Do we need “Anna Hazare kind of campaigns” to see Communal Violence Bill through?

December 5, 2011 by  
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Anna Hazare

Anna Hazare

December 4, 2011: At the recently concluded meet of National Integration Council (NIC) the discussions on The Prevention of Communal and Targeted Violence (Access to Justice and Reparation) Bill loomed large. Not too many members of the council were seen speaking in favour of the bill, resentment of all political parties were out in the open, the credibility of ruling alliance was in tatteres as the partners in governance were not generous on numerous issues with the proposed draft. The unfortunate part was the treasury benches kept mute while most of the opposition leaders tore apart the proposed draft with criticism. The opposition’s disapproval was more out of prejudice and misconceptions rather than out of what the Bill contains and intends to put right.

The communal forces aiming for a Hindu Rashtra often spread venom against the religious minorities creating a sense of insecurity with the majority community, consequently aggravating a communal rift between two co-existent peaceful neighbors. The Catastrophe of partition should be etched in the moral values of the sub-continent; lessons should be learnt from the horrors of sectarian politics and communal propaganda from either side.

Post Independence, the organizations which kept aloof from the mainstream struggle for independence and were responsible for murdering Mahatma Gandhi, actively indulged into spreading hatred towards religious minorities (Muslims), the Muslims were often cornered into throwing the first stone, which was then used as a pretext for unleashing violence against them. Thus initiation and facilitation of the communal politics against religious minorities came into existence. Communal politics with communal propaganda gradually became somewhat the “social common sense” of the majority community against Muslims in the country. Regrettably most of the state institutions are influenced by the infectious communal prejudice, the police in particular have become the tool for the biased attribution towards Muslims, who all remained vulnerable and the nastiest affected during any violence.

Successive governments have set up various commissions to secure this objective— commission for minorities, for preventing atrocities against SC/STs, for protecting human rights and women’s rights. But most of them have been toothless and have failed to prevent violence and protect the vulnerable groups from systematic and targeted violence. While Gujarat provides one example, the violence unleashed against Christian tribals in Kandhamal, Odisha is another example. The continuous violence against tribals in the Northeast by armed forces, and against Dalits by upper castes in almost every state cannot be ignored. The history of post-independence India is strewn with numerous cases where the ruling governments and the commissions constituted by it have failed in their duty to protect these groups.

Almost all the fact finding inquiry commissions constituted after every untoward incident reveals that the most of the spontaneously-looking riots are always part of larger conspiracies, a systematized plan of the communal forces. The reports further make public that the targeted violence are for political goals duly assisted by the attitude of the political leadership which would otherwise be impossible without the cordial help from the incumbent bureaucrats and forces. And it fetches no brownies in guessing that, it’s the rightwing politicians who then benefit from the same by polarizing the majority community votes in their favour.

And most predictably the proposed draft has been dubbed as ‘anti-majority’ by the BJP and has been criticized as a kneejerk response to the Gujarat violence of 2002-03. They also fear that it may alter the federal structure and adversely impact the autonomy of the states. But protection of minorities and vulnerable groups like tribals and Dalits is well within the Constitutional scheme. Hence, any provision to protect the secular fabric of the nation and the right of vulnerable groups to live in peace and harmony cannot be dubbed as an ‘anti-majority’ measure.

The picture is very complicated and muddled but the undertones are very clear, about this opposition! It’s because the Hindutva forces are opposed to any affirmative action where the weaker section of the society be it the minorities, schedule caste or OBC is identified and given protection. The main opposition party has openly opposed the bill because of its vested interests attached, as it wants to promote their kind of political agenda with the continuation of existing political pattern of discrimination and biasness against religious minorities and other weaker & oppressed sections of the society.

Mahatma Gandhi, who symbolized the animosity to communal politics, laid down his life opposing it, his sacrifice must not go in vain. Hence if the intension of the ruling government is sanctimonious, it is unusual as to why the ruling party or its allies are not sticking its neck out to bring peace and prevent violence through this bill by suitable agreement and an appropriate debate in parliament. Therefore whatever the outcome be, it’s bound to have an adverse effect on the government’s sincerity and secular credentials.

