Highest malaria cases in India: Caritas

April 27, 2013 by  
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Northeast Indian states and parts of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal are most prone to the disease.

CaritasNew Delhi, April 25, 2013: Caritas India, the Catholic Church’s social service arm, marked World Malaria Day on Thursday with a discussion on prevention and cure of the disease that claims thousands of lives every year in the country.

While 82 per cent of the Indians live in malaria transmission risk areas, 80 per cent of malaria occurs among 20 percent of the people, who live in “high risk” areas, mostly in poor and tribal villages, participants said.

Malaria is also inextricably linked to poverty, said the participants of the program organized in collaboration with the National Vector Borne Disease Control Programme (NVBDCP).

People living in the northeast Indian states and parts of Orissa, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and West Bengal are most prone to the disease, said Father Paul Moonjely, assistant director of Caritas India.

He said Caritas has been observing the day since 2011.

“The problem of malaria could be seen in village and poor areas as there is little access to medical facilities and people are not very much aware about its prevention,” said Fr. Moonjely.

In North East India, Caritas India consortium has tested over 40,000 fever cases for malaria and treated slightly more than 2000 cases since 2011 till date under the IMCP-II project.

Through several community awareness and mobilization programs, approximately 500,000 people have been reached in 48 districts in the northeastern region.

According to the estimates of Indian Council of Medical Research, some 30,000 people die of malaria every year. On an average, 40,297 Indians die of the mosquito-borne disease every year. Overall, the number of malaria cases is 9.75 million, according to ICMR estimates.

To mark the day and intensify awareness against malaria, people in the northeast India across more than 30 locations participated in rallies, symposia and other activities like painting, quiz and photography competitions.

“Malaria is easily preventable and curable as effective interventions are now available. Reduction of disease burden can be achieved through collective commitment and convergence of efforts by all stakeholders, including the community and the civil society, public sector and donors,” said Fr. Frederick D’ Souza, executive director of Caritas India.

A short film made by Caritas India on the achievements in fighting malaria in the northeast Indian region was also screened during the program.

The Annual Parasite Incidence (API) was 1.1 per thousand in 2011 as against 1.36 per thousand in 2008, according to government statistics.

India has the highest malaria burden (with an estimated 24 million cases per year), followed by Indonesia and Myanmar in South East Asia, the second most affected region in the world.

– ucan

Goa panchayat polls were rigged: Church body

April 27, 2013 by  
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It said that the whole election process right from delimitation should have been handled by the State Election Commission.

VoteGoa, April 24, 2013: A Church group has alleged that there was massive rigging during last year’s elections to panchayat, the village governing bodies.

“We had elections last year; we also saw massive rigging,” said Soter D’Souza, executive coordinator of Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP).

D’Souza was speaking at a press briefing in Panaji during a function held to celebrate 20 years of Goa Panchayati Raj Act.

He also said that the council was firm that the whole election process right from delimitation should have been handled by the State Election Commission instead of some bureaucrats.

“The whole election process from delimitation of wards till the final counting and declaration of results should be given to the State Election Commission,” he said.

With regards to the Regional Plan 2021, the CSJP has demanded to consider the opinion of gram sabhas during the decision making process.

“We have the right of opinion…If gram sabhas are not taken into account; it will be termed as illegal. Villagers should be consulted because they know what is better for their village and not the bureaucrats or outsiders,” D’Souza said.

The CSJP also insisted that it was the gram sabhas that indeed had the powers to decide on development in their villages but that also included the panchayat members as well as the zilla parishads.

“There are 29 subjects that panchayats can decide on… and construction is one of them,” he said in a sharp rebuttal to the government’s position on the issue.

Soter said that it was the villagers that would look after the water and the land and so it was they who should decide what to do with it.

He also alleged that the government was spending crores of rupees on water management while on the other hand forests were being cut down and there was no involvement of the people.

On disputes involving panchayats, the Church body suggested that an ombudsman of good repute should be appointed to hear and make unbiased decisions on disputes between villagers, panchayats and local bodies.

