TDP’s ‘Muslim declaration’ has placed the community on cloud nine

October 1, 2012 by  
Filed under Election, Issues, Minorities, National, newsletter-india

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`Andhra Pradesh, September 29, 2012: 10% quota in job and education; 8% quota in assembly; Rs. 2,500 Crores in annual budget

Perks for Andhra Pradesh Muslims were driven high in the Minority convention of Telugu Desam Party. Promises which sound highly tempting are being laid for Muslims by the largest regional party in Andhra Pradesh.

Party’s Chief and former chief minister N. Chandra Babu Naidu wearing a ‘Rumi topi’ flanked by other senior TDP leaders in skull caps, addressed the convention at N.T.R. Bhavan, party’s headquarters and caught every participant in enthusiasm with the raining sops for Muslims ‘if voted back to power’. Although Mr. Naidu seemed more than confident that he will be the next CM of the state, he asked Muslims to vote for him and the reasons he gave was not one.

His list of promises was so extensive that his whole speech started and ended on assurances. However, he managed to slam Congress govt. in between. He held Congress party responsible for the condition of Muslims not only in A.P. but all over India. ‘For decades Congress has used Muslims only as their vote bank, they don’t have any serious concern for Muslim community’ charged Mr. Naidu. TDP chief was also candid enough to term his past alliance with BJP as ‘biggest mistake of my life’, and assured that situation will never arise again.

The first promise he made is to expand the annual Budget for Muslims from Rs 480cr to Rs 2500cr, almost five times bigger than the present budget in a separate sub plan as provided for SC and ST. He promised on the lines of Sachar Committee and Ranganath Misra Commission recommendations 5 lakh rupees loan will be provided without interest to the Muslim youths to start businesses, Rs. 50,000 loan will be provided to develop an existing business. Special self-help groups for Muslim women will be formed with a govt. grant of Rs. 20,000, for marriages of poor Muslim girls Rs. 50,000 will be provided as subsidy.

The foremost promise made by TDP chief was regarding reservation. He assured Muslim community that if voted back to power, his govt. will provide 10% reservation in educational and employment sector. However, he failed to explain how his govt. will provide such a major percentage, when Congress govt. has to fight legal battles to implement even less than half of it i.e. 4%. Mr. Naidu didn’t stop here in the reservation game. He batted strongly for political reservation for Muslims, and he assured them he will take steps to assure at least 8% reservation in A.P. legislative assembly and will pressurize central govt. for the same in the parliament.

Mr. Naidu also assured Muslims that his party will not interfere in Muslim personal law and will make endeavors to provide Rs. 5,000 for Imams and Rs. 3,000 for Muazzin of the mosques which are financially weak. He also promised if voted back to power he will change the face of AP. Wakf board which according to him is being transformed as most corrupt institution, and land allotting agency for politicians by Congress govt. and to straighten wakf board he planned to form wakf tribunals in all three regions of Andhra Pradesh.

Mr. Naidu also made an unexpected promise. TDP which is known for its long hostility for Urdu language promised that in any school in village, town or city if at least 20 students are ready to study Urdu govt. will provide facilities for the same in order to promote the language.

The major promise and might be the most decisive one which can change the course of the state elections, TDP chief promised that his party will allot 25 tickets to Muslims for Assembly and parliament and will ensure victory of at least 15 of the candidates.

Mr. Chandra Babu Naidu termed his party’s promises for Muslims as ‘Muslim empowerment policy’, and he designated 2012 TDP minority convention as ‘Muslim declaration of TDP’. The convention was also addressed by Ahmed Shariff, general secretary of the party, Zahid Ali Khan, polit bureau member and editor of Siasat Urdu daily, former M.P. Lal Jaan Basha, former minister N.M.D. Saleem, former chairman of wakf board Mohammed Saleem and others.

– tcn

Andhra Church proposes PA Sangma for President of India *NIA: 4 Maharashtra blasts & Malegaon linked

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Andhra Pradesh, May 01, 2012: The Andhra Pradesh Federation of Churches (APFC) is a state level apex body and an umbrella organization of the mainline Churches of various Christian Denominations represented by the Bishops / Heads of Churches in A.P. It is an ecumenical fellowship of the Churches and Dioceses of the Catholic, Church of South India (CSI), Baptist, Lutheran, Methodist, Mennonite, Salvation Army, Seventh Day Adventist, Assemblies of God, Pentecostal / Evangelical Churches and other Christian Denominations.

