AP: Pastors arrested and remanded to jail at Bhongiri

February 23, 2013 by  
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AP: Pastors arrested Andhra Pradesh, February 21, 2013: Pas. D. Naveen Kumar and his fellow pastors were arrested at Yadagirigutta and remanded to jail at Bhongiri District of Nalgonda, Andhra Pradesh. The pastor n his associate were arrested at scene of the crime on the complaint given by one Srinivas. The Pastor was invited to offer prayers by a family on the occasion of  a birthday at Tulasi Garden, which is proposed colony of 100 cottages under construction. These are the daily wage laborers who had migrated from outside. While hey were attending the family prayer. some reportedly BJP and RSS volunteers attacked them and dragged them to the police station on false allegations of conversion.  The police at Yadagirigutta framed charges under sections 295 A & 298 of the Indian Penal Code for hurting religious sentiments and blasphemy of other gods

AP: Pastors arrestedAccording to the sub-inspector, they were not supposed to preach in the temple towns, according to a Government Order Nos. 746 and 747 and hence were arrested. Franklin Sudhaker of the Andhra Pradesh chapter of the All India Christian Council took them to the Bhongiri Muncif Court where they were remand till 11 February, 2013. He is also working with Advocate P. Sridher for their bail. Pastors Naveen and Bro. Balraj who were also earlier arrested and remanded to Bhongiri Sub-Jail on 28.1.2013. The CSF has a copy of the Remand Report from the police station. A petition was given to Bhongiri Town Dy. Superintendent of Police, M. Srinivasa by a rally of 200 about Christians from the area.

SC stays Veerappan aides’ hanging for 6 Weeks

February 21, 2013 by  
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SC stays Veerappan aidesNew Delhi, February 20, 2013: Hanging of four aides of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan has been further delayed with the Supreme Court on Wednesday extending its interim order staying the execution of death sentence imposed on them for killing 22 police personnel in a landmine blast in Karnataka in 1993.

A bench headed by Chief Justice of India Altamas Kabir said it was keeping the matter pending since another bench, which has heard an identical plea, has reserved its judgement.

“In our view, the proper course of action is to adjourn the matter until another bench renders its judgement on similar matters. Therefore, accordingly we adjourn the hearing of this matter for six months to enable another bench to deliver the judgement in another pending matter.

“As a consequence, the interim order staying the execution of petitioners (Veerappan aides) passed on February 18 shall continue” until further orders, the bench also comprising justices A R Dave and Vikramajit Sen said.

The bench noted that the subject matter of the petition was relating to the right of the death row convicts to get their sentence commuted to life imprisonment on account of delay of execution of their death sentence.
“This is the main question involved when this matter was taken by us. It was brought to our notice that other writ petitions involving the same issue were heard by a bench of two judges in which senior advocates Ram Jethmalani and T R Andhyarujina were requested as amicus curiae,” the bench said.

Veerappan’s elder brother Gnanaprakash and his aides Simon, Meesekar Madaiah and Bilavendran were awarded death sentence in 2004 in connection with a landmine blast at Palar in Karnataka in 1993 in which 22 police personnel were killed.

Their mercy petition was rejected by President Pranab Mukherjee on February 13 and they are presently lodged in a jail in Belgaum in Karnataka.

A TADA court in Mysore had in 2001 sentenced them to life term which was enhanced to death sentence by the apex court.

Gang leader Veerappan was killed in an encounter with the Tamil Nadu Police in October 2004.

The apex court also noted that the judgement in the writ petition heard by another bench on the issue was reserved on April 19, 2012.

The bench said it has been informed by Additional Solicitor General Haren Raval that while considering the two writ petitions, of Devender Pal Singh Bhullar and M N Das, the other bench had the occasion to consider similar matters in which the mercy petitions were pending before the President.

The CJI said that since another bench has already heard and reserved its judgement on the issue, there is a possibility that the pleas of Veerappan aides can be heard by the same bench also.

The court is hearing two petitions, out of which one was filed by the four convicts and the other by advocate Samik Narain, on their behalf.

Urging the apex court to intervene, the four death convicts pleaded that a decision on their mercy petition has been delayed by nine years and as per its earlier order they are entitled to seek remedy for undue long delay in the execution of the sentence of death.