“All disputes arising in the panchayats should be dealt with by a separate ombudsman or tribunal or commission which should be headed by a reputed retired judge of High Court,” he said.

– oheraldo

Voting rights for the non-resident Indians

April 27, 2013 by  
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Voting rights for the non-resident IndiansIndia, April 23, 2013: Parliamentary election in the offing, different issues are doing the round. A very important issue that goes unnoticed is the electoral role of NRIs, especially in this era when the world has become a global village. Grand country like India has more than twenty million NRIs spread around the globe. In the countries around Persian Gulf (GCC) alone, there are more than five million Indians working.

With this advanced electric technology today, we are performing most of our jobs over internet; registering, checking status, purchasing, banking and so on, from one corner of the world to another. One of the latest inventions in the use of this technology is online voting. Estonia became the first nation to hold legally binding general elections over the Internet for the municipal elections in 2005. The electronic voting system withstood the test of reality and was declared a success by Estonian election officials.

The State of Gujarat is the first state in having implemented Internet voting in public elections in India. The first online election was successfully carried out in September 2010, and since then, the online voting system has been used for Municipal Corporation / Municipality Elections. During Gandhinagar’s Municipal Corporation elections, 77.16% of registered e-voters cast their vote electronically-either from home or from e-voting booths.

Scytl is a Spain based internet voting solution firm that has recently started India operations. It has been specially designed for public elections, carrying out all kinds of electoral processes (elections, referendums, surveys, citizen consultations, etc.), ensuring the highest levels of security in terms of voter privacy, vote integrity and transparency. The solution supports multiple languages and can be used remotely from any place connected to Internet or from supervised locations (polling stations).

The online voting project implemented by Scytl in the Indian State of Gujarat has received the 2013 National award for e-Governance under the category “Excellence in Government Process Re-engineering”.

With online voting being successfully experimented in Gujarat and Indian Government certifying the performance of Scytl, why such a strong number of NRIs should be devoid of the statutory right of voting?

Reaching out to the Indian diaspora at the 8th edition of “Pravasi Bharatiya Diwas”, in January 2010, the prime minister assured NRIs of voting rights by the next general elections in 2014. The lower house of parliament passed the Representation of the People [Amendment] Bill 2010 in August, allowing overseas Indians to vote with a constraint. They would be required to register in India only during times specified by the election commission, and would have to travel again to cast their vote, an option many could not afford.

Organizations advocating NRIs right to vote have pleaded before the election commission to make amendments and allow NRIs to register throughout the year and to register at the embassy or online instead of registering in India.

Three years have passed since the assurance given by the Prime Minister, of NRIs voting right. It is high time we check with the government of the initiative taken so far in this direction using RTI. In case of any negligence on their part, we may start signature campaigns on social network sites and build a pressure group, to amend laws accordingly.

– Asif Moazzam is a Lecturer at King Khalid University, Saudi Arabia.

Church is not NGO, warns Pope

April 27, 2013 by  
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The pope had a direct message for employees of the Vatican’s Institute for Religious Works.

Pope FrancisVatican City, April 25, 2013: The Church is not a bureaucratic organization, it is a story of love, if “it creates offices and becomes somewhat bureaucratic, the Church loses its main substance and is in danger of turning into an NGO. And the Church is not an NGO”. The statement was repeated at Mass this morning by Pope Francis celebrated in the chapel of St. Martha’s residence. Among those present, were employees of the Institute for Religious Works (IOR).

According to Vatican Radio, the Pope himself brought the subject up: “It’s a love story … But there are those from the IOR … excuse me, eh! .. some things are necessary, offices are required … ok! but they are necessary up to a certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when organization takes first place, love falls down and the Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the way forward.”

The readings of the day tell the story of the first Christian community that grows and multiplies its disciples. A good thing, says the Pope, but that can push to make “deals” to get even “more partners in this venture.” “Instead, the path that Jesus willed for his Church is another: the path of the difficulties, the path of the Cross, the path of persecution … And this makes us wonder: What is this Church? This, our Church so it doesn’t seems a human enterprise”.