The APFC proposes candidature of Sri P.A. Sangma for the post of the President of India for the following valid and justifiable reasons. Our beloved country is a beautiful mosaic of multiple cultures, ethnic groups, languages, religions, geographical regions and states. Therefore, it is proper that the candidates who occupy the post of the President of India, who is the Head of the Nation representing the country to the world at large, must reflect our plurality and unity in diversity. This will not only reflect the real picture of the country to other nations, this is sure to foster our national integration. Sri P.A. Sangma is the best candidate now available for us to fulfill this task. Because, he belongs to the Tribal community, and no Tribal / Adivasi was given the post of the President of India so far. He hails from the North East of India, which is not given proper representation in the Government of India and so feels alienated. He is a Christian by religion; though the members of other Minority communities like the Muslims and Sikhs were given the post of the President not Christians. It is the turn of a Christian now.

Apart from these commendable reasons, Sri P.A. Sangma possesses all other qualifications required for the post. He is a scholar in law and practiced as advocate. He ably rendered service as the Chief Minister of Meghalaya and Union Minister several times. Above all, he gained national fame as the successful Speaker of the Lok Sabha who proved to be amicable and impartial to all the Political Parties.

Hence, the APFC appeals to all the Political Parties, Members of the Legislative Bodies and to others concerned to recommend the candidature of Sri P.A. Sangma for the post of the President of India keeping in mind the above mentioned compelling reasons. May our country be seen by others to be doing justice and fairness to all its citizens irrespective of their caste and creed, language and culture, and their religion and region!

Most Rev. Dr. Gali Bali, Bishop of Guntur,
President of A.P. Bishops’ Council (APBC) &
General Secretary of A.P. Federation of Churches (APFC).

NIA: 4 Maharashtra blasts and those at Malegaon linked

 

New Delhi, Apr 30, 2012:  The National Investigation Agency (NIA), which is probing saffron terror cases, has found evidence that blasts in Purna, Parbhani, Jalna and Nanded between 2003 and 2006 are all connected with the perpetrators of Malegaon blasts, although in a peculiar way. All these blasts, in Marathwada region of central Maharashtra, were carried out by proteges of Sunil Joshi, the mastermind of the Malegaon and Samjhauta Express blasts.

The agency has found that Himanshu Panse, Sanjay Chaudhari and several of their associates, all accused in the series of blasts through 2003-2006 in central Maharashtra, were actually trained by Joshi’s group that allegedly executed the Malegaon, Samjhauta Express, Ajmer Sharif and Mecca Masjid blasts.

In fact, it was Joshi’s group that had taught Panse how to assemble bombs and arranged for his training in Pune’s Singhgadh area and other places including the Bhonsala Military School, sources said.

A senior NIA official said, “There is evidence that Panse and some others from his group used to frequently go to Madhya Pradesh, particularly Dewas, and had some connection with Sunil Joshi. We have learnt that Joshi’s group was in fact training them since early 2000 as part of their larger plan to target Muslims across the country. Panse and others were Joshi’s foot-soldiers.”

Despite this close connection, however, NIA says the Marathwada blasts were not sanctioned by Joshi or Abhinav Bharat. “Joshi’s group had trained these men as a sleeper module, who would be used later when the group was fully prepared to execute big attacks. However, the overenthusiastic Panse group started making bombs and attack plans on its own, much to the detriment of Joshi’s plans,” said the official.

“After the first couple of blasts, they were even reprimanded by the Joshi group for executing what the group called ‘chillar blasts’,” another official said. Sources said Joshi’s group also feared that with their reckless blasts, Panse’s group was likely to expose the larger designs of Hindu terror. “And that’s exactly what happened in the 2006 Nanded blasts in which the bomb meant to be exploded in Aurangabad went off in the house of one of the accused, killing Panse. Thankfully for Joshi, his group’s name did not figure on the radar then.”

This development has now brought all Hindu terror cases, except the recent attacks and arrests in Mewat district of Haryana, under one umbrella of the Joshi group. While the Nanded blast has been investigated by the CBI, the other Marathwada blasts have been chargesheeted by Maharashtra ATS.

