SC stays Veerappan aides’ hanging for 6 Weeks

February 21, 2013 by  
Filed under New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on SC stays Veerappan aides’ hanging for 6 Weeks

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

CSF for Death Penalty Moratorium. Civil Society memos President

February 16, 2013 by  
Filed under New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on CSF for Death Penalty Moratorium. Civil Society memos President

CSF wants moratorium on death penalty.
Over 200 eminent civil society members write to President on secretive execution of Afzal Guru

ExecutionNew Delhi, February 14, 2013: A letter written to the President of India and signed by over 200 academics, writers, artists and filmmakers, have in strong words condemned the rejection of Afzal Guru’s mercy petition and the manner in which he was hastily executed denying him the legal rights of judicial review that were available to him.

The eminent members of the civil society that includes Manisha Sethi, Jamia Teachers’ Solidarity Association, senior advocate Vrinda Grover, senior journalist Jawed Naqvi, Ram Puniyani, All India Secular forum, Dr. Zafarul Islam Khan, Editor Milli Gazette, Nandini Sundar, Professor, Department of Sociology, DU, Anusha Rizvi, film-maker and Mukul Kesavan, writer and historian, among others, have termed it “tragic that the questions about timing and selectivity of Afzal’s hanging are sought to be dispelled by rejecting mercy petitions of others as well.”

Four more mercy petitions of the aides of Veerappan have been rejected, in days following the execution of Afza Guru. The eminent citizens have demanded the abolition of the capital punishment, which according them should have “no place in a civilized society.”

The eminent members of the civil society noted, “We believe that you made a grave error in rejecting the mercy petition. If you had perused the trial records and the lengthy documentation put together over the years by lawyers and civil rights activists, or even the Supreme Court judgement which sentenced Afzal to death, you would have known, that his guilt was never established beyond reasonable doubt.”

They also highlighted the fact that his family was not duly informed, as mandated by the law and sought explanation on “such urgency in executing Afzal before those others whose mercy petitions your office has earlier rejected.”

Below is the full text of the letter

The Hon’ble President of India

Respected Sir,

We write to you in deep anguish, despair but in outrage as well. Afzal Guru was hanged on Saturday (9th February 2013) in secrecy. We have been told – after the hanging – that you rejected the mercy petition filed by Guru’s wife Tabassum, on 3rd February. We believe that you made a grave error in rejecting the mercy petition. If you had perused the trial records and the lengthy documentation put together over the years by lawyers and civil rights activists, or even the Supreme Court judgement which sentenced Afzal to death, you would have known, that his guilt was never established beyond reasonable doubt. The fact that the Court appointed as amicus curiae (friend of the court) a lawyer in whom Afzal had expressed no faith; the fact that he went legally unrepresented from the time of his arrest till his so-called confession, the fact that the court asked him to either accept the lawyer appointed by the Court or cross examine the witness himself should surely have concerned you while considering his mercy petition.

His personal history of being a surrendered militant, of harassment and torture at the hands of STF, as well as his statement in open court that he had indeed helped Mohammad, one of the attackers on the Parliament, find a house and obtain a car, the same car used in the attack, but at the orders of his STF handlers, should have spurred a full-scale investigation into the allegations. The citizens of this country do not know if one was ordered at all.

It is also a fact that the much-hyped investigation of the Parliament attack case and its prosecution resulted in two full acquittals and conviction of another for concealing knowledge of the crime. It was almost as if there was a need to at least ensure one death sentence so that the faith of the public / society in the efficacy of the prosecution and the judiciary and the Legislature which represented the ‘State” would not be shaken. Surely this was not a case where even the government of the day was convinced of the guilt of Afzal; but treated it like a case that was far too important for all accused to be acquitted. We must remind you sir that the Supreme Court threw out the confessions of both Afzal and Shaukat which obviously indicated that the investigation had been far from fair.

As in life, Afzal Guru was denied his legal rights in his death. Sir, every convict whose mercy petition has been rejected by the President, is entitled yet to a last resort. The convict has the constitutional right to file a judicial review or a delay petition, in the High Court and the Supreme Court, to seek commutation of the death sentence. There exists veritable case law to support a condemned convict’s right to appeal on grounds that pendency of death penalty for years causes suffering and torturous anxiety. We only cite the Constitution Bench of the Supreme Court, which in 1988 held that “Undue long delay in execution of the sentence of death will entitle the condemned person to approach this Court under Article 32”.

