Stop Press *Washington DC: Rally for Pak Hindus & Christians *3500 adults baptised at Easter

April 9, 2012 by  
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Karnataka, April 08, 2012: Pastor Rajesh was beaten up by Inspector Janardhan on the Easter morning alleging conversion.The inspector also threatened pastor to vacate the rented house or to face the consequences. More details awaited.

Human Rights activists to rally for Pak Hindus & Christians


Washington DC, April 05, 2012: On Saturday, April 14, a rally will be held in support of human rights and dignity for Hindus and Christians in Pakistan. The event will be from 1:30 to 3:30 PM at 1615 H Street, N.W., Washington, DC 20062 – in front of the U.S.-Pakistan Business Council and across the street from Lafayette Square Park.

Mr. Jeffrey Imm, Coordinator of REAL said that the coalition supports our Universal Human Rights for all people, including freedom of conscience for all people in every part of the world.

The Organizations represented will include: Hindu American Foundation, Pakistan Christian Congress, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.), and other activist groups and individual human rights activists. R.E.A.L. has submitted an Assembly Notification to the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia.

The coalition objects to the efforts to deny universal human rights and dignity to religious minorities in Pakistan. As reported by human rights groups, there are hundreds of abductions and forced conversion cases of Hindus and Christian women every year in Pakistan which go unreported.

Recent news has reported on a Hindu family reporting the kidnapping of a 19 year old Hindu girl in Sindh, Rinkel Kumari, who was forced to convert from her religion. The Hindu American Foundation has issued an online petition to U.S. Secretary of State Clinton, for those concerned about human rights to sign, calling for the U.S. Government to intervene on behalf of Hindu girls kidnapped and forced to deny their religious beliefs.

According to the BBC report, “Human rights activists say that other reported abductions of members of minority communities in Pakistan, which is overwhelmingly Muslim, have not been properly investigated by the authorities.” The Pakistan Tribune also reports on Hindu and Christian girls who have been forcibly converted to Islam.

The Responsible for Equality And Liberty (R.E.A.L.) coalition calls for the universal human rights of all people, including their freedom, their freedom of conscience, and their right to human dignity. We urge the Government, courts, and the people of Pakistan to act immediately to end abuse of religious minorities, to stop and punish the ongoing kidnappings, and to stop and punish those who would forcibly deny anyone their universal human right of religious freedom and freedom of conscience.

– pakistan christian post

3500 adults receive baptism at Easter Vigil


Hong Kong, April 07, 2012: This Easter, 3,500adult catechumens in the Hong Kong diocese will receive the Sacrament of Christian Initiation (Baptism, Confirmation and Holy Communion) at various parishes at the Holy Saturday Vigil today, April 7.

In his Easter Pastoral Letter 2012, Cardinal John Tong of Hong Kong specially thanks priests, deacons, sisters and laypeople to offer their time and energy in teaching catechism. The catechists “not only carry out the mission of evangelization of the Church, but also strengthen their own faith,” the 72-year-old bishop said.

According to the diocesan statistics of Aug. 31, 2011, there are 39 paid catechists and more than 1,500 voluntary catechists. Local Catholic population comprises 363,000 Chinese and 138,000 non-Chinese.

On March 3, Card.Tong stated evangelization as one of his pastoral concerns. “Certainly, the rise in the number of Catholics is gratifying, but the quality of their faith is equally essential,” he said, hoping his faithful will progress both in the quantity and the quality of faith.

Card. Tong encouraged the new Catholics to grow in faith. He cited a middle-aged volunteer catechist who was baptized three years ago. The catechist was touched by the words of St. Augustine’s words in the “Confessions”: “Oh, too late have I loved thee,… too late have I loved thee.” After baptism, the catechist lives a simple life, and he studied a course on catechetics and became a volunteer catechist. Now, he plans to study more to deepen his faith, the Easter message says.

Among the 3,500 catechumens, Janet Lo, together with her younger brother, are two of them. She told AsiaNews that she finds life, love and peace in the Catholic faith and is happy to promote faith to others.

Janet, who works in marketing field, said they have finished an 18-month catechism class and received anointment scrutiny liturgy (see photo) performed by Card. Tong and the visiting Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Esssen during Lent.

“I especially like a phrase in the Prayer for the Year of Laity of the diocese that says: Love Life, The Gift of God,” Janet said. Their search of faith was inspired by their mother’s struggles with an illness some years ago. That experience brought her whole family closer to God. “My father, though not a practicing Catholic, prayed hard with my mother in those difficult days. My mother got baptized and passed away peacefully.”

– asianews

Salesians create new province for northeast *Activists cautious about scheme to help girls

April 7, 2012 by  
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West Bengal, April 6, 2012: The Regional Councilor for South Asia made the announcement of the new provincials in Guwahati today.

The mother province of northeast India Salesian province Guwahati is further divided and two new provincials appointed. Guwahati province established as the first province in northeast India in 1959 was divided in 1981 and gave birth to Dimapur province.

