Good Friday Musings: Mumbai & East Delhi – The CSF Impact *Kandhamal Catholic priest attacked

April 7, 2012 by  
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Here’s wishing you and your loved ones the power of the Risen Lord, this Easter….
Your prayers keep us going and the LORD blesses us with success.

bro. joe dias & Team CSF, ICAN and our families

Some photographs of The CSF Calvary Drama Live can be seen at –

Good Friday Musings. Mumbai and East Delhi – The CSF Impact


The CSF had an eventful silver jubilee observation of the Good Friday service, which was well-covered by all national dailies – details of which follow in the next email. Suffice it to say that we prayed publicly for you – our collaborators and well-wishers. And we are sure God heard our prayers, thanking HIM for your partnership with The CSF to better the lot of HIS people. In lighter vein, it was a delight to see politicians competing with each other, to be seen among the Christians, who are otherwise ignored.
August Kranti Maidan: Here we only want to share with you, how politicians, authorities and fundamentalists take Christians for granted simply because we accept our fate and don’t fight back. Most of the time, even our Christian politicians, are nowhere on the scene, though they turn up to take the credit. In Mumbai, it happened at the August Kranti Maidan, where a bureaucrat denied permission for the Good Friday worship, which was opposed by The CSF and later joined by others to get the decision reversed. Here we also had some “Christian” politicians jumping on the publicity bandwagon.
East Delhi: Similarly in the heart of the capital – East Delhi, we had the Deputy Commissioner of Police initially refused permission for administrative reasons, to conduct the Live Stations of the Cross on the streets, even though the community has been conducting it for the last almost 15 years. There was panic on Maundy Thursday and advocate Jenis Francis sent SOS text and email messages, which The CSF decided to act immediately on. We sent a fax, sms and email almost instantaneously, asking the Commissioner of Police to correct the situation and within minutes, the permission was granted.
Praise God. To HIM be the glory, as HE in His infinite mercy uses The CSF as an instrument to get things done. The pictures that appear here are those of the Live Stations of the Cross, which was held on Good Friday in East Delhi and was well attended. In fact, the parishners were so  impressed at the speed and efficacy of our intervention, that they have called for a CSF chapter to be opened in the national capital, which we are actively considering.

Kandhamal Catholic priest attacked


Orissa, April 06, 2012: Sukananda is a small village about 4 kilometers north of Gudayagiri at Khandamal. The Catholic parish at Sukananda is about 100 years old. The church priest’s residence is adjacent to the convent of missionaries of charity. This church was badly ransacked and destroyed during the communal violence of 2008. A grotto stands on the hill behind the church. Rev Sisisrkant Sabhanayak is the parish priest since 2010.

On 29.03.12, Manoj, S/o Mr. Rabindra Nayak of village Sukananda and others began to dig up the way to the grotto. Rev. Sisisrkant told them not to do so and they agreed. But again on 30.03.12, they came with JCB machines and began to dig and remove mud from the road which leads to the grotto. Rev. Sisisrkant again requested them to not to dig up the way to the grotto. At this Manoj and others abused the priest with filthy language and one Deepak Nayak caught hold of Rev. Sisisrkant’s throat, kicked him and threaten to kill him. On 4th April, when the priest was on his way to Gudayagiri, Manoj Nayak again caught hold of priest’s throat and pushed him. On 6th April, Rabindra Nayak came and threatened to kill priest.


Resolve Maoist issue through talks, says archbishop

March 30, 2012 by  
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West Bengal, March 29, 2012: By initiating humanitarian service in Maoist affected areas, the rebels can be brought to the negotiating table, he said.

The Maoist issue in West Bengal could be resolved through a process of dialogue, Archbishop Thomas D’Souza of Kolkata has said.

By initiating humanitarian service in the affected areas, the rebels can be brought to the negotiating table, he said yesterday.

“Our solution to the (Maoist) problem is one of prayer, reconciliation and service,” he said replying to a query on whether the Church had any solution to the Maoist issue.

“The Church’s work in education and healthcare can help bring about reconciliation and pave the way for a dialogue.”

He said the Church’s missions in West Midnapore were doing well in Maoists areas and were quite reconciled with the people there.