Under the law, Afzal Guru may have lived still despite your rejection of the mercy petition, had he, his family and lawyers been informed of the rejection of the mercy petition. But perhaps fearing precisely this, the state whose head you are, Sir, chose to execute him in secrecy. The killing was not a fait accompli– a natural culmination of the course of law, as it is being made out to be by the government and the media. In fact, Afzal Guru was cynically, callously and calculatedly denied access to judicial remedy that was due to him. His family was not informed, not only because our state has become unrecognizably cruel—which it has, but also because it did not want Afzal Guru to exercise his legal rights and possibly avert the execution. Informing the wife that her mercy petition had been rejected through speed post is a joke. What the state has done is not simply kill a convict. It has committed a fraud on the people by invalidating an entire body of jurisprudence and a category of rights inhering in our Constitution.

And finally, the Indian state must explain why it displayed such urgency in executing Afzal before those others whose mercy petitions your office has earlier rejected.

Catholic forum calls for moratorium on death penalty

The forum said Christians are against death penalty for well-known religious reasons, as it defends the sanctity of life.

Death PenaltyMumbai, February 13, 2013: In the wake of the execution of parliament attack convict Afzal Guru, a Catholic forum has called for a moratorium on the death penalty in the country.

“India should consider a moratorium against all executions, pending a review and a comprehensive review of the death penalty,” said Joseph Dias, president of Catholic Secular Forum (CSF).

Dias said that in a recent vote at the UN General Assembly, 110 countries called for the abolition of the death penalty, while India was among the 39 countries that sustained it.

According to the UN, about 150 countries have abolished the death penalty or have established a moratorium, he said.

Dias said that Christians are against death penalty for well-known religious reasons, as it defends the sanctity of life.

CSF said that death penalty does not necessarily heal the wounds of the victims or their families and it is an inhumane penalty, which makes society less civil and more cruel.

Studies indicate that life imprisonment has major value as a deterrent; the death penalty, finally, also represents a waste of resources, which wastes the courts time and energy and worsens the criminal justice system, it said.

Guru, who was the mastermind of the parliament attack, was executed in the Tihar jail on Feb. 9 after President Pranab Mukherjee rejected his mercy petition.

His body was buried in the jail premises.

– agenzia fides


We’ll live and let Valentines live: VHP

February 15, 2013 by  
Filed under New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on We’ll live and let Valentines live: VHP

Happy ValentinesNew Delhi, February 13, 2013: Right-wing groups who have been known to play spoilsport each Valentine’s Day have said that this year they will let Feb 14 pass and only launch a helpline for women in distress from Wednesday.

“There will be no protests or demonstrations against Valentine’s Day. At the same time, youngsters should behave decently. As a new initiative this year, we have started a new helpline 011-23616372 to help women in distress. We will provide all support to such women,” Vinod Bansal, spokesperson, Viswa Hind Parishad (VHP), told IANS.

“The helpline is available round the clock. Durga Vahini and Bajrang Dal, youth wings of Vishwa Hindu Parishad, will attend to calls. If an untoward incident is reported, we will alert the nearest police station,” Bansal said.

The right-wing groups said they had no objections to the celebrations of Valentine’s Day. “We used to tell young couples to get married, otherwise we would hand them over to police or parents. For the past few years, we have suppressed our opposition to Valentine’s Day celebrations. We don’t want our young people to ape the West and bring disgrace on our culture,” Ravindra Negi, a Rashtrawadi Shiv Sena (RSS) activist told IANS, as he handed out flyers at Connaught Place, asking young people to refrain from celebrating Valentine’s Day.

In the past, Hindu radicals usually kept vigil at parks, restaurants and other places on the day, and occasionally went on the rampage, attacking pubs and greeting card shops to prevent young people from celebrating the special day dedicated to love.

“We are not going for any demonstrations. What is the use of protesting when our protests won’t stop celebrations? We just end up getting a bad reputation,” Sanjay Sharma, a Shiv Sena member, said.

“It’s not as if we are doing any moral policing. We urge pubs, restaurants and hotel managements not to organise special events on Feb 14, and to prevent vulgar dances in their premises,” Bansal said.

Jai Bhagwan Goyal of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh said that Valentine’s Day was used as an occasion for loot by multinational companies: “Valentine’s Day is just a gimmick. Multi-national companies loot money from young consumers, and encourage expensive gifting. People buy cards, flowers, jewellery, chocolates or mobile phones, and young people spend lakhs on this particular day,” Goyal told IANS.

According to the Associated Chambers of Commerce and Industry of India (Assocham), the expenditure during Valentine’s week in India is a whopping at $27 million (Rs.15,000 crore). The estimate was based on a survey of 800 executives in major metropolitan cities and 1,000 students from 150 educational institutions.

– ians

GCIC slams Hinduaisation of Orissa: Arrests under OFRA-98

February 5, 2013 by  
Filed under New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on GCIC slams Hinduaisation of Orissa: Arrests under OFRA-98

Since 18 January, two faithful are in prison, following a police raid on a private home. The raid resulted from trumped up charges of local fundamentalists. “Political” pressure preventing their release on bail. Christian activist: project for state “Hinduisation” underway.