The Church is “something more”: “the disciples do not the Church make, they are only the messengers sent by Jesus. And Christ was sent by the Father.” So, you see that the Church begins there, in the heart of the Father, who had this idea … I do not know if He had an idea, the Father: the Father had love. This love story began, this love story that lasts through time and still has not ended. We, the women and men of the Church, we are in the middle of a love story: each of us is a link in this chain of love. And if we do not understand this, we do not understand anything about what the Church is. ”

“The Church does not grow thanks to human strength: some Christians made mistakes for historical reasons, they took a wrong turn, they had armies, and they waged wars of religion: that is another story, which is not this love story. We too must learn by our mistakes how the love story progresses. But how does it grow?

Like Jesus simply said, like the mustard seed, it grows like the yeast in the flour, without noise. “The Church grows “from the bottom, slowly.” “And when the Church wants to boast of its quantity and makes organizations, and makes offices and become somewhat bureaucratic, then the Church loses its main substance and is in danger of turning into an NGO. And the Church is not an NGO. It’s a love story … But there are those from the IOR … excuse me, eh! .. some things are necessary, offices are required … ok! but they are necessary up to a certain point: as an aid to this love story. But when organization takes first place, love falls down and the Church, poor thing, becomes an NGO. And this is not the way forward. ”

A head of state, he said, asked how big the Pope’s army was. But the Church does not grow “through the military”, but with the power of the Holy Spirit. Because the Church is not an organization. “No, it is a Mother. It is a Mother. There are many mothers here, at this Mass. How would you feel if someone said to you:’ So… you are the manager of your house ‘?’ No, I am the Mammy!. ‘And the Church is Mother. And we are in the middle of a love story that runs on the power of the Holy Spirit and we, all of us together, are a family in the Church who is our Mother. ”

– asianews

Islamism, kidnappings & future for Syria’s Christians

April 26, 2013 by  
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Many Christian buildings in Syria have been badly damaged or destroyedSyria, April 25, 2013: Dr Patrick Sookhdeo, International Director of Barnabas Fund, reflects on the prospects for Syrian Christians as their country continues to be torn apart by civil war.As Syria’s Christians reel under ever-increasing pressure from Islamist militants, the kidnapping of two senior church leaders has vividly underlined their perilous position. Their future, within Syriaor even in neighbouring countries, appears increasingly bleak.

The two archbishops, Yohanna Ibrahim and Boutros Yazigi, had been on a humanitarian mission in the north of the country, trying to secure the release of two pastors who were kidnapped some months ago. They were seized on 22 April in the village of Kfar Dael on the road to Aleppo. Their car was intercepted and their driver shot dead in cold blood.

The identity of the attackers is still uncertain, although one report identified them as Chechens. Christians are often kidnapped for ransom in the lawless and chaotic conditions now prevailing inSyria, but so far these kidnappers have demanded only the release of other rebel fighters.

Ibrahim and Yazigi are the most senior leaders to be taken captive since the conflict began more than two years ago. Ibrahim has spoken out several times about the desperate plight of Christians in Aleppo; only two months ago he issued a statement saying poignantly, “We cry loudly, ‘Enough is enough; we are totally exhausted and cannot continue.’”

CONVERT, LEAVE OR DIE

This disturbing incident presages the inescapably grim future for Christians in the event of a militant Islamist takeover of Syria. Numerous jihadi groups are now operating in the country as part of the opposition coalition against President Assad. They espouse an ideology that includes elements of Wahhabism (the highly conservative form of Islam practised in Saudi Arabia) and Salafism (a radical movement that seeks to restore the supposed golden age of Islam).

The prospect of these groups seizing power in Syria is a forbidding one for Christians. The choices before them are likely to be threefold: either convert to Islam, leave the country, or die. And the third option is far more than an empty threat. The Islamists have both the will and the power violently to persecute those they regard as the enemies of Islam.

It is hard enough for Syrian Christians merely to be caught up in the disintegration of their society. Law and order has largely broken down with the authority of the government, and rival armed militias roam the cities, at war with each other. Buildings have been destroyed, and food, medicine and fuel are in short supply. Numbers of casualties are estimated at around 350,000, including 60,000 dead; approximately four million people are internally displaced and around a million are refugees in other countries.

