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

Kandhamal: 3 Catholic & 2 Protestant Minors Gang Raped? CBCI President presented report

February 4, 2013 by  
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Joseph Dias with cardinal oswald graciasOrissa, February 01, 2013: The CSF presented the below report to Cardinal Oswald Gracias, requesting his intervention in the case of 5 minors who were gang-raped and one murdered. All were Christian Dalits and while we talk of others treated so badly, are we concerned about our own ?

It is shameful that heinous crimes including gang rapes and murder of young Dalit girls in Kandhamal is excluded from the discourse on rape in our country, says Asha Kowtal, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch. A fact-finding team comprising The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights with allied organizations like NAWO, Odisha Forum for Social Action and others visited five villages ( Tiangia, Simanbadi, Daringbadi, Badagaon, Sarangoda and Tikabali ) in Kandhamal district. In each village, the team has met the rape survivor, the family, community members and the investigating police officers at the police station. Finally, the fact-finding team has met the District Collector in Kandhamal and shared the findings and recommendations.

The members of the team express their shock and anguish over the gruesome cases of rape and murder of Dalit Christian girls in the recent months at Kandhamal and at the same time are angered with the fact that these cases never figure in the recent discussions on sexual violence and rape in India. Dalit girls living in remote tribal areas of India with little access to livelihood and life are battered brutally and killed, and yet this is not enough for the Orissa Government to hang its head in shame.

In Kandhamal, if at all given, a rape case is given Rs. 5000 and rape and murder is given Rs. 10,000 as compensation. The discussion with the District Collector in Kandhamal has revealed that the district administration has no money for rehabilitation of rape survivors and their families. He said, “I have no money for the compensation and rehabilitation of minority (Dalit Christian) girl survivors of rape.”

Delays in investigation, serious lapse in role of police, zero support from district administration and total break down of statutory bodies is clearly visible in every case that has been investigated. The entire child protection system, including CWC, JJB, Child line has not played any role in support of the victims, as well as against the minor accused in the cases that we have investigated, says Manju Prabha, NAWO

Criminals should be punishedThe Chief Minister of Orissa claims to have stayed away from New Year celebrations, in solidarity with the recent victim of rape in Delhi, but we wonder what he has done in response to these five inhuman acts of sexual violence on young Dalit girls in Kandhamal? says Namrata Daniel, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights. The families of the rape victims live in abject poverty conditions, without access to basic entitlements. Absence of job cards, access to PDS and other flag- ship programmes was clearly visible in all cases.

Key observations of the fact-finding team include that all the 5 acts of sexual violence were intentional and pre-planned to victimize the girl by raping and even murder. The SC/ST PoA has not been invoked in Tikabali case and hence the accused have been roaming scot-free for more than 5 months. No compensation, no protection and no justice for this young girl who was raped and almost lost her life because the accused slit her neck with sharp knives. Severe gaps in investigation were observed particularly allegations relating to the police forcing the victims to change the statements. Filing of false / counter cases on family members of victims has been observed.

After the rape and murder of young girls, Siblings of victim’s family and other girls in the villages have dropped out from school in fear. In one case Rs. 10,000 was given in case of gang rape and murder and Rs. 5000 for rape was given. Even Human Rights Commissions and other statutory bodies have failed completely in addressing the life security and protection of dalit girls and women in Orissa. No committee working in the district such as Women and child development committee and District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC) under SC/ST (PoA) Act 1989, etc.

– The fact-finding team was co-ordinated by Fr. Ajaya Singh and a copy of the full report can be obtained by emailing us at csfpost@gmail.com

Most Foul : Pastors and Church Activists  Reportedly Murdered

Orissa takes the lead in not only the Christian activists being murdered but even worse, pastors and church workers being killed. Long after the Kandhamal riots, at least 6 Christians are reported to be killed for their faith. On February 1st, 2012, a Christian activist, Rabindra Kumar Parichha, was killed in Orissa following threats by Hindu radicals. There after it was reported another pastor Jayasen (Renewal Ministries Fellowship) was also murdered. Church workers Suryakant Nayak, an Anglican from Bakingia village (Kandhamal), and Goresa Mallick, a Catholic from Salimagocha village (Ganjam), were also murdered on 6 and 3 March 2012 respectively. On May 2, 2012 family members were informed that Pastor Nirakant Pradhan had expired in prison.

