Art of Living says centre vandalised in Pakistan

March 11, 2014 by  
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Bani GalaBangalore, March 09, 2014: The Art of Living (AoL) centre near Pakistan’s capital Islamabad has been vandalised by unidentified gunmen, the city-based humanitarian and educational non-government organisation said Sunday.

“Around 15 gunmen entered the centre at Bani Gala on the outskirts of Islamabad late Saturday and vandalised it after tying up the security guards to trees in the complex,” the NGO said in a statement here.

People present at the centre were safe and no one was injured in the attack.

Though the centre has a capacity to house about 60 people at a time, the stress-elimination programme was shifted to Nankana Sahib, about 350 km from Islamabad, the statement quoted AoL Pakistan faculty member Shahnaz Minallah as saying.

The centre was unveiled by AoL founder Sri Sri Ravi Shankar in 2012.

– mid day

Bishop asks to exempt Christians from poll duty on Maundy Thursday

March 11, 2014 by  
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Maundy ThursdayMangalore, March 10, 2014: If Christians are posted for election duty on the day their fundamental right to practice the religion will be violated.

Bishop Paul D’Souza of Mangalore has requested the Karnataka state chief election commissioner not to depute Christians on election duty on Maundy Thursday, when elections are held in the state.

If the Christian government employees and schoolteachers are put on put on election they would be deprived of attending important Maundy Thursday service, held ahead of Easter Sunday, he said.

The Bishop has also requested the Election Commission that since many schools where polling is held fall in precincts of the church, the faithful should not be put to inconvenience due to security arrangements at polling booths.

In a letter to the election Commission, the bishop noted that the election commission has scheduled Lok Sabha election in Karnataka on April 17, which is Maundy Thursday when Christians across the world commemorate Last Supper of Jesus Christ.

If Christians are posted for election duty on the day their fundamental right to practice the religion will be violated and the right guaranteed under Article 25 to 28 of the Indian Constitution will be violated, the bishop maintained.

– times of india

Bengaluru jail authorities denied treatment to Madani: Soukya Hospital MD

January 7, 2013 by  
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Bengaluru jail authorities denied treatment to Madani: Soukya Hospital MDKarnataka, January 05, 2013: Dr Issac Mathai, the Medical Director of Soukya International Holistic Health Centre at Bangaluru today stated that the jail authorities at Bangaluru Parappana Agrahara jail were not ready to bring back Madani for follow-up treatments in the hospital, despite his continuous requests on that regard.

In June 2011, Madani was given 28 days ayurvedic treatment from the hospital on Supreme Court directions and I had asked the jail authorities to bring him back to the hospital considering his deteriorating health state, but the jail authorities, never brought him back, said Dr Isaac.

Dr Isaac says that there was considerable improvement in Madani’s health state after undergoing Ayurvedic treatment there for around 28 days. The Doctors at the hospital says that the jail authorities since then took an extremely indifferent attitude towards his follow-up treatment on discharging him from the hospital on July 5, 2011.

The discharge summary given by the medical team had advised that, he should be brought to the hospital for consultation on a monthly basis, even when the health conditions are believed to be better.

The other important advice given by the hospital in the discharge summary sheet was that he should be brought back to the hospital after six months for continued treatment. It has been almost one and half years since then and the jail authorities haven’t even taken him to the Soukya hospital at least once.

Dr Issac says that he had sent letter to the jail authorities saying that they are ready to provide treatment for Madani from the jail if they are reluctant to take him to the hospital, but for that too the jail authorities didn’t respond. We were ready to send our expert doctors to the jail, but that request too went unheard, says the Soukya MD.

If the follow up treatments were provided on time, it could have improved his health state. But what we came to know from the medical report submitted to us yesterday is that, he is in an extremely critical state, pointed out the Kerala based Medical expert.

Still we express our willingness to give a try, by providing the right treatment under the directions of cardiologists, diabetologists, and eye specialists along with Ayurvedic experts at our hospital and hope for some improvement from this life threatening state, he said.