Many Christians also find themselves in the wrong geographical place in the country. Around a million of them live in Wadi al-Ouyoun and Wadi al-Nasara, two valleys that separate the Alawite supporters of Assad from the majority Sunni population that largely favours the opposition. The area is of such vital strategic importance to both sides that experts even suggest that whoever controls these Christian areas can control the course of the war.

But in addition to enduring these acute hardships and dangers, Christians are being explicitly targeted, especially by the Islamist groups. The incidence of kidnapping has increased so much that some Christians think it unsafe even to leave their own neighbourhoods. Others have seen their property stolen or suffered other forms of violence, including torture or even murder. A new practice known as takbir involves claiming ownership of anything by touching it and saying three times “Allahu Akbar [Allah is great].” This is used by Muslims to take possession of cars, houses, buildings or anything else. They also use it to take possession of Christian women, believing they then have the right to rape them. Churches are empty and services suspended. Almost the entire Christian population of some cities has fled, and even some senior leaders have now been forced reluctantly to take refuge abroad.

If Islamists do this when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry? What will happen to Syria’s Christians if the militants can exercise their power completely unchecked?

NOWHERE TO HIDE

Displaced Christians in Syria who receive emergency relief from Barnabas FundThe range of available alternative options is equally unattractive. Although Christians are widely believed by the Syrian opposition to be supporters of Assad, because they have been generally well treated under his regime, many do not want to identify themselves too closely with his politically repressive rule or his crackdown on protest. But while those who back him risk persecution by Islamists and other opposition fighters, those who try to stay neutral are in danger from government security agents. Whichever way Christians turn, they are ground inexorably between opposite forces.

Those who flee abroad, to neighbouring countries or further afield, also face grievous problems.Jordan and Lebanon are both under pressure: their economies are strained as a result of the long conflict in Syria, and both have seen unrest of their own. Elsewhere Christian refugees have been subjected to robbery and ill-treatment, or are forced to live in squalor; some refugee camps are unsafe for them because of the risk of abuse at the hands of extremist Muslims. Many would like to get to Europe but are thwarted by difficult visa application procedures.

WHERE NOW FOR SYRIA’S CHRISTIANS?

The torment of Syria’s Christians recalls that of their brothers and sisters in Iraq ten years ago, as anarchy engulfed the country following the fall of Saddam Hussein. Iraqi Christians were given the same three options, to convert to Islam, leave the country or die. Often this message was sent to individuals, by telephone, text message or letter, and was reinforced by kidnappings, murders and the bombing of church buildings.

Now once again a Christian minority numbering around a million and a half and dating back to the first Christian centuries is in danger of extinction through targeted persecution and large-scale flight. So is there any earthly hope for them?

The country of Syria is being progressively destroyed, and there is currently little prospect of a peaceful solution or of a decisive victory for either side. The war seems to be a fight to the death – not of the participants, but of the nation and its churches. I am myself convinced that the long-term healing of Syria’s divisions lies in a confessional state on the model of Lebanon, where minorities – both ethnic and religious – are protected and guaranteed a stake in the country’s governance, and this proposal is now receiving serious consideration at the UN.

Let us pray that it may bear fruit before the destruction of Syria’s Christian community is past the point of no return.

– dr patrick sookhdeo

Iran: Restrictions effectively criminalize Christian faith

April 26, 2013 by  
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The Rev. Vruir AvanessianIran, April 24, 2013: A new report produced by the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has found that Christian activities are effectively criminalised by the Iranian authorities.

The report, which is based on interviews with 31 Christians in Iran between April 2011 and July 2012, found that the authorities consistently treat standard Christian practices, such as being a member of a house church or attending a Christian conference, as criminal acts.

Although the Iranian government claims to respect the rights of its recognised religious minorities, it does not do so in practice. The report found that Christian converts and members of unregistered churches are denied the right freely to practise their faith, and that they face violations of their right to life through extrajudicial killings and even execution for apostasy (though only one Christian convert is known to have been executed since the 1979 Islamic Revolution).