The Regional Councilor for South Asia Fr. Maria Arokiam Kanaga made the announcement of the new provincials in Guwahati today, April 5.

Fr. Pascual Chavez, the Rector Major of Salesians of Don Bosco, appointed Fr. George Maliekal as the first Provincial of the new Province of Silchar.

The new province dedicated to Blessed John Paul II comprises the Salesian activities in the Khasi-Jaintia Hills of Meghalaya, the states of Mizoram and Tripura, and the Dima Hasao district of Assam. It has 35 centres with some 250 Salesians.

The province will be officially inaugurated and Fr. Maliekal will assume office May 24.

Meanwhile, Fr. Thomas Vattathara currently the Founder Director of Don Bosco Institute, Kharguli, Guwahati is appointed 11th Provincial of the Province of Mary Help of Christians with Headquarters at Guwahati.

The province mainly comprises of the entire state of Assam.

Fr. Thomas widely acclaimed as an human resource development consultant, expert trainer, passionate youth worker, ardent educationist, a proactive catalyst of social transformation and an institution builder was born in the southern state of Kerala in 1951, but made the northeast, particularly Assam his home from 1962.

For the last 18 years Fr Thomas has been on the Faculty of Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration at Mussoorie training IAS and IPS officers.

– ucan

Activists cautious about scheme to help girls


Madhya Pradesh, April 6, 2012: Female infanticide still a worry for Madhya Pradesh state.

Social activists in Madhya Pradesh are wary about the state government’s decision to provide funds to parents of girls as a way to combat female feticide.

This might help parents believe that girls are “real assets,” said Sheela Santiago, president of the women wing of the Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasang or Christian front.

The government March 30 set up a 30-million rupee (US$ 600,000) fund to help parents with one or more daughters. This initiative was taken to change the mindset of those who consider girls as a burden, said chief minister Shivraj Singh Chauhan. Parameters for distributing the pension are yet to be announced.

Tribal social activist Hari Singh Maravi said declining sex ratio is a worry and would create social imbalance. The government’s initiative might stop female feticide in the state, he hoped.

The federal government’s Census 2011 says Madhya Pradesh has 912 girls per 1,000 boys, a decline from 932 a decade earlier. Researches say a fall in 20 points in the child sex ratio over a decade is substantial and a matter of serious concern.

Some women activists, however, see the fund as a political gimmick.

Zulaikha Jageen, president of Institute for Minority Women, told that the government needs to implement the scheme properly as earlier schemes for the girl child failed miserably.

The government earlier had a scheme to help parents of girls with money for their education.

Rachana Dhingra of Bhopal Group for Information and Action said such incentives would not bring about drastic changes. The government should first curb atrocities and crimes against women, she said.

Infanticide is illegal in India but traditional society here prefers sons to daughters and is a major reason for abortion, female infanticide and other forms of systematic sex discrimination.

– ucan

Anti-cow slaughter Bill in next Karnataka Assembly session

April 4, 2012 by  
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Karnataka, April 02, 2012: Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda today said the government would table in the next Assembly session the Karnataka Prevention of Slaughter and Preservation of Cattle Bill 2010 after bringing in a minor amendment in the definition clause, as sought by President Pratibha Patil.

“We will place the Bill in the next Assembly session after bringing in minor amendment in it,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the state-wide launch of ‘Sakala’ citizens’ charter scheme here.

Gowda said the President had sought a minor amendment in a clause defining ‘cattle’. As per the state government’s version, cattle means cow and buffalo — both male and female — and their progeny.

Law and Parliamentary Minister Suresh Kumar said the government had sent its opinion on definition of cattle on March 22 and was awaiting further directions from the Central Government.
“We have sent our opinion and reminder on March 22 to the Central Government. We are now waiting for further direction.”

On illegal quarrying in Kanakapura, Gowda said he has not received any complaint in this regard and that he would look into a report of an inquiry committee on illegal mining in the state.

To a question, Suresh Kumar said the government has already issued directions to provide protection to officials probing illegal quarrying in Kanakpura. “Government will move forward in protecting and curbing illegal quarrying in Kanakpura,” he reiterated.

Sakala, better known as the Citizens’ Charter or Karnataka Guarantee of Services Act, came into force across the state today.

The new scheme ensures services are provided in a timely manner in various departments of revenue, finance, administration, urban development, village panchayat, food and civil supplies, women and child development, health, education and transport.

Provision of death and birth certificates and sanction of building plans are some of the services on offer under the scheme.

– ndtv

AP: Jesus statue vandalized twice *Karnataka: Hindutva persecution *Gujarat: Church refutes conversion charge

March 29, 2012 by  
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Andhra Pradesh, March 29, 2012: On 24th March, 2012, a statue of Jesus was vandalized in Jadcharla, Andhra Pradesh for the second time this month.