“Nine years delay in disposal of the petitioners’ mercy petitions has given them a right to approach this Court or the High Court to seek a commutation of the sentence of death,” the petition said.

On the last date of hearing, the court gave Narain the liberty to amend and rectify the petition after objections were raised on its maintainability by Attorney General G E Vahanvati who was asked to assist the court.

Senior advocate Colin Gonsalves, appearing for the four convicts, had said their execution should be stayed as another apex court bench had reserved its order on a plea for commuting death sentence to life imprisonment on the ground of delay in deciding mercy plea.

Gonsalves had referred to the petitions filed by the two condemned prisoners, Bhullar and Das, on whose plea for commutation of capital punishment to life term on the ground of delay, the apex court reserved its verdict in April last year.

The bench earlier had said that hearing this matter may also have a bearing on the petitions filed by the death row convicts in the Rajiv Gandhi assassination case against the rejection of their mercy petition.

The apex court had on May 1 last year had decided to adjudicate itself the pleas of Rajiv Gandhi killers — Santhan, Murugan and Perarivalan alias Arivu — against their death penalty due to the delay of over 11 years in deciding their mercy petitions by the President.

The Madras High Court had earlier stayed their hanging and had issued notices to the Centre and the Tamil Nadu government.

– pti

Khudai Khidmatgar at Kumbh Mela to spread peace

February 21, 2013 by  
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Khudai Khidmatgar delegation at Kumbh Mela to spread message of peaceUttar Pradesh, February 20, 2013: A delegation of Khudai Kidmatgar reached Allahabad for Maha Kumbh Mela for inter-faith dialogue and to spread the message of peace and humanity. The team of Khudai Khidmatgar is led by Faisal Khan with Inamul Hasan, Mahipal Saraswath, Abdul Jabbar, Maulana Shamim Ahmad, Bagwan Lal Banshiwal, Krishna Naik and Vivek Pandey, who visited the Kumbh Mela on 16th February. This was at the invitation of Shri Shri Maa Poorn Pragya Ji to Khudai Khidmatgar.

The Khudai Khidmatgar delegation stayed at Kumbh Mela venue near the bank of Ganga for 4 days and in the meanwhile distributed literature regarding Humanity, Peace, Brotherhood and necessity of Communal Harmony written by Prof. V. K. Tripathy and Bharat Dogra.

The Kumbh Mela is held every three years where Hindus gather to take a dip in the holy river. It is held by rotation in Haridawar, Allahabad, Nasik and Ujjain.

Faisal Khan said, “the aim of Khudai Khidmatgar is to unite the hearts of all humans, irrespective of Caste, Community and Religion. We came to Kumbh to realize that we are in support with all forms of peace and activities with unity. If we avoid moments like the Kumbh by not reaching to there, it will make communal forces use that opportunity. The Khudai Khidmatgar believes in all form of grass-root activism and not in seminars and symposium like most NGOs and in these four days the message of Khudai Khidmatgar had reached lakhs of people through Kumbh, he concluded.

Inamul Hasan said, “DIL JODO NAFRAT CHORHO ( Unite Hearts, Set Aside Hatred) ” is the prime objective of every Khudai Khidmatgar and we will not divert from this ideology. The delegation distributed 40,000 printed material on communal harmony. Kavi Abdul Jabbar, a poet from Rajasthan narrated  his poetry on every concluding session of Maa Poorn Pragya’s speech. The delegation also visited the cottages of all Hindu saints to meet them.

– tcn

30% increase in UP budget for “minority welfare”

February 20, 2013 by  
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UP budget for minority welfareUttar Pradesh, February 19, 2013: Uttar Pradesh government has highlighted the budgetary allocation for the minority welfare in the budget. The official spokesperson has stated that minority welfare has been given ample attention in the budget.

Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav in his second budget for 2013-14 which he tabled on Tuesday in state assembly has increased the budget allocation for minority welfare by Rs 612.95 crores. This is 29.5 percent more than the budget allocation of current year 2012-13.

For the scheme “Hamari Beti Uska Kal” a provision of Rs 350 crores has been made. In previous budget it was Rs 300 crores. In this one time financial assistance of Rs 30000 is given to minority girls who have completed their high school. Similarly a budget of Rs 777 crore has been allocated for the fee reimbursement scheme for minorities.
For the construction of boundary walls of qabristans(graveyards), a provision of Rs 300 crores has been made in the budget. Another Rs 27.80 crores has been allocated for the Haj House in Ghaziabad. The State Haj Committee too has been given a grant of Rs 3.72 crores in the budget.