A pattern of systematic, arbitrary arrest and detention of Christian converts in Iran is described. Christians are often accused of security crimes against the state, and officials make unsubstantiated allegations that Christians are waging a foreign-inspired “soft war” in the country.

Christians are often denied basic rights while detained; they are held without charge, denied access to proper legal advice and ill-treated.

The report also found clear and consistent evidence that the lives of Christian converts are threatened. Although some church leaders who have been sentenced to the death penalty for apostasy were subsequently acquitted following intense international pressure, the report reveals that security officials threaten Christian detainees with execution on numerous occasions.

It also found that the lack of due diligence that characterised the investigations into a number of suspicious deaths of Christian leaders strongly suggested government complicity in the crimes or in the subsequent cover-ups.

Freedom to practise the Christian faith is consistently and severely restricted; the government has not allowed a single new church to be built since the revolution. Many churches have been closed; attendance at others is restricted; and church groups are monitored and harassed. Bibles and religious literature are routinely confiscated during arrests.

The research also found that Christian converts and members of non-traditional churches are discriminated against in education and employment and by laws governing marriage and family life.

Iran is obligated to safeguard freedom of religion under Article 18 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. The report concludes by urging the international community to “hold Iran accountable for its rights violations”.

Hadi Ghaemi, Executive Director of the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, said:

The egregious violations of Christians’ rights, which include not only the inability to freely practise their religion, but also the threat of torture and death at the hands of state officials, go against all international law. The international community must let the Iranian government know this is unacceptable.

Barnabas Fund has recently reported on several cases that illustrate the persecution described in the report. Iranian-American pastor Saeed Abedini was arrested for planting house churches “intended to undermine national security”. Since he began the eight-year prison sentence he was given in January, he has been beaten, denied medical treatment andtold that if he does not return to Islam, he will not be freed even when he has served his sentence.

Fifty Christians were arrested at a house church gathering last Christmas, and although all the others were released after being interrogated, the Rev. Vruir Avanessian, who suffers from kidney disease, was detained and was only released after enduring 15 days in jail during which he was frequently interrogated.

– barnabas team

Mario Miranda Chowk through BJP MLC Ashish Shelar’s efforts

April 26, 2013 by  
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Mario MirandaMumbai, April 14, 2013: BJP Member of the Legislative Council, Advocate Ashish Shelar from Mumbai, Maharashtra made yet another move to signal that Christians are not taboo or to be targeted. Ashish Shelar got the Mumbai municipal corporation (BMC) to name a junction (chowk) in Santacruz West, on the corner of Convent Avenue and Hasnabad Lane, after internationally renowned cartoonist, Mario Miranda, a native of Goa, with a great love for the city. The late Mario Miranda was decorated with a Padmashree by the Government of India, which is a notable civilian honour.

Raj ThakreGoa’s deputy chief minister Francis D’Souza, was in attendance, along with Raj Thackeray, the Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief, BJP leader Vinod Tawade and the BMC Opposition Leader, Alka Kerkar, besides a large number of Catholics and prominent others. Raj Thackeray said, the nation had been ignoring its artistes since too long. Instead of renaming a chowk after Mario Miranda, government should have set up an institute in his name to teach students in the art of cartooning, he added.  Raj Thackeray is himself a cartoonist like his uncle the late Bal Thackeray.

Fr. Joe D’souza, parish priest of St. Ignatius Church, Jacob Circle said in the Catholic weekly, The Examiner that ” Mr. Ashish Shelar, MLC had reached out to Sacred Heart Church, Santacruz (West), when they received the recent BMC notice. He is one MLC who helps Christians. He organised an evening of Christmas Carols in the month of December through his organisation known as ‘SPANDAN’ and recently on April 14, 2013, organised a dinner for all Goans at the Rang Sharda Hotel in Bandra, to allow Goans to discuss Goa-related issues with Adv Francis D’ Souza, the deputy Chief Minister of Goa “.

Catholics living in Bandra, Khar and Santa Cruz, will vouch for Shri Ashish Shelar as an honest and upright politician, Fr. Joe D’souza concluded.