Hinduaisation of OrissaDelhi, February 02, 2013: The arrest of “innocent Christians”, in jail under the pretext of “false accusations” of “forced conversions”, says Sajan K George, president of the activist network Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemning the latest case of violence against the religious minority in Orissa, the Indian state already known for the anti-Christian pogrom of 2008 which killed over 500 people. The fact dates back to January 18, when two followers of a Protestant community were imprisoned on (false) accusations of proselytism and forced conversions, according to the “draconian” – as defined by activists – Orissa Freedom of Religion Act ( Ofra) enacted in 1967, but often used to commit abuses and violations.

Local sources said that the police disrupted a prayer meeting that was taking place in the village of Gudikhamari, Baripada district in the state of Orissa. The raid took place at 11:30 am on January 18, in the house of a convert (from Hinduism), who had always offered his homes to celebrate the functions. At the time of the police raid, inside there were seven families who were forced to stop the service.

Members of a Hindu extremist movement who, previously, had denounced the believers for “proselytizing” in violation of OFRA accompanied the police in the raid against the small Christian community. The charges are unfounded, but were enough to trigger police actions which led to the arrest and imprisonment of Bahadur Murmu, 23, leader of the small Christian community, along with 21-year-old Rama Soreng.

The prayer meeting was held in the home of a former Hindu faithful who, five years ago embraced Christianity. At the time of the attack the extremist Hindu group was drunk and threatened to strike the faithful gathered in prayer. Only the presence of police prevented further violence. Pro human rights groups and Christian movements have called for the release on bail of the two arrested so far in vain because of pressure from local leaders of the judiciary and police.

– asianews

US remains top donor to Indian NGOs

January 21, 2013 by  
Filed under New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on US remains top donor to Indian NGOs

World Vision India based in Tamil Nadu was top recipient among organizations during the 2010-11 financial year

US remains top donor to Indian NGOsNew Delhi, January 20, 2013: Two Christian organizations are the top recipients of foreign donations in the country and the United States continues to be the top donor while Germany lost its second position to the United Kingdom as donor, official records show.

The World Vision India based in Tamil Nadu was top recipient among organizations during the 2010-11 financial year receiving 2,337 million rupees under the Foreign Contributions Regulation Act (FCRA).

The second single agency, the Believers Church India, based in Pathanamthitta town in Kerala received 1,607 million rupees.

Andhra Pradesh-based Rural Development Trust (1353 million) ranked third, followed by Tamil Nadu-based Caruna Bal Vikas (964 million), and Andhra Pradesh-based Women’s Development Trust (727 million).

As a region, Delhi retained its position as the top recipient of foreign contributions, cornering nearly one-fifth of the total 103,340 million rupees donations received by NGOs in the country.

The US remained the biggest donor with contributions worth 32,602 million rupees, though the UK dislodged Germany from the number two spot it had occupied in 2009-10.

Importantly, Bangalore emerged as the top district recipient of foreign donations, attracting 7,740 million rupees in 2010-11, while Chennai finished a close second with collections worth 7,726 million.

The other three districts where NGOs struck it rich are Mumbai (6,437 million rupees), Kolkata (3,872 million rupees) and in Kerala (3692 million rupees).

Pathanamthitta district in the only non-metro among the top five foreign fund magnets, and saw 1,607 million donations going to a single agency, Believers Church India.

The records also show how the finds were used. The largest chunk went into meeting establishment expenses (the figure stood at 13,371.5 million rupees in 2010-11), followed by rural development (8,631.2 million rupees), welfare of children (7452.4 million rupees), construction and maintenance of educational institutions (6814.0 million rupees), stipend/scholarships (4581.3 million rupees) and research (3.644.3 million rupees).

Of the 22,735 associations that filed their returns for 2010-11, 7,754 showed nil foreign contributions.

Among the donors, while US led the pack, UK was a distant second with contributions worth 10,653.5 million rupees, followed by Germany with 10073.9 million rupees, Italy with 4900.1 million and Netherlands with 4688.1 million.

Among the top individual donor agencies are Compassion International (based in the US) with contributions worth 992.0 million, HCL Holdings (Mauritius) with 699.8 million rupees, Action Aid (UK) 626.6 million rupees, Population Service International (US) 489.1 million rupees and Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (US) that channeled funds worth 483.7 million to Indian NGOs.


– times of india

Dalit group to ‘spearhead reconstruction of Babri Masjid’

January 16, 2013 by  
Filed under India, New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on Dalit group to ‘spearhead reconstruction of Babri Masjid’

Bhai Tej Singh, President of Ambedkar Samaj Party

Bhai Tej Singh, President of Ambedkar Samaj Party

New Delhi, January 14, 2013: A Dalit group plans to start the movement afresh for the reconstruction of the Babri Masjid at Ayodhya. Babari Masjid Navnirman Sena (Army for Babari Masjid Reconstruction), a group of ‘awakened’ Ambedkarite youths, as they would like to identify themselves, plan to organize the support of Dalits for “helping Muslim brethren rebuild the Babari mosque.”