– aziz a. mubaraki

Cases against anti-nuke church officials

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Cases against anti-nuke church officialsTamil Nadu, November 16, 2011: Police have charged a bishop and four parish priests with aiding and supporting a protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.

Bishop Yvon Ambroise of Tuticorin diocese said yesterday that he and the priests along with some social activists have also been charged with illegal assembly and preventing government officials from carrying out official work at the construction site in Koodankulam in Tirunelveli district of the state.

The plant is scheduled to commence operation next month.

“We are aware of the charge sheets and will face the charges legally,” Bishop Ambroise said yesterday.

He said that the case is a tactic to create fear among protestors.

“We are undeterred by the charges filed by the local police and the struggle will go on,” he added.

For the last two months, protestors, mainly Catholic fishermen, have been agitating against the newly built US$3 billion nuclear power plant, built with Russian technology in Koodankulam.

Xavier Fernando, a lay leader, said that since the protest began on September 11, more than 8,000 people have been charged by police for protesting against the nuclear plant.

Bishop Ambroise said, “We were objecting to the plant from the beginning but after the Fukushima disaster in Japan, people have also understood the problems with nuclear energy and are protesting against the plant.”

He clarified that the anti-nuclear agitation was a people’s movement and not a church-led movement.

The prelate said he also suspected that police action was taken because of Hindu right-wing groups who are against the protest.

– ucan

Christian Community’s Response to Lokpal Bill

November 19, 2011 by  
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Lokpal BillNew Delhi, November 17, 2011: The Churches and the ecumenical movement in India are concerned about corruption in public life. Corruption adversely affects the whole system of Governance, having a negative influence on the relationship between those who govern and the governed, especially the poor and marginalized communities. Despite its ratification of the United Nation‘s Convention against Corruption in May 2011, India lacks the political will to come up with a strong Lokpal Bill. The climate of corruption at all levels as well as the growing number of scams being exposed day after day and the gross failure of various Governments to bring about any effective anti-corruption law, despite the fact that the first Lokpal Bill had been introduced in 1968, has left the people of this country disillusioned. Consequently, people have begun to lose faith in the democratic rule in our country.

Inspired by the values of the Bible and those of Jesus Christ, the Churches have a duty to guide their members on issues of justice, and a role to play in the creation of a just society. In fact, the Churches are actively engaged in formation of a civic conscience and in the education of citizens in true democracy.

The Bible holds that corruption will destabilize a country, as it is antithetical to justice (Proverbs 29: 4). Hence, the Bible prohibits the acceptance of a bribe (Exodus 23:8; Deuteronomy 16:19). The Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace rightly observes: “Corruption deprives peoples of a basic common good, that of legality: respect for rules, the correct functioning of economic and political institutions and transparency” (No. 5, The Fight against Corruption, 2006). The same Council adds in no 8. that corruption exploits the human person, disdainfully using men and women for selfish interests. It represents an obstacle for achieving the common good, because it is based on individualistic criteria of selfish cynicism and illicit special interests. It also acts against the preferential option for the poor by hindering the proper delivery to the poor of the resources intended for them. Finally, it stands in contrast to the universal destination of goods. The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has been at the forefront of campaigning for the transparency and accountability. The XXV Quadrennial assembly had also adopted a code of conduct on Christian Leadership.

The Churches hold that corruption is unjust, illegal, immoral, unethical and highly exploitative of the poor and the under-privileged; greed, selfishness and materialism being the roots of corruption, it has to be rooted out from the hearts of people. While the Churches recognize that laws alone do not wipe out corruption, it is still of the opinion that a strong legislation is required to fight against this social evil.

The process of globalization facilitated and accelerated the expansion of corruption, making it an international phenomenon. However, the same process also offers greater opportunity to fight it, by means of more resolute and -coordinated international cooperation.