For bridging the critical gaps in minority dominated areas, a provision of Rs 492 crores has been done. For setting up educational hub for minorities where there will be arrangement for education from Class VI to XII has been done. There will be ITI, para-medical institute in this hub and also coaching for engineering and medical entrance examination. A fund of Rs 34 crores has been allotted.

For coaching of minority students for IAS/PCS and other higher competitions, a sum of Rs 1.85 crore has been allocated. Another Rs 200 crores has been allotted for imparting modern education in the madarsas along with religious teachings. The state governemnt aided Arbi Farsi Madarsas have also been given Rs 36.56 crores for the pension and arrear payment of teaching and non teaching staff. For the Arabic schools a provision of Rs 315.50 crores has been done while for the Arbi Farsi Madarsas recognised upto Aliya level have been given Rs70 crores.

For the minority girls studying in class IX a scheme has been launched for giving free cycles. It will cost around Rs 9.39 crores. For setting up mini ITI in madarsas budget of Rs 6.05 crores has been allotted. For the poor parents of minority girls, a provision of Rs 12 crores has been done for the marriage of their daughters.

– tcn


February 20, 2013 by  
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Hindu Fundamentalists disturb a prayer meeting in MP

February 20, 2013 by  
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Madhya PradeshMadhya Pradesh, February 19, 2013: Pastor Iliyas Buck, 40, belongs to India Campus Crusade for Christ and is involved with its Church Planting Ministry. On 18-02-2013, Monday morning, he was conducting a Prayer Meeting and Bible Study in the residence of a believer named Hiralal in a village called Roshni, about 40 kilometres from the Khandwa Railway Station in Madhya Pradesh.

As the prayer meeting was in progress, at about 12:00 a.m. 9 RSS and Bajrang Dal activists barged into the meeting place and began to disturb the meeting at about 12.00 noon. They straight went to the pastor and began arguing with him for about half an hour falsely alleging him that he is trying to forcibly convert Hindus to Christianity. Then they sent for the police from the Roshni Police Station, who immediately came and began arguing and objecting to Pastor’s prayer meeting and forcible conversion of Hindus.

The pastor told the police that it was a prayer meeting and bible study programme of the believers and that they were not trying to forcibly convert anybody to Christianity as alleged.However, the police who were not convinced with pastor’s explanations took Pastor Iliyas, and 3 believers, Hiralal, Vishram and Sunder to the police station and kept them in the police lock up. After a prolonged inquiry into the incident and a video recording of the whole thing, they were released at about 10:30 in the night. When they were let out, they were also ordered that they must come to the police station whenever they are sent for. Please pray for them.

– persecution.in

Odisha Police Atrocity on Tribals – Three including a child admitted

February 19, 2013 by  
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odisha tribalsOrissa, February 15, 2013: As per reports, On 15th February 2013 night, police from Badagad (District Ganjam) police station, came to village Thatanchara and forced their way into houses of 3 tribal and 2 non-tribal poor families. They picked up Jatho Mandal, Junas Mandal, Daud Gomango, Simanto Dalabehera, and Kornail Raita.

After torture and questioning, Jatho Mandal, Junas Mandal and Daud Gomango were released early the next morning. They returned to their village and informed others of the incident and that two other persons are still being tortured. Information of atrocities of police spread through the villages and soon a large number of people – about 400 gathered on road at village Sarangipalli and engaged in ‘rasta roko”. By afternoon, police initiated a “peace committee meeting” after which the police released the remaining two persons also from their custody.

By that then the conditions of both tribals had become bad and they had to be rushed for treatment to the Medical College at Berhampur. Kornail Raita is aged about 50 years and is father of 3 daughters and a son all aged between 9 and 18 years. Simanto Dalabehera is aged about 42 years and is father of a daughter aged 12 yrs and a son aged 4 years. While breaking open into house of Dalabehera his child’s hand was stamped upon by policemen, causing grievous hurt. His child’s hand was fractured and is also being treated at Medical college.

