St. Joseph’s Christian teacher stabbed to death in Sahibganj

January 11, 2013 by  
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A christian school teacher was stabbed to death, by three studentsJharkhand : A Christian school teacher was stabbed to death in Sahibganj town by three students. The students went to the residence of 57-year-old teacher Rita Biswas at Netaji Subhash Colony on Tuesday on the pretext of taking tuition and stabbed her in the stomach when she opened the door.The victim was declared brought dead by the doctors at the Sadar Hospital. she was a teacher with the St Joseph School. Victim’s 64-year-old husband, Asish Kumar Biswas, was admitted to the hospital with injuries he suffered while trying to resist the attackers

“The matter is still under investigation, whether the students were of the same school and what could have been the reason for the crime.

– ndtv


Christians in Jharkhand attacked, police fails to arrest attackers

February 20, 2012 by  
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attack-on-christiansJharkhand, February 20, 2012: Christians in Chaibasa district of Jharkhand were forced to leave their village after a series of attacks against them by local villagers. In the latest attack on Jan 29, Sunday, a mob of local villagers, closed down all the exit points of the village and attacked the Christians with iron rods, cane, axe, arrow and sharp weapons. Rev. Rajendra Babu, a local missionary of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, was attacked with iron rods while he trying to leave the village, breaking the helmet he was wearing. Members of the mob also beat up three other Christians identified only as Madan Muduiya, Sunil and Vinod.

The mob continued on their rampage, breaking doors, windows and destroying the furniture and crockery in the house of a Christian . The mob also dragged some the Christians including children inside the room and locked it from outside and attempted to set the room ablaze. The arrival of the Officer In-Charge of the Hat Gamharia P.S. at the spot thankfully did not result in any further incident. The Christians have currently left the village and are living in a nearby church premises without adequate food and clothing. The animals belonging to the Christians have also been slaughtered and their harvest stock was also destroyed.

The local administration has failed to take any action against the attackers in spite of registering an FIR on the 29 January, 2012 u/s 147, 148, 149, 341, 323 and 504 of the Indian Penal Code. Earlier, in October 2011 Smt. Lilima Sundi, w/o Sri Jambira Sundi was chased, thrashed and strangled in an attempt to kill her. The Drum stick tree of Sri Borjo Birua was cut down. He was also abused and threatened. They were restrained to use the water from the well provided by the government. Presently they are using water for drinking purpose from a nearby nullah (stream).

In a subsequent incident, the Christians were accused of poisoning the well which was subsequently investigated by the Officer In-Charge of Gamharia P.S. and found to be false. Again after a week the home of the Christians were attacked and their pots, utensils and cots were broken into pieces. The trees adjoining there property were cut down. The local villagers also desecrated the nullah (stream) water which was used for drinking purpose by throwing animal waste and rotten intestines etc. thus forcibly depriving the victims of their basic necessities.

In yet another attack, a week later all the roads were sealed for the victims forcing them to prevent moving out of the village. The villagers also imposed stricter diktat prohibiting the victims to share the forest resources. On 29th January, 2012 a reconciliation meeting was called by the Munda (village head) informing the villager who were responsible for the attacks against the Christians identified as Chkra Sundi, Gardi Sundi, Mara Sundi, Birse Sundi, Bawani Birua, Ghore Birse Birua, Dinesh Birua, Mahipal Birua, Juddu Birua, Nara Birua, Ghora Juddu, Bundiram Birua, Kaira Birua, Pargana Birua, Narkan Birua, Charan Birua, Murli Birua and others to attend the same. They boycotted the meeting.

– efi

NCW indicts Police in Sr. Valsa John’s murder *BHIJAN deliberates on Communal harmony

December 2, 2011 by  
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CSF General Secretary Joseph Dias and Sr. Jessy Kurian in Delhi

CSF General Secretary Joseph Dias and Sr. Jessy Kurian in Delhi

New Delhi, December 02, 2011: The Citizens Rights Trust met the Chairperson of the National Commission for Women once agains on the Sr. Valsa John issue as she had instituted a Committee to investigate the case. The Committee left for Jharkhand on 26 November, 2011 and on returning, it submitted its Report to the Commission. The Chairperson informed that processing of the report was on, after which it would be sent to the union ministry and finally to the Chief Minister of Jharkhand for further implementation.
The Chairperson assured the delegation that the full Report would be shown to them shortly but she disclosed two main findings of the Committee, namely – The death of Sr. Valsa John was due to the negligence of the
Police and that she desperately called the police many times but they failed to protect her. The second finding is that right from the the time Sr. Valsa reached that village in 1998, she was working for the development of the poorest of the poor.
– Adv. Sr. Jessy Kurian

BHIJAN deliberates on Communal harmony

BhijanBihar, November 30, 2011: A joint RBC-BDPC-CRI meeting was organised by the regional CRI at Navjyoti Niketan, Patna, from November 21st-24th, 2011. The theme of the annual BIJHAN (Bihar-Jharkhand-Andaman) was “Towards a relevant Church in India”.