Cadres of Bahujan Swayam Sewak Sanghathan (BSS) and its political front Ambedkar Samaj Party (ASP) had a condolence meeting on December 6, last year, that is, on the eve of 56th death anniversary of Dr. Bhim Rao Ambedkar and 20th anniversary of demolition of Babari Masjid. In the meeting they discussed how for past 20 years the demise day of Dalit icon, Dr BR Ambedkar has become a ‘victory day’ for Hindutva forces and thus what would have been otherwise a day of sorrow is celebrated by them. BSS cadres have hence given a new slogan: “Dalit ki majboori hai, Babri masjid zaruri hai” (Dalits are compulsion bound to rebuild the Babari mosque).

Speaking to TCN, Bhai Tej Singh, commander-in-chief of BSS and President of ASP said, “Dalits and Muslims have common enemy – right wing Hindutva forces. For thousands of years they burnt our houses, misbehaved with our daughters and made sure that we live a subhuman life. Same forces were behind the demolition of Babari mosque and Gujarat pogrom in 2002,” adding, “it is now important that together we defeat them.”

In the same meeting, it was discussed that Muslims in India are not foreigners, who “came either from Arab, Iran, but are aboriginal to this land,” who only got themselves “liberated from the clutches of Hinduism by embracing Islam,” which they regard as the “noble religion of compassion, equality and fraternity.” They also discussed the current ‘deplorable’ situation of the Muslim community, whose representation has been reduced to minimum in government positions and are seen with suspicion by security agencies. Tej Singh argues that like several Dalit leaders, Muslims leaders too have largely failed the community and no one dares to take “bold stand, lest they lose out their positions.”

These ‘Ambedkarite youths’ also concluded that like several Dalit political leaders Muslim leadership too have largely failed the community as no one dares to take “bold stand, lest they lose out their positions.” They have hence taken it upon themselves to help ‘Muslim brethren’ restore their dignity.

Bhai Tej Singh, who was the Chief Guest at the meeting, recommended the name of Babri Masjid Navnirman Sena (BMNS) and also suggested that they should encourage each Dalit family to have ‘friendship with at least one Muslim family’ to “know them better.”

The congregation also decided to have a full fledged “Dalit organisation which should exclusively endeavor for the restoration of human dignity and prestige of the Muslims and extend their helping hand to their Muslim brethren for the reconstruction of the prestigious Babari Mosque on the same site at Ayodhya.”

The group has also taken upon themselves to “ensure the safety, security of the Muslims and help creating an atmosphere worth living.” In last one month, they have started appointing district level cadres in Uttar Pradesh and have started the wall writings in Dalit villages of Bijnor mobilising them towards the “need to rebuild the Babri mosque.”

“In event of any sort of inconvenience or hindrances towards smooth reconstruction of mosque, BMNS shall not hesitate in using force of its volunteers at its disposal by virtue of the ‘mass movement’ of Dalits and Muslims generated for the purpose” one of the objectives of this newly formed group reads.

It is not just the reconstruction of the mosque they want to lend hands in, but want Muslim community to live in harmony and with dignity. They also propose to start a campaign for adequate representation of Muslims in jobs and education and to make Urdu “second national language of the country and persuade Government to make it mandatory to get it included in the curriculum of academic studies at School and college level.”

But will it all materialise towards something concrete or are these mere political stunts by a breakaway Dalit party getting desperate to win over Muslim ‘vote bank’?

Patron of BMNS, Tej Singh vehemently trashes this and says that he has been organising campaigns and movements against Hindutva forces since 1998 and has even gone to jail in 1998 while leading a rally from Delhi towards Ayodhya against the RSS plan of starting construction of temple at the mosque site publicly declaring, “We shall not allow building of Ram Temple at the debris of Babari Masjid.”

He adds that he was one of the first people to organize a seminar, along with some others, at the Constitution Club in 1999 on “Hindu terrorism.” Elaborating on his future plans, Tej Singh says that he plans to hold a big rally in the coming month for the cause.

But how has the Muslim community, and groups responded? Tej Singh laments that although privately they all appreciate my efforts no group appears to come forward for the cause. He appeals that he has been fighting the Hindutva forces for over 30 years and that he would be happy to serve the Muslim community as well. He says, “Muslims should come forward and use or misuse my and BSS resources to their advantages as we are fighting a common enemy.”