However, he lamented that the Church has not been able to reach out to Maoists active in the deep jungles of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia districts.

He was talking to the media on the sidelines of the Regional Mission Congress.

On Pope Benedict XVI’s remark that communism had lost relevance in the world, Archbishop D’Souza said “whether communism or Christianity, the love for the poor is common to both. But (Communist) methodology to achieve this may be irrelevant.”

Asked to comment on CPI(M) Politburo member S Ramachandran Pillai’s reported call to the Catholic Church to collaborate with the party in improving the lives of the poor, he said, “We believe whoever is not against us, with us.”

He said late Marxist leader Jyoti Basu and Mother Teresa both treated each other with respect because both had concerns for the poor.

“The Church is not against working with others in improving lives of the poor.”

Earlier, Apostolic Nuncio Salvatore Pennachhio celebrated Mass to mark the close of the Mission Congress.

It was attended by bishops, priests and laity from the diocese of Asansol, Bagdogra, Baruipur, Kolkata, Darjeeling, Jalpaiguri, Krishnagar and Raigunj.

– ucan

Kandhamal: Court acquits 156 & 1 given life term

March 30, 2012 by  
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Victims at the National People's Tribunal on Kandhamal held in Delhi.

Victims at the National People's Tribunal on Kandhamal held in Delhi.

Orissa, March 26, 2012: About 156 persons were acquitted by two fast track courts in Kandhamal last week.

The acquittal was in connection to three separate incidents that originated during the violence against Christians in Orissa’s Kandhamal district in 2007 and August 2008.

Citing lack of proper evidences, Additional Sessions Judge SK Das of Fast Track Court-I acquitted 14 persons in a house burning incident at village Dakedi under G Udayagiri Police station.

In another case, the Additional Sessions Judge of Fast Court-II acquitted all the 142 persons arrested by the Brahmunigam police in two cases of torching houses during the violence in 2007, according to the Press Trust of India.

In the midst of the large number of acquittals, only one person was convicted and sentenced to life imprisonment.  The Fast Track Court-I convicted Kartik Parmanik for the murder of Ramesh Digal of Dakarpanga village in the Raikia police station area on August 25, 2008.

Additional Sessions Judge SK Das sentenced Parmanik to life and imposed a fine of Rs 5,000. Raikia police had earlier arrested Parmanik after a complaint was lodged by the victim’s brother, Naresh Digal. According to sources, Ramesh was murdered while fleeing with his family when his house was set on fire.

The communally-sensitive Kandhamal district had witnessed largescale violence in the aftermath of the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati.

More than 50 Christians were killed and at least 50,000 displaced during the violence that continued for over two months. It is reported that out of 3,300 complaints filed by victims in the local police stations only 831 have been registered as FIRs.

Last week, the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, placed India on the ‘Watch List’ of countries with severe violations of religious freedom, primarily due to lack of progress in achieving justice for victims of past large-scale incidents of communal violence.

The independent federal agency called on US to urge the Indian government to strengthen the ability of state and central police to provide effective measures to prohibit and punish cases of religious violence to the fullest extent of the law while protecting victims and witnesses.

– christian today

Headmaster gets life term for Kandhamal violence *TN Budget: Nothing much for Minorities

March 29, 2012 by  
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Orissa, March 27, 2012: An Odisha (formerly Orissa) court has sentenced a school headmaster to life imprisonment for murdering a cook during the 2008 anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal district of the state.

Additional Sessions Judge Sobhan Kumar Das of a fast-track court in Phulbani in the district on March 24 also sentenced Kartik Parmanika for 5 more years for burning the deceased’s house and arson.

He was also slapped a fine of 5,000 rupees (US$100).

This verdict comes against the backdrop of UN Special Rapporteur’s visit to India to prepare a report on extrajudicial or summary killings.

Paramanika, a headmaster of a primary government school, led a mob of fanatics on August 25, 2008 in Petapanga village in the district, the epicenter of the 2008 anti-Christian violence that killed more than 100 community members and left thousands homeless.

He killed Ramesh Digal, a Christian while he was fleeing with his family after his house was set on fire.

The deceased used to work in Paramanika’s school as a cook.