This act of vandalism occurred between 1 and 2 am on the 24th of March. This was the second time that the statue has come under attack this month. On the 1st of March, the statue’s glass enclosure was shattered by unknown miscreants. Ronald John, the district president of All India Christian Council (aicc-Mahabubnagar) rushed to the spot. A few politicians and Christian leaders from the locality also visited the location and expressed their solidarity over the incident. They vowed to see that the miscreants were penalized.

A forensic lab crew is presently investigating the crime scene for any clues that would yield leads to pin down the culprits. Security around the locality has also been beefed up with about 30 constables deployed to keep watch of the streets.

– aicc

Karnataka: Hindutvas beat pastor & believers


Karnataka, March 29, 2012: Pastor Mallikarjun has been active with his ministry in Gadag District of Karnataka during the last 2 and half years. He has a congregation of about 35 believers. In the surrounding 3 villages there are altogether 3 fellowships with a total membership of about 60 members. The pastor lives with his wife Manjula (33) and their 3 children two girls and a boy, aged 1, 5 and 7 years.

On Wednesday, 28th March, the pastor went for a prayer meeting at the residence of a believer which is about 15 kilometers away from his village. Also as there was a festival in the village yesterday, after the prayer meeting, the pastor along with 4 of his believer friends began distributing some handbills about the Christian faith to the people assembled for the festival. This infuriated some Hindu fundamentalists and at about 1.30 pm one Ravi Bagle and his friends, all members of the local RSS unit, attacked them and beat them up mercilessly. Then they dragged all the five of them to the police station and filed a complaint against them alleging that they were forcibly trying to convert Hindus to Christianity.

In the meantime the GCIC came to know about the arrest and got in touch with some of the known police officials and succeeded in getting 3 of the believers released at about 11 pm. The pastor was charged under sections 107 and 157 of IPC and was about to be produced before the magistrate. The GCIC immediately got a lawyer, and he succeeded in getting the pastor and the other believer too released at about 1.30 am. But the pastor had to meet the Tahsildar on 29th morning and give his version. The case is on. Please pray for Pastor Mallikarjun.


Gujarat Church refutes conversion charge


Gujarat, March 29, 2012: Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity.

The Church in Gujarat has termed a probe into proselytization charge against it as “intimidatory and harassing” tactics by the state government.

A forum for Peace and Justice based in Petlad town of Anand district had alleged that 32 minor dalit children were converted into Christianity by a Roman Catholic Church at Khambat taluka.

Father Cedric Prakash, convenor Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace described the charges as “baseless, misleading and mischievous,”.

He said the forum was referring to the ceremony where some Catholic children were conferred sacraments of First Holy Communion and Confirmation at the Khambat church.

Forum coordinator Dharmendra Rathod had claimed that on January 2, 17 minors were converted to Christianity at Roman Catholic Church of Nagra and on February 12 nearly 15 other minor children were converted at the denomination’s Church in Cambay.

He alleged that the schedule caste children, who belonged to the weavers’ community, were converted without their parents knowledge.

However, three church officials including Frs. Andrews Silvera, Vinay and Piyush from the Cambay church have rubbished the claims.

“All the children whose names have been mentioned are Christians by birth so there is no question of conversion. Their parents were present during a ceremony that was held,” said Fr Silvera.

He said they have made their statements to the police on Tuesday.

“This is another clear instance of how minorities in Gujarat continue to be intimidated and harassed by right-wing forces in nexus with powerful vested interests,” said Fr Prakash.

– ucan

Ordination of Bishop Kuriakose *Saffron hue in Karnataka text books

March 14, 2012 by  
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Msgr Kuriakose BharanikulangaraNew Delhi, March 12, 2012: Installation and Episcopal Ordination of the Bishop elect Monsignor  Kuriakose Bharanikulangara  of the  newly erected Catholic Diocese of Faridabad will be held on   the 26th (Saturday) & 27th (Sunday) May, 2012 at Delhi and Faridabad.  Diocese of Faridabad was erected by the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI for the Syro-Malabar Catholic Church Members (Syrian Catholics) of Delhi, Haryana, Punjab, Himachal Pradesh, Jammu & Kashmir and districts of Ghaziabad and Gautam Buddh Nagar (Noida) of Uttar Pradesh on 6th March 2012. The new diocese has 9.50 lakh sq. km of area.  Over 44 Priests and 200 Religious women  are already working in different parishes here. 

The Episcopal Ordination will be held on May 26, 2012 at Delhi and Head of the Syro-Malabar Church,   Mar George Cardinal Alencherry  will be the main celebrant of the ceremony.    Papal Representatives, Oswald Cardinal Gracias (CBCI President),  Vatican Nuncio Archbishop  Salvatore Pennacchio, Telesphore Cardinal Toppo (President of CCBI),    Vincent M. Concessao, , Archbishops and Bishops from different Rites, Central and States Ministers and    socio-political, religious leaders.

On May 27th Sunday Archbishop Kuriakose Bharanikulangara will celebrate Holy Mass at Diocesan Cathedral, Kristuraja Church, Faridabad. Major Archbishop Cardinal George Alencherry will also attend and thereafter the Installation ceremony will take place.

