assessment and Monitoring Authority, Planning Commission of India.
She appealed to the nation, political parties and media to introspect and conduct an independent investigation into the Gujarat Verdict 2012 and to look at especially the presence of foreign diplomats and journalists in Gujarat just before the elections.
She has also demanded that use of EVM machines should be abandoned in any future elections.

ShabnamHashmi added, “If Gujarat was used as the laboratory of the hate ideology it can also be used as the laboratory of undermining the democracy in India.”

For past 30 years ShabnamHashmi has been working as social and political activist. She had started Act Now for Harmony and Democracy (ANHAD) in the wake of the 2002 Gujarat pogrom and has since been working for harmony and peace.

For past couple of months she was camping in Gujarat and running a campaign Bole Gujarat (Gujarat speaks).

 

Time for Congress Party to do some soul searching: Shabnam Hashmi

Shabnam Hashmi, renowned socio-political activist and founding Director of ANHAD, today resigned from all UPA government committees in protest against what she called “connivance” of the leading UPA partner to make sure the victory of BJP in Gujarat.

Shabnam Hashmi spoke over phone with Ismail Khan giving her first reaction.

TCN: What made you think that the Congress played a role in Modi’s victory?

SH: There was so severe anti-Modi wave that, on December 16 local news channels started telecasting reports of nervous Modi shifting his files away from the secretariat. Congress leaders were also enthusiastic in their campaigns. Then suddenly whole scenario changed. Congress party’s zeal died down and next day Narendra Modi comes out like an already declared champ and announces his victory.

TCN: In your official statement you mentioned about foreign diplomats visiting Gujarat…

SH: Many foreign agencies, including US internal agencies were present during the time of elections in Gujarat. They could have tempered with electronic voting machines (EVM’s) and the presence of foreign agencies during election period couldn’t have happened without the convenience of UPA central Govt.

TCN: Why would Congress party do such an act of supporting their biggest rival as alleged by you?

SH: There could be many reasons, like they might want to keep secular forces at national level stick to them as their savior, by using the image of Modi in Gujarat. At the end of the day Congress is also a political party.

TCN: There was an overwhelming feeling before the elections that Modi will win as predicted by many mainstream media outlets, what makes you think differently?

SH: I worked in Gujarat as a social activist during 2002 and 2007 elections; the wave of anti-incumbency was severe this time against Modi. Gujarat was different during this election; there were protests in rural Gujarat from farmers and other workers. Many Guajarati’s voted against him contrary to the perception created, even the urban middle class voted against him.

As far as predictions of corporate media are concern they were supportive of Modi for a long time, it doesn’t surprise meif they predicted his win.

TCN: After this resignation what is your next step?

SH: Well I have done my bit as a citizen of India to shake the conscience of the Indian society. Now it’s time for the Congress party to do some soul searching.

-tcn

Conversation between me & God

December 28, 2012 by  
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Me (in a tizzy) : God, can I ask you something? 

GOD: Sure

Me: Promise you won’t get mad?

GOD: I promise.

Me (frustrated): Why did you let so much stuff happen to me today?

GOD: What do you mean?

Me: Well I woke up late,

GOD: Yes

Me: My car took forever to start,

GOD: Okay….

Me (growling): At lunch, they made my sandwich wrong and I had to wait

GOD: Hmmmm..

Me: On the way home, my phone went dead, just as I picked up a call

GOD: All right

Me (loudly): And to top it all off, when I got home, I just wanted to soak my feet in my foot massager and relax, but it wouldn’t work. Nothing went right today! Why did you do that?

GOD: Well let me see….. the death angel was at your bed this morning and I had to send one of the other angels to battle him for your life. I let you sleep through that.

Me (humbled): Oh…

GOD: I didn’t let your car start because there was a drunk driver on your route that might have hit you if you were on the road

Me (ashamed): …………

GOD: The first person who made your sandwich today was sick and I didn’t want you to catch what they have, I knew you couldn’t afford to miss work

Me (embarrassed): Oh…..