Among the other states, Pastor C. Wilson, 54, was murdered in Tamil Nadu and according to police on 2 June 2012, his body was found on the highway and his skull fractured with stones. In Andhra Pradesh, a evangelist S Dumbu, also known locally as Bingo, was killed around 3 April 2012 in Jerrela village after masked men knocked at the door of his home.

– csf

Illegal Arrest by the Police in Orissa – Unrest continues in the village!

February 4, 2013 by  
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prayer meeting distrupted in OrissaOrissa, Febuary 01, 2013: The Police from the K.C. Pur Police Station at Betanati Block in Baripada District in Orissa, have recently arrested two believers while they were at a prayer meeting without any provocation, plunging the entire village into a state of tension.

It was on 18.01.2013 when a few believers belonging to 7 local families came together for a praying meeting in a village called Gudikhamari, about 15 kms from Baripada Town, under Betanati Block and Krushnachandrapur (K.C.Pur) Police Station. At about 11.30 in the morning, the police suddenly appeared at the spot and stopped the prayer meeting,. They also arrested their prayer leader Bro. Bahadur Murmu, 23, and Rama Soreng, 21, and took them both to the Police station. The police team was also accompanied by the fundamentalists belonging to the Hindu outfits of that village who falsely lodged complaints against these believers alleging that they had been engaged in conversion activities in violation of the OFRA, as per the statements by the Police.

The prayer meeting was being conducted in the house of a Santal tribal scheduled caste believer, one Bikash Purti, who has accepted Jesus Christ more than 5 years ago, and who is being guided by Pastor Rajesh Kumar Digal of New Creation Church at Balasore ever since.

The Hindu fundamentalists, it is learnt, were fully drunk and were shouting slogans of Hindu gods while accusing the believers using very obscene language even in the very presence of the police. Their plan of further attack and causing greater harm to the believers and their place of worship, couldn’t materialize since the police were present on the spot.

The police then warned the members of the 15 believer families who had come also from other nearby villages like Dubia, Ranasahi, Sanakhunta. The police also ordered them not to hold any such meetings in those villages as well. Then the police took the two believers to the K.C. Pur Police Station and kept them in their Custody for a day and then transferred them to Betanati Police Station the following day and charge-sheeted against them under section 06/2013 and produced them before the local court which sent them to Baripada Jail. Due to political pressure upon the police their attempts failed to get the victims released on bail.

– persecution.in

Odisha Religious towards food security & against human trafficking

January 19, 2013 by  
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The religious initiatives of Odisha towards food securityOdisha, January 12, 2013: The Social apostolate network of the Religious Congregations working in Sambalpur area of Odisha together with other Christian Denominations and NGOs and Self Help Groups, Diocesan social service team, MSW students etc. totaling more than 60 delegates have jointly taken up the burning issues of Odisha and initiated a strong network to address the Human Trafficking and Food insecurity of the Marginalised People of the state through their day long workshop held at Shanti Bhavan, in Jharsuguda.

It is the Second Phase of the previous year on Government schemes towards people Below Poverty Line – BPL. The SVD Congregation of Indian East province took initiatives and gathered the group for this phase of workshop.

Several Religious Congregations that serve in Odisha ( SVDs, FCC, Servites-OSM, Hand maids, Holy Spirit sisters (SSPS), NGOs and SHGs) came together to respond to the burning issues of the people.

Being the year of Faith, the resource person Fr. Nithiya OFM.Cap highlighted on the spirit of Vatican II and its special focus on option for the poor as a special theme for Odisha in this year of Faith.

Practically it meant to effectively address the predominant issues that threaten the whole society of Odisha namely Human Trafficking and Food insecurity.

He said that the Nine food schemes from the Supreme Court Order does not reach out to the Poorest, namely the Tribals, Dalit, Rural poor and the Slum dwellers. And hence we need to focus on this mission.

“One of the modern forms of slavery, namely Human Trafficking is killing the very fabric of Odisha society and destroying the economic, social and cultural Rights of the marginalized people” said Sr. Mariola B.S. another resource person.

She spoke of the various forms and causes of human Traffcking namely sale of children, child prostitution, child labour, debt bondage/bonded labour, the traffic in persons , the sale of human organs, and other forms of Forced migration.

The issue of recruitment, transportation, transfer, and receipt of persons done through threat, force, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of power or vulnerability, etc. were analysed in depth.

“In order to respond to these Human Rights Violations, we need to build up a movement, through a strong network of Government officials, Lawyers, Religious Leaders, Grassroots Animators, Supreme Court Advisors, Police department etc. in order to protect the Rights of the people” said Fr. Nithiya, motivating the delegates to enter into effective ways of responding to the issues of Trafficking and Food insecurity.