The proper territory of the Syro-Malabar church comprises the eparchies in Kerala and some areas of Tamil Nadu and Karnataka.  Outside the proper territory, the Syro-Malabar church has 10 eparchies in India.  Of these, it is only the Eparchy of Kalyan that functions with multiple jurisdictions in the territory of the Latin dioceses of that region.    Faridabad also will be an Eparchy of the same nature.  This is the 16th diocese erected outside Kerala for Syro-Malabar Catholics.   There are around 23 Parishes and 13 Mass centres and different Religious congregations working in Delhi & Faridabad area. From 1991 onwards Delhi Syro-Malabar Mission is active in these area and there are more than 100,000 Syro-Malabar Catholics  in the area of the newly erected diocese.

Msgr Kuriakose Bharanikulangara is from the parish of Karippassery in the Archdiocese of Ernakulan-Angamaly.  His services were mainly in the Vatican diplomatic representations in various countries.  After 18 years of commendable work in these Vatican nuntiatures he was currently serving in the nutiature in Berlin, Germany.  The vast experience he has gained through these services will surely be of much help to him in the present assignment to the new Diocese.

– msgr. kuriakose bharanikulangara

Saffron hue in Karnataka school text books


Objectionable points in the eight standard textbookKarnataka, March 08, 2012: The revision of social science text books by the BJP Government in Karnataka has stirred up strong objections from many corners of the society, and this comes with no surprise, though the BJP is claiming that the text books have been set under NCERT guidelines, a dive into the draft of fifth and eight standard text books provides an insight into the validity of these objections.

What are the NCERT guidelines?

A. Values and Ideals: education should promote in society, as well as help the learner develop a rational commitment to:

• Equality – of status and opportunity,
• Freedom – of thought, expression, beliefs, faith and worship; as a value in life
• Autonomy of mind – as independence of thinking, based on reason,
• Autonomy of action – freedom to chose, ability and freedom to decide and ability and freedom to act,
• Care and respect for others – going beyond respecting their freedom and autonomy, concern about well being and sensitivity to all members of society,
• Justice: social, economic and political.

B. Capabilities of individual human beings

• Knowledge base – sufficiently broad knowledge base encompassing all crucial areas of socio-political life, and all basic ways of investigation and validation of knowledge
• Sensitivity to others – Sensitivity to others well beings and feelings coupled with knowledge should form basis of rational commitment to values. ‘Others’ should include all life forms.
• Rational/critical attitude: Critical rationality is the only way to autonomy of thought and action.
• Learning to learn – the future needs of development of knowledge, reason, sensitivity and skills cannot be determined in advance. Therefore, ability to learn as new needs arise in new situations is necessary to function autonomously in a democratic society.
• Work and ability to participate in economic processes – choices in life and ability to participate in the democratic processes depends on ability to contribute to the society in its various functions.
• Aesthetic appreciation/creation – appreciation of beauty and art forms is an integral part of human life.

Objectionable points in the eight standard text book:

Cultural India

The book unfolds with a map under the heading Cultural India which includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Srilanka, Nepal, Burma and China with puranic names, Kandahar named as Gandhari desh, Burma as Brahmadesh and China as Shamadesh. The map looks like a replica of the Akhand Bharath map idolized by Hindu fundamentalist organizations. Wouldn’t this approach create ill feelings against sovereign neighboring countries?

Literature that praise India
Beside the map under the sub heading “literatures that praise India”, are listed various text on Indian history that includes only Hindu puranic texts like Vishnu Purana, Ramayana and Mahabharata. Very surprisingly, the only modern text listed is named Veer Savarkar’s literature. Is the objective here to teach students about Indian history? Or introduce them to Hindu religious books and writings of a known Hindu nationalist?

Promotion of Bi Party system
As part of an exercise in political science chapter under the heading “Meaning of political science and its importance”, students have been asked to meet the local MLA and discuss on bi party system. This is a negation of regional political parties that have destabilized the metrics of majoritarian politics and encroached upon opportunities to represent themselves.

Suspicion towards foreigners
While the whole world is tutoring its citizens to show respect and kindness to foreigners, the social science text book in Karnataka would engrain suspicion in the minds of the children towards foreigners. In the “chapter citizen and citizenship”, students have been encouraged to visit the police station, meet the higher officers and discuss about foreigners indulging in criminal activities in India and the limits of the police department to act against them.

Objectionable points in the fifth standard text book:

The Battle for Bidannur
“Memories of the past”, a chapter in the fifth standard text book illustrates the battle between Rani Veeramma ji of Bidannur and Hyder Ali, it goes on to say that Veeramma ji fought hard but still the enemy forces won. This is a veiled demonization of the personality of Hyder Ali and the predominantly Muslim forces under him by terming them as “enemy forces”.

History of Lal Bagh
It is widely known that Lal bagh was commissioned by Hyder Ali in 1760 and completed by his son Tipu Sultan. The text gives a brief info about Lal Bagh but falls short of any information on Hyder Ali and Tipu Sultan. This seems like a deliberate attempt to erase Muslim contribution in Karnataka from History.