GOD: Your phone went dead because the person that was calling was going to give a false witness about what you said on that call, I didn’t even let you talk to them so you would be covered

Me (softly): I see God

GOD: Oh and that foot massager, it had a short that was going to throw out all of the power in your house tonight. I didn’t think you wanted to be in the dark.

Me: I’m sorry God.

GOD: Don’t be sorry, just learn to trust me………in all things, the good and the bad

Me: I WILL trust you God

GOD: And don’t doubt that my plan for your day is always better than your plan

Me: I won’t God. And let me just tell you God, thank you for everything today.

GOD: You’re welcome child. It was just another day being your God and I love looking after my children.


The generous will prosper; those who refresh others will themselves be refreshed… – Proverbs 11:25

In all things give thanks –  1 Thes 5:18

 

Euro Bureaucrats ban Nativity scenes on Christmas cards

December 28, 2012 by  
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Lawmakers at the European Union have opted for neutral, non-faith images so as not to cause offense.

Bureaucrats ban nativity scenes on Christmas cardsFrance, December 26, 2012: What’s happened to Christmas? After Halloween pumpkins replaced the crucifix, provoking strong criticisms from the Vatican Secretary of State, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the European Parliament’s decision to scrap Christian symbols and references from its Christmas greeting cards has caused further uproar. A part from the angel which appears on the six printed greeting card versions and the ten electronic ones, the Nativity, which is the core symbol of the Christian celebration is nowhere to be seen. “If this is the case, then bureaucrats and MPs should be turning up at work on December 25th,” said Lorenzo Fontana, Italian Northern League party representative in the European Parliament.

The European Parliament’s greeting cards also provoked complaints last year. Fontana himself presented a request to the President of the Assembly, Jerzy Buzek, asking for Christmas cards to include recognisable Christian symbols in the future. His request was rejected and this year’s cards feature stylised Christmas trees against psychedelic backgrounds and photoshopped images of the European Parliament. Those who criticise this as a new chapter in Strasbourg’s “anti-Christian crusade complain: “The design is dry, illuminated by cold blue and white flash lights which go completely against the whole idea of Christmas warmth.” Even the traditional “Merry Christmas” message has disappeared. All that appears in the cards is a neutral “2013”.

In addition to the negative reactions to the EU parliament’s Nativity-free greeting cards, there was also a lot of huffing and puffing over the futuristic Christmas tree erected in the Grand Place in Brussels. It is apparently so anti-Christian that is has triggered a series of online petitions and forums asking for the return of the traditional pine tree.

It is really a shame that the message contained in Europe’s motto “unity in diversity” are just empty words. Even at such a time of heart-felt sharing as Christmas, EU institutions have failed to show sensitivity to the feelings of its citizens, the vast majority of which are Christians. It almost seems as though this motto aims to make those who still feel strongly about the true religious meaning of Christmas, as different.

But it is not just in Brussels and Strasbourg that Christmas is under threat, lay anti-Christmas crusades are also being witnessed in other European countries. In one French school south of Paris, Father Christmas has been banned in order to show respect for the school’s beliefs and values. A puppet show has replaced Santa Klaus, a figure inspired by faithful’s veneration of Bishop St. Nicholas. In another school in Piacenza, Italy, references to religious topics in the institution’s Christmas celebrations are forbidden. Mgr. Adriano Vincenzi, a representative of the Italian Episcopal Conference in Confcooperative said: “It is commonly believed that giving up one’s own identity facilitates dialogue, but conserving one’s identity is essential for dialogue to take place.”

– vatican insider

Muslims attack Protestant congregation

December 28, 2012 by  
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Worshippers pelted with excreta at Christmas Eve service.

Worshippers pelted with excreta at Christmas Eve serviceIndonesia, December 26, 2012: About 200 Protestants from the Batak Society Christian Church (HKBP) Philadelphia in West Java were attacked by Muslims as they gathered to attend a Christmas Eve service on Monday.