Digal’s brother had lodged a complaint against 45 people for their involvement in the murder but police charge sheeted only 36, said Manas Ranjan Singh, an advocate affiliated to Human Rights Law Network (HRLN) who is handling the case told

He said there are still 34 people awaiting trial. Another accused Abhinav Pradhan has been convicted for house burning and arson in the case.

It may be noted that trial in the case is taking place in a phased manner as most of the accused are absconding.

“This is first time a person from outside Kandhamal district and an upper caste person has been convicted for murder in the anti-Christian violence,” Singh added.

He said that this verdict gives hope for those awaiting justice in other 30 cases.

Fr. Dibyasingh Parichha, head of the legal cell of Catholic Church in Kandhamal said, “We do appreciate the efforts of HRLN for securing life sentence for the accused. This is a heinous act as the murderer and victim worked in the same school.”

– ucan

TN Budget: Nothing much for minorities, say Muslim groups


Prof. M.H. Jawahirullah, MLA, and president of Manidha neya Makkal Katchi (MMK)

Tamil Nadu, March 28, 2012: It was the first full budget by the Jayalalitha government after she became chief minister in May 2011 after defeating DMK of Karunanidhi. She had returned to power with clear majority as Muslims too had voted her in huge numbers. However, there is no big announcement for the welfare of the community in the state budget 2012-13 presented on Monday, say Muslim organizations.

State Finance Minister Mr O. Panneerselvam presented the budget which talks high about Chief Minister Jayalalithaa’s ambitious vision 2023. The budget promised to turn the state into India’s most prosperous and progressive state and therefore the government fixed a target of Rs 2 lakh crores for plan schemes during the Twelfth Five Year Plan period. Annual plan for 2012-2013 has been increased to Rs.28,000 crores as against the Annual Plan size of Rs.23,535 crores in 2011-2012. The year 2012-2013 is the first year of the Twelfth Plan.

While the Scheduled Castes will get a sub-plan of Rs 6108 Cr and Tribal communities a sub-plan of Rs 349 Cr the minorities which include Muslims will get just Rs 57 Cr in the year 2012-13.

For the welfare of minorities, the Jayalalitha government will continue the scholarship schemes for which the funds will be increased to Rs 55 crores from the Rs 39 crores in the year 2011-12. Besides, a sum of Rs.1 crore has been provided as assistance to the Ulema Welfare Board in the Budget for 2012-2013. Similarly, as was done this year, a sum of Rs.1 crore will be provided during 2012-2013 for assisting Christians to undertake pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Budget has nothing concrete for Muslims, say Muslim groups

Prof. M.H. Jawahirullah, MLA, and president of Manidha neya Makkal Katchi (MMK) which had contested the 2011 assembly poll in alliance with AIADMK of Jayalalitha, said he is not satisfied with the announcements for minorities.

“I am not satisfied. There is no big announcement for Muslims. There is just marginal increase in fund for minority scholarship,” says Jawahirullah who is also president of Tamil Muslim Munnetra Kazagham (TMMK).

He criticized the government for not taking any step to hike minority quota which she had promised during the election campaign last year.

“We have been demanding increase in minority quota from current 3.5% to 5%. She had also promised hike during the election campaign, but she has not taken any step in this regard, said Jawahirullah while talking to TCN over phone.

He points out two other issues on which Jayalalitha has maintained silence. Minority schools set up after 1991 have not got govt grants, the government is silent on it. DMK had brought change in education policy affecting Urdu and Arabic. After much pressure the DMK government made some changes and brought Urdu and Arabic for exam for kept out of grade system. We have been demanding that students of these languages should be given chance. These papers should be included not only in exam but also marks should be added in the grade. But the new government has not touched the issue.

Social Democratic Party of India (SDPI) has not welcomed the budget. The party in a statement said the budget has disappointed all weaker sections including Muslims.

“The budget did not include any concrete plans for the advancement of Muslims,” said SDPI adding that the budget has over all disappointed all be it farmers, businesspeople or Muslims.

What is for backward communities in TN Budget?


The minorities will get a total of Rs 57 crores, out of which Rs 55 crores will be for scholarship schemes. Last year the annual grant for Haj Committee was increased to Rs 20 lakh. The increase will continue this year.