Contribution of Tagadur Ramachandra Rao
In the chapter named “love and sacrifice for the country” the book pens down the life and achievements of freedom fighter Tagadur Ramachandra Rao who fought against untouchability, but then, it also mentions about his struggle in bringing back poor Hindus who had converted to Christianity. Imagine a school kid studying this; what would he think about his fellow Christian classmates? Is this love for the nation to win back Hindus who had converted? Doesn’t this sound similar to the rhetoric of many VHP and Bajrang Dal leaders?

Hyderabad Nizam and the Hindu citizens
Continuing in the same chapter, a biased and misleading text reads that the 86% Hindus living under Hyderabad Nizam were treated harshly, they had to take permission to celebrate any religious ritual that were rarely permitted, even the marriage rituals had to be carried out with permission whereas in another instance the Vijayanagar kings are pictured as rulers who protected, nurtured and upheld Hindu religion and culture for over 200 years. By deliberately neglecting the secular nature of Nizams and by picturizing Vijaynagar kings as saviors of the Hindu religion, the text is attempting to sow the seeds of communalism in the tender minds of children.

Superseding the court’s Judgment on Baba Budangiri
Baba Budangiri, a religious shrine popular to Muslims and Hindus has been the source of many riots and communal tension in the state. The case is still pending in courts, but the social science text book supersedes the pending judgment and mentions it by the Hindu name Datta Peetha.

Bidar or Vidhuranagara
A phrase in the text says that Bidar, a persian name meaning “Awakening” was originally called by its Vedic name “Vidhuranagara” or Bidururu Pura. This is an attempt to bring back the Hindu past in the minds of the students.

Contributions of Muslim rulers and Sufi Saints neglected
Quite surprisingly the contributions of Muslim rulers like Hyder Ali, Tipu Sultan, Lodi, Mughals and great Sufi saints find no space in the social science text books.

Contribution of literates
While S.L Byrappa, a writer known for his communal thoughts has been found valuable to be penned, the contributions of great literates like Lankesh and Poorna Chandra Tejasvi do not exist in the book.

Democracy and Dynastic politics
In one of the chapters on democracy students are questioned if they like dynastic politics, which seems to be an indirect attack on the Congress Party.

Text books should be revised under NCERT guidelines
The BJP Government has agreed to bring out mere changes in the text books that they initially claimed to have been reviewed at four different levels with over 500 teachers including 35 experts watching over it.

With lame opposition parties in the state, if it was not for Dr C.S Dwarkanath who blew the whistle and the stiff resistance by various organizations that followed, the text books would have flown unnoticed into the schools. It is now important for civil right groups and organizations to ensure complete revision of the text books under the NCERT guidelines.

-asim khan with tauseef madikere, tcn

RSS attacks Sunday worship. Ankola pastor arrested *Hindutvas disturb Bangalore night vigil

March 6, 2012 by  
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hindutvaKarnataka, March 05, 2012: Hindutvas interrupt Sunday service and dragged the pastor and his wife to prison. This is the second time the community is attacked. Police is in league with extremists and the BJP, which rules the state. Since the start of the year, six anti-Christian attacks have occurred. In 2011, they were 49.

Another attack was perpetrated against a Christian church in Karnataka, the sixth since the start of the year. Yesterday, about 30 Hindu extremists burst into the New Life Pentecostal Church of Ankola, North Kanara District, disrupting the ongoing Sunday service, and insulted those present.

After seizing Rev K Manohar, they accused him of proselytising and forced conversion of Hindus to Christianity. After beating him, they dragged him and his wife to the Ankola police station. Thanks to the intervention of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), she was released around 8 pm, but the clergyman remained in custody on charges “of offending religious sentiments.” This is the second time Rev Manohar has been attacked. Nothing has been done against radicals who break the law, violate the privacy of people’s home and attack innocent people.

– asianews

Hindu Radicals Disturb a Night Vigil in Bangalore


Hindu Radicals Disturb a Night Vigil in BangaloreKarnataka, March 05, 2012: Vijayanagar, Bangalore: Miss Parimala (36) and Miss Padmavathi (35) belong to the Mahima Prarthana Mandira – an independent church at Vijayanagar in Bangalore. Both are of Hindu background and 12 years ago they became Christians. Four years back, they took a house on rent from one Mr. Prashanth at Vijayanagar in Bangalore and began conducting their prayer services regularly every Sunday. They have a total congregation of about 60 believers. They have been also visiting different houses in Vijayanar area and spreading the message of the gospel, interacting and distributing Christian tracts.

Once a month they have been also organizing an all night prayer vigil on a Saturday. Accordingly, last Saturday ( 3-3-12) they were having their night vigil service. But at about 11 pm, about 20 Hindu radicals forced themselves into the prayer meeting and crudely tackled them, alleging that they are forcibly converting people to Christianity and that they must stop their prayer services immediately. They also abused them using very obscene language and then complained to the Vijayanagar police station.