Present were Cardinal Toppo of Ranchi, and 12 bishops of the region, and representatives of all 13 local CRI units (including the Andaman Islands), and several provincials and diocesan priests, totaling 80 participants.

Resource person, Dr. Ram Puniyani, a professor of Biotechnology who took voluntary retirement from the IIT, Powai, to work for communal harmony in the country after the 1993 communal violence in Mumbai, addressed the assembled Church leaders.

He spoke straight from his heart, from his vast experience, without PowerPoint or notes, and impressed upon the assembly the urgency and relevance of his message for the Church in India today.

“These are extraordinary times, the darkest in our history”, the professor told the assembly. “The anti-minority violence which we label communalism (the use/abuse of religion for political ends) is just the tip of the iceberg; the other 90%, hidden from view beneath the surface, is communal politics”.

Using communal historiography as a tool, Prof Puniyani highlighted several anti-minority myths such as foreign origin and food habits, population explosion, conversion and missionary activity as subversive of Indian culture; while the aim of the perpetrators of violence to revert to the structure of the ‘manusmriti’ in modern form and undermine the Constitution was unveiled.

Social activist, Prof. Ram Puniyani said, “Christians must learn to read the signs of the times, and be proactive”.

He was ably assisted by Dr. Mohammed Arif a college lecturer from Benares who has also dedicated his life to the cause of peace and communal harmony.

The mindset of common people is being polarized and ‘social common sense’ (a way of thinking which the majority believes is right but which is not necessarily so) is being nurtured, resulting in Christians being labeled as ‘foreigners, who convert through force, fraud and allurement’, while Muslims are said to do the same ‘with the sword in one hand and the Koran in the other’.

The Church leaders were urged not to cocoon themselves away from the mainstream, but to face the challenge of communal politics through multi-pronged efforts – increasing the level of political awareness among their people, articulating what the Christian community stands for, using alternate media to showcase their cause, working against the prevalent hatred between communities, bringing back the social aspects of religious festivals like Diwali and Christmas, continuing to uphold human rights, and cultivating the triad of ‘peace workers, peace centres and peace activity’ built on justice … most importantly, to unite at the level of issues.

The participants deliberated intensely on the theme and interacted effectively with the resource persons before formulating relevant proposals for the region.

The three proposals accepted by the group – to expand diocesan ‘Dialogue Commissions’ to cover ‘Peace and Harmony’, to initiate a regional media cell, and to introduce the handbook of religious festivals already compiled by the Patna archdiocese into all schools mark the beginning of a new era of communal political awareness in our region.

As Fr. Joy Karyampuram, SJ, CRI regional president, concluded in his vote of thanks, “Prof Ram and Arif are not going away. Their inspiration will remain with the Church leaders present here, encouraging us to bring our statements to the press and to pressurize the authorities to expose the underlying truth”.

The Assembly also paid tribute to Sr. Valsa John, SCJM, and issued a press statement denouncing her murder.

– cri

Nun’s funeral: Christian leaders express shock

November 17, 2011 by  
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Valsha JohnJharkhand, November 17, 2011: The funeral of Sister Valsa John, originally from Kerala took place this morning in the cathedral of Dumka (Jharkhand State). The Catholic religious was gunned down on the night of November 15 last by a group of unknown persons. Among the crowd that filled the cathedral, the brother, sister and two nephews of the nun, who for 20 years dedicated her life to the Santal tribal region. Bishop Julius Marandi of Dumka, told AsiaNews: “Her violent death was a terrible shock and a great loss to the Church. We seek justice, but while we mourn this loss, our mission for the poor, the weak and voiceless will continue, strengthened and renewed by the blood of Sister Valsa, who now intercedes for human rights, justice, dignity and hope of these people. ”

There have been no official statements yet regarding the murder of Sister Valsa, which took place in front of her house, but many suspect the coal Mafia, which operates in the region, is responsible. The Catholic nun, 53 years, belonged to the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary and several times had been approached by local crime gang member, for issues related to the coal mines. “Our sister – says her elder brother MJ Baby, – had told us about the threats, but was firm on her positions in favor of the tribals. I did not think the would kill her. ” The family had seen the nun for the last time in August, when she returned to Kochi for a brief visit.

Fr. Tom Kavala, SJ, who has worked for over 15 years with the nun, told AsiaNews: “Sister Valsa created a tribal organization to stop the expropriation of land sought by the powerful coal lobbies, including helping them to obtain compensation from companies. Six years ago, one of these lobbies e tried to buy out nine villages and Sister Valsa mobilized the local poor people. These coal barons lodged 33 complaints against her and her supporters, and many of them ended up in prison”.