Scholarships – Rs 55 Cr
Haj Committee – Rs 20 lakh
Ulema Welfare Board – Rs 1 Cr
Christians’ pilgrimage to Jerusalem – Rs 1 Cr

Adi Dravidar (Scheduled Castes) and Tribal communities

For the first time in the history of Tamil Nadu, the Scheduled Castes will get around 22% of the annual plan funds. “Our Government gives special priority to the welfare of the Adi-Dravidar and Tribal communities. This Government’s commitment to their welfare is evident from the fact that the allocation under the Scheduled Caste Sub-Plan for 2012-2013 will be increased to an all time high amount of Rs.6,108.60 crores, constituting 21.82% of the Annual Plan outlay,” said the finance minister in his budget speech on 26th March 2012.

Scheduled Caste sub-plan – Rs 6108 Cr
Food for hostel students – Rs 76 Cr
Pre- & Post-matric scholarships – Rs 331 Cr
Facilities in hostels – Rs 83 Cr
TAHDCO – Rs 13 Cr
Economic Development – Rs 82 Cr
Tribal sub-plan – Rs 349 Cr
Tribal welfare – Rs 50 Cr

Backward Classes, Most Backward Classes & Denotified Communities

These communities will get Rs 325 crores, the major chunk of which will be spent on pre- and post-matric scholarship schemes. Besides, Rs 115 crores have been allocated for construction of hostels for the students of these communities.

Food for hostel students – Rs 61 Cr
Construction of Hostels – 115 Cr
Pre- & Post-matric scholarship – 149 Cr

– tcn

Kandhamal eyewitness kidnapped. Advocates & police intervene *Gujarat HC restores Christian’s marriage license

March 28, 2012 by  
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Orissa, March 28, 2012: Mr. Saira Nayak uncle of the informant was kidnapped by the accused after depositing the evident before Fast Tract Court II on 27th March 2012.

The Case had been posted for Evidence in (FTC-2) Phulbani and trial was going on. The Case is bearing No. ST-16/12, GR-148/2008, G.Udayagiri P.S case no- 57/08. The Case is between Mr. Keshab Nayak (State) Vs Susant Pradhan (Ex-Samaranch of Badimunda Panchat) & 27 others members.  It is the house burning   case of village Mahaguda, under G. Udayagiri Police Station. The offence charged against accused U/s 147/148/427/379/295/436/506/149 IPC.

There were five public witnesses (PW) who examined in this case. Primarily 1.Keshab Nayak 2.Tanuja Nayak 3.Deepak Nayak 4.Philmina Nayak  and  5.Sasira Nayak deposited the evidence before the  court.

After the deposition and cross examination  the witnesses  were waiting to get their  T.A & D.A (BATA) from the court the   accused persons threatened to the informant  and charged them  why did they said before the court. On their way back they will be killed.  The accused also gave threat that when they will be back to home they will face serious consequences.

After some times at about 3.00 P.M Mr. Saira Nayak, uncle of the informant from was kidnapped from court premise.  Hearing the incident the matter was reported to the Additional District Judge (ADJFTC-2)
but it was no use, the judge said wait.

At that time all the witnesses were feeling insecurity, worried & fear due to delay of the assurance. Finding no way the informant reported the matter in written   to the Police In charge, Town Thana, Phulbani.

After the intervention of the Advocates and Police, Kandhamal town the witness Sasira Nayak was found out and rescued. Due to threat of life, the informant and his uncle did not want go for the case. However, the police left the free to the hijacker.

The continuous support in the grass root level is need of the hour.

– fwd: adv. dibyasingh pasrichha

Gujarat High Court restored the marriage license of a Christian


Gujarat, March 27, 2012: The Gujarat High Court, in a significant judgment, restored the marriage license of a Christian, which had been revoked by the Narendra Modi government after they had invoked the Freedom of Religion Act 2003 to enforce the same. Justice S.R. Brahmbhatt’s order in the case will have wide ranging ramifications and will also serve as a precedent.