– tcn

Isai Mahasangh welcomes S C order on rights of minority run schools *Madrasas in Manipur

April 14, 2012 by  
Filed under Church, India, New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on Isai Mahasangh welcomes S C order on rights of minority run schools *Madrasas in Manipur

Madhya Pradesh, April 12, 2012: Supreme Court ordered on Thursday that Right to Education Act, 2009 will not be applied for the schools run by Minority Communities and for the schools which are not aided by government. Reacting on the order the Archbishop of Bhopal, Dr. Leo Cornelio said that those student who have already taken admission as per RTE Act will be continued. 

From the time of the Act come into existence Isai Mahasangh and Catholic Council of Bishops had objected its misuse by the State Government. The decision by the Supreme Court and the Archbishop has been welcomed by the Isai Mahasangh.    

Isai Mahasangh coordinator, Fr. Anand Muttungal said, “Christian community was never against the RTE Act, but we objected its misuse.  Church will continue to provide educational services to the poor and the marginalized. The case in this regard is pending in the High Court of Jabalpur since 2011 will also be withdrawn.”  

Supreme Court order strictly says that constitutional rights provided to minority run educational institutions will be protected. In the case of T.M A Pai Foundation vs. Karnataka Government and Inamdar vs. Maharashtra Government the SC had already ordered that there will no interference in Minority Institutions by the state Government.

State General Secretary of Isai Mahasang, Jerry Paul said that Madhya Pradesh government, to take advantage of RTE, had appointed its representative in the management committee of Minority Institutions. We ask the Government to withdraw its orders and leave the minority run institutions undisturbed. 

– fwd: john anthony

Madrasas in Manipur


Madrasa Alia, the oldest madrasa in Manipur

Manipur, April 11, 2012: There are at present 72 madrasas and 97 maktabs in Manipur registered to the Wakf Board, Manipur. The madrasas are spread in 4 districts of the state – 16 in Imphal East district, 19 in Imphal West district, 31 in Thoubal district, and 6 in Bishnupur district.

Muslims from the state started moving out for Islamic studies in the late 19th century. The first batch of alims (madrasa graduates) returned after the completion of their Islamic studies from the madrasas of Cachar and East Bengal, Meerut, Rampur, Lahore, Delhi, etc. in the early part of the 20th century. Maulana Obeidullah, a native of Irong Chesaba Mayai Leikei in Thoubal district was the first Muslim from Manipur who graduated from a madrasa. Obeidullah, born in 1844, had his Islamic studies at Madrasa Phulbara in East Bengal (now Bangladesh).

Growth of madrasas:
It was this early batch of alims who took the initiative of establishing maktabs and madrasas in Manipur), where children were taught Islamic education. A British official, B.C. Allen (Gazetteer of Manipur and Naga Hills, 1980) writing in the early part of 20th century, records, “Their (the Muslims) Moulvis are Manipuris, who have been sent to Cachar to be instructed in the principles of their faith by Moulvis from Hindustan. They are said to be fairly well acquainted with the doctrines of their religion.”

Interestingly, the British administrators in Manipur also introduced Arabic, Urdu and Persian languages in most of the schools in Muslim inhabited areas. These schools were known also officially as madrasas. The first such madrasa was the Lilong Lower Primary Madrasa, established at Lilong in 1907. Administrative Report of Manipur State for 1907-08 records, “A new madrasa has virtually been established at Lilong by the introduction of a curriculum in Arabic, Urdu, and Persian at the Muhammadan school, which has been in existence in that village for several years. Owing to the introduction of the study of these classical languages the number of boys attending this school has trebled in the year, and an additional Moulvi has been provided for in next year’s budget.”

The first formal madrasa established by the Muslims in Manipur was Madrasa Alia. It was established in 1944. An official record mentions the development of Madrasa Alia, “In 1942, Murhoom Mv. Rahimuddin, former Sheikul Hadith, founded Madrasa Alia within the four walls of a masjid located at Khongangkhong, Lilong and was further assisted by Murhoom Mv. Barkatullah & Murhoom Mv. Ayazuddin. In 1944 Murhoom Alhaj Noor Ali and Md. Muhamad Ali donated the land where Madrasa Alia stands today. It started with 5 kaccha rooms, and 30 talibas (students). Till 1972, the madrasa struggled on its own and carried on with the donations and charities but could not develop the facility. With the intervention of Ex-Chief Minister Murhoom Alimuddin in 1972, Madrasa Alia was upgraded to 5 rooms with half pacca wall. Since then the management committee of madrasa took massive responsibilities to develop the facility ad create more numbers of alims and hafiz.” Today the madrasa has 225 students including 195 hostellers. There are 21 teaching and 15 non-teaching staffs. The madrasa is now a one-storey building with 12 pacca rooms on top floor. The top floor also has a make-shift masjid for the students and teachers (ustads) to offer prayers. The ground floor is used as study hall (darajgah).