He said that the hospital has arranged all facilities for Madani’s treatment and what is now required is a positive nod from the jail authorities.

– tcn

EFI calls upon India to observe international obligations on human rights

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Rev. Dr. Richard Howell, General Secretary, Evangelical Fellowship of India

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell

New Delhi, October 1, 2012: EFI calls upon India to observe international obligations on human rights; regrets India’s negative stance at UNHRC Universal Periodic review on Communal Violence Prevention legislation, Dalit Christians, and recalling so called “Freedom of Religion Acts” by States.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India welcomes the Indian Government’s assurances of its commitment to Human Rights and specially the Rights of Religious and other minorities, reiterated its Universal Periodic Review under the auspices of the United Nations Human Rights Council at its sessions from March to September 2012 at Geneva. The EFI however deeply regrets that the Government has deliberately ignored urgent international and entreaties for an early enactment of laws against communal and targetted violence, an abrogation of the so called Freedom of Religion legislation several states, and accepting the long-pending demand of Dalit Christians for their Constitutional rights.
The Indian and global human rights activists’ community has noted that the Government of India’s response to the 169 recommendations of the UNHRC reflected a pattern of only accepting recommendations that were generalized and broadly worded, lacking a targeted course of action directed to tackle discrimination and specific human rights challenges. Recommendations pertaining to specific as well as serious human rights issues were rejected, despite the Council’s expressed concern.
It is widely regretted that India has not accepted recommendations asking to create a comprehensive framework to deal effectively with the particular circumstances of communal or targeted violence. The government says communal violence is only a sporadic problem. We religious minorities contest this argument as we continue to be violently attacked in a number of states. As we have seen in Kandhamal and Karnataka specially, victims are also not able to access justice. And this situation, we fear, will continue to be repeated in future unless some immediate steps are taken by the government to prevent and pre-empt acts of communal violence.
The Evangelical Fellowship of India therefore most respectfully urges the government to bring forth the Bill on prevention of Communal and Targetted Violence, including issues of compensation rehabilitation, and reparation, at the earliest. We note that such a Bill was drafted by the National Advisory Council in 2011 and given to the government. This Bill should be taken out of cold storage, refined in consonance with principles of federalism, and enacted as law to effectively bring an end to communal strife which has ravaged this country in the last six decades.
The EFI also urges the Government to take necessary legislative and legal steps to recall the so called Freedom of Religion Acts promulgated in several states. These Acts are being used to harass and intimidate religious minorities, and in particular the Christian Community and their pastors, house churches and community gatherings.
Above all, the EFI calls upon the government to grant Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians as recommended by the Justice Rangnath Misra Commission, the National Commission of Minorities and the National Commission for Scheduled Castes. Not giving Dalit Christians this status amounts to discrimination on grounds of religion and denial of Freedom of religion to India’s Dalits.
Ending such discrimination and taking steps to pre-empt communal violence will go a long way in burnishing India’s image internationally as a secular democracy which is a haven for religious minorities, dreamt of by Nobel laureate Rabindra Nath Tagore, Mahatma Gandhi, Jawaharlal Nehru and Baba Saheb Ambedkar.
– rev. dr. richard

Bangalore lepers evicted and “betrayed” by the government

September 28, 2012 by  
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Bangalore lepers evicted and "betrayed" by the governmentKarnataka, September 27, 2012: Karnataka has decided not to renew the lease of the Sumanahalli Society, depriving it of 45 acres. Operating in Bangalore since 1977, the centre is now left with five acres for more than 400 residents. The facility includes 50 building for lepers, HIV patients, disabled, orphans, street kids and young offenders. For the archbishop of Bangalore, this is a “betrayal of the [Christian] community by the government.”

The government of Karnataka has approved seizing 45 acres of land used by the Sumanahalli Society, a Catholic organisation that, for the past 30 years, has helped people living with leprosy in Bangalore. Based on an order issued on 21 September, the Catholic organisation will be left with only five acres to provide its services, an area where “it is impossible to contain the activities of more than 400 people,” its director, Fr George Kannanthanam, told AsiaNews.