Many Christian activists have complained that that the Gujarat government was using the Freedom of Religion Act to prevent conversions arising out of inter-religious marriages. The state chapter of the All India Christian Council (aicc) assisted the petitioner, Subashchandra Parmar of Nadiad, Kheda District, in his legal battle against the order of the State of Gujarat, through its law secretary. The aicc welcomes Justice Brahmbhatt’s order since it implies that Christians can get married with persons of their choice, without faith restrictions.

The petitioner, Mr. Subashchandra Parmar, was appointed as Marriage Registrar in 1999 by the government of Gujarat as a licensee under the Indian Christian Marriage (ICM) Act 1872. In discharge of his duty, in 2009 he performed the marriage ceremony between a Christian, Mr. Pinakin Macwan and Ms. Vishrutiben Shukla, in the presence of Kailashben Shukla, the girl’s mother who signed the registrar as witness. Ms. Vishruti was married to the Christian having not changed her faith nor having converted to Christianity, as is permitted under Section 4 of the ICM Act.

After more than a year of the marriage being solemnized, in October 2010, Anilkumar Sukhla, the girl’s father, under rather mysterious circumstances, approached the government to declare the marriage as null and void, as the girl had not converted. He claimed this was required under the infamous Freedom of Religion Act 2003, which seeks to “regulate” conversions. In 2011, the government not only cancelled Subashchandra Parmar’s license to conduct marriages, through M. J. Parashar, the deputy law secretary’s order, but also launched criminal proceedings against him.

Mr. Samson Christian, aicc national secretary said “The draconian anti-conversion law in Gujarat is even more persecuting, compared to the other six states, where such legislation curbing religious liberty, have been passed. Unlike in other states, in Gujarat, under the Freedom of Religion Act 2003, one has to give a month’s notice and seek permission to convert from one faith to another. Our experience has shown that the moment an application is made, Hindutva forces come down heavily on the person and the family concerned, forcing them to reconsider their decision or face the consequences.” He pointed out that in other states, mere intimation of conversion was sufficient, while in Gujarat, this was not so.

In the case where Mr. Subashchandra Parmar solemnized the marriage, it was under the ICM Act, where it is possible for one to get married without converting and hence the petition challenged the government order and demanded for the restoration of the marriage registrar’s license. Justice Brahmbhatt, in his order, noted that the government should have made proper investigations before cancelling the license. There was also no proof that Ms. Vishrutiben Shukla was converted against her will. Further, the judge noted that the show cause notice by the government was without jurisdiction and also without proper application of mind by the concerned authority. “The petitioner was unnecessarily compelled to come to the court, as cancelling his license is not justified at all,” Justice Brahmbhatt added.

Finally, in the judgment in favour of Mr. Subashchandra Parmar, the judge quashed the government order and set it aside; reviving the license and no cost to the petitioner was awarded. Mr. Samson Christian of the aicc said that the NGO would now move for quashing the FIR filed against the petitioner in the criminal case, which is now pending. The aicc would also work towards getting the month’s notice removed from the Freedom of Religion Act and is considering legal opinion in the matter.

Mother Teresa nuns call on Maoists to free Italians *Take-up issue of Pak minorities

March 27, 2012 by  
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Abducted ItaliansOrissa, March 21, 2012: The rebel leader Sabyasachi Panda proposes the release of one of the two hostages, provided that the government meets some of the 13 requests. Authority: we can not accommodate every point. Controversy between the Head of Government of Orissa and the central government. Arrest warrants issued for 26 Maoist guerrillas.

The Sisters of Mother Teresa in Kandhamal are asking for the release of two kidnapped Italians in Orissa: “We, the Missionaries of Charity, committed to serving the poorest of the poor in Kandhamal, we ask you, our dear brothers and sisters that the two Italian tourists hostages, be released unconditionally. Their families and friends are suffering terribly. God bless you”. This is the message of Sister M. Suma, regional superior of the Missionaries of Charity, launched through AsiaNews. Meanwhile, the local Maoist leader Sabyasachi Panda has offered the release of one of the two hostages, provided that the government fulfills at least some of the 13 requests. The government responded by saying that it can not satisfy all the points. The proposal is contained in an audio tape delivered to CNN-Ibn and confirmed by AsiaNews sources. The message does not specify which of the two Italians, Paolo Bosusco or Claudio Colangelo, could be released.