Since then there has been increase in the number of the madrasas in Manipur. In 1965, Madrasa Imdadul Islam was established at Khelakhong in Thoubal district. At present there are around 200 boarders studying in different classes (darjas).

In 1981, Jamia Azizia Madrassa, a residential madrasa for girls was established at Khumidok Epum. Haji Ali Abbas and Maulana Alauddin were some of the founders of this madrasa. Today the madrasa has around 500 students. Maulana Abdul Nasir who teaches Urdu and Arabic at Madrasa Azizia said, “The madrasa has 350 hostellers and 150 day scholars. Our madrasa offers hafiz and alima courses. English, Maths and Science are taught till Std V. We are planning to give computer courses to our students. Our madrasa has so far produced more than 100 alimas.” Maulana Nasir graduated from Matlaul Uloom in Rampur, UP. The Mohtamim of the madrasa Maulana Abdul Karim graduated from Darul-uloom Deoband.

Today there are more than 10 madrasas for girls in the state. Madrasa Imdadia Banatus Salihat in Thoubal, Darul Yatama Lil Banat in Lilong, Madrasa Jamiat-ul Tarihat in Irong Chesaba, Madrasa Roujatus Salihat in Bengoon are some of the prominent madrasas for girls.

In 1979, Darul-Uloom Markaz Haoreibi was established at Lilong Haoreibi taking the model and curriculum of Darul-uloom Deoband. Today it is the biggest madrasa in the state. At present the madrasa has 8 branches and around 1000 students. There are 400 hostellers and 70 staffs. This madrasa offers the 9 year fazil course. This madrasa is also the markaz for Tabligh Jamaat. The Mohtamim of Darul-uloom, Maulana Idris Qashmi was a student of Darul-uloom Deoband.


Students of Darul Uloom

Most of the madrasas in Manipur follow the Dars-i-Nizami syllabus and Deobandi curriculum. The syllabus of the madrasas in Manipur include study of Quran (articulation, phonetics and memorisation) and Hadis (traditions of the Prophet Muhammad), the interpretations, Islamic law (Fiqh), Logic (Mantiq), History (Tarikh), Mathematics (Hisab) and Urdu, Arabic, Persian and Manipuri languages and grammar. Urdu and Manipuri are the main mediums for instruction. General subjects like English, Science and Mathematics are introduced in some of the madrasas. Hafiz Idris, a staff of Darul uloom, said, “Our madrasa offers hadis and fazil courses and adopts the Dars-i-Nizami syllabus. Besides the various Islamic courses the madrasa offers mainstream subjects like English and Maths, and languages like Hindi, Urdu, Farsi and Manipuri and its literatures till Std V. We also include geography in our syllabus.”

The madrasas follow rigorous schedule. Hafiz Idris said, “A normal day for the students in a madrasa starts with the fajr namaz (morning-prayer). Classes start after breakfast at around 6.30 am and continue till 11.30 am. Then the students are given a break for 2 and half hour. During the break they are given lunch. Class resumes after the juhr namaz at around 2 pm and continues till 4 pm. In the evening the hostellers are allowed to play at the idgah ground near the madrasa. The students have to start studying on their own after the completion of magrib namaz (evening-prayer) till 10 pm. We have our library. The students are allowed to read newspapers and weeklies. The madrasa subscribes Manipuri and Urdu weeklies and newspapers. We subscribe the Urdu weeklies, Al-jamiat (Delhi) and Ar-raid (Nadwa publication). Every year before the completion of the course we organise naat, kirat, kutbah, bayan and Quran recitation competition for the students. Our students also participate in the state and all-India level competitions. The students get around two-month holiday during Ramzan.” Hafiz Idris studied at Madrasa Kashimul-uloom in Khandala, UP.

Madrasas in Manipur are managed by the community’s collective efforts. Almost all the madrasas are managed by public subscription on monthly basis, khairat and imdaad or donations and contributions from the rich and affluent Muslims, and zakat (alms). For instance, every year the madrasas organize jalsa, inviting Muslims from far and wide for a charity feast. And many of the madrasas appoint staffs who go from door to door asking for donation (chanda). They accept donation both in cash and kind. They even go out of the state for donation.

However, most of the madrasas in the state have poor infrastructure due to shortage of funds. Except a few, most of the madrasas fail to offer the complete courses for fazil degree due to shortage of funds. The official record of the Madrasa Alia stated the shortages of the madrasa, “The daily expenditure incurred by the management on kitchen is approximately Rs 12,000. Monthly expense for salary for teaching staff is Rs 74,000, and Rs 19,000 for non-teaching staff… currently the madrasa is able to provide talim from deeniyat-awal to alimiyat/mishakaat. Due to the lack of facility and infrastructure, the madrasa is not able to provide fazil, however the taliba who qualify for fazil are sent to madrasas which are in agreement with Madrasa Alia. For Madrasa Alia to be able to provide the fazil course, darul hadith hall is highly required…library needs to be upgraded with the books required for the course. The management is looking forward to provide fazil course in future, when the required fund is available….construction of a pacca masjid is underway, as the makeshift masjid was becoming congested. Due to the shortage of land area two hostel rooms were deconstructed for the construction of the masjid.”