The demand for an effective Lokpal Bill that has gained momentum over the past couple of months, with the common people coming out on the streets to fight against corruption is a sign of the times and a clear indication that the people of India will not settle for anything but an effective Lokpal Bill.

Though Anna Hazare and his team were able to capture the imagination of common people and the media, their draft bill disturbs the balance of power of the Judiciary, the Executive and the Legislative arms of the country. We also recognize the weaknesses in the Government Bill.

That many alternative drafts have come up from different sources is only a positive development that will enable the Standing Committee on Law and Justice as well as the parliament to bring to the people a strong Lokpal Bill. Through this memorandum, we would like to make the following suggestions on the clauses of the Lokpal Bill

1. Jurisdiction:

1.1. Prime Minister: The Lokpal Bill should have jurisdiction over the Prime Minister with certain riders. The Prime Minister’s office carries a moral and ethical responsibility towards the citizens. As the topmost person who leads the country, his/her position should be safeguarded against malicious or baseless targeting by groups who would like to disrupt democracy.

1.2. Elected Representatives: The members of the Parliament should be brought under the jurisdiction of the Lokpal. However, they should continue to enjoy the privileges of the Parliament. The Article 105 of the Indian constitution provides for privileges for the Lok Sabha and Raja Sabha members; under this clause freedom of speech in Parliament is guaranteed.

1.3. Group A officers: Group A officers of the central Government and those above in rank should be covered by the Lokpal Bill.

2. Strengthening the Vigilance Commission:

The Central Vigilance Commission needs to be revamped and accorded autonomy and the power to prosecute. All officers other than Group A officers to be covered by the Central Vigilance commission.

3. Strengthening the Judicial System:

Judiciary should be kept out of the purview of the Lokpal. The basic structure of the Constitution which separates the judiciary from the Executive cannot be compromised. However, acknowledging that corruption in the Judiciary is a reality, we suggest that the Judiciary Standards and Accountability Bill be adopted so as to initiate Judicial Reforms as early as possible.

4. Lokayuktas at State Level:

The new Lokpal Bill should urge each state to have state Lokayuktas with similar powers of the Lokpal in the centre.

5. Corporate Industries:

As part of the New Economic policies, many public sector undertakings have been privatized. Hence, the companies should come under the purview of the Lokpal Bill, as stipulated by Article 21 of the UN convention against corruption: “Each State Party shall consider adopting such legislative and other measures as may be necessary to establish as criminal offences, when committed intentionally in the course of economic, financial or commercial activities…”

6. Grievance Redressal:

To ensure that the grievances of the common people are adequately addressed at different levels, appropriate grievance procedures should be introduced and grievance redressal officers appointed. There should be additional citizen’s charters pertaining to SCs, STs, OBCs, Minorities, Women and Children.

7. Assets Recovery:

There should be provision for recovery of the assets or confiscation of properties from the offenders. The government should also develop international cooperation to bring back the resources taken out of the country.

8. Prevention of Witch-Hunting:

Honest public servants should not be harassed. There should be provisions to prevent misuse of the Lokpal system against sincere and honest government employees.

9. Provisions of whistleblower Protection:

There should be an effective mechanism to protect whistleblowers, witnesses and victims of corruption.

10. Investigation and Prosecution Wings:

The Lokpal should have separate investigation and prosecution wings.

We reiterate our confidence and belief in the Parliamentary Democratic system, in the values of secularism and justice enshrined in our Constitution. The Parliamentary Democratic process should not be diluted for any reason. We appeal to all political parties for their cooperation in working together for the common good of the people of India and we hope, pray and demand that Government will pass a strong Lokpal Bill in the coming winter session of Parliament.

Ms. Leila Passah (General Secretary, YMCA of India)
Rev. Fr. Charles Irudayam  (Secretary, JPDO• CBCI)
Mr. Samuel Jeyakumar  (Executive Secretary, COP, NCCI)

– cns

Social media campaigns for killed Catholic youths

November 4, 2011 by  
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Boys on the facebookMaharashtra, November 4, 201: Social networking sites have become the most popular medium for the people to vent their anger against the killing of two Catholic youths by eve teasers in Mumbai.