Meanwhile, Naveen Patnaik, chief minister of Orissa, has accused the central government of doing nothing to free the hostages. “The Foreign Minister Krishna – Patnaik said – shows no urgency in resolving the case. He has not even responded to my initial request for intervention, when the abduction took place.”

P Chidambaram, Minister of the Interior, responded to the accusations: “If these statements are true, I’m very sorry. I called Patnaik in person Sunday, March 18, and made no request of the central government. I do not think that the chief minister of a State should make such statements. ”

Negotiations are moving forward. This morning the government of Orissa issued an arrest warrant for Sabyasachi and 26 other rebel Maoists. Yesterday evening, the rebel group has moved the date of the ultimatum, perhaps March 24. Speaking to AsiaNews R.P. Patil, District Collector of Kandhamal, does not explicitly confirm the day, “because I still can not provide further details,” but is “confident that we will have more time to free the hostages, because the rebels have opened negotiations. We are dealing with this at a state level and trust in the three mediators. ”

Yesterday Naveen Patnaik has confirmed the names of three persons who will act as negotiators for the State: A Behera, Secretary of the Interior, PK Jena, Secretary of the Department of Panchayati Raj, SK Sarangi, Secretary of the Department of Development.

– asianews

Take-up issue of persecution of minorities in Pakistan


BJP Leader Murli Manohar JoshiPakistan, March 25, 2012: Most parts of Pakistan are witnessing gross violation of human rights against religious minorities which is fuelling their migration, BJP leader Murli Manohar Joshi on Saturday alleged, demanding India must raise the issue on the international fora. “Most parts of Pakistan are witnessing gross violation of human rights resulting in large scale migration of religious minorities, many of them Hindus.

“It is surprising that our government, which has been so sensitive about issues concerning the religious minorities within the country and other parts of the world, has been keeping silent with regard to the happenings in the neighbouring country,” Joshi told reporters here.

We request the government to raise the issue on international fora besides taking up the matter with Pakistan and make all possible efforts towards putting a check on human rights violation in that country, he said.

Gores Mallick brutally killed in Orissa *Reading Soni Sori’s letters from prison

March 10, 2012 by  
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stop-killing-christiansOrissa, March 10, 2012: A group of Hindu men killed a Catholic of the Ganjam district, in Orissa, accusing him of practicing “witchcraft”, the accusation is denied by the victim’s family. Goresa Mallick had converted to Catholicism five months before and had never practiced witchcraft. In the late evening of March 3, Goresa Mallick, about 50 years old, of the village of Salimagocha, had attended a meeting with 16 Hindu villagers nearby. After drinking together, the group was returning home. On the way , the 16 men attacked Mallick, they cut his neck and then burned the body in the forest. The next day, the family found out what had happened, and reported to the police. According to investigators, who captured the alleged killers and are continuing the investigation, the reason of the crime is “witchcraft”.

Mallick had a wife and three children who denied his involvement in esoteric practices.


Reading Soni Sori’s Letters from Prison


Chhattisgarh, March 8, 2012: In a global show of solidarity marking the International Women’s Day, concerned citizens from around the world today released a video documentary based on letters written by imprisoned adivasi school teacher Soni Sori, currently held in the Central Jail in Raipur, Chhattisgarh. The video is available for viewing and sharing at

Soni Sori was arrested in New Delhi on October 4, 2012 and accused of being a Maoist supporter. Despite her appeals to courts in New Delhi, she was handed over to the Chhattisgarh police and taken to the state where she was beaten, sexually assaulted and given electric shocks by the police. Sori documented her torture in letters she wrote to her lawyer.

“On Sunday October the 9th 2011, I bore the pain quietly, all by myself. Whom could I tell? There was no one on my side out there,” she wrote in her letter which was read in the video. A subsequent independent medical examination found two sizable stones lodged in her vagina and another in her rectum.

Participants in this video project joined hands to draw attention to Sori’s case by reading from Sori’s letters on camera, supplementing the video with additional materials including photographs, news footage and Sori’s medical reports. As Sori said in one of her letters, she is only one of dozens of women in her prison who say they have suffered torture and sexual assault in police custody.

