Nepal, Hindus to government: Give the land to the Christians to bury their dead

May 30, 2014 by  
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Nepal, May 30, 2014: Hundreds of people, of both religions, attended the funeral of the Catholic Rajendra Rai, his body was cremated because the authorities still have not granted land for Christian cemeteries. The support of ethnic minorities and of the Hindu majority.

A Funeral in NepalHundreds of people, Christians and Hindus together, they followed the body of the Catholic Rajendra Rai to the place of his cremation. The funeral rites later turned into a large peaceful demonstration, calling on the authorities to grant Christians the land needed to create a cemetery. The issue has been going on for some time, and even sparked violent protests in the past.

Rai’s funeral – he was an official of the local Caritas who died at age 49 due to heart problems – has brought the issue once again to the fore. After the funeral in the Cathedral of the Assumption in Kathmandu, the interfaith procession followed the hearse to the Bagmati river: here Hindus cremate the bodies of their loved ones. Gyan Rai, brother of the deceased, told AsiaNews: “Although we are sad for the loss, it is comforting and nice to see this great mass of people at the funeral. Hopefully the government will listen to us”.

Pradip, Hindu, continues: ” Nepal has several religious groups and is now a secular state: all faiths should have the same rights and the same opportunities. The government should immediately grant the land to the Christians. If they are not free and happy, then neither are the Hindus, Christians are citizens of this country, equal to all others”. Binod Pahadi, also Hindu, says : “We are with the Christians and we will support with their demands. The government cannot simply ignore us”.

The debate over burial sites for the Christian minority and tribal Kirlti (who will not cremate their dead ) has been ongoing for decades. The majority of Hindu tradition cremate their dead and do not understand the needs of minorities to bury their dead, and hinders such custom . Until now, Christians and tribal land bought at his own expense that are often seized or desecrated . Spaces are sometimes inadequate : in a tomb of a few meters can also be buried 10 dead.

– asianews

Memorandum given to PM Modi by Indian Americans

May 30, 2014 by  
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Memorandum Submitted to the kind attention of Honorable Narendra Modi, February 2014

Submitted by ​​Global Hindu Heritage Foundation, Frisco, TX 75035 USA.

hinduismDear Friends:

The following Memorandum was sent in February 2014 to Sri Narendra Modi, the then PM Candidate and Dr. Subramanian Swamy for their consideration. Now the country has elected the Prime Minister with such overwhelming majority, we hope that these items listed in the Memorandum will be considered, adopted and implemented for the preservation of Sanatana Dharma that has sustained the Bharath for thousands and thousands of years. Let us all work with determination and passion to restore the glory, grandeur and richness of Hindu dharma that embraced the philosophy of inclusiveness and adopted the ideology of vasudhaika kutumbam.

Honorable Sri Narendra Modi

BJP Candidate for Prime Minister; New Delhi, India.

Dear Sri Modi:
After a study of some forty years and more of the great religions of the world, I find none so perfect, none so scientific, none so philosophical and no so spiritual that the great religion known by the name of Hinduism. Make no mistake; without Hinduism, India has no future. Hinduism is the soil in to which India’s roots are stuck and torn out of that she will inevitably wither as a tree torn out from its place. And if Hindus do not maintain Hinduism, who shall save it? If India’s own children do not cling to her faith, who shall guard it? India alone can save India and India and Hinduism are one. ~~~Annie Besant

It is the obligation of all Hindus to take the responsibility of preserving, maintain and protecting the Hindu edifice – that is being attacked by all sides. Hindus have to lit the Hindu torch to dispel the ignorance and spread the light and freedom Hinduism has enjoyed for centuries not only for them and for the entire humanity if it has to live in peace and happiness rather than terror and chaos. Irrespective of one’s political affiliation, all the political leaders, religious leaders and spiritual leaders have to work tirelessly to nourish the roots, protect the Hindu ethics, embrace the vasudaiva kutumba principle and restore the grandeur of Sanatana dharma that is the hall mark freedom of speech and beacon of peaceful coexistence. All Hindus must support, endorse and adopt the following agenda to restore pride among Hindus, root out terrorism, and create Hindu mindset to establish Hindutva in Bharat.

