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

Teachers demand action against MNS activists

December 20, 2011 by  
Filed under Maharashtra, National, newsletter-india, State

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Teachers demand action against MNS activistsMaharashtra, December 19, 2011: Two hundred schools in Maharashtra have urged the government to take action against the Shiv Sena and Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) for harassing teachers and principals.

The activists of the two organisations are beating up the teachers and principals in Pune and Mumbai schools in the name of misconduct.

The MNS activists blackened the face of Jose Kurian, Pricipal of DAV Public School in Navi Mumbai for allegedly ferrying its students in unsafe buses without proper safety measures.

“I was almost crumbling because I knew what it means. This is very humiliating, hurting, shattering but at the same time I was trying to put up a brave face only for the students,” Kurian said.

Ganesh Prameswaran, Principal of Poddar International School in Navi Mumbai, said that these incidents are affecting students as well.

“In fact the incident might have given the impression that well if you have the numbers you can get up and go to any place and bash up people and get your things done. Such message shouldn’t be going to the students,” he said.

Asha Narayanan, Principal, St Mary’s high school, said “if the youth are resorting to such means to settle score either political or personal, I don’t know, the situation is very scary for the students who are in our charge.”

The schools have prepared a charter of demands, including enforcement of laws under the Right to Education Act and extending protection to the teaching community.

They also want the disruption by outsiders to be made a non-bailable offence, enforcement of trespassing laws and authorisation only to government officials and agencies to check on schools.

These demands have been prepared after a series of attacks.

In November this year, upset over the leak of a question paper, the student wing of the MNS attacked and blackened the face of a Mumbai University official at Kalina.

In 2008, Shiv Sena activists assaulted the principal of King George School in Bhandup following allegations that a teacher had been molesting students.

– ndtv

Ruining Innocent Lives: Guilt of Investigation agencies

November 10, 2011 by  
Filed under Maharashtra, National, newsletter-lead, State

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Malegao Blast 9 Uths AccusedMaharashtra, November 10, 2011: Nine youth accused in Malegaon blast case of 2006 have been granted bail by the MCOCA court. (Nov 6 2011). These Muslim youth were arrested after the bomb exploded on the Shab-e-Barat, killing several people. Immediately after that the Anti Terrorist Sqaud, arrested nine Muslim youth, there was really no evidence worth its name against them. Still police which is, motivated more by biases than by professionalism, arrested these Muslims youth. The investigation agencies have firmly believed all through that all terrorists are Muslims. Human rights workers tried to reason with the top police authorities that how can Muslim youth conspire to kill their own kin. In other quarters the way the virus of Islamophobia and anti Muslim sentiments has gripped a large section in society including the police authorities, have strong biases against Muslims. The investigation for authorities so far had become an easy job, after every blast, catch hold of few Muslim youth put them behind bars and then try to generate the evidence, if possible.

Similar things happened in Mecca Masjid blast when the authorities arrested nearly 25 Muslim youth after the blast in the mosque. That time even the National Commission for Minorities minced no words and concluded that the case against Muslim youths, who were detained in the immediate aftermath of the 2007 Mecca Masjid blasts, has been fabricated.

The Godhra train burning investigation is also mired in much deeper misconception, where nothing could be proved against the alleged Chief conspirator, Maulana Haji Umarji. Despite that, other Muslim youth were given the sentence.  All these investigations show a clear pattern that the biases of the investigation authorities overtake their professional training.  This was also one of the lazy way of going about things as arresting Muslims after such an episode is passé’ in public opinion and in the media in particular. Barring a small section of media others hardly played their role of raising doubts about the methods of investigating authorities.

In the blasts in Nanded (April 2006) two Bajrang dal activists died while making the bombs. They were making the bombs in the house of one Mr. Rajkondawar, a RSS worker. It had all the clear evidence of the Hindutva terror gang undertaking such terrorist operations.  But Mahrashtra ATS stubbornly ignored the basic point and protected the real guilty of the crime. It took the like of Hemant Karkare to impeccably unearth the evidence linking the Malegaon blast of 2008 with Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur, Swami Dayanand Pandey and other RSS associates, to meticulously demonstrate that the real cause of terror attacks in these places from Nanded, Modassa, Parbhani, Jalna, Aurangabad, Ajmer and Samjhauta blast lies somewhere else. It is unfortunate that the police officer of such an integrity was killed in the Mumbai terror attack on 26/11 2008.

What was happening so far was that since police was merrily botching up the investigation, the real culprits were becoming bolder and they went on committing one after the other acts of terror. There is a long list of RSS affiliates, against whom there is a strong ground to allege them. Of course, RSS true to its character was quick to say that those involved in acts of terror, had already ‘left’ the RSS. The matters really could not be hidden after the confession of Swami Aseemanand, which was reported first by the gutsy magazine Tehelka. Swami Aseemanand, an RSS worker, who was working for VHP in Dangs, organizing Shabri Kumbh in the presence of top RSS top brass, confessed in presence of a magistrate. This confession as per the law can be treated as an evidence in the court. He spilled the beans and confessed his role in Mecca masjid and other blasts and also named his colleagues in the crime. This forced the agencies to do the course correction in some ways. Aseemanand has named senior RSS leader Indresh Kumar, the murdered RSS pracharak Sunil Joshi, Sadhvi Pragya Singh Thakur and senior RSS pracharaks Sandeep Dange and Ramji Kalsangra, among others, as being key conspirators in the terror blast.

The result of this fortunately is that in Malegaon blast accused after 5 years of their suffering and loss of youthful years in jails, have been granted the bails. This raises multiple questions as far as our society and nation are concerned. First is, do we deserve such a biased investigation agencies who, episode after episode, keep repeating the same method despite the lack of proper evidence. The heavy reliance of agencies on the role of SIMI, a banned organization and some vague groups with Muslim names has been the favorite line of investigation of the authorities. How can this trend be reversed? The biases in the minds of authorities are also a reflection of ‘social common sense’ prevalent in the society. This ‘social common sense’ has been manufactured by communal forces and media has disseminated it further. Despite the Harmony Programs by Government, despite the Home ministry’s lip service to prop up National Foundation for communal harmony, not many awareness programs have been consistently followed or taken up seriously.

The state has enough resources to ensure that police academies, the officers training institutes and college-universities are made the conduit to disseminate the values of plural traditions, the synthesis of religions in the form of Bhakti and Sufi traditions, the teachings of Mahatma Gandhi on communal harmony. A lot is possible to give a prop to the values of harmony which underlie the India’s freedom movement and are inherent in Indian Constitution. There are many a NGOs and individuals who are trying to do this work, but definitely their reach is very limited. This promotion of culture of amity and celebration of diversity by the state is a must at this juncture.

The second point of serious concern is what does state and society do when the lives of innocents are ruined by the callous attitude of investigation authorities. There have demands that these youth should be adequately compensated and their amount of compensation should be recovered from the salaries of the police officers who are blinded by their prejudices and push aside professionalism to give a free play to their biases in arresting these youth. A suitable rehabilitation program, scholarship, assistance to rebuild the life has to be the responsibility of the state in these matters. State must come forward to undo the severe harm it has inflicted on these innocent youth.

– ram puniyani