– timesofindia

Its Now or Never: A Christian for President or Vice President

May 3, 2012 by  
Filed under Election, Government, National, newsletter-lead

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Q: Why can’t a Christian be President or Vice President of India? Who stops it?
A: Because the Clergy and Christians do not effectively raise their voice.

The CSF is trying to change this situation. Of course it will not happen overnight. But a begining has been made. Some one has to start, some where…. Over 500 have signed up the online petition already. Much more are needed. We need you to act and do your little bit. Indian Christians are about to lose yet another opportunity to have a Christian as, if not President, at least the next Vice-President of the country. This will happen if the Church, Bishops, Clergy and Community take it upon themselves to at least sign a petition. As you are aware, the LORD used your signing the petition in many cases to bring success to The CSF campaigns. We at least to voice our grievances and need to make ourselves heard. Let’s do it.
 
The case of the objectionable movie (Who’s There), the banning of Christian words by the Pakistan Telecom authorities, the Anglo Indian widow Patsy Rixon and her family, are just a few instance of how the LORD has used you and internet technology, to hear the prayers of HIS people and other right thinking citizens.
 
If we do not have at least a Vice President this time, we will not have it in the future, given the political signs of time. This is therefore a very special request to sign the below petition by clicking on the link below:
http://www.change.org/petitions/mrs-sonia-gandhi-leaders-of-the-opposition-and-national-state-parties-request-to-nominate-a-christian-as-president-or-vice-president-of-india?share_id=hUHQaBoMgl&pe=pce
 
We have not mentioned any names, as there are many suitable candidates. However, if asked and to the leaderships and decision-makers concerned, we would be happy to provide a list.
 
We need to sign-up fast and also get this online petition viral by circulating it widely. Importantly, do send it to your Bishops and Church members, to get maximum signatures.
 
The LORD will surely bless you for it, even as we pray for each one who sign this petiton. And then we leave the rest to HIM and HIS time.
 
Blessings and Respect,
 
Joseph Dias
 
Request to nominate a Christian as President or Vice-President of India

http://www.change.org/petitions/mrs-sonia-gandhi-leaders-of-the-opposition-and-national-state-parties-request-to-nominate-a-christian-as-president-or-vice-president-of-india?share_id=hUHQaBoMgl&pe=pce

1. For almost 70 years, India has not had Christians represented.
2. There are many Christians, who are equally or better qualified, but ignored.
3. The service of the community has not been recognized with constitutional positions.
4. Christians feel neglected and taken for granted and hence request at least the VP’s post.

Greetings from Indian Christians,
To,
Mrs. Sonia Gandhi, Congress President and UPA Chairperson
Mrs. Sushma Swaraj, Leader of the Opposition
Leaders of All National & State Political Parties

Dear Decision-maker

Sub: Plea to consider a Christian for President or VP of India – The CSF
Ref: No Reason Why Christians Should be Denied Gubernatorial Posts

This is with reference to the parleys being held for the forthcoming elections of the President or Vice President of the country. Indian Christians have meritoriously worked their way to the top in every field of national endeavour, including being chiefs of armed forces. However, top constitutional posts as these, have since the last almost 70 years eluded the community.

The yeoman service of Christians, without any discrimination, to the needy and the downtrodden is incomparable. Yet, other religious groups like the Muslim or even the miniscule Sikh community, have been represented – many times and in multiple constitutional positions.There could be easily a Christian match for any other selected to fill the vacancy.

Not Merit, rather symbolicism is what matters. It is for this reason that KR Narayanan’s Dalit background, Pratibha Patil’s gender, besides the religion of Zail Singh and APJ Kalam, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmed and Zakir Hussain is touted. No one should hence have an objection to Christians being given a chance.

Political compulsions may prevent a Christian from becoming the President, but we would be indebted to you for helping get elected at least the first Vice President from the community.

Indian Christians appreciate a positive response from your end.

Yours & in the Community’s Service,

[Your name]

Church asks new govt to protect Goa *National Consultation on Grass-Root Ecumenism

March 10, 2012 by  
Filed under Election, Goa, Government, National, newsletter-india, State

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Manohar Parrikar, New Goa CMGoa, March 10, 2012: The Catholic Church in Goa has urged the state’s new government to protect environment, ban illegal mining and empower local civic bodies.