The delegates came up with a core group that will include the above sectors and will initiate various stages in addressing the issue. The following proposals were made:

2. The delegate of each Religious Cogregation will form a core team of Govt. Officials, NGOs and other religious leaders in their locality and begin data collection with regard to Human Trafficking and the food schemes like Public Distribution System, Mid-day meal, Old age pension, 100 Days labour etc.

3. This core team will gather together and formulate a 10 commandments on Human Trafficking with dos and donts, and collect the contact numbers to help the people in their times of difficulties.

4. This will be published in leaflets and made available to all parishes and temples, to school children and other public places, available to common people to guide and protect women and girls.

5. The Core group of the above mentioned religious congregations, with their respective team members will get the data of outgoing migrants from the village leaders and gram sabha on their whereabouts for their safety and security.

6. Every parish will also have a core team of the delegates from SHGs, Govt. Officials, Lawyers, other denominations and other religious leaders, Delegates from the Youth and Women, and teachers, Labour Officer etc. in getting into a movement to ensure security of women and the status of food schemes.

The parish priest will be the president of this core team with at least two coordinators (man and woman) forming a core executive team.

7. In the forthcoming meeting of all the SVD parish priests on 18th January, 2013, the above proposal of a support team on Human Trafficking and Food insecurity will be discussed in order to effectively address the issues. This could become the models for all the parishes of Odisha.

8. These teams will send monthly report of their activities on the last day of the month to the core team members – Fr.Cherian, Sr. Manju H.M., Fr. Nicolas Barla, Sr. Celin S.Sp.S., and Fr. John David.

9. There will be an elaborate two days residential training in April with the chief advisor to the Supreme Court Commissioner for Right to Food along with the same resource persons.

The Provicials and provincial councilors in charge of social apostolate, the social work directors/directress, diocesan social work directors, grassroots animators, NGOs etc will be in this important State level workshop followed by concrete action plans.

10. This is a special initiative undertaken by the SVDs along with Other Religious Congregations already involved in these issues and others interested in the issues concerning the poorest of the poor in the year of faith.

– nithiya / crib

Cabinet approves bill for registration of inter-religion marriages *Orissa: 10,000 Christians and Hindus celebrate Easter together

April 12, 2012 by  
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New Delhi, April 13, 2012: The federal government has approved a proposal to enable registration of religion-neutral marriages to meet the demands of minorities.

Amendment will be made to the Registration of Births and Deaths Act, 1969 and a bill in this regard will be introduced in the second half of Budget Session starting on April 24.

The cabinet also gave approval to another bill under which Sikhs would be able to register marriages under the Anand Marriage Act, 1909.

This follows a long-standing demand of the community for a separate provision for them instead of being included under the Hindu Marriage Act.

The Anand Marriage Act was passed by the British but was annulled after partition. Since then the Sikh marriages are registered under the Hindu Marriage Act.

The proposed bill will save women in case of inter-religion marriages from unnecessary harassment in matrimonial and maintenance cases, an official release said.

It will also provide evidentiary value in the matters of custody of children, right of children born from the wedlock and the age of the persons married, it said.

There have been demands by minorities, including Sikhs, for such a provision as weddings are currently registered under Hindu Marriage Act and they are shown as Hindus in official documents.

Besides Sikhs, Jains and Buddhists are also issued certificates under this Act.

According to the Law Ministry officials, making registration of marriages religion neutral would help couples who face social and community pressures for having married according to their wishes.

The present system of issuing religion-based certificates will continue.

– outlookindia

Orissa: 10,000 Christians and Hindus celebrate Easter together


Orissa, April 11, 2012: A 12-hour prayer service and cultural meetings are held in a Catholic school in Kandhamal. Together, people from all walks of life sang, read the Bible, prayed and took part in small recitals. Catholic priest says, we brought “our unity” to “bear our Christian witness to all”.

For the first time, more than 10,000 Christians and Hindus celebrated Easter together in the Indian state of Orissa. Most notably, celebrations were held on the grounds of the Vijaya Catholic school in Raikia, Kandhamal District, scene of violent anti-Christian pogroms in 2008 by Hindu radicals.

People from all walks of life, including children, senior citizens, women, politicians, government officials, villages chiefs, religious and nuns, took part in a 12-hour prayer service and attended various cultural meetings.