Netizens across the nation have flooded Facebook and Twitter demanding justice for the “bravehearts” Keenan, 24 and Reuben, 28.

The duo, along with five others, including three girls, had gone to the bar to have dinner and watch a cricket match on a giant screen put up there on October 20.

After a while, they came out of the restaurant and were standing near a pan shop.

Three men started passing lewd comments about the women in the group.

Both of them were stabbed while resisting eve-teasing. Keenan died the same day in hospital and Reuben died on October 31 after struggling for life for 11 days.

Their friends have created a Facebook page by the name “Justice for Keenan and Reuben”.

Posts like “we want justice…we will fight till the end”, “Mumbai’s prayers are with you and your family” and “you guys were heroes” are flooding the net space.

The campaign seeking justice for the duo is drawing tremendous response from all across the nation. A Facebook page with thousands of fans is trying to build a pressure on the authorities to take severe action against the guilty.

– dailybhaskar

Two young girls rescued from a brothel in India

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James Varghese, founder of the Indian Rescue Mission

James Varghese, founder of the Indian Rescue Mission, with some of the girls who had been rescued earlier

Maharashtra, October 16, 2011: Two young girls who were trapped in a prostitution ring in a red light area in Pune, India, were rescued by a Christian organization, the Indian Rescue Mission, along with the social security cell of Pune police on Thursday, October 13, 2011.
 
Acting on a tip by from Indian Rescue Mission about the presence two minor girls in a brothel, the local police, along with the activists of the Indian Rescue Mission, raided the brothel and rescued girls named Roopa (16) and Gowri (17).
 
In the operation, the manager of the brothel was arrested.
 
In the statement given by Gowri after the rescue operation, she said that she was brought to India with the “false promise” of a job and finally landed in a brothel in Pune. She was sold by the agent to a brothel owner and was kept there forcefully.
 
James Varghese, founder of the Indian Rescue Mission, said, “One of the rescued girls, Gowri, was trafficked from Bangladesh and she was made to attend customers by force and if she denied them then she would be beaten. She was kept in captivity for four months.”
 
He went on to say, “The other girl was also trafficked from a city in Maharashtra to Pune’s red light district. We received the information that they both had been forced into prostitution and hence we decided to rescue them.
 
“The police have sent them for a medical examination, after which they will be sent to a shelter home for rehabilitation and for self-employment training,” Varghese added.
 
The police are trying to ascertain the identity of the persons on who trafficked the girls.
 
The Indian Rescue Mission has so far rescued hundreds of girls from their terrible life and has set them free.

– jacob philip (assist news service)

Villagers encouraged to grow rubber

October 19, 2011 by  
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Villagers encouraged to grow rubberAssam, October 18, 2011: A meeting was organised to spread awareness about growing rubber to fetch more income among the rural people in Assam’s Karbi Anglong district.

More than 160 rubber growers took part in the meeting held recently with the theme-’Plant rubber and overcome poverty’.

“Rubber compared with other crops offers maximum returns to the grower. So plant rubber for economic stability and development,” said Fr. Sebastian Ouseparambil, Director of Development Association of Nagaland.

K.G. Mohanan, Addl. Rubber Production Commissioner of Rubber Board North East regional office spoke about the daily uses of rubber and the advantages of cover crops.

Baby Thomas, Rubber Board Development officer offered all possible help for the rubber growers in Karbi Anglong.

Rajen Teron, one of the first rubber growers in Manja area, said that income from growing rubber helped him educate his children.