Global Hindu Heritage Foundation [GHHF] is submitting these concerns to you and the leadership of BJP requesting you to act to revive the richness and grandeur of Sanatana dharma in Bharat. These are some of the concerns that are affecting Bharath. Unless all these issues are addressed, Bharath Mata will suffer unforeseen consequences. We may not see her the way we see today.

Declare India as Hindu Rashtra

Need to change the constitution to declare India as Bharat / Hindu Rashtra and make it into a Hindu Nation. Hindus need a Hindu Nation. Muslims have about 58 countries in their belt and vowed to make India an Islamic Country. Christians have all of Europe, Americas and other countries. Jews have Israel. Why Hindus cannot have a Hindu Nation?

Hindu Religious and Endowment Act

Repeal Hindu Religious and Endowment Act giving the religious freedom enshrined in the article 26 of the Indian Constitution.

All Hindu Temples should be given back to Hindus to manage their affairs the way the Christians and Muslims are allowed.

An Apex Committee consisting of Hindu spiritual and religious leaders should prepare white paper on the proper management of Hindu Temples with definite time lines.

All the Temple lands that were sold or auctioned should be recovered the respective Temples.

Religious leaders must be consulted on all major issues facing the Hindu Temples.

All the encroached Temple lands must be recovered.

All 2000 Hindu Temples that were converted to Mosques must be returned to Hindus.

Sri Ram Temple in Ayodhya must be completed without any further delay.

Priest salaries must be set depending on the qualifications, training and experience.

Priests who abuse and cheat the system and bhaktas must be removed and prosecuted.

The practices of the pandas / priests in Gaya, Mathura, Allahabad, Kashi and other Northern states must be streamlined, and controlled. The Hindu leaders should speak out and take corrective actions.

Thorough discussion must take place about abuse of dakshina system and playing with the sentiments of bhaktas.

All Endowed lands must be recovered or assessed at the present market value and put it in a separate Budget to promote Hinduism; and repair, rebuild and restore the dilapidated historical Temples.

Vakula Mata Temple should be built immediately without any delay.

Islamic University near Tirupathi must be demolished and the land should be preserved by TTD.

A separate List of Concerns about Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD) is prepared for your immediate consideration.

Uniform Laws

Uniform civil Code should be passed and enforced where all citizens irrespective of their religion would adhere. No nation can afford to have one law for each religion. In all non-Muslim countries, the Muslim follow the norms of the country and adopt monogamous relationship. Why India should have a different laws for Muslims?

One Family, One Child.

Family planning should be strictly enforced. No nation can afford to have unlimited number of children for religious reasons, lest natural resources will be depleted. No nation can afford to ignore the threats of Christians and Muslims who have vowed to make India a Christian and Islamic Country respectively.

Replace Secular with Spiritual.

The word “Secular” has not been defined in the constitution even though it is being followed in the country. It is pitted against Hindus favoring Muslims and Christians. There must be clear separation of religion and state. No mention of any religion in any legislation, appropriations, and reservations.

Amend the Constitution to include Spiritual with no preference to any religion and caste.

Remove special privileges to Muslims and Christians

Prosecute any one who denigrates other religions, destroys religious institutions, abuses the idols, and denigrates the religious practices.

No reservations for Christians and Muslims based on religion in the colleges, medical schools, and employment.

Prosecute the media who allow their channels to demean other religions.

Hajj Subsidy

Stop Hajj Subsidy to Muslims to go to Mecca and subsidy to Christians to go to Jerusalem, Vatican and other places. No subsidy to any religions for pilgrimages. Enforce strict separation of religion and politics/government.

All Hajj Houses must be converted to the use of all the citizens irrespective of their religion.

The equivalent money spent on Hajj subsidy for Muslims and travel grants to Christians must be used for establishing Hindu studies in various universities.

Bangladesh Infiltration

Bangladeshi infiltration must be curtailed and send back the illegal immigrants or occupy portion of Bangladesh to accommodate the illegals. But that occupied land should not be made part of India.