At present, the government is deaf to pleas from civil society groups like NGOs and Church. A demonstration last Monday at the centre got nowhere. Leprosy patients joined the protest, saying “that rather than leave this land, we shall let ourselves die.”

In 1977, Karnataka’s then chief minister Devarja Urs called on Bangalore’s Christians to take care of the lepers living near the Beggars’ Colony, a government-owned area, because the state could not provide for them. To do so, it granted a 30-year lease to the Archdiocese, which set up the Sumanahalli Society.

In 2007, the government decided not to renew the lease, and reduced the area from 63 to 55 acres to widen a road. A building housing beggars and homeless people had to give way.

Mgr Bernard Moras, archbishop of Bangalore, joined the patients’ protest, calling it a “betrayal of the community by the government,” which invited Christians “to take up this most difficult work” in favour of the sick and needy.

The latest draconian cut to the area is a major headache. The centre includes 50 buildings that provide health care, rehabilitation and basic education.

“We accept lepers, HIV patients, disabled people, orphans, street kids and young offenders,” said Fr Kannanthanam. “If we close our structures, where will these people go? The government took this decision but will not provide other areas for the most marginalised.”

One study shows that 18,000 people live and sleep in the streets of Bangalore.

For the priest, it is not likely that the centre’s good work caused envy and jealousy among Hindu nationalists because of its Catholic character.

“The Sumanahalli Society has never been openly Catholic. After years of service, we do not have a chapel even though we could build one. We chose not to build it to keep the place non-denominational. We have served the sick and marginalised of society without distinction of race or creed. Only one of our residents is Christian.”

What is happening, Fr Kannanthanam believes, “ought to shake up the country’s collective consciousness. If, as a nation, we try to deprive the most vulnerable strata in society, what moral stand can we claim?

– asianews

Karnataka: Sangha Parivarists attack a fasting prayer meeting

July 10, 2012 by  
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Karnataka, July 07, 2012: Pastor Mounesh (35) is the pastor in charge of Immanuel Sakineh Church located at Doddakatte in Ramagundahally in Channagiri Taluk of Davanagere District in Karnataka. It is a House Church, and he lives with his wife Hanumakka (25) and their two small children, I boy and a girl. His ministry is about 4 years old and he has a congregation of about 50 believers and he has been actively spreading the good news in all the surrounding villages. One very important practice he has developed is that of holding a whole day meeting of fasting and prayer for his congregation once every month. This month they were having it on Friday, 6-7-12, at his place with a sufficiently large number of believers attending the prayer meeting.

At about 4 pm in the evening when the prayer programme was on, suddenly about 30 Sangha Parivar activists forcibly entered their House Church and began to attack the believers. Kumara and Karibasappa were leading the radical group that attacked them. We understand that the trespassers began shouting at them using the foulest language possible and then beating them up left and right alleging that they are involved in forcible and fraudulent conversion of Hindus to Christianity. They also tore up all the Bibles and other Christian tracts lying in the church and then phoned up to the Basappakatte police station. The police immediately came to the spot and took Pastor Mounesh to the police station for further inquiry. The GCIC is in touch with both the family and the police officials. Praise God that GCIC intervention has resulted in the release of Pastor Mounesh at 12.30am.

Pastor Mounesh accepted the Lord while he was in jail. Implicated in a murder case he was sent to jail 8 years earlier, and it was while in jail he that received the message of Jesus Christ that changed his entire life. Once he was released from jail about 4 years ago and came back home, he decided to dedicate his whole life for the service of the Lord carrying the message of good news wherever and to whomever he can reach out. Please pray for Pastor Mounesh.

The release of Pastor Monesh has infuriated the radicals and today (7th July) at about 2.30 a dozen radicals came and trespassed in the house church and vandalized his church. The savage attack by radicals injured Gurumurthy,Bagyamma and her mother , all three are admitted in the hospital.