Soon an Inspector from the police station visited the place, along with a couple of constables and took them to task scolding and abusing them using very rude language. They also ordered them to stop their prayer vigil and report themselves to the police station the next morning. In the meantime the GCIC intervened with the senior police officers and got them released. The two ladies had to give an undertaking in writing that they wouldn’t visit houses and distribute tracts hence forth and also that they would not conduct their night vigils.


Karnataka Hindutvas: No economic aid to Christians and Muslims

March 3, 2012 by  
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christians_prayingKarnataka, March 02, 2012: Protests in Mangalore and Udupi against the central government. It aims to give 4.5% of jobs to Muslims and Other Backward Classes (CBOs) and extend to Dalit Christians and Muslims the rights of Scheduled Castes (SC). According to current laws, only the Dalit Hindus and Buddhists enjoy benefits according to their status.

A new wave of protests in Karnataka to eliminate any economic aid to Christians and Muslims, and introduce special programs for the Hindus. Activists of the Bajrang Dal and the VHP (Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the ultranationalist right-wing movement) have slammed the recent proposals of the Central Government to grant facilities to Christians and Muslims of Others Backward Classes (Obv) and Scheduled Castes (SC). The demonstrations took place yesterday in Mangalore and in Udupi on February 24.

In Mangalore, members of the VHP and the Bajrang submitted a memorandum against the Ranganath Misra report, the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities, which has proposed to extend art. 3 of the Constitution Scheduled Castes (SC) to Christians and Muslims. Under this paragraph, the law recognizes the rights and economic, educational and social aid only to Hindu Dalits. Later, in 1956 and 1990, the status was extended to Buddhists and Sikhs. In addition, activists have condemned the Central Government for having provided 4.5% more job placements for Muslims and Other Backward Class (OBC).

A week ago in Udupi, ultra-nationalist Hindu Bajrang Dal and the VHP announced a nationwide campaign to prevent Christians and Muslims from accessing the 27% of places reserved for OBCs in the public sector and higher education.

The Other Backward Class (OBC) are a category of people considered economically and socially inferior, as distinguished from the Scheduled Caste (SC, the Dalits or “outcastes”) and Scheduled Tribes (St, indigenous tribal). Belonging to these groups does not depend on religion, but on social, economic and educational status rooted in time..


Jewish writer gives Modi a book on ‘atrocities’ against Hindus in Bangladesh; Activists question motive

February 20, 2012 by  
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Narendra ModiGujarat, February 18, 2012: Human rights activists have questioned a US-based Jewish leader Dr. Richard Benkin presenting a book to Chief Minister Narendra Modi regarding alleged atrocities on Hindus in Bangladesh. Benkin is reported to have met Modi on February 15.

In his book titled as `A Quite Case of Ethnic Cleansing’, Benkin alleged that Hindus are being subjected to forced proselytisation to Islam in Bangladesh, apart from sexual assaults and massacre and several types of atrocities.

Benkin’s meet was reported by a popular website, which said Benkin wants “Indian and American governments to come up with the policies to stop such serious incidents to protect human rights in true sense.”

The website claims that “Benkin regretted that the central government believes Hindus don’t have any issues in Bangladesh. According to him (Benkin), the atrocities against Hindus in Bangladesh can spark the sentiments of any humanitarian’’.

Reacting to it, Peoples’ Union for Civil Liberties (PUCL) representative Dr. J S Bandukwala expressed surprise that an American Jewish writer should appeal to Narendra Modi for help on the condition of Hindus in Bangladesh.

“It would have been more appropriate if he had urged Modi to introspect and apologise for the killings of Gujarat Muslims in 2002’’, commented Bandukwala. “Incidentally Modi and Benkin should know that the only places where Jews were safe during the Middle Ages, right up to the First World War, were Muslim lands. No wonder they found refuge in Spain after the Crusaders had destroyed Jerusalem in the eleventh century’’, Bandukwala reminded the US Jewish leader.

“Yet as a true Muslim we have to condemn any injustice done to Jews or Christians or anybody else, whether it is in Iraq or Pakistan or Bangladesh. For that is against the basic teachings of Islam’’, Bandukwala further pointed out.

NGO Sanchetna (Awareness) representative Dr. Hanif Lakhdawala said that Benkin appeared to have come to Gujarat with some hidden agenda, and that is, “trying to instigate Modi at a time when the latter has just finished a month-long `sadbhavna’ (harmony) campaign to improve relations between communities’’.

Lakdawala said that the Jews had already undergone massacres and atrocities and Benkin must understand this. “As Muslims, we don’t support violence against anybody, including Jews’’, pointed out Lakdawala.

Doubting the intention of Benkin, rights activist Jabir Mansuri said that Benkin appeared to have come to Gujarat with a view to widening the gap between communities in India’s pluralistic society. “The whole approach of Benkin appears to promote the sale of his book among those Gujarati NRIs and others subscribing to the ideology of hate and division among societies and don’t approve of the religious and cultural pluralism in Gujarat, India and the world at large’’, points out Mansuri.