“Sister Valsa – said Mgr. Marandi – paid for her struggle for the poor and defenseless, against the interests of the powerful coal mafia with her life. The Church of Dumka and all Jharkhand pray that her martyrdom will renew the mission of the Church to be a witness of faith. ”

After taking her vows in 1984, Sister Valsa started teaching economics at St George High School in Kochi (Kerala), but soon left teaching to devote her life to mission among the Dhumka tribals. In 2007 she was arrested for protesting against a coal mine built illegally on land of the tribals in the district of Pakur.

– nirmala carvalho

*Christian complain against BJP state president in MP *Christians attacked and threatened in Jharkhand

June 17, 2011 by  
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Christian complain against BJP state president in MP

Christian complain against BJP state president in MP

Bhopal, 16, June, 2011: Christian leaders from the Isai Mahasangh launched a complaint with   Madhya Pradesh Chief Electoral Officer P.C. Meena against Prabath Jha, B J P State President, for his alleged inflammatory remarks made against he Christian community with reference to Jabera by-election to M.P Assembly. The congress candidate in the Jabera constituency, Dr. Tanaya Solomon is a Christian and daughter of demised MLA from this constituency Ratnesh Solomon. Before leaving for his election campaign in Jabera constituency  in a press conference held in Sagar district of Madhya Pradesh, he said, “Christian missionaries are involved in forceful conversions in Jabera. He asked people to retaliate to the conversions. Also asked the Government ot probe against the alleged conversions reported by the BJP candidate Dashrath Singh Lodhi.” He said that the are mass conversions going on the jabera area. Isai Mahasangh state public relations officer John Antony said, “the chief electoral officer Shri. P C Meena assured us that he will be looking into the matter. And he is of the know of the incident and action will be taken accordingly.”

Fr. Anand Muttungal, coordinator of the organization, said, “ the BJP has used its communal agenda to divide the community on the communal lines. It is not he first time the issue of conversion coming up during the election, whenever there is a candidate from the community or there is a noticeable number of Christians, the issue of conversion is taken as a political agenda to divide the votes showing Christians as the demons. It is a clear violation of model code of conduct” State treasurer of the IMS, Roy John Thatta, said that it is first time Christians have raised their voice against the allegations of conversion during the election time with chief electoral officer. “Our concern is the future of Christian community and its security because the provocative speeches can negatively motivate fundamental groups to resort to violence in the state against Christians.” Said Jerry Paul State Secretary of IMS. The delegation included the Richard James, Mathew Abraham and other state office bearers.


Christians attacked and threatened in Jharkhand


Jharkhand, 28 May, 2011 (Compass Direct): Several Christians came under attack in Jharkhand state, India, in recent weeks. On May 28, Hindu militants beat the members of five Christian families in Palamu district. A week prior, a group of Hindu militants threatened to beat Pastor Sanjay Choudary of the Gospel Echoing Missionary Society if he did not stop leading worship meetings. He and his congregation then filed a complaint, leading the police to visit with them on May 28. Immediately after the police left, the enraged militants appeared and started beating people. One woman suffered internal injuries, and another believer was still missing at last report. The Christians have reportedly fled their homes. In a similar incident, Hindu militants in Karivadhi village are threatening to severely beat three families of new Christian converts if they do not return to Hinduism. These Christians have also fled the area and are now in hiding.

Prayer Points: Pray these Christians will look to the God of truth as their righteous refuge and tower of strength (Psalm 31:1-5). Pray they will be living witnesses to the love and hope of Christ, even to their persecutors. Ask God to work in the hearts of those who attack Christians in India, leading them to the path of repentance and peace.

Woman accused of witch hunt killed, eaten in Jharkhand

June 9, 2011 by  
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Indian Witch HuntA woman accused of practicing black magic was murdered.

Her assailants then cut up her body and consumed it in Gumla, Jharkhand.

Aitwari Devi, 45, was killed at Nawgai village of the district, around 140 Km from Ranchi, on June 5, the police said.

After she was killed, her body was allegedly cut into pieces by the assailants who later made a meal of it after roasting it.

The incident came to the notice of the police on the same day when Aitwari’s son, Avadh Nayak, 16, informed them.

According to police, the woman was charged with practising black magic by her assailants.

Church activists have over and over again expressed their concern over the increasing incidents of witch hunting.

A brother-sister duo, who was accused of practising witch hunt, was killed in February in Orissa’s Keonjhar district.

Witch hunts are carried out mostly in rural and tribal areas. A person is punished, even killed, for bringing bad luck or illness to a village or family.

It is also considered as a way of grabbing land, settling scores or even punishing a woman for turning down sexual advances.

Father Manoj Nayak, who assists the social action arm of Cuttack-Bhubaneswar archdiocese, voiced his concerns.

“This is really worrying. We are at a loss as this belief is also held within the Christian community,” he said.
According to some estimates, 150-200 women were accused of witchcraft and killed in India last year. Some 2,500 women have been murdered in witch hunts over the last 15 years.