The government should make several steps to protect forest, paddy fields, mangroves, beaches and villages that are “part of an invaluable and truly irreplaceable heritage” of Goa, the Goa archdiocese’s Council for Social Justice and Peace (CSJP) said soon after Chief Minister Manohar Parrikar took the oath.

In the recent elections, Parrikar’s Bharatiya Janata Party won 24 seats in the 40-member state legislative assembly along with its ally, the Maharashtra Gomantak Party.

In a statement enumerating the Church’s expectations from the government, CSJP executive secretary Fr. Maverick Fernandes says firm steps are necessary for a small state such as Goa where fragile and limited land faces “inappropriate and indiscriminate developmental pressure.”

The council called for a five-year moratorium on sale and conversions of land to help review its carrying capacity and implement necessary development controls.

It also wants the government to ban on illegal mining and appoint an independent commission to review existing mining activity in the state.

The Church wants the government to empower local self-governing institutions in a time-bound manner. It urged the government to enact laws, policies, and programs to address corruption, alienation of traditional communities, right to ownership of resources, depleting natural resources, loss of people’s rights and identity, discrimination against minorities.

The Church council also urged that the government to reformulate the state’s Regional Plan 2021 with people’s participation and protect the Goan people’s traditional livelihoods and preserve their culture and environment.

Another demand is to set up of human rights and minority rights commissions for the state.

– timesofindia

National Consultation on Grass-Root Ecumenism

 

ecumenismTamil Nadu, March 09, 2012: Jointly organized by the National Council of Churches in India & Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary, Madurai

The Church as the ‘Body of Christ’, is called upon to accomplish the vision of Jesus Christ, expressed in his High Priestly prayer, “that they all may be one” (John 17:21). This refers to the journey towards “one flock and one shepherd” and also includes the integration of the whole creation. The efforts of ecumeism as church union movements have borne phenomenal fruits since the beginning of the 20th century through the Missionary Movement, Faith & order Movement and the Life & Work Movement. In India it has brought together the conflicting communities and traditions under the banner of Christ’s love. Further, similar ecumenical efforts have resulted in various organic, federal and conciliar church unions at the global and local levels.

STATEMENT

The Church as the ‘Body of Christ’, is called upon to accomplish the vision of Jesus Christ, as expressed in his High Priestly prayer, “that they all may be one” (John 17: 21). This refers to the journey towards “one flock and one shepherd”  and also includes the integration of the whole creation.

The efforts of ecumenism as church union movements have borne phenomenal fruits since the beginning of the 20th century through the Missionary Movement, Faith & Order Movement and the Life & Work Movement. In India it has brought together the conflicting communities and traditions under the banner of Christ’s love. Further, similar ecumenical efforts have resulted in various organic, federal and conciliar church unions at the global and local levels.

However, these ecumenical endeavours at the macro level seem to have bypassed the efforts and significance of ecumenism at the micro level. It is in this context that the National council of Churches in India along with the Tamil Nadu Theological Seminary has organized a national consultation on the theme “Grass-Root Ecumenism in India Today” at the Rural Theological Institute, Madurai during 26th – 29th February 2012.

As participants of this consultation, representing different Church traditions and Organizations, we

1. Affirm
a. That the twin objectives of Ecumenism are (i) Ecumenism for the divided Church and (ii) Ecumenism for the whole of Creation, and that the efforts in India till date toward this have contributed positively toward ‘OIKUMENE’, not as homogenization but harmonization.
b. That the Grass-Root communities shall be basic stake-holders of Ecumenism in efforts toward Unity not only of Christians but of the whole of Humanity and Creation.

2. Recognize
a. That there exist ecclesial, liturgical and doctrinal differences among various Church traditions, which often divide us.
b. That the way to move forward in the Ecumenical pilgrimage is to actualize here and now, the Kingdom values of unity and peace, by witnessing Christ through our acts of justice and righteousness.
c. That the Grass-Root Ecumenism ought to participate in the struggles for the  rights of people, including the marginalized, the widows, the aged, the otherwise-abled, the transgender, the People Living with HIV & AIDS, the Women, the Youth and the Children, considering them as the subjects and not as the objects.
d. That the grass root ecumenism ought to take seriously Eco-justice and engage in the struggles for Eco-justice.
e. That there are immense sources and resources to foster ecumenism within various church traditions and manifested in the ways of life and celebrations of grass-root which should be captured and documented to be preserved as well as shared.