– tcn

KCHF to challenge “saffornisation” of school text books

February 14, 2012 by  
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Karnataka Komu Souharda VedikeKarnataka, February 13, 2012: Karnataka Komu Souhardha Vedike (Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum) is gearing up to fight legally and socially what it describes an apparent move by the BJP government to ‘saffronise’ social sciences textbooks of class V and VIII from next academic year. The textbooks, according to the vedike, will go for printing in the next three days. The government is spending about Rs 14 crore on printing of the new textbooks.

“While the BJP government has exhibited its overt communal agenda in ways more than one since its came to power in Karnataka, the saffonization of textbooks is their way of covert communalization. The draft of the textbooks, copies of which available with the vedike, is a clear example of BJP’s way of spreading Sangh Parivar ideology,” KL Ashok, general secretary of the vedike said while speaking to reporters here on Saturday. He also read out excerpts from the draft copies in the press meet.

Referring to topics on Dasa and Vachana Sahitya mentioned in the textbooks, Ashok said there was no mention of Purandara Dasa, regarded as father of Dasa Sahitya, or Basavanna with regard to Vachana Sahitya. “Akka Mahadevi’s birth place Uduthadi has been mentioned as a place in Thirthahalli taluk in Shimoga district, whereas it is in Shikaripura taluk of the same district. Such factual and historical gaffes are too many to count,” he added.

On the Baba Budangiri issue in Chikmagalur on which the vedike has had a long standing battle with the state government, Ashok said, “The draft text says the hill is home to ‘Datta Peeta’ in clear violation of Supreme Court’s judgement which in late 1990s had ordered a status quo on the issue. We are planning to take up the issue legally and preparations are afoot to translate the text into English for the benefit of the court,” Ashok said.

In addition, the vedike with help from historians and writers is also contemplating to stage dharnas in front of the house of Vishveswar Hegde Kageri, minister for primary and secondary education in Bangalore shortly. “Litterateurs including U R Ananthamurthy, and Chandrashekar Kambhar have expressed their support. The state government must withdraw these textbooks or face protests from the vedike,” he added.

Gujarat – BJP on phase II of Christian persecution? *Bangalore dalit Christian attack rally

February 8, 2012 by  
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Ground Zero Report by Joseph Dias from Ahmedabad
* Narendra Modi & BJP Design Suspected to be Behind Fresh Anti-Christian Attacks
* Action Taken on Vandalized Cemetry. Christians Want Culprits to be Boooked
* Political Parties Support aicc Protesting Desecration of Christian Cemetry
* Governor & Police Commissioner to be Met to Demand Proper Enquiry

AhmedabadGujarat, February 07, 2012: The Gujarat chapter of the All India Christian Council (aicc) has upped the ante against the anti-minority stand taken by the Narendra Modi government, the latest indication of which was the desecration of a heritage cemetry by suspected Hindutva right wing fundamentalists. Earlier, thousands of Christians, minorities and secular-minded civil society representatives all brought together by the aicc had blocked the road outside the Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation Central Office at Khamash (Danapidh) Ahmedabad on 1 February 2012 protesting the suspected sinister designs of the Narendra Modi government against the Christian community. Today, a number of political parties, like the Nationalist Congress Party and the Democratic Bhartiya Samaj Party have also expressed sympathy and submitted memorandums to the Ahmedabad Municipal Commissioner (AMC), besides others.
Samson Christian, a national leader of the aicc said that the AMC had acted on their memorandum by getting the encroachments removed and the police had called them for discussions. He added that the state aicc leadership has declined to meet the police, as the senior inspector, SD Patel of the the Sabarmati police station, under whose jurisdiction the heritage cemetry comes under is accused no. 4 and the investigating officer is accused no. 5, besides the organisers of a Bania-Jain programme, which used the cemetry for parking, the BJP (Narendra Modi’s party) local corporator, Chanchalben Parmar and her husband were also other accused in the second complaint filed by Vasantbhai Christian, after the police did not act. The aicc therefore plans to meet the Governor and Police Commissioner to demand that the case be handed over to an Assistant Commissioner of Police, under supervision of an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer, as Christians had no faith in the local police.
“Law and order is a state subject and it has collapsed in Gujarat, where even the dead and burial places are not safe in Narendra Modi’s Gujarat and Christians seem to be next after the Muslims here”, Samson Christian added. “How can direlection and failure in discharging one’s constitutional duties, especially in a communally sensitive state, be pardoned. It seems it is not only being excused, but may also be rewarded, as it fits with the anti-minority stand of the the chief minister”, the aicc leader said.
The Christian burial ground in Sabarmati, for all denominations, dates back to the British era, which was partly razed by bulldozers, resulting in a number of graves, being vandalised, especially those situated close to D Cabin Road in the city. According to Martin Hector Harris of the Zion Methodist Church in Dharamnagar, ” the Railways gave us this burial ground, prior to 1947 and seven churches of Ahmedabad belonging  to the Methodist, Church of North India, Catholic and Pentecostal groups have been using it as a cemetery since then”. He added that minorities were not safe and felt insecure in Gujarat and such instances of disregard for their religious sentiments were issues, of which serious note must be taken immediately.
The Christians had been taking care of the plot for decades and the final rites and prayer services were conducted there. On Thursday (26 January, 2012), at around 7 pm, some men came with a bulldozer and several trucks. They flattened the graves under the pretext of cleaning the area. Martin Harris, who with a large number of Christians, were alerted by the locals and rushed to the spot said “When we reached the spot, we found that the flattened area was already being used as parking space for their vehicles, those attending a function nearby”. He said that it seems the miscreants had piled mud from the cemetery on the footpath nearby and also dumped concrete blocks from the broken tombstones on a plot behind the burial ground.
The aicc’s Sabarmati ward president Vasant Christian (69) filed a complaint with the local Sabarmati police, blaming ‘anti-social  elements’ of bulldozing and ransacking the burial ground and hurting Christian religious sentiments. He suspected that the culprits were Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation (AMC) workers, who were sympathizers of the BJP and its communal masters. Due to inaction by the Sabarmati police sation, Vasant Christian was compelled to file a fresh police complaint on 31 January, 2012 at the same police station, under section 154 of the Criminal Procedure Code and send copied to higher police officials in the state.
In view of the seriousness of the crime and to make a public display that Christian religious sentiments were being hurt, with the authorities taking no action, the aicc organized the huge protest dharna (demonstration) which was very well attended by Christians of all denominations and also others. Joseph Dias, a Christian activist, who travelled from the neighbouring state of Maharashtra, said he was grateful that the aicc had organised such a programme to defeat communal forces and expressed surprise that even many days after the incident, none of the culprits are even identified, let aside arrested. “The Narendra Modi government has failed miserably in ensuring protection for believers of the minority communities and now even places of worship or burial grounds. This does not augur well for religious liberty in Gujarat and the national / international authorities need to take serious note”, he added.