No Appeasement

Minority Quotas must be eliminated. Meritocracy must be promoted. Bharat should not be a heaven for less qualified and least educated.

All the Departments specially aiming at a particular religion or minorities based on religion should be abolished.

The government should not fund educational Institutions, based on religion.

All the Minority institutions must be audited to make sure that the funds are not used for conversion.

Revise School Curriculum

Courses on Gita should be introduced in all educational institutions from lowest level to the highest level.

Suryanamaskaras, Yoga and Meditation should be introduced at all levels of educational institutions.

Repeal of Discriminatory Acts

Repeal Atrocities Act, which is giving license to the minorities to abuse the act. Minorities are abusing the system to the extent that innocent people are jailed without having an iota of evidence produced by the minorities.

Repeal Indian Penal Code 498A dealing with Dowry as a criminal law (not a civil law): “Whoever, being the husband or the relative of the husband of a woman, subjects such woman to cruelty shall be punished with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and shall also be liable to fine. The offence is Cognizable, non-compoundable and non-bailable.” It is cruel and offensive law against the husband and his relatives. Last 30 years of history shows that only 2 percent of the cases were convicted. That means 98 percent of the husband and their relatives were subjected to humiliation, harassment and mental torture.

Community Violence Bill should be defeated where a Hindu is always at fault for the atrocities Muslims and Christians commit against them.

Conversion Laws

Anti Conversion Law must be passed banning the conversion through deceit, deception, allurement, inducements and enticements.

All educational institutions started by Christians must be investigated for high percentage of Hindus converting to Christianity.

All Hindu organizations and Hindu Religious leaders must engage in reconversion of Hinduconverts.

The government must investigate and take appropriate action against those who convert Hindus through deception, allurement and inducements.

Loud Speakers

Noise pollution laws must be enforced strictly; Minarets that emit loud prayers must be banned. Supreme Court judgment to enforce the decibels must be enforced by the Central government and the States.

Illegal use of houses as Churches must be stopped and strict penalties imposed against the violators of the law. The houses being used as Churches must be demolished.

In some cases there are 4-5 churches in the same street because of denominational differences. No loud speakers in these houses should be allowed.

Repeal of Article 370

Kashmiri Pandits – Repeal article 370 and make sure all the Kashmiri Pandits are returned to their property rights restored. Allow Hindus to own property.

Terrorism and Non-Patriotic Acts

Terrorism – India is being targeted to create havoc by the Islamic terrorists. Separate independent agency should be created to monitor and prosecute the terrorists. This agency should be in a position to take necessary action against any group that profess or engage in preemptive strikes regardless of the sources of terrorism.

The verses in Quran and Bible that advocate terrorism, killing, destruction of Idols, imposition of Jizya tax, and denial of freedom of speech must be expunged.

Prosecute people who engage in no-patriotic activities such as hoisting the flag of Pakistan on Independence day, burning the Indian flag, insulting the Indian constitution, etc.

Any body that declares Fatwa on any Indian citizen must be prosecuted and severe punishment imposed.

Nation must be cognizant of the fact that Muslims have vowed to break up India into three Muslim countries with the names – Mughalisthan, Dalitisthan, and Dravidisthan. Steps must be taken to prosecute anti-nationals and unpatriotic individuals.

Cow Protection

Cow Protection – The laws banning the slaughter of cows must be enforced strictly.

People who illegally transport cows to other states and break any law in transportation of cows must be prosecuted as per law.

Slaughter Houses must be shut down immediately. Operators of slaughterhouses must be brought to justice.

Beef imports must be stopped; violators must be prosecuted with severe penalties.

Corruption and Black Money

Corruption – this thousand-headed demon must be vanquished at all levels – political, economic, religious, educational, and government. It is threatening the very fabric of the Bharat.

Black money stashed in foreign banks should recovered and declare it as a national treasure to be used for the welfare of the nation.

Work toward Greater Cause – Bharata Mata

BJP, RSS, VHP, Janata Party, Acharya Sabhas, Hindu Mahasabha and other Hindu organizations must work together for the greater cause of the preservation and protection of Hindu cause. They must select the most qualified candidate to lead the country rather than the established candidates that may have served the party many years. Welfare of the Hindu Country should be given top priority.