Karnataka: Congress to implement Mishra & Sachar recommendations

April 26, 2013 by  
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Congress PartyBengaluru, April 26, 2013: With barely two weeks left for assembly elections in Karnataka, Congress party on Wednesday released its manifesto, promising implementation of the recommendations made in Justice Ranganath Misra Commission and Justice Sachar Committee reports.

Implementation of all central government schemes for minorities, restoration of Waqf properties to the Waqf board, establishment of residential schools at all district level, with 75% reservation for minorities, were some of the highlights of minority-friendly programmes included in the manifesto.

While Congress was the last of the major political parties to unveil its list of programmes, the ruling BJP which did so on 19 April, has nothing specific or substantial in bag for the minority community.

Janata Dal (Secular) on the other hand, has promised to create 100 hostels for Muslim women students, protection of places of worship of minorities and a corpus of Rs. 2000 crores to implement the recommendations of Justice Sachar Commission among others.

Former Karnataka Chief Minister, B S Yeddyurappa whose Karnataka Janata Party (KJP) will contest assembly elections for the first time, had earlier this month promised a budget of Rs. 2,000 crore for the development of Muslim community and creation of employment and basic amenities, if elected to power.

– tcn

Poor Indian human rights exposed in US report

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Human RightsGuwahati, April 26, 2013: Even as activists like Irom Sharmila has spent more than a decade fasting to secure the basic human rights of the people in India, especially in the north-eastern part and Jammu and Kashmir, a report by the US Department of State has exposed the poor condition of world’s biggest democracy.

The report, which has several references of the north-eastern states, said that the most significant human rights problems in India during the year 2012 were police and security force abuses, including extrajudicial killings, torture, and rape; widespread corruption at all levels of government, leading to denial of justice; and separatist, insurgent, and societal violence.

The report also criticised the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) which is imposed in northeast states and in Jammu and Kashmir. Under the AFSPA, the government can declare any state or union territory a ‘disturbed area’, a declaration that allows security forces to fire on any person to ‘maintain law and order’ and to arrest any person ‘against whom reasonable suspicion exists’ without informing the detainee of the grounds for arrest.

Quoting South Asian Terrorism Portal (SATP), run by the non-profit Institute for Conflict Management, the report said that during the year 2012 there were 805 fatalities (Unlawful Deprivation of Life) in the country–including members of the security forces, individuals classified by the government as terrorists, and civilians. This, however, represented a decrease from 1,073 fatalities in 2011. The Ministry of Home Affairs 2010-11 report, released during the year, noted a perceptible decline in incidents of violence in Kashmir and all the Northeastern states.

According to the report the other human rights problems included disappearances, poor prison conditions that were frequently life-threatening, arbitrary arrest and detention, and lengthy pre-trial detention. The judiciary was overburdened, and court backlogs led to lengthy delays or the denial of justice. Authorities continued to infringe on citizens’ privacy rights. The law in some states restricted religious conversion, and there were reports of arrests, but no reports of convictions under these laws. There were some limits on freedom of movement. Rape, domestic violence, dowry-related deaths, honour killings, sexual harassment, and discrimination against women remained serious problems.

“Child abuse and child marriage were problems. Trafficking in persons, including widespread bonded and forced labour of children and adults, child prostitution, and forced adult prostitution, were serious problems. Caste-based discrimination and violence continued, as did discrimination against persons with disabilities and indigenous persons,” the report said.

It further added that discrimination against persons with HIV and discrimination and violence based on gender identity continued. Religiously based societal violence remained a concern. Forced labour and bonded labour are widespread. Child labour also is a serious problem.

Widespread impunity at all levels of government remained a serious problem. Investigations into individual cases and legal punishment for perpetrators occurred, but in many cases a lack of accountability due to weak law enforcement, a lack of trained police, and the overburdened and under resourced court system created an atmosphere of impunity.

Separatist insurgents and terrorists in Jammu and Kashmir, the North-eastern states and the Naxalite belt committed numerous serious abuses, including killing armed forces personnel, police, government officials, and civilians. Insurgents were responsible for numerous cases of kidnapping, torture, rape, and extortion, and they used child soldiers.