– fr. tom mangattuthazhe

The CSF to internationalize Anti-Christian Violence

April 11, 2011 by  
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Give Christians Arms Licenses for Self-Defence, IF Government Can’t Protect its Citizens
Gandhi Jayanti Eve – Kandhamal Christians Internationalise Anti-Christian Violence
Orissa Relief Camps Bombed – Christians Not Safe Even in Government Shelters
100 Victims of Anti-Christians Violence & Civil Society March to United Nations
Mahesh Bhat & Others Petition UNO to Declare Orissa Christians as Refugees
Deny Navin Patnaik & Yeddyurappa Visas to Go Abroad
On the eve of Gandhi Jayanti and International Day for Peace, 100 tribal Christians from the communal violence-affected districts of Orissa, especially from Kandhamal petitioned the UNO to declare them refugees. A delegation comprising representatives of civil society, like noted film director, Mahesh Bhat and Ms. Shabnam Hashmi (member, National Integration Council, Govt of India) accompanied Dr. Abraham Mathai, (president Indian Christian Voice and vice-chairman, Maharashtra Minorities Commission), Mr. Joseph Dias (general secretary, The Catholic Secular Forum) and others to meet Ms. Shalini Dewan, the UN director presenting to her the petition, seeking UN intervention. Among the other signatories to the petition were Rev. Nitin Sardar of Dinbandhu Ministries and Dr. John Dayal, member, National Integration Council, Govt of India.

The Orissa Christians feared for their lives, if they were forced to go back to the state and hence, sought refugee status, which is historic, since it is the first time that persecuted Christians are making such an appeal. Mahesh Bhat said that this delegation had met all concerned – the President of India downwards, but to no avail. Hence, they were forced to make such a request on behalf of those persecuted for their faith and discriminated against because of their religion. Dr. Mathai said that the petition addressed to the UN Secretary General would be sent by his office in national capital to him in New York and some positive development was expected. He warned of a worse holocaust to follow the communal carnage, which the Government would not be able to prevent. He added that a national shame had become an international embarrassment for the PM on his visit abroad and India’s secular image needs to be kept intact overseas.

Mr. Joseph Dias feared militancy rising among Christian youth, with the violence continuing unabated with killings reported daily, over the last few months, torching of churches and wanton destruction of hundreds of homes, which had not yet been contained. Already there were calls from within the community, to ask the government for arm licenses to be used in self-defence, as such attacks will not stop, he said. He also called for refugee camps, under UN supervision to be started in Orissa to give food to the thousands starving to death in the forests and also emergency medicare to hundreds brutally injured and dying. The CSF general secretary hoped that “with the nuclear deal done, the Prime Minister would now have time to pay attention to serious issues nearer at home, like rising anti-Christian violence, which had already claimed hundreds of lives and caused destruction worth crores of rupees. Communalism is a threat to the Indian nation and if the fires are not tended, it would consume the country and affect all world citizens, like terrorism” he added.

The CSF general secretary urged the PM to visit Orissa and Karnataka, saying that The CSF would now also now internationalize the issue by writing to various heads of nations to act on controlling foreign funds to the Saffron Brigade and deny visas to Naveen Patnaik & Yeddyurappa to visit their countries, as is the case with Narendra Modi. Mr. Joseph Dias said, if a lunatic shot an innocent or a few were killed in a bomb blast, it made the front-page, but when hundreds of Christians were massacred and tens of thousands were brutally wounded by supporters of the RSS – VHP – Bajrang Dal, it ceased to make news, any longer. The CSF also received information that there was panic and chaos in the relief camp of Christians in Kandhamal when bombs exploded. The bombs, suspected to be hand-made and of low intensity, went off at Nuagaon, Mahasinghi village and Baliguda town at around 7, 8 and 9 pm respectively. What next ? Our silence makes us culpable, with implicit involvement in the murder and spilling of innocent blood, he concluded.

PETITION TO UNITED NATIONS


As you are aware, the violence against Christians in various States of India, especially in the State of Orissa, over the last 45 days, has made world headlines. The New York Times on 3rd September 2008 reported that 1,400 homes and 80 churches had been destroyed or damaged. The actual figures in Orissa, are more than double. Hundreds have been killed for belonging to the faith and large-scale gross human rights abuse is taking place – rape, brutal injury, police atrocities, torching of churches & property belonging to Christians, their institutions and clergy. Even the official figures of lives lost or crores of rupees worth property vandalized in the ensuing carnage, has shocked civil society in India and abroad. Tens of thousands are rendered homeless, living in the forests or in government relief camps – where inhuman living conditions, devoid of basic food & medicine – is cause of many deaths.