All religious and spiritual leaders should get united and speak with one voice and encourage their followers to work for the preservation and protection of the Sanatana dharma. Make them a viable and a powerful force to reckon with by all politicians. Otherwise, Hindus have to face the possibility of their existence.

Government should never forget the massive destruction of Hindu Temples and Hindu culture, Goa Inquisition, displacements of Kashmiri Pandits, Bangladeshi infiltration, extinction of Hindu population from nearly 20 percent to near zero in Pakistan, depletion of Hindus from 26 percent to 7 percent in Bangladesh, forced conversion of Hindus, constant terrorist attacks on Bharat, etc.

Law and Order

The law enforcement agencies have to be made accountable for the enforcement of the law. At present Police Department is failing to protect the citizens, especially Hindus, from the terrorist activities, and illegal occupation of their property. Hindu Temples are asked to stop their worship services instead of taking action against the Muslims who threaten the closure of the Temples in certain areas.

Any body, who issue Fatwa threatening the life of a citizen, and insulting the Hindu culture and practices, national flag, national prayer should be adequately punished as per the law. Department officials have to be made personally and professionally responsible for their indifference or their failure in discharging their responsibility.


Government officials, who do not discharge their responsibilities, fail to maintain neutrality in fulfilling their responsibilities, engage in nonprofessional activities or act in a partisan manner should be individually liable for prosecution.

Police, who charge the citizens with false accusations, must face strict law.

Police who refuse to register FIR must face disciplinary actions such as, imposition of fines, removal from the office, and imprisonment.

Time limitations must be developed to responds to the queries of the citizens.

Legal cases must be adjudicated within a specified time. It should not outwit the life of a plaint.

All Hindu organizations, religious leaders, and cultural organizations should heed the words of Arnold Toynbee who said Indian belief in Ahimsa – nonviolence – should be embraced by the humanity if it wants to avoid the destruction and annihilation of human race. Hindus should not remain silent spectator to the spectacle of terrorism and the demolition of Hindu edifice. They should be assertive participants to restore the glory and grandeur of the richest culture that ever existed in the human history.

Prakasarao V Velagapudi, PhD;
President, Global Hindu Heritage Foundation

–  world hindu news

Tibetan ‘political prisoner’ lands in Dalai Lama’s abode

May 30, 2014 by  
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Golog JigmeDharamsala, May 29, 2014: Tibetan “political prisoner” Golog Jigme, who was jailed for working in a film expressing feelings of Tibetans ahead of the 2008 Beijing Olympics, Thursday narrated tales of physical and mental torture that prisoners are undergoing in China.

Narrating his 20-month arduous journey since his escaped from a Chinese prison, Jigme, who last week reached Dharamsala, the home to the Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama, said he hid across mountains, rivers and forests.

Seeking release of his associate and filmmaker Dhondup Wangchen, who shot “Leaving Fear Behind”, the documentary that expressed the feelings of Tibetans, he said: “I had been on the run until I reached Dharamsala a few days back.”

The 44-year-old political prisoner told reporters here that he was first arrested and jailed in 2008 for assisting Wangchen in documentary making.

He was accused of taking part in violent protests against the Chinese government and not making defamatory statements against Tibetan spiritual leader the Dalai Lama.

Narrating his experience in Chinese prison, where he was brutally tortured, Jigme said: “Even today I continue to have severe pain on the backbone and ribs and my knee dislocates whenever my body gets cold.”

Jigme was released a few months after his first arrest in 2008. However, he continued to be harassed by Chinese police.

“For two months, I ran and hid across the mountains. They (Chinese) announced a reward of 200,000 RMB for information on my whereabouts,” Jigme said.

Human rights watchdog Tibetan Centre for Human Rights and Democracy based here said Jigme reiterated that the Chinese government’s forced re-education policies, the destruction of Tibetan language and identity and marginalization of Tibetans are some of the major grievances of the people in Tibet.

The Dalai Lama this month expressed concern over situation in Tibet.