Karnataka: Police order pastor to close down church & leave

June 23, 2012 by  
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Police Order Pastor in Karnataka to Close Down Church and LeaveKarnataka, June 22, 2012: Pastor Manjappa Byadagi (30) is in charge of a house church called Salvation Gospel Church at Muddebehal in Bijapur District of Karnataka. He lives with his wife, Bhavya (26) and a one year old daughter. He has been doing his ministry during the last 3 years and he has a congregation of about 15 believers.

On Monday last, 18-6-12, a police constable, one Mr. Pawar, from the Muddebehal police station came to their house and began leveling allegations against them that they were involved in conversion work and that there have been many complaints against them to that effect and that they should come to the police station and give all information about their activities in the place.

Accordingly, after some time, both Pastor Manjappa and his wife, went and reported at the police station. An inquiry was conducted at the police station and they were alleged that they are actively involved in forcible conversion of Hindus to Christianity and that they must stop it immediately. They were also ordered to close down their church and immediately clear out of the place, failing which they should come and report to the police station everyday about all their activities. The police did a video of the entire proceedings in the police station and also took their photographs. Please pray for them.


Karnataka: 6 Christians including pastor and evangelists arrested *MP: Pastor and a believer arrested

June 22, 2012 by  
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Karnataka, June 21, 2012: Three Christians, Pastor Manjunath and Evangelists Smt. Stella and Smt. Bhavani, were arrested by the police on 21-6-12 at 2.30 pm at the Hubli Bus Stand in Karnataka while they were distributing some handbills giving information about Christianity. They have been detained at the Durgadabail police station in Hubli and are being interrogated by the police. Three church members, who visited them at the police station were also subsequently detained by the police. They are Ms Poornima, Mr. Gnanaprakash and Mr. Sanjay. The GCIC is in touch with them as well as with the police.

Pastor Manjunath (20) is in charge of a house church called The Indian Church of Christ (ICC), at Keshavapura in Hubli. He lives with his wife Yashoda who is 8 months pregnant now. They live in the same house and hold their Sunday worship and other prayer meetings. His ministry is 7 years old and he has a congregation of about 25 believers. As and when the need arises he also hires halls in small hotels and conducts his prayer meetings. On Thursday, 21-6-12, along with the two evangelists, he began distributing some handbills with information about Christianity and when the Sangh Parivar activists came to know about it they came in a group and began tackling them, abusing them using very foul language. They also snatched all the handbills from them and sent for the police who came and arrested them. Please pray for them.


MP: Pastor and a believer arrested & subsequently released


Madhya Pradesh, June 21, 2012: Pastor Arjun is arrested at 8.30 this morning along with a believer, Mr. Rakesh, when they were conducting a prayer meeting at a village called Pati village, about 150 kms from Indore in Bhalwani distrrict of Madhya Pradesh. The church has about 75 believers. The latest information that we have received is that the arrested were released late in the afternoon today. Please continue to pray for the churches in Madhya Pradesh.


Bangalore police arrest Pastor Victor Babu for conducting Bible class in Hebron church

April 20, 2012 by  
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Karnataka, April 20, 2012: Radical Hindus staged a protest in front of the Hebron Church near Marathahalli here Thursday (19th April) demanding action against a pastor for his alleged attempt to convert schoolchildren forcibly. The Mahadevapura police intervened to defuse the situation and detained Victor Babu (31), the pastor, for questioning. Victor is from Dharmavaram in Andhra Pradesh.

A resident, Rajashekara Reddy, complained against Victor, and filed a case under Section 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings or any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code against Pastor. According to the complaint, the pastor, in the guise of organising a summer camp for schoolchildren, was allegedly preaching the Bible to 32 schoolchildren who attended the camp.

The police inspected the church premises and illegally confiscated VBS materials including hymn books.