The Christian community seems to have lost all faith in the Government to protect the life & property of its citizens, especially when it comes to the minority Christians, who constitute a meager 2.5% of the country’s population. Further, the States where this is happening, especially Orissa, are ruled by the opposition right-wing BJP and allies, and this being an election year, the Government is reluctant to act, as it is not seen to be politically expedient. It’s been months since the Christmas eve massacre in Orissa and the community has ever since, been knocking at all doors – the President & PM of India downwards – but to no avail. As of today, the attacks continue with a renewed vigour of ethnic cleansing and genocide in Orissa and spreading to at least 8 other States of India.

The onslaught would have claimed more lives, if only the media and human rights activists had not played a significant restraining role, by highlighting the brutality of the Hindu extremists, backed by an inactive Government, which if not abets the communal violence, certainly turns a Nelson’s eye to it.There are all indications of a worse holocaust to follow the communal carnage, which we fear cannot be prevented by the Government. Christian NGOs & the Church are not allowed to even fend for its own & care for its hurt and dying. There seems to be no hope for thousands of Christian victims and the only option to save their lives, they feel is to flee the state. Hundreds of Oriya Christians have run-away from the State and contacted the undersigned NGOs to protect them & seek UN intervention.

It is against this background and emergency conditions, that we have therefore, as a last resort, brought to the national capital, this first batch of about 100 Christians from Orissa and make the following requests –

1) These Oriya Christians and others to follow have expressed the desire to be termed Prima Facie Refugees and urge you, through the UNHCR to deem them so, in order that they can be covered by a legal framework to protect their human dignity from rights violations and abuse. Currently, they along with tens of thousands, are a Stateless people, as the writ of the Government of India, does not run large in the State of Orissa. There is no Rule of Law and mobocracy by Hindutva terror outfits like, the RSS, VHP and Bajrang Dal, is the political system, which is in place. The Prime Minister has not visited Orissa and earlier, even the Home Minister of India could not visit the victims.

2) These Oriya Christians fulfill the requirements, as per the UN conventions to be Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) and urge you, through the various relief agencies, like the International Red Cross, UNHCR, etc. to provide them with the basic food, medicine and shelter. Tens of thousands such as these, will either be killed by the Hindu extremists or will die of injury and malnourishment, if no attention is paid immediately. Many of these are old, women, children, babies, clergy… who are the most vulnerable sections. We appeal to you on humanitarian grounds, not take a strictly legalistic view, as precious lives are being lost by every day, even as blood is split by the hour.

3) The State government has prevented Christian NGOs from working in the areas, thus facilitating the Hindutva ethnic cleansing and genocide begun, against Christians – akin to State-sponsored terrorism. The Government of India refuses to use its constitutional powers, for reasons best known. Now, humanitarian aid, under UN supervised relief camps are an imperative, as relief even if sent, will not be channeled to reach the dying and the needy. The UNHCR as per its mandate urgently needs to set-up refugee camps for 50,000 Oriyans, persecuted for their faith – refugees in their own land or IDPs, in UN parlance.

Finally, the violence being carried out against Christians in India is a clear breach of their human rights under the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948. We appeal to the UN and the related world agencies, to urge the Indian government to fulfill its obligations and responsibilities, under the Constitution of India and in particular Articles 3, 7, 8, 12 and 18 of the Universal Declaration, which India ratified in 1948.

We also appeal to the UN and its world agencies, to exercise its power and influence, to protect lives and prevent further killings in India or discrimination on the basis of race, religion or caste. We thank you for your kind attention and trust that the matters raised in this letter will be given due consideration.