“Hardline officials continue to target Tibetan language and religion,” the Nobel Peace Prize laureate told reporters May 10 in Rotterdam, in the Netherlands, according to a post on his official website.

On being asked how long Tibetans could be expected to remain non-violent, the Dalai Lama said: “If Tibetan Buddhist culture is damaged in Tibet, who knows what will happen.”

Later, addressing a gathering of Tibetans, he said: “The spirit of the people in Tibet is very strong… their courage is amazing. And they remain non-violent.”

“We retain a strong dedication to our religion and culture and because of aspirations we have made in the past, we have not let our heritage down. After 60 years, the issue of Tibet is still alive. Awareness of Tibet is still growing,” he said.

The Dalai Lama, Tenzin Gyatso, has been following a “middle-path” policy that seeks “greater autonomy” for Tibetans in China rather than complete independence.

The Tibetan exile administration is based in Dharamsala.

– ians

For Catholic Church spokesman, “al-Sisi’s victory is a civil uprising against Islamic extremism”

May 30, 2014 by  
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Cairo, May 29, 2014: Former General Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s victory in the country’s presidential election “makes us happy because so far he has kept his word,” said Fr Rafic Greiche, spokesman for the Egyptian Catholic Church, who spoke to AsiaNews on the day Egypt’s new president was elected in what was akin to a referendum.

egypt“He knows that Christians are an important part of Egypt and he wants to defend religious coexistence. If he can provide security and economic recovery, it will be a huge result. We hope this will happen as soon as possible,” Fr Greiche added.

Speaking on the vote itself, the Church spokesman first noted that “the recent reports on a very low turnout election are incorrect. On the second day of the vote (Tuesday), 23 million people had voted.”

“I think that the extension of the voting process was decided to give as many people as possible a chance to cast their ballot. However, reports that some polling stations were empty was not true. The fact is that the election Commission set up a large number of polling stations so as not to take any chances. This inevitably led to some empty stations.”

From this point of view, it is important to note the attitudes of Egypt’s various groups. “Salafis, for example, said they were going to vote, and that they were going to support al-Sisi. But looking at the data, it appears that in Salafi strongholds no one voted. Certainly, leaders posed for pictures at polling stations, but their people did not do their duty.”

Christians, Catholics and Copts, voted instead. “I told my parishioners that I wanted to see them with your finger stained (from ink – to avoid multiple voting), because it is always important to make one’s voice heard.”

According to Fr Greiche, this election also had another, very important aspect. “The votes for al-Sisi are a clear call by Egypt’s political and civil society against Islamic fundamentalism, which has tainted the Muslim Brotherhood. The latter chose to boycott the vote, but they cannot ignore the fact that the entire country is sickened by the recent violence. Hopefully, they will soon get the message.”

Egypt can now hope for a future after so many years of political turmoil. The goal is “stability and security for every community, and economic recovery. These are the fundamental objectives; this work must unite us all. Only this way can we move out of our current mire and return to the glories of the past, which must be our hope for the future.”

– asianews

Sudan woman Meriam Ibrahim’s new baby daughter photos emerge, brings joy despite looming death sentence

May 30, 2014 by  
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Sudan, May 29, 2014: First photos of the baby daughter of the Sudanese woman sentenced to death for marrying a Christian man emerged this week.

MayaMeriam Ibrahim delivered baby Maya in the Omdurman Federal Women’s Prison in North Khartoum on May 27.

Ibrahim is to be hanged when her daughter is two years old.

On May 15, Ibrahim was sentenced to 100 lashes and death by hanging for marrying a Christian, Daniel Wani, and refusing to renounce her faith. Although she was raised by an Ethiopian Orthodox Christian mother, Ibrahim is considered Muslim because her estranged father was of Islamic faith.

Wani is a biochemical engineer living in Manchester, New Hampshire. He is currently in Sudan fighting for the release of his wife and 20-month-old son, Martin, who is being held in prison.

The father was able to visit his wife and two children yesterday, and photos were captured of the hours-old child. Ibrahim’s attorney said that the new baby has brought the family great joy.