– Bro k j markose

India: Day of thanks for Benedict XVI and his Pontificate

February 18, 2013 by  
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Cardinal Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, has launched a special day on 22 February, Feast of the Chair of St. Peter, to honour of the pope. In these eight years, the Holy Father has repeatedly identified the challenges facing India and Asia: a dialogue between cultures and religions, secularization, globalization and implementation of the Social Doctrine of the Church.

A day of thanks for Pope Benedict XVI and his PontificateMumbai, February 14, 2013: February 22 next, Christians from all over India will spend the day with Benedict XVI and his pontificate. The initiative is being launched by Card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), who chose the feast of the Chair of St. Peter to express the deep gratitude of the Church in India to the Holy Father. That day, at 18:30, every Christian institution, convent and monastery will dedicate an hour of adoration to the pope.

In these eight years of his pontificate, Benedict XVI addressed on several occassions and in different ways issues dear to India and Asia. For example in the encyclicals Deus Caritas Est, Spe Salvi and Caritas in Veritate, which identify some of the most significant challenges of the continent. “In addition to the dialogue between cultures, with the poor and with other religions – said the cardinal, who is secretary general of the Federation of Asian Bishops’ Conferences (FABC) – Benedict XVI stressed the need to implement the Church’s social doctrine to the realities of today : the economy, globalization, the gap between rich and poor, ecology, fundamentalism. ” Thus, he stressed, “development is at the heart of human actions, and globalization and progress can serve humanity.”

The pope’s attention to the Asian world was manifested not only through his documents. “Asia – noted Card. Gracias – is home to the largest Muslim population in the world, and the repeated attempts of Benedict XVI to communicate with Muslims was a really important challenge. With intellectual clarity and academic brilliance he has created the basis to understand their differences and call for a united front against secularization. ”

The archbishop of Mumbai, says “the last two days of world peace” were fundamental.  In 2011, “Religious freedom, the path of peace,” the pope said that “religious freedom is an authentic weapon for peace that can change the world and make it better.” In his message for 2012, “Blessed are the peacemakers,” Benedict XVI said that “peace is not merely the absence of war,” but more importantly, reiterates Indian cardinal, “it is the universal experience of justice and love, which contrasts with the personal and structural evils of greed, inequality and violence. ”

– asianews

Bajrang Dal activists forcibly wed siblings – Valentine’s Day

February 17, 2013 by  
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ValentinesAndhra Pradesh, February 15, 2013: In a shocking incident on Valentine’s Day, Hindutva moral police forcibly married off siblings as they mistook them to be ‘couple.’

Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini and Vishwa Hindu Parishad after giving a warning to the couples in Hyderabad against indulging in ‘western and immoral’ culture, made sure that their cadres went on rampage literally on Valentine’s day taking out rally’s near lovers point across the city.

Hyderabad police was forced to shut down all the gardens and parks in the city fearing any attack on couples or any untoward situation from Right wing hooligans. These groups before Valentine’s Day issued warning to couples that if they were seen together around streets or parks they will force to get married according to Hindu tradition.

But the moral policing drive to catch unmarried couples and forcefully solemnizing their marriage by Bajrang Dal and VHP became impediment on their own head, when one of those couples which those groups arranged marriage turned out to be brother and sister.

Rajesh and Gautami were first cousins roaming around a park at Kaushaiguda area of Hyderabad; when right wing moral police got hold of them and forcefully solemnized their marriage at nearby Sai Baba temple. Interestingly those siblings didn’t reveal their relationship to Hindu group activists.

Later when the parents of those cousin siblings got to know about their unholy marriage, they registered a complaint against Bajrang Dal activists in the police station. It also turned out that Gautami was still a minor. While right wing activists maintained that it is not their fault as couples didn’t reveal the same while their forceful marriage was arranged.

According to Hindu Dharmashastra and Mithakshara Hindu law of south India marriage of near siblings like first cousin is immoral and unlawful.

But it was not the first time Bajrang Dal has chased siblings. In 2009 at Ujjain Madhya Pradesh, brother and sister was beaten up badly by Right wing goons when they were travelling on their bike at near their college.

In Hyderabad and its outskirts on Valentine’s Day Bajrang Dal, Durga Vahini and VHP activists rounded up four couples and forcefully solemnized their wedding.

Many feminists and social activists condemned Hyderabad police of failing to protect couples during Valentine’s Day, and on succumbing to the right wing pressure to close down all the parks for the day.