(The Signatories)

The CSF Protest March from St. Peter’s Church to Mount Mary’s, Bandra

April 11, 2011 by  
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Orissa an International Shame
We reiterate our Demand – Imposition of President’s rule
Prime Minister should visit Orissa & allow Relief work
Ban Bajrang Dal – Christian Blood should not be Spilled for Political Expediency
There seems to be no respite from the Saffron Brigade for Christians in Orissa and even worse, the communal violence spreads to other several other states. To send out an SOS to the government, hundreds of Oriya Christians – in the city and those, who have fled the state marched, while praying for communal harmony. The prayer march started from the St.Peter’s Church on Hill Road, Bandra (W) at 4pm, and culminated at Mount Mary’s Shrine at around 6 pm. These Orissa Christians were accompanied by an enactment of the Roman soldiers flogging Jesus, as an eye-opener to the Government that even today, Christians are being attacked, brutally killed and their property destroyed in modern India. The flogging enactment is to serve as a reminder that even after over 2000 years, the persecution of the Christians – their agony, anguish & genocide – continues & the Jesus is their only solace.

The march was organised by the Indian Christian Voice and The Catholic Secular Forum (CSF), who reiterated their demands – WE REITERATE OUR DEMAND FOR DISMISSAL OF THE ORISSA GOVERNMENT AND IMPOSITION OF PRESIDENT’S RULE IN THE STATE. WE ALSO CALL FOR A BAN ON THE BAJRANG DAL AND RELATED MOB TERROR OUTFITS IMMEDIATELY for attacks that are unconstitutional, threatening the secular fabric of the country. The State of India has abdicated its responsibility and duty to protect Indian Christians, by not taking the state governments to task & failing to protect the life and personal liberty of Indian citizens. The Government of India has failed to ensure freedom of conscience and free profession, practice and propagation of religion – the very rights enshrined in the Constitution of the country (Articles 21 & 25) and in the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR Articles 18 & 27) to which the Government of India is a party.

We call for immediate provision of relief and adequate compensation to the victims as per ICCPR Article 2.3.1 to those Internally Displaced Persons, according to international conventions. There must also be independent fast track courts constituted to try the culprits and enforce rule of law immediately, besides, the following demands, which must be seriously considered:

Foreign funding to such Hindu NGOs needs to be stopped and travel advisories need to be issued to tourists not to come to these states.
Order the CBI to investigate into all aspects of the anti Christian violence in various states & into internal business-houses funding the hate-campaign of the Saffron Brigade.
Immediately take into preventative custody the culprits, after suspending police & government officials for gross dereliction of duty & joining in the ethnic cleansing.
Hand over especially, Kandhamal district to the Indian Army & allow Christian NGOs to do relief work in Orissa.
Trace the thousands of Christians missing, (abducted, injured or feared dead) or believed to be hiding in the forests.
Grant Scheduled Status to Dalit Christians and reservations to Christians, as provided to Muslims, to get them economically uplifted from their poor state as per NSSO survey.
Grant compensation to the churches & residences of priests / house-churches, etc. for losses incurred, which the government is not presently doing, since it is not felt to be politically correct.
Improve state of relief camps and jails, where thousands of Christians are languishing & which have inhuman living conditions, resembling Nazi concentration camps.
Constitute an Enquiry under the Commission of Inquiry Act & expand the terms of reference of the state enquiries instituted to fix responsibility and culpability on government servants & also on guilty politicians.
Provide adequate security to Christian religious places and institutions, as attacks are expected in the run-up to the elections & the fires of communalism are to flare-up. Active Christian NGO leaders need to be included by the Government in discussions pertaining to the community.
We also appeal to you to highlight the following recommendations we make to the Govt of India:

Communalism is to be treated as a crime against the state, like terrorism and made a non-bailable offence. Mob terror is equal, if not worse than bomb terror.
Enactment of legislation like Prevention of Atrocities on SC/ST Act, to protect minorities, from the brute force of the majority.
Moving Law & Order from the State list to the Concurrent list, for the union government can intervene, without flimsy excuses.
Permitting an Independent Enquiry by International Human Rights Organizations or an Independent Supreme Court Judge into the anti-Christian attacks, within a time-frame.

 

National Consultations on Christian Approach to General Elections 2009

April 11, 2011 by  
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National Consultations on Christian Approach to General Elections 2009

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