“This is a special moment for them. Daniel is delighted that he is able to see his new daughter so soon,” Mohaned Mustafa Elnour told the Daily Mail.

“The family are taking some time to enjoy the birth before they return to fighting the injustice of Meriam’s sentence.”

Wani’s brother, Gabriel, said that Daniel was visiting Sudan in June 2013 to secure U.S. admission for Meriam and Martin, when a man claiming to be Meriam’s brother filed apostasy charges against her.

“[The alleged brother] went to Meriam’s house and wanted to know why she was not a Muslim. He went to the police and accused Daniel of kidnapping his sister—he meant Meriam,” Gabriel told The Daily Mail.

“She is psychologically tired,” Daniel told Morning Star. “My wife was never a Muslim. As an American citizen, I ask the people and government of the USA to help me.”

New Hampshire state senators wrote a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry two weeks ago urging him to secure Ibrahim’s release.

“We request your immediate action and full diplomatic engagement to offer Meriam political asylum and to secure her and her son’s safe release,” the letter read.

The United Nations also condemned her sentence.

Sudan’s Parliament Speaker, Fatih Izz Al-Deen, said the verdict in Ibrahim’s case is not final.

– christian today

Church growing at faster rate than world population

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Vatican City, May 29, 2014: The Pontifical Yearbook has published all figures relating to Church life around the world. The volume is published annually and collects together data from the Holy See’s central offices.

baptismThis year’s figures are of particular interest because they refer to the first year of Francis’ pontificate. He was elected Pope on 13 March 2013. The figures relating to the “official” life of the Church – the legal-institutional aspect that is – include the period that runs from March last year to 22 February 2014.

Two new episcopal sees, an eparchy, an apostolic exarchate and an archiepiscopal exarchate were established in this period and a territorial prelature was elevated to the status of diocese.

The data regarding faithful and other members of the Church refer to 2012, so there is a two year gap between that date and the date of publication.

The Catholic Church is currently divided into 2,981 ecclesiastical districts, dioceses or other kinds of institutions.

The number of people who are being baptized is constantly growing. In the period between 2005 and 2012, the number of baptized people around the world rose from 1115 to 1229 million, an increase of 10.2 per cent . If we compare this to the world population’s rate of growth in the same period, we see that this has gone from 6, 46 to 7, 02 billion. So Catholic presence in the world has risen slightly, from 17.3 per cent to 17.5 per cent. But this growth varied greatly according to geographical area and so the total figure is different. Europe’s results are the worst.

Although it is home to 23 per cent of the world’s Catholic community (2012), it is by far the least dynamic area, with numbers of baptized rising at a meagre rate of just over 2 per cent. The presence of Catholics in the region amounts to about 40 per cent.

Africa is the continent that is witnessing the greatest growth; this probably helps explain the fresh outbreaks of violence against Christians and Catholics by Islamic extremist groups.

Globally, Africa is undoubtedly the continent where growth is most notable. The rate at which the number of Africa’s Catholics (almost 199 million in 2012) has risen, is almost double that of Asia (29%) and far higher than the population growth rate in that same period of time.

The balance between continents has changed hugely. The Catholic presence in Africa is stronger (the number of African Catholics has risen from 13.8 per cent in 2005 to 16.2 per cent of the total number of the world’s Catholics in 2012).

Europe’s Catholics, however, continue to drop in number: from 25.5 per cent in 2005 their number has fallen to 23.3 per cent in 2012. But Asia’s Catholics are also on the rise. Asia accounts for over 60 per cent of the world population and Asian Catholics account for about 11 per cent of the population. 49 per cent of the world’s baptized Catholic population is American, a relative majority. The number of Catholics per a hundred inhabitants in Oceania is stable, accounting for 0.8 per cent of the global catholic population.

– vatican insider

Where will you spend your eternity

May 30, 2014 by  
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A young man was at the end of his training, soon he would go on to be a teacher.

Like all good pupils, he needed to challenge his teacher and to develop his own way of thinking.

Bird in the HandHe caught a bird, placed it in one hand and went to see his teacher.