However some of the madrasas are managed by tuition fees charged from students. Madrasa Azizia is one such madrasa. Maulana Nasir of the madrasa said, “We do not take any kind of financial assistance from the government. We mainly manage with the income that we get from the tuition fees from the students. We charge Rs. 700 per month from each of the students. There are 20 teachers, 13 are female. Each of them gets around Rs. 4000 as monthly salary.”

Madrasa modernization:
The state government has recently initiated the programmes for modernization of madrasas. Under the programme the state government has decided to offer financial assistance to the madrasas to introduce general subjects like Science, English, Maths and Computer. The state government, under the Ministry of Minority and Other Backward Classes, has also lately appointed around 150 teachers for imparting the general subjects.

However, most of the madrasas in Manipur are against the programme for modernization of madrasas. Madrasa Alia, Darul-uloom Markaz Haoreibi, Madrasa Jamia Rahmania and Madrasa Hussainia at Sora, Madrasa Majahirul-uloom at Irong Chesaba, Madrasa Imdadul Islam, Madrasa Mazharul-uloom at Mayang Imphal Bengoon, Madrasa Jamia Azizia are some of the prominent madrasas which have rejected the programme for modernization of madrasas. According to Maulana Nuruddin of Madrasa Alia the move would strip the madrasas of their ‘Islamic character.’ He said, “The programme for madrasa modernization would strip the madrasas of their Islamic identity. The curriculum of the madrasas sifts the focus from theology once you adopt the programme. It will also threaten the autonomy of the madrasas. Moreover, the quality of education in the government affiliated madrasas is mediocre and, therefore, their graduates command less respect and reverence in the Muslim society. However, we are not against the introduction of modern subjects. General subjects like English and Maths are included in the syllabus of our madrasa.”

List of madrasas registered to Wakf Board, Manipur as on 1st June 2009:

Imphal East District:

1. Madrasa Islamia, Khumidok
2. Madrasa Azizia, Khumidok
3. Madrasa Hussainia Ashrafia, Ningthounai, Yairipok
4. Madrasa Islamia Madnia, Tulihal, Yairipok
5.  Kashimpur Alia Madrasa, Babupara, Jiribam
6. Madrasa Rahimia, Urup
7. Madrasa Jamia Islamia, Khumidok
8. Jiribam Hafizia Madrasa, Sonapur, Jiribam
9. Madrasa Halimia Madnia, Khergao, Imphal
10. Madrasa Mishabul Uloom, Yairipok, Changamdabi
11. Madrasa Rahimia, Urup
12. Madina Model Madrasa, Lalpani, Jiribam
13. Abdul Wakil Quran Madrasa, Konyaitabi, Kiyamgei
14. Jamia Islahul Uloom, Khetri Bengoon Mayai Leikai
15. Al-Madrassatul Banat, Kashimpur, Jiribam
16. Madrasa Jamia Arabia Rahmania, Kairang

Imphal West District:

1. Madrasa Anwarul Uloom, Konuma
2. Madrasa Majharul Uloom, Bengoon, Mayang Imphal
3. Madrasa Roujatus Salihat, Bengoon, Mayang Imphal
4. Madrasa Aminia, Bengoon, Mayang Imaphal
5. Saajada Jamia-tus Salihat, Benggoon, Mayang Imphal
6. Noor Islam Madrasa, Hiyangthang Pallak
7. Madrasa Banatul Islam High Madrasa, Uchiwa Wangbal
8. Madrasa Imdadia Arabia, Oinam Sawombung
9. Madrasa Markajul Uloom, Mayang Imphal Bengoon
10. Furkania madrasa (Maktab), Bengoon Mayai Leikai
11. Madina Islamia Public Madrasa, Phabakchou
12. Madrasa Ajeemul Quran, Bengoon (Maktab)
13. Momina Jameatus Salihat, Bengoon
14.  Madrasa Tazwidul, Bengoon Yangbi
15. Madrasa Miftaul Uloom, Paobitek Mamang

– tcn

Good Friday Musings: Mumbai & East Delhi – The CSF Impact *Kandhamal Catholic priest attacked

April 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Church, India, India, Maharashtra, New Delhi, newsletter-lead, Orissa, Persecution

Comments Off on Good Friday Musings: Mumbai & East Delhi – The CSF Impact *Kandhamal Catholic priest attacked

Here’s wishing you and your loved ones the power of the Risen Lord, this Easter….
Your prayers keep us going and the LORD blesses us with success.