Many Hindu religious leaders and general public were also disturbed by the acts of right wing Hindu groups of forcefully marrying of couples as in Hindu religion marriage is not a mere contract it is a special religious bonding.

Meanwhile Muslim groups were not far behind in moral and religious policing, activists of Muslim Girls Association, and Girls Islamic organization toured parks and coffee houses to catch Muslim couples or girls in Hijab.

Muslim groups though didn’t forcefully formalize any Nikah, but they distributed books on Islamic principles of chastity and given them lectures on same.

Last year on Valentine’s Day, GIO roamed around lovers points along with Urdu media to catch Muslim youngsters and day after those poor couples became headlines. This must have scared Muslim couples who were not as visible as last year.

– tcn

Catholic groups succeed in getting Shiv Sena banner off

February 17, 2013 by  
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Shiv Sena bannerMumbai, February 16, 2013: That unity is strength was demonstrated yet again, when community groups took umbrage to reportedly a hoarding that was put up outside Holy Cross Church in Lower Parel, Mumbai warning of “Shiv Sena Style” tactics, if the pre-primary school admission policy was not changed. The hoarding condemned  the school for admitting students in accordance with the Right to Education (RTE) Act and the Shiv Sena urged preference to locals, in disregard to reservations, which the school was following. The hoarding continued to remain outside the church compound despite much media attention.

However, concerted insistence by community groups, which represented the case with the Additional and Deputy Commissioners of Police ensured the hoarding was taken off. This according to The CSF general secretary, Joseph Dias was necessary because the local police inspector took no action, despite repeated complaints. ‘ The hoarding was objectionable because it demanded that the school violate the provisions of the RTE Act and incited the public, if it did not do so. It also threatened the school of an agitation (andolan), if it failed to fall in line ‘, he said.

Judith Monteiro, an activist of the near-by parish, who assisted the school in the admission process said that since many complaints were given to the police, they ought to have acted promptly, but did not do so. Agnelo Fernandes of the Maharashtra Christian Youth Forum (MCYF) hit out against the Shiv Sena and said it was trying to target the school which was protected as minority institution and only doing its duty. Adv. Joe Sodder of the Catholics for the Preservation of the Faith (CPF) said that such threats and attacks on the community would not be taken lying down and the community needs to rise against it. Archie Sodder of the Association of Concerned Catholics (AOCC) urged the Shiv Sena to reserve a quota for the East Indian Christians and Kolis, who were sons of the soil in Mumbai and demonstrate the party’s concern.

The CSF aims to bring all Christian denominations together and deal with such emergencies, as more such provocations can be expected. Fr Constancio Noronha, manager of the school and Parish Priest of the Church which runs it thanked the community groups for their support. We will keep you informed of developments on this front and will seek your assistance, as the admission process continues. The groups have also urged the Archdiocesan Board of Education to consider collective action as a protest against such threats.

– press release

Earlier Report: Shiv Sena threatens Lower Parel school for following RTE rules

Members of the Shiv Sena have put up a banner outside the Holy Cross School, Lower Parel, threatening to launch a ‘Sena-style’ protest.

Mumbai, February 14, 2013: The school, run by the local  has been following the Right to Education (RTE) rules that mandate a 25% quota for children from economically  weak families. Since the institution is run by a religious minority, the school is also entitled to reserve 50% of its seats for Catholics. However, the local Shiv Sena have objected to this, saying that first preference should be given to those students living in the neighbourhood, who have been unable to apply because of these quotas. The school, currently in the process of deciding admissions to its kindergarten section, has lodged a complaint with the NM Joshi police station.

Father Constancio Noronha, school manager, in a letter to the police, said, “This is to bring to your immediate and urgent notice that a banner with orange flags has been put up outside our church and school gate threatening us regarding our junior KG admission process. …The banner has caused fear among our children and people. There is also fear of damage to our school property. Could you kindly take necessary action and grant us the necessary protection so as to prevent loss to lives and property?”

The school has distributed 500 forms for 60 seats in the open category and 1,000 forms for 60 seats in the RTE category. It also has 120 seats reserved for minority students.

The Sena wants applications to be accepted uniformly. “Locals within a one-kilometer radius of the school should get first preference,” said Nana Ambole, a local Sena leader whose name appears on the banner.

– hindustan times

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