Another serious part of the report which quoted Union Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) said that 128 cases of custodial deaths and 675 cases of custodial torture were reported from various states during the period April 1, 2011, to March 31, 2012. The MHA also stated that during the period April 1 to July 31, 46 cases of custodial deaths and 129 cases of custodial torture were reported by the states.

The National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) reported 104 deaths in judicial custody in 2011, of which 35 were due to unnatural causes, such as suicide or murder by other inmates. The NCRB reported that no police were convicted for custodial deaths during the year.

The role of the police and security apparatus in India is also criticized. According to the MHA’s 2011-12 annual report, 74,918 cases were registered with the NHRC nationwide against security personnel. A total of 45,571 cases were resolved, including cases brought forward from previous years, and 19,355 cases were transferred to state human rights commissions for resolution.

On the Indian judiciary system the report said that it was seriously overburdened and lacked modern case management systems, often delaying or denying justice.By October of 2012 nearly one-third of sanctioned judges’ positions (895 posts) in the country’s 21 high courts were vacant.

As of November 30 in the same year there were 65,703 cases pending in the Supreme Court; 22,133 cases were less than one year old. The report also quoted Delhi High Court Acting Chief Justice AK Sikri as saying that at the pace at which cases were then being processed, the Delhi High Court would likely take 466 years to clear its case backlog.

Another shocking revelation that at least 75 complaints of corruption and misconduct against serving judges of the Supreme Court and high courts had been forwarded to the chief justice for action during the previous 12 months on May 1.

It, however, said that the total terrorism or insurgency related fatalities continued to decrease from the previous year. The total deaths reported declined from 1,073 in 2011 to 804 in 2012 (252 civilians, 139 security personnel, and 413 militants). The SATP database reported that 368 persons–including 118 militants, 104 security force personnel, and 146 civilians–were killed during the year as a result of Naxalite (Maoist) violence, a decrease from 2011, when 199 militants, 128 security force personnel, and 275 civilians were killed. The Institute for Conflict Management reported that there were 117 fatalities in Jammu and Kashmir during the year, including 84 alleged terrorists, 17 members of the security forces, and 16 civilians.

Besides, on abduction it said that human rights groups maintained that military, paramilitary, and insurgent forces abducted numerous persons in Jammu and Kashmir, Manipur, Jharkhand, and the Naxalite belt. There were 8,000 to 10,000 persons missing but in custody in Jammu and Kashmir. On October 8, the Jammu and Kashmir state government stated that of 2,305 persons reported missing, only 182 FIRs had been filed, and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah stated that the discrepancy between reported missing persons and FIRs filed was due to “missing reports”.

Since 1990 the conflicts in Jammu and Kashmir, the North-eastern States and the Naxalite belt have displaced an estimated 621,000 persons; most remained without permanent homes at year’s end. Tens of thousands of Kashmiri Pandits (Hindus) have fled the Kashmir valley to Jammu, Delhi, and other areas in the country since 1990 because of conflict. According to the MHA’s 2011-12 annual report, 58,697 Kashmiri Pandit families remained displaced from their homes.

Violence between ethnic groups in the states of Assam, Manipur, and Mizoram displaced an unknown number of persons during the year 2012 and more than 227,000 internally displaced persons (IDPs) remained from previous incidents of communal violence dating back to 1993. The July-August violence in Assam between tribal groups and migrant Muslims displaced approximately 4,50,000 persons.

There were several groups of IDPs in various locations in the country, including those displaced by internal armed conflicts in Jammu and Kashmir, the Naxalite belt and the North-eastern States as well as in Gujarat. On April 23, the International Displacement Monitoring Centre (IDMC), operated by the Norwegian Refugee Council and the UN, estimated that regional conflicts had displaced at least 506,000 persons. The IDMC estimated that at least 53,000 persons were newly displaced.

In Assam violence between tribal groups and alleged migrants resulted in the displacement of more than 450,000 persons. According to a 2012 survey from the NGO Janvikas, 16,087 persons of the approximately 250,000 displaced in the 2002 Gujarat violence remained in camps, living in 83 relief colonies that lacked adequate infrastructure and security.