Sori’s lawyers have filed an appeal in the Supreme Court of India to transfer Sori to Delhi or another state where she would not be under the control of the Chhattisgarh police. Despite the severity of the torture, the hearing on the final decision on her appeal has been repeatedly delayed. Today marks the completion of five months since Sori was tortured.

Amnesty International has termed Soni Sori a Prisoner of Conscience ( and demanded that she be freed immediately and the charges against her dropped. Human Rights Watch has appealed to the Prime Minister to investigate Sori’s case (

Sori is in urgent need of medical treatment for the injuries that resulted from her torture. In another letter to her lawyer, she stated that the doctors in the Raipur jail have denied treatment, on grounds that she is a “Naxalite prisoner.” Protesting this, Sori went on an indefinite hunger strike.

The video documentary also highlights the need to hold the responsible police officials accountable. Instead of investigating the police officials involved in Sori’s torture, Ankit Garg, the Superintendent of Police who ordered and oversaw the torture according to Sori, was given a national award for gallantry last January 26, the Indian Republic Day.

The video may be viewed and shared from this link:

– fwd: prashanti

SC stays trial of Kandhamal nun rape case

February 14, 2012 by  
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Supreme Court of IndiaOrissa, February 13, 2012: The trial of a case involving rape of a Christian nun allegedly by religious fanatics during the 2008 Kandhamal riots in Orissa was stayed on Monday by the Supreme Court on a plea by the victim challenging the prosecution’s failure to cross-examine a sub-divisional magistrate.

A bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S S Nijjar stayed the trial while asking the Orissa government and others to respond to the nun’s plea and posted the matter for further hearing on March 22.

The apex court’s order came on an appeal by the victim seeking recall of prosecution witness Sadar SDM and his cross-examination as she alleged he, in his test identification parade (TIP) report, had wrongly said that one of the accused Santosh Patnaik “did not commit any other overt act” against her.

According to the SDM’s TIP report, Patnaik “gave her (victim) a slap, pulled her saree, squeezed her breasts and did not commit any other overt act.”

The nun had sought SDM’s cross-examination or alternatively wanted him to be declared a hostile witness, but both the trial court and the Orissa High Court had turned down her plea, saying a request for cross-examination of a prosecution witness could be made either by the public prosecutor or upon court’s direction.

The apex court said it would examine the matter at length as an important question of law under Section 311 and 301 of the CrPC relating to rights of a complainant to cross-examine a witness was involved.

As many as 38 people were killed in the Kandhamal riots during 2008 and the nun was allegedly gang-raped by religious fanatics.

The riots occurred in Kandhamal, a tribal-dominated district, in the aftermath of the killing of VHP leader Laxmanananda Saraswati at the Jalespata Ashram on August 23, 2008.

– ibnlive

Orissa pogrom: Church helps Hindu victim to get compensation *CBI probe sought into Sr. Valsa’s murder

February 13, 2012 by  
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Church helps Hindu victim to get compensationOrissa, February 09, 2012: Kandhamal Authority will pay the man 50 thousand rupees (about 760 euros). During the anti-Christian violence in 2008, Hindu ultranationalists burned the house of Ashor Kumar Ray, 45. A lawyer for the Archdiocese’ Commission for Justice, Peace and Development assisted the man in bringing his trial to the State High Court.

Authorities in Kandhamal (Orissa) have compensated a Hindu victims of the pogroms of 2008 to the sum of 50 thousand rupees (about 760 euros). The support of the Catholic Church, through the Archdiocese of Bhubaneswar, was essential as it provided the man a lawyer. The home of Ashor Kumar Ray, 45, was destroyed during the anti-Christian violence, unleashed by the Hindu ultra-nationalists,.

“My family and I – Ashor tells AsiaNews – had a nice house in the village of Nedipadar. During the pogrom, it was burned along with all my possessions. So, I filed a report at the Phiringia police station, but nobody ever followed up. ” At first, authorities in Kandhamal included the house on the list of properties for which compensation had been decided. Then, officials rejected any form of compensation, arguing that the man’s house was on the list “by mistake”.