3. Confess
a. That the race for power, position and possession, divisions within the Church and our limited understanding of Ecumenism have often hindered the fostering of Ecumenism.
b. That we have often have joined hands with the socio-economic and religio-political structures and forces that systematically and systemically exploit and divide the grass-root communities like Dalits, Tribals/Adivasis and Fisher-folk. Further, in whatever efforts of Ecumenism that we were involved, we are  concerned more on what we would earn than what we could offer.

4. Call upon
a. The churches to transcend ecclesial, liturgical and doctrinal differences in order to engage meaningfully in the missio-dei.
b. The churches to move from the comfortable centers of power to the demanding and disturbed peripheries of human existence, to make ecumenism relevant. Further, the churches have to become channels of peace and abundant life, for which we need to practice ‘kenosis’ – self-emptying – and should have the courage to cross boundaries.
c. The Churches to engage in action oriented solidarity with people discriminated on the basis of Caste, Class, Region and Gender and for this to network with the civil societies and peoples’ movements.
d. The churches to condemn and not engage in any acts that promote religious fundamentalism, exclusivism and fanaticism, but rather to consider all as created in the image of God. Rather we need to foster the cultures of ‘listening’ ‘sharing’ and ‘agreeing to disagree’.
e. The churches to constantly build up a second line leadership who would uphold the spirit of ecumenism at the Grass-Root level.
f. The churches to initiate ‘Ecumenical Pilgrimages’ to other ‘denominations’ and traditions and also mutual exchange programmes including pulpit exchanges, in order to learn from each-other and worship together and value indigenous cultures
g. The churches to theologically equip the congregations and especially the children and youth, using various modes of communication, to respect and honour people belonging to sister traditions and faiths.

For the Statement Committee

Rt. Rev. Yakub Soreng                                                         Rev. Dr. G. D. V. Prasad
Convener, Statement Committee                                    Secretary, Statement Committee

UP Phase 1: 51% candidates millionaire & 38% have criminal cases

January 30, 2012 by  
Filed under Election, Government, National, newsletter-india, State, Uttar Pradesh

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Uttar Pradesh ElectionUttar Pradesh, January 28, 2012: In the 2012 Assembly election in Uttar Pradesh, there is a clear rise in both the number of rich candidates and those with pending criminal cases across political parties. Compared to the 2007 assembly polls, in the Phase-1 poll due on 8th February, there are about 30% more millionaires and 10% more ‘criminals.’

Crime

Uttar Pradesh Election Watch on Saturday released a study report on the candidates of Phase-1 in Uttar Pradesh. The group studied affidavits of 284 candidates out of 867 in the Phase-1, and found that 109 out of 284 (38%) candidates have admitted criminal cases pending against them. In 2007, only 28% had pending criminal cases.

All main parties have fielded candidates with pending criminal cases but SP leads others.

Congress: 15 out of 54 (28%)
BSP: 24 out of 55 (44%)
BJP: 24 out of 55 (44%)
SP: 28 out of 55 (51%)
JDU: 5 out of 20 (25%)
Peace Party: 12 out of 42 (29%)
RLD: 1 out of 1 (100%)

Wealth

According to the report, the Phase-1 is seeing more millionaire candidates compared to the 2007 polls.

Some 144 out of 284 (51%) candidates are crorepati. In 2007, only 22% crorepati were candidates. While only 6 candidates have declared assets worth less than Rs one lakh. In terms of average wealth per candidate, ruling BSP leads other parties.

Avg wealth per candidate in parties:
SP: 1.74 Cr
BSP: 3.83 Cr
BJP: 1.56 Cr
INC: 1.34 Cr
Peace Party: 1.01 Cr
JDU: 32.09 Lakh

Education

Besides, 163 out of 284 candidates whose affidavits were studied are graduate or higher degrees.

Women candidates

While in debates on the floor of Parliament each party was trying to score more points over other by supporting the 33% women reservation in legislatures, when it comes to the ground, hardly any party has fielded more than 10% women candidates.

In the Phase-1 poll of UP, there are only 65 women candidates out of total 867 (7%).

BSP: 5 out of 55 (9%)
BJP: 6 out of 55 (11%)
INC: 4 out of 54 (7%)
SP: 4 out of 55 (7%)

Await more such info from states going to polls.

– tcn news