bro. joe dias & Team CSF, ICAN and our families

Some photographs of The CSF Calvary Drama Live can be seen at –

Good Friday Musings. Mumbai and East Delhi – The CSF Impact


The CSF had an eventful silver jubilee observation of the Good Friday service, which was well-covered by all national dailies – details of which follow in the next email. Suffice it to say that we prayed publicly for you – our collaborators and well-wishers. And we are sure God heard our prayers, thanking HIM for your partnership with The CSF to better the lot of HIS people. In lighter vein, it was a delight to see politicians competing with each other, to be seen among the Christians, who are otherwise ignored.
August Kranti Maidan: Here we only want to share with you, how politicians, authorities and fundamentalists take Christians for granted simply because we accept our fate and don’t fight back. Most of the time, even our Christian politicians, are nowhere on the scene, though they turn up to take the credit. In Mumbai, it happened at the August Kranti Maidan, where a bureaucrat denied permission for the Good Friday worship, which was opposed by The CSF and later joined by others to get the decision reversed. Here we also had some “Christian” politicians jumping on the publicity bandwagon.
East Delhi: Similarly in the heart of the capital – East Delhi, we had the Deputy Commissioner of Police initially refused permission for administrative reasons, to conduct the Live Stations of the Cross on the streets, even though the community has been conducting it for the last almost 15 years. There was panic on Maundy Thursday and advocate Jenis Francis sent SOS text and email messages, which The CSF decided to act immediately on. We sent a fax, sms and email almost instantaneously, asking the Commissioner of Police to correct the situation and within minutes, the permission was granted.
Praise God. To HIM be the glory, as HE in His infinite mercy uses The CSF as an instrument to get things done. The pictures that appear here are those of the Live Stations of the Cross, which was held on Good Friday in East Delhi and was well attended. In fact, the parishners were so  impressed at the speed and efficacy of our intervention, that they have called for a CSF chapter to be opened in the national capital, which we are actively considering.

Kandhamal Catholic priest attacked


Orissa, April 06, 2012: Sukananda is a small village about 4 kilometers north of Gudayagiri at Khandamal. The Catholic parish at Sukananda is about 100 years old. The church priest’s residence is adjacent to the convent of missionaries of charity. This church was badly ransacked and destroyed during the communal violence of 2008. A grotto stands on the hill behind the church. Rev Sisisrkant Sabhanayak is the parish priest since 2010.

On 29.03.12, Manoj, S/o Mr. Rabindra Nayak of village Sukananda and others began to dig up the way to the grotto. Rev. Sisisrkant told them not to do so and they agreed. But again on 30.03.12, they came with JCB machines and began to dig and remove mud from the road which leads to the grotto. Rev. Sisisrkant again requested them to not to dig up the way to the grotto. At this Manoj and others abused the priest with filthy language and one Deepak Nayak caught hold of Rev. Sisisrkant’s throat, kicked him and threaten to kill him. On 4th April, when the priest was on his way to Gudayagiri, Manoj Nayak again caught hold of priest’s throat and pushed him. On 6th April, Rabindra Nayak came and threatened to kill priest.


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

March 29, 2012 by  
Filed under Church, India, New Delhi, newsletter-india, Orissa

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

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

New Syro-Malabar diocese erected for northern India

March 7, 2012 by  
Filed under Church, India, New Delhi, newsletter-india

Comments Off on New Syro-Malabar diocese erected for northern India

The SMC Synod also appointed Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara as the first prelate of Faridabad diocese with the title of an archbishop.

Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara being congratulated by Cardinal George Alencherry

Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara being congratulated by Cardinal George Alencherry

New Delhi, March 6, 2012: The Syro Malabar Church (SMC) today erected a new diocese for its members residing in the northern Indian states of Delhi, Haryana, Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab and Uttar Pradesh.

The SMC Synod also appointed Monsignor Kuriakose Bharanikulangara as the first prelate of Faridabad diocese with the title of an archbishop, Cardinal George Alencherry, head of the Oriental Church, announced at its headquarters in Kochi.

The announcement was also made at 4 p.m. India time at the Vatican and the CBCI Centre in New Delhi.

The new diocese is spread over 950,000 square kilometres and caters to more than 100,000 Catholics.

Archbishop-elect Bharanikulangara currently works as the first secretary at the Apostolic Nunciature in Berlin, Germany. He has spent the past 18 years as a Vatican diplomat in Thailand, Cameroon, Iraq, Venezuela, Congo, Gabon and at the United Nations headquarters in New York.

He was born on February 1, 1959 at Karippassery parish in Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese.

He has a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Oriental Institute in Rome. After his ordination in 1983, he worked in various parishes under Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese and dabbled in media for a while as the assistant editor of Sathyadeepam, a Church weekly magazine published from Kochi.


Next Page »