‘Teacher, is this bird alive or dead?’

His plan was the following: if his teacher said ‘dead’, he would open his hand and the bird would fly away.

If the answer was ‘alive’, he would crush the bird between his fingers; that way the teacher would be wrong which ever answer he gave.

‘Teacher, is the bird alive or dead?’ he asked again.

choice‘My dear student, that depends on you,’ was the teacher’s reply.

The fate of that little bird rested in the hands of that young man just as the destiny of your soul rest in your own hands.

God does not determine where you will spend eternity, that choice is made by you.

To accept Christ as Savior or to reject Him is totally up to you.

To read and memorize His words is all on you.

Closer to GodHow close you want to be with God is your decision.

Again, I encourage you to memorize God’s word.

It’s one way to be closer to God and resist all temptation by the enemy.

–  fwd: vc mathews

Andhra Pradesh: Via Crucis desecration at Catholic ashram

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Mumbai, May 28, 2014: Vandals took advantage of the absence of the Catholic priests from the Congregation of the Holy Spirit who run Cristu Jyothi. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) tells AsiaNews that such an act “offends the religious sentiments” of the community. Bishop Emeritus Mgr Beretta, PIME, had inaugurated the ashram.

AP Crucis A group of vandals desecrated all the statues at the 14 Stations of the Cross in the Cristu Jyothi ashram in Warangal (Andhra Pradesh), the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) told AsiaNews.

The incident occurred last Sunday morning, between 8 and 10 am, when the priests were away from the ashram, to celebrate Mass.

“The GCIC is anguished at the desecration of all the 14 Stations,” GCIC president Sajan George told AsiaNews.

“The vandals,” he said, “shattered the 5-feet cement statues of the soldiers at every station of the cross, but they did not damage any of the crosses”.

Such “an “act of vandalism deeply offends the religious sentiments” of the community, he lamented, and is the “work of evil perpetrators.”

Mgr Alfonso Beretta, the diocese’s bishop emeritus and a missionary from the Pontifical Institute for Foreign Missions (PIME), inaugurated the Cristu Jyothi on 3 April 1993.

Since then, priests from the Catholic Congregation of the Holy Spirit have run the community.

On 8 January 1953, Mgr Beretta became the first bishop of the Diocese of Warangal, which was created a year earlier out of the Diocese of Hyderabad.

He was a strong supporter of the ashram.

– asianews

Quota no solution to problems of Muslims: Heptulla

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New Delhi, May 28, 2014: Stating that providing reservation was no solution to development concerns of Muslims, Najma Heptulla, who took charge as Minister for Minority Affairs has stressed that the new government will ensure progress of all communities, with special focus on education facilities for minorities. “We want to work for economic, social development and inclusive development (of minorities). Unless they don’t become a part the part of development process, there will be lopsided development,” she said.

Muslims“Why only Muslims? This is not a Ministry for Muslims affairs, but Ministry of Minority Affairs. Muslims are not a minority. In fact, the Parsis are a minority and their number is dwindling. They need help so that do not diminish.”

According to 2001 census, there are 138 million Muslims in the country who account for 13.4% of the population. Replying to another question on reservation for minorities, the Minister said that it was not a ‘solution’ but an ‘escape route’.

“We never promised reservation for Muslims. It was the Congress which did that. It is no solution to development concerns of Muslims, but an escape route. And what about others (minority communities)?

“We believe in seeking out a solution through constitutional framework as it does not allow reservation on the basis of religion. We would like to work so that everybody gets a level playing ground,” she added. When asked whether the new government would implement recommendations of the Sachar committee, she said that it was “not necessary” to implement all the recommendations.

Heptulla, grand-niece of freedom fighter Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, added that she will set “priorities” after meeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi. “It is important to bring in development through education and there is a need to develop the educational institutions of minorities,” Heptulla said.

– freepress

Gujarat-based Catholic priest spreading religious discontent: Parrikar

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Panaji, May 28, 2014: Goa Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar Wednesday accusedGujarat-based Catholic priest and human rights activist FatherCedric Prakash of trying to spread religious and social discontent based on “falsehoods” in Goa before the generalelection.