Church members, who are involved in a dispute with local officials after being denied a permit to build a place of worship in Bekasi district, had gathered for the service on land where they hope to build their church.

“Hundreds of Muslims threw rotten eggs, dung and plastic bags full of urine at us,” Reverend Palti Panjaitan, a leader of the Protestants, told ucanews.com yesterday.

He said the congregation was forced to flee and hold its service in the compound of a police station.

HKBP Philadelphia was denied permission to build a church in the district after submitting an application in 2007.

In December 2009, district authorities also banned the congregation from worshipping at the proposed site, but in July last year the Supreme Court ruled in their favor, saying they were eligible for a permit.

The permit has still to be issued.

Congregation members and activists who tried attending the service later criticized police for not doing anything to prevent the attack.

“They stood by and did nothing,” Panjaitan said.

Maruli Tua Rajagukguk from the Jakarta Legal Aid Institute said he found the situation difficult to understand.

“Police personnel seemed unconcerned that the congregation was attacked so arbitrarily,” he said.

The country’s Religious Affairs Minister, Suryadharma Ali, however criticized HKBP Philadelphia for trying to hold the service, saying the congregation should wait for the building permit to be issued by local authorities.

“The permit hasn’t been issued yet, so wait for it. Don’t create disturbances which can lead to misunderstandings,” he said.

A similar incident also occurred in May when the Protestants tried to celebrate Ascension Day.

– ucanews.com

GUJARAT VERDICT 2012 – A Rigged Mandate? Questions that call for answers

December 28, 2012 by  
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GUJARAT VERDICT 2012Rejecting the Gujarat Verdict 2012 in view of the strong anti-Modi wave and atmosphere in Gujarat social activists from Gujarat released following questions and points at a press conference today organised at the Deputy Chairman Hall, Constitution Club of India. Among those who addressed the media were Uttam Parmar from Jan Lok Samiti, Manan Trivedi, Tanvi Soni, Dev Desai, Manish Dhakad and Shabnam Hashmi. A DVD of Bole Gujarat videos was released. Unheard Voices from Maninagar, Modi’s constituency was screened debunking the hype around vibrant and developed Gujarat.

SOME IMPORTANT POINTS AND QUESTIONS:

1. Corporate media totally blocked from the nation the strong dissent that was taking place in Gujarat. Demonstrations, dharnas, strikes, opposition by the government employees, farmers, Tribals, aanganwadi and asha workers, women both middle class and poor on the question of women security, Dalits , students and youth in general, parents of the missing children, anti-corruption, movements by maldharis, unorganised workers and hundreds of such protests   were all blacked out systematically.

2. Gujarat has mainly two political parties and if Modi was to be defeated then Congress was the only force which could have done it. For the first time in ten years Congress was highly visible and led a strong opposition from the grass root to the social media despite all its inherent problems.

3. Congress’s 12 programme got a huge response from the people and especially Ghar nu Ghar a scheme was a major hit and over 40 lakh women filled the forms.

4. The development bubble had totally burst for the major section of the population except a small percentage of middle class. Even within this class the growing insecurity of women became a major question.

5. Rural Gujarat suffering from poverty, no water, health facilities, education showed huge discontent.

6. Modi’s 3D used to attract people was a flop in majority of areas. Photographs of empty chairs appeared regularly in local print media and even local channels.

7. Modi was visibly shaken and nervous and according to the media reports shifted huge number of files from CM residence before and after the first round of polling.

8. Many prominent BJP leaders who never visited their constituencies were seen going from area to area asking for votes.

9. Huge numbers of urban poor, tribals, dalits and women came out and voted from the most marginalised sections.

10.  On 17th after giving his vote on 17th Modi came out, declared that he was winning and his body language was very confident- a big departure from his condition of the last one month.