“The government had no national policy or legislation to address internal displacement resulting from armed conflict or from ethnic or communal violence. The responsibility for assisting IDPs was delegated to the state governments and district authorities, allowing for gaps in services and poor accountability. When state- or district-level authorities provided assistance, it was often ad hoc and inadequate. The central government provided some assistance to IDPs and allowed them access to NGOs and human rights organizations, but neither access nor assistance was standard for all IDPs or all situations,” it said.

Then another worst scenario in India is on crime against women. Official statistics pointed to rape as the fastest growing crime, even when compared to murder, robbery, and kidnapping. The NCRB reported 24,206 cases of rape across the country in 2011; rape is considered an underreported crime. Law enforcement and legal avenues for rape victims were inadequate, overtaxed, and unable to address the issue effectively. “Law enforcement officers sometimes worked to reconcile rape victims and their attackers, in some cases encouraging female rape victims to marry their attackers. Doctors sometimes further abused rape victims who had come to report the crimes by using the ‘two finger test’ to speculate on their sexual history,” the reported added.

Domestic violence continued to be a problem, and the National Family Health Survey revealed that more than 50 percent of women reported experiencing some form of violence in their home. The NCRB reported that in 2011 there were 99,135 reported cases of “cruelty by husband and relatives,” an increase of 5.4 percent from the previous year. Advocates reported that many women refrained from reporting domestic abuses due to social pressures.

According to the NCRB Crime in India 2011 Statistics, there were 228,650 crimes against women in 2011, a 7 percent increase from 2010. These crimes included kidnapping and abduction, molestation, sexual harassment, physical and mental abuse, and trafficking. The NCRB noted that underreporting of such crimes was likely. Delhi recorded the highest proportion of crimes against women with 4,489 cases, followed by Bengaluru, Karnataka, with 1,890. Besides, there are several shocking facts which revealed the scene of the country.

– tcn

The young lady and the cookies

April 26, 2013 by  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

Comments Off on The young lady and the cookies

Cookies“A young lady was waiting for her flight in the boarding room of a big airport. As she would need to wait many hours, she decided to buy a book to spend her time. She also bought a packet of cookies. She sat down in an armchair, in the VIP-room of  the airport, to rest and read in peace.

Beside the armchair where the packet of cookies lay, a man sat down in the next seat, opened his magazine and started reading. When she took out the first cookie, the man took one also. She felt irritated but said nothing. She just thought: “What a nerve! If I was in the mood I would punch him for daring!”

For each cookie she took the man took one too. This was infuriating her but she didn’t want to cause a scene. When only one cookie remained, she thought, “ah, what this abusive man do now?”

Then, the man, taking the last cookie, divided it into half, giving her one half.

WomenAh, that was too much! She was much too angry now!

In a huff, she took her book, her things and stormed to the boarding place.

When she sat down in her seat, inside the plane, she looked into her purse to take her eyeglasses, and, to her surprise, her packet of cookies was there, untouched, unopened!

She felt so ashamed! She realised that she was wrong… She had forgotten that her cookies were kept in her purse. The man had divided his cookies with her, without feeling angered or bitter, while she was very angry, thinking that she was dividing her cookies with him. And now there was no chance to explain herself… nor to apologize.”

The moral of the story…
There are four things that you cannot recover:

The stone ….     after the throw,
The word …. after it’s said,
The occasion … after the loss,
The time …. after it’s gone.

God bless youDid anyone ever tell you just how special you are?
The light that you emit might even light a star.

Did anyone ever tell you how important you make others feel?
Somebody out there is smiling, about love that is so real.

Did anyone ever tell you that many times when they were sad your e-mail made them smile a bit, in fact it made them glad.

closer to GodFor the time you spend sending things and sharing whatever you find, there are no words to thank you, but somebody thinks you are fine.

Did anyone ever tell you just how much they like you? Well friend, today I’m telling you.

I believe that without a friend you are missing out on a lot.
Have a nice day, and I’m glad we are friends.

fwd by ignatius p k

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