ParrikarEquating the priest with controversial Sri Rama Sene chief Pramod Muthalik, Parrikar, justifying police action against Facebooker Devu Chodankar following his anti-Narendra Modi posts, said action should have been taken against Prakash too.

“Father Cedric Prakash has said much more serious things which were not true,” Parrikar said, while addressing a press conference here

Ahmedabad-based Prakash, a Jesuit priest, made a whirlwind tour of Goa with the support of the Roman Catholic Church in Goa, during which he accused Modi of religious intolerance and attacked the Gujarat model of governance.

He further alleged that in Gujarat every one lived in fear.

“The voice of the media has been throttled and muzzled. People in Gujarat are living in fear. IAS officers are living in fear. The lives of their families have been ruined,” Prakash claimed at a meeting at the Grace Church hall in Margao, in south Goa March 20, a few weeks before Goa went to polls.

Parrikar also said that he despised those who “used religion for politics” and clubbed both Prakash, as well as Muthalik, head of the notorious right-wing Sri Rama Sene, in the same bracket. Muthalik has often triggered controversy in the past by attacking patrons of pubs in Mangalore for adopting “Western culture”, and exhorting Hindus to arm themselves with swords.

“I count Father Cedric and Pramod Muthalik as the same. People who use religion as a tool for electioneering are dangerous,” said Parrikar, whose government is being accused by the opposition as well as civil society of carrying out a witch hunt against Chodankar.

In Goa, where the Catholics account for nearly one-third of the population, Prakash’s whirlwind pre-election lecture tour and a circular by the Church imploring voters to cast ballots in favour of a secular candidate did dent the BJP vote tally, even though the party managed to win both the seats from the state in the Lok Sabha election.

– ians

Cedric Prakash responds to Parrikar’s remarks

The allegations “extremely mischievous and very unfortunate,” Prakash said in a statement yesterday and clarified that he visited Goa in March at the invitation of the Catholic Council of Goa.

The priest said Parrikar comparing him “with one of his ilk speaks volumes of his mindset and the fact that fascism is gaining more and more ground in the country.”

fr cedric prakashHe said on April 9 he has already sent a response to Parrikar on “some of his earlier allegations. “There is nothing which I have said which is not true or which cannot be substantiated with concrete data,” the priest’s statement said.

Prakash said he always advocated communal harmony and peace “but I do so within the framework of justice and human rights for all. I have never attacked or said anything against another’s religious beliefs,” he said.

The focus of “all my talks was (and which will continue to be) the Constitution of India, the values enshrined in them and the fact that large sections of our people are deprived of their legitimate rights both in Gujarat and in other parts of India, the statement said.

It said the constitution gives him “the right of freedom of speech” and that the Freedom of Religion Law enacted by the Government of Gujarat in 2003 goes against constitution that guarantees “every single citizen the right to freely profess, practice and propagate one’s religion.” It also violates the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which gives one the right to freely change his religion or belief to another, he said.

The priest’s statement said he has “always questioned the Gujarat model of “development” which only caters to a section of society. There is sufficient research studies and statistical data to prove that what is being flaunted are half-truths and myths; social indicators of large sections of the poor and marginalized very strongly belie the development of Gujarat.”

He said it is common knowledge that Gujarat has always been a fairly industrialized State since the early seventies. “It is not a “miracle” that has happened in the last ten years or so.”

“I have never used or abused any religion to create any ‘discontent’. My closest associates and friends belong to all religions and particularly from the majority community,” the statement said.

His collaborators yesterday launched e-mail signature campaign condemning Parrikar’s statement and asserting that “as a free citizen of India” Prakash has “every right to critique and expound his views on Modi’s Gujarat model.”

The allegations are “a blatant attempt to intimidate human rights defenders like Father Prakash,” said the campaign letter began by right activists Hiren Gandhi of DARSHAN and Saroop Dhruv of INSAF.

Prakash is “a long-standing campaigner for human rights, justice and peace-and he has been consistently taking up the cause of those whose human rights have been violated -irrespective of their religious background,” it said.

– press statement

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