11.  On 20th once the results came in and except for the crowd outside BJP office there were no celebrations, no one on the roads shouting on motorcycles, no fire crackers. In fact there was an uneasy calm. People from across Gujarat not only called us up but all around there was an atmosphere of disbelief including atleast 10-15% urban middle class.

12.  What happened between the 15th evening and 17th morning that turned the tables is a big question?

13.  Despite the claims of the election Commission we do not rule out the possibility of EVM machines being compromised by using programming. It has happened in many developed countries.

14.  What were the US diplomats : Robert W Carlson, Consul for Political and Economic Affairs; Brafus Kaalund, Vice Consul for Political Affairs doing in Gujarat just before the elections? There were also several foreign diplomats and reporters parked in Gujarat.

15.  Why on the very next day after the results US made a statement- ‘Gujarat remains an important state for American investment and has shown itself to be a very welcoming environment where American businesses flourish’ State Department spokesperson.

16.  Was the total blockade, of the dissent within Gujarat, done so that after Modi wins the election again the people across India say: Oh we knew it, he was going to win?

We have many examples in South Asia and other countries of the world where foreign powers have propped up dictators to kill flourishing democracies by manipulating results.

We call upon the conscience of the nation, political parties, media to rise above the interest of their individual parties, corporate houses and conduct an independent investigation into the Gujarat Verdict 2012. We also demand that use of EVM machines should be abandoned in any future elections. We do not hold any brief for the Congress, however we also appeal to the Congress to revisit the results and investigate. It seems Congress is so used to the defeat in Gujarat that it is shying away from questioning a verdict which was turned over night. If Gujarat was used as the laboratory of the hate ideology it can also be used as the laboratory of undermining the democracy further.

 

– anti modi activists

Oppose abortion law: Ireland church

December 28, 2012 by  
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The head of Ireland’s Catholic Church appealed in his Christmas message.

Oppose abortion law: Ireland churchDublin , December 26, 2012: The Catholic Church in Ireland has asked its followers to oppose the abortion law being frame by that country’s government following the death of an Indian woman who was denied termination of her pregnancy.

“I hope that everyone who believes that the right to life is fundamental will make their voice heard in a reasonable, but forthright, way to their representatives,” said Cardinal Sean Brady said in a Christmas message on yesterday.

Ireland, the only European Union member state that currently outlaws the procedure, is preparing a legislation that would allow abortion to those women whose life is at risk.

The move comes after the death of Savita Halappanavar who was denied an abortion of her dying foetus, leading to public outrage across the world.

The country’s supreme court ruled in 1992 that abortion was permitted when a woman’s life was at risk but successive governments have avoided legislating for it because it is so divisive.

-times of India

MP: Arrest of third Hindutva activist for terrorism

December 28, 2012 by  
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Arrest of third Hindutva activist for terrorismHyderabad, December 27, 2012: National investigation Agency has arrested one more activist of right wing Hindu group Abhinav Bharat for planting bomb in Mecca Masjid in May 2007 which had killed nine people.

NIA arrested Tejram Parmar from Depalpur 15 k.m. from Indore, Madhya Pradesh, basing on the confession statement given by another Abhinav bharat member Rajender Choudary who was arrested by NIA a week back from Ujjain district in connection to Samjutha Express bomb blast.

25 year old Tejram a car driver by profession was arrested by NIA sleuths when he was spotted at Depalpur court premises. Family members of Tejram who had filed missing complaint fearing his abduction, got the official news of his arrest from NIA seven hours after he was taken into custody.

It is the third recent arrest of right wing Hindu activist from Madhya Pradesh in connection to Mecca Masjid bomb blast and other blasts cases like Samjutha express and Amjer dargha blasts.

NIA officials have been quoted in several news agencies claiming that Tejram was one of the bomb planter in Mecca Masjid. NIA is expected to present Tejram soon in the Nampally criminal court in Hyderabad.

– tcn

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