After songs, bible readings and prayers, Christians of various denominations organised small recitals, exhibits and dances.

“Our goal was to consolidate our unity and bear our Christian witness to all,” Fr Jorlal Singh, from Our Lady of Charity Parish in Raikia, told AsiaNews.

Speaking about the celebrations, Fr Ajaya Sabhasundar, a catechist, said, “The resurrection of Jesus gives fresh hope to overcome the difficulties of life. It is an opportunity to work for peace, justice and unity in Indian society.”

– asianews

Delhi Catholic NGO sore with Congress selection of candidates *Orissa: Unfulfilled deals behind abductions

March 29, 2012 by  
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Sheila DixitNew Delhi, March 29, 2012: Being the official laity organization of the Catholic Church in Delhi, the Federation of Catholic Associations of Archdiocese of Delhi  (FCAAD) decided its prayerful manpower support to the Congress Party for the coming three municipal corporation elections in Delhi state and proposed two eminent Congress Party workers / leaders for considering their names for the said election as candidates. We specifically requested that the selection of candidate should be on merit basis with a focus to the congress workers, those who are having grass root work experience with secular mind setup.

However, the said request of FCAAD for genuine candidate for the Delhi Municipal Corporation elections were rejected by the Congress Party without any justification and reasons. Therefore, FCAAD has appealed to Catholics and citizens of Delhi to cast their valuable votes for the best candidate beyond their regular political affiliation. They have urged that the candidate’s track record and those who have good work experience for the respective constituency be considered for a better Delhi. The FCAAD council also unanimously decided to revoke the earlier decision for its prayerful manpower support to the Congress party for the coming three municipal corporation seats in the state.

Orissa: Unfulfilled deals behind abductions


Orissa, March 28, 2012: Some members of opposition parties accuse the Biju Janata Dal government of having reached a secret pact with Maoists before last year’s state elections. Yesterday, the uncle of a witness in a 2008 anti-Christian pogrom trial was abducted. A local judge does not intervene. Only the action of the Global Council of Indian Christians obtains his release.

Negotiations between the Orissa government and Maoist rebels are at a standstill because of unfulfilled promises. Some members of opposition party accuse the ruling Biju Janata Dal (BJD) of a secret deal with the rebels in exchange for votes in the last elections. When the state government failed to keep its part of the deal, Maoists abducted Jhina Hikaka, the BJD MLA for the Koraput District. For their part, mediators from both sides want Orissa Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to give indications as to which of the 13 rebel demands he is willing to meet in order to get the release of the abducted lawmaker and Italian tourist Paolo Bosusco.

Hikaka was kidnapped last Saturday by the Andhra Odisha Border Special Zone Committee (AOBSZC), a rival Maoist group to the Odisha State Organising Committee (OSOC), which abducted Paolo Bosusco and Claudio Colangelo in Kandhamal District on 14 March. Colangelo was released on Sunday. In exchange for their electoral support, the BJD government was supposed to release three jailed Maoist leaders and put an end to Green Hunt, an anti-Maoist operation.

“Ties between the BJD and the Maoists are not a secret,” said Ashok Sahoo, vice president of the Orissa branch of the Hindu ultranationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP).

“This speaks volumes of the government’s sincerity to tackle the Maoist menace in the state,” said Prasad Harichandan, a senior Congress leader.

According to other members of the opposition, Patnaik also knew about the secret deal.

In the meantime, more people are being abducted in the state and the government is not saying much about it. This is the case of Saira Nayak, who was briefly held yesterday by a group of kidnappers.

His nephew, Keshab Nayak, is a key witness in a trial involving a former village council head, Susant Pradhan, and 27 other council members who were charged with torching a house in Mahaguda village during the 2008 anti-Christian pogroms in Kandhamal.

Yesterday morning, Keshab Nayak and four other people gave evidence in court. After they finished, the accused threatened to kill the witnesses and make their relatives suffer if they did not retract the accusations. Sometime later, at 3 pm (local time), Saira Nayak was kidnapped.

His relatives turned to a local judge for help, but all they got was advice to wait. Only when the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) and its lawyers intervened did police act, eventually securing the kidnap victim’s release.

However, whilst Saira Nayak’s abductors are still free, his nephew Keshab has decided to retract his testimony.

This has pushed GCIC president Sajan George to appeal to Orissa’s Justice Minister. “Please,” he urged, “protect those who can testify in the Kandhamal pogrom cases”.

– asianews