– csf

Bangalore rally against dalit Christian attack


karnatakaKarnataka, January 25, 2012: The Bangalore chapter of aicc and others organize big rally: Over 1000 persons assembled on 25th January 2012 at the Sarjapur circle near Bangalore to protest the atrocity by anti-Christian miscreants. Over 500 local Dalit Christians, many of them women carrying babies, walked 8 kms in the hot sun to reach the rally.  The rally began with prayer and a song by four of the women who had been assaulted. They sang “Sree Yesu Nama Atishaya Nama (the wonderful Name of Jesus)”. This was a protest against the disruption of a prayer service and attack on believers. The miscreants had gate-crashed a birthday prayer and feast in the home of Puttamma in Koogoor village, 8 km from Sarjapur town on 9th January and assaulted those present, causing severe injuries to 9 women and the Pastor, Mr. Shantakumar. The protest had been called to urge the police to take action against the miscreants, one of whom had been identified.  Many leaders of the Christian community, Dalit and progressive organizations addressed the gathering.
Puttamma had invited Pastor Shantakumar and some friends and relatives to celebrate the 25th birthday of her son, Suresh Babu. After the meal, the group knelt down to pray before dispersing to their homes at around 11 pm. Two young men, who were present, and who were mistakenly taken by the hosts to have been brought by the pastor (who thought they were known to the family), were seen fumbling with their phones during the prayer, and suddenly a group of four others barged into the house and began indiscriminately beat up the pastor. When the women present rushed to his aid, they were targeted for attack, and were also molested while being beaten up.The police have arrested one person and others have surrendered and been released on bail. The Dalit Christians in the area are now facing an economic boycott. 
Mavalli Shankar, of the Dalit Sangharsha Samiti (Ambedkarvada), called on the Dalits to stay united in the face of such threats. Mr. Gopal, a leading Dalit activist, commended the work of the Christian community to empowering the marginalized communities with education and a new vision of the future. Ms. Cynthia Stephen, independent writer and activist said that “in the struggle we must not lose sight of the pain and the identity of the victims, most of whom were women and one should assume they are just minorities. In fact, they actually constitute the majority in the country”.
SardarAhmed Qureshi of the Tippu Sultan United Front said that the Hindutvawadis would receive a fitting reply if all the affected populations came together to struggle and fight injustice. He assured the support of the Muslim community for this. Rev. Anand Kumar of All India Christian Council (aicc) asserted that though we were a group which called out “Hallelujah (Praise to God), if attacks continued like this, then even Christians would then be compelled to change their peaceful stance, in self defence. Ms. Yashoda, Karnataka Dalit Mahila Vedike, said that we need to stand united and also recognize the role and leadership of the women in the Dalit community. Several other leaders also spoke on the occasion. The speakers condemned the incident, and the show of strength by the Dalit and Christian communities was impressive.

– kumarswami

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