So at the end of 2011 Ashor turned to the Commission of Justice, Peace and Development of the Archdiocese of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar. “It was said – he reveals – that the archdiocese helped the victims of the pogrom in Kandhamal. I went there, I explained my predicament, and the Legal Aid Centre lawyers assured me of their support in my legal battle. ”

Lawyers for the archdiocese submitted the case to the High Court of Orissa, after 42 days it decided in Ashor’s favor and ordered the authorities of the district to pay a compensation of 50 thousand rupees.

Between December 2007 and August 2008, Hindu ultranationalists killed 93 people, burned and looted more than 6,500 homes, destroyed over 350 churches and 45 schools. Because of the pogroms, in 2008 more than 50 thousand people, mostly Christians, were displaced. Today, there are still 10 thousand refugees. The Church in Orissa has begun reconstruction and assistance programs, for both Christians and Hindus affected by the violence.

– asianews

CBI probe sought into Sr. Valsa’s murder


CBI probe sought into Sr. Valsa’s murderNew Delhi, February 12, 2012: A four-member had visited the site of the murder in Jharkhand for an on-the-spot study.

Four members of a fact-finding team have urged the Jharkhand government to order a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the murder of Sr Valsa John last November.

“We urge the state government to demand a CBI enquiry or judicial probe to ascertain the real facts behind the murder,” John Dayal, member National integration council, who led the fact-finding team, told a press conference in Delhi yesterday.

Sr. Helen Saldanha, secretary, office for Women of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, Sr. Mary Scaria, a Supreme Court lawyer and John Mathew, a photo journalist were the other members of the team who went to Pachwara in Jharkhand’s Pakur district on January 6, where the nun was brutally murdered on the night of November 15.

In their report, the team, said that Sr. John was a hindrance to the coal mafia’s plans to acquire tribals’ lands for expanding mining activities in the area.

The 53-year-old nun from the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary was active in mobilising and empowering tribals against mining by PANEM coalmines in the area and ensuring that they got their due rights by way of rehabilitation.

The report stated that the company realised that as long as Sr. Valsa was there, the people could not be displaced or cheated easily.

“It is important that deep investigations are carried out not just into her murder but the grassroots situation and events since the mine was leased out by the government,” Dayal said.

Claiming that there was more to the sister’s murder, he said that the investigations into the brutal killing of the nun had been “biased and blind”.

Sr. Saldanha said that “the locals must have been instigated to kill the nun”.

Till now only seven people have been arrested in connection with the murder.

Meanwhile, the All India Catholic Union (AICU) too has demanded a CBI enquiry into the matter.

– ritu sharma

Supreme Court to look into raped nun’s plea

February 11, 2012 by  
Filed under India, newsletter-lead, Orissa, Persecution

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Supreme Court to look into raped nun’s pleaOrissa, February 10, 2012: A Catholic nun gang-raped during sectrian violence in Orissa in 2008,has won the right to cross examine a lower court judge in the supreme court for “misrepresenting facts”.

The bench headed by Justices Altmas Kabir and J. Chelameshwar posted the matter for hearing on February 13.

“We had to file the special leave petition before the apex court to challenge the Orissa High Court’s dismissal of her plea to cross-examine Prashant Kumar Das, a sub divisional judicial magistrate,” said Manas Ranjan Singh, one of the lawyers of the nun.

He said that Das had conducted the test identification (TI) parade to identify the accused in the rape case.

The nun had identified one Santosh Pattnaik as one of the accused but Das “erroneously and with mala fide intention” recorded that the former had slapped the nun and misbehaved with her and did not commit any other overt act, Singh added.

“It is misrepresentation of facts on the part of the judicial magistrate before the court,” he said.

Singh said that they had approached the high court as the trial court had rejected the same appeal on the ground the case has been filed by the government and the complainant has not asked for it.

The Supreme Court also asked the standing counsel of the state government to be present during the hearing.

Sister Justine Senapati, human right activist in the state capital Bhubaneswar said, “This is a welcome ruling as the state government is not ready to even file before higher judiciary.”

She said that justice has become a dream for the victims of the communal violence.

The nun was attacked, raped and paraded semi-naked through the streets on August 25, 2008 in Kandhamal, the epicenter of the sectarian violence.

– ajay kumar singh

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