WB: Radical Islamists physically abuse Christians *UP: Police stop a Christian convention *AP: Land encroachment leads to the demolition of a church *Karnataka: 10 sentenced for forcible conversion

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West Bengal, April 04, 2012: On 30th March, 2012, radical Islamist forcibly entered a Christian home in Nutangram, West Bengal where a group of Christians were gathered and physically assaulted them and disgraced them in public.
Mr. Gaffar Shaike and his wife had invited their Christian friends over to their place for lunch and prayer on the 30th March, 2012, in Nuntangram village, Murshidabad district, in West Bengal. Shortly after lunch while they were they were having a time of fellowship and prayer a group of radical Islamists stormed in the house of Mr. Shaike and inflicted grave injuries on 3 of those gathered. The victims are Mr. Aimazan Bibi, Ms. Moyazan Bibi and Ms. Selina Bibi.

The Christian victims were then chased out of Mr. Shaike’s house and on to the streets where they became a sight of public amusement for a large crowd of about 500 Muslims, who simply watched on as the victims were chased around and verbally and even physically abused by the radicals who were armed with knives.

The radical group are believed to be led by Mr. Mohammed Aanu Shaike, who is notorious for publicly decrying against Christians even to the extent of publicly torturing them for their faith.

A case was filed later in the evening by some Christians at the Murshidabad Police station, in Nutangram village, but so far no arrests have been made.

– aicc

UP: Police stop a Christian convention


Uttar Pradesh, March 29, 2012: On 24th March, 2012 The Yeshu Mahatsava convention that was organised in Chadidiha, was disrupted by the Rampur police after complaints lodged by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP).

Despite procuring the necessary permissions from the Associate District Magistrate to conduct the Yeshu Mahatsava Convention, the local police shut down the convention over allegations by the VHP that forced conversions was taking place. Fearing a possible backlash from the community, Sub-inspector RP Saroj arrived at the venue early in the morning and with drew the permission he himself had granted for the convention and asked for the stalls present to be removed.

VHP’s district chairman Mr. Omprakash Singh had made accusations that Christian Missionaries were converting people in the country by enticing them with money, and that they were sheltered by the government.

– aicc

AP: Land encroachment leads to the demolition of a church


Andhra Pradesh, March 29, 2012: On 2nd March, 2012 a Church in Urmila Nagar, Vijayawada was partially demolished as real estate developers try to illegally encroach on property for their development projects.

Bethel Prarthana Mandiram, a church in Urmila Nagar, Kabela, which had been running for over 13 years ago, was visited by labourers hired by town planning officers to demolish the church on 2nd of March. The labourers began this illegal demolition activity at around 3 pm, right after a Friday prayer service had been conducted. Pastor Immanuel of the church in Urmila approached the town planning office with the church’s property documents. According to the documents, the church property was allocated to Mr. Madala Yacob, the great grandfather of pastor Immanuel under a military quota during the British rule in 1930.

But according to new municipality zone survey the church property falls on land belonging to corporation 80 Field Map Book (FMB), which was used as an alibi to encroach the land.

Pastor Immanuel believes that there is a conspiracy between the real estate developers and municipal town planners. And although the municipal commissioner had clarified the matter regarding the church property based on the original documents, the church building was still demolished.

– aicc

Karnataka: 10 sentenced for forcible conversion


Karnataka, April 02, 2012: A local court today sentenced 11 persons on charges of trying to forcibly convert people to another religion in Kyatamballi village in the district in 2007.

The JMFC court ordered two of the 11 to undergo a jail term of 20 months,including two months of rigorous imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs 5000 each. The other nine were sentenced to one year simple imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs 2000 each.

Additional Senior Civil Judge and JMFC, H Gopalakrishna, passed the orders saying that the accused were propagating against a particular community and urging them to convert from one religion to other.

“The accused committed grave offence of creating enimity between the two communities. They committed offence prejudicial to maintainence of harmony between the two communities”, the Judge stated in the order.

According to charge sheet filed by Robertsonpet police, Kolar, the 11-member group had were openly condemning the deities worshipped by the people of a particular community and urged them to convert.

While two of the accused were sentenced under section 153(3) (promoting enmity between two different groups on grounds of religion), 323 (punishment for voluntarily causing hurt) and 506 (Punishment for criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal code, the others were sentenced under section 248(10) of the CrPC.

– zeenews

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