We’ll help Indians in UAE: Vayalar Ravi

January 10, 2013 by  
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Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar RavKochi, January 08, 2013: Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi made it clear Tuesday that the government was willing to go to any extent to help Indians to return from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under the amnesty offer of the UAE government.

“We do not want any Indian to suffer because they don’t have money to pay for their fare. We will make all arrangements for them,” Ravi told reporters at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being held here Jan 7-9.

“We will use the India Community Welfare Fund for the repatriation of Indians,” said Ravi.

Speaking to IANS, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said they are baffled by the poor response ever since the amnesty offer started Dec 4.

“So far just 300 Keralites have registered for it. We will find out why there has been such a poor response,” said Chandy.

According to reports from the UAE, 800 Indian’s have registered for the amnesty, which ends Feb 3.

“We want to ensure that our people can continue to work legally in the UAE. But as a government we will be able to do little in that respect because the laws of that country have to be respected,” said Chandy.

State Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph told IANS that the state government will lend a helping hand to those who return.

“We can link up with commercial banks in the state to provide soft loans to the returnees to help them start a business,” said Joseph.

The Kerala government had earlier announced that they would set apart Rs.25 lakh to meet repatriation expenses of Keralites who wish to return.

The last time the UAE offered an amnesty was in 2007 and 40,000 Indians made use of it and returned. Another 37,000 used the offer to legalise their stay in the UAE by paying reduced penalties.

– ians

Sex education introduced in Kerala catechism classes

January 7, 2013 by  
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‘Enlight,’ the sex education initiative, has been launched for eighth-grade catechism students.

Archdiocese of Ernakulam-AngamalyKerala, January 06, 2013: The Catholic Church in Kerala has introduced sex education into the catechism (religious teaching) curriculum.

The Ernakulam-Angamaly archdiocese of the Syro-Malabar Church launched ‘Enlight,’ the sex education initiative for eighth-grade catechism students within the archdiocese a few months ago on an experimental basis.

“The response from the children, their parents and the teachers has been so overwhelming that we have decided to make it a part of the curriculum,” said Fr. Jimmy Poochakkatt, director of the Department of Catechism and Moral Education of the archdiocese.

The Church had earlier made it mandatory for would-be brides and bridegrooms to attend pre-marital counselling and sex education classes.

Catholic children in Kerala, from age 5, take religious lessons every Sunday after church, for 10 years.

This catechism lessons are often called ‘Sunday school.’

“We plan to cover all the 100,000 students—this will mean covering around 10,000 each year,” Fr. Poochakkat said.

So far, more than 8,000 children have attended the ‘Enlight’ sessions held at a dozen places across the archdiocese.

The day-long sessions, handled by psychologists and counsellors using audio-visual aids, introduce children to the Christian concept of sexuality and human body, scientific analysis of the functioning of sexual organs, puberty, biological changes in the body of a teenager and man-woman sexual attraction.

There is also a specific segment that deals with social networking traps and mobile phone abuse.

“The Church believes that sexuality is a divine gift. At a time when child sex abuse is widespread and the abuse of social networking and mobile phone is rampant, our teenagers should have a clear sense of the sexual traps they face in everyday life,” the priest said.

“Both the offenders and the victims lack knowledge of their own bodies and their sexualities,” he said, adding that they tell students attending ‘Enlight’ sessions that ‘sexuality is a divine gift, don’t misuse it.’”

‘Enlight’ lays stress on checking the abuse of social networking and the evil of teenage sex chatting, by exposing the risks.

– the hindu

CBI court awards life sentence and fine to Hindutva activist involved murder of Rev. Job Chittilappilly

September 29, 2012 by  
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CBI court awards life sentence and fine to Hindutva activist involved murder of Rev. Job ChittilappillyKerala, September 25, 2012: Father Job Chittilappilly, who for 45 years carried out his pastoral work in the Catholic community of the Syro-Malabar rite, was found dead in the residence of Our Lady of Grace Parish, in the Diocese of Trichur, in the state of Kerala on Aug 28, 2004. The priest had been praying the rosary before Mass when he was stabbed to death. The Missionary Service News Agency reported that the man arrested in the case, Reghu Kamar, 25, has confessed to the crime.

Investigations indicate that Kamar murdered the priest because he feared Father Chittilappilly would convert Hindus to Christianity.

The suspect also wanted to revive a Hindu temple, next to Our Lady of Grace in Thuruthiparambu, which had been closed for nearly 20 years.

It was alleged that the temple priest was killed 25 years ago. Based on a local belief, the temple could be revived only by offering the blood of another priest.The Episcopal Conference also urged the state government of Kerala to order a Criminal Bureau of Investigation inquiry into the murder. The murdered priest had received a number of threatening calls to prevent him from visiting Hindu families, although the latter were pleased to receive him.

Reghu Kamar, a Hindutva activist of the Bharatiya Janata Party was arrested on August 28.

– persecution.in

Hindu Radicals damages Pastor’s car in Kerala

February 27, 2012 by  
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Pastor's Car damaged in KeralaKerala, February 25, 2012: Pastor Titus Ignatious Kappan is doing gospel work in Kanhangad Sub Division of Kasaragod District in Kerala, ever since June 2010. The name of pastor’s church is Life Changers Church, and he has a fellowship of a little over 100 members, most of whom are Hindu converts from SC backgrounds. On 21st February, Tuesday evening, he was invited by Mr. Rajan, an SC convert and member of his fellowship, residing at Chathurakinar in Kanhangad to join him for dinner. Accordingly, the pastor drove himself in his car Tata Indica Vista 2010 model, along with his children for dinner and parked the car in front of the house. After exchange of pleasantries and a short prayer, they began their dinner.

While they were having their dinner, suddenly some ant- social elements came over to their place and began tackling the pastor and his children, abusing them using very foul language. Though the pastor tried to pacify them saying that he would talk to them after dinner, they would have none of his advice, they began damaging his car with huge boulders and stones and smashed all the glasses and also badly damaged the entire car.

As there was no other way except to get in touch with the police immediately, the pastor telephoned to the police. On learning that the pastor was calling the police, all the culprits ran away from few others. After an hour or so, the police arrived and inspected the spot, collected the necessary details and took the car to the police station. Based on the FIR filed by the pastor, the police also filed a charge-sheet, but however so far no arrests of the culprits have been made. When they inquired with the police, we understand that the police told them that they have been working on it.

– persecution.in

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

Priest’s bike torched, six held

December 7, 2011 by  
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archdiocese of tellicherryKerala, December 5, 2011: Six people have been arrested for allegedly harassing a priest and then setting fire to his motorcycle in Kerala’s Thalassery archdiocese, its prelate said.

Six Communist Party of India (Marxist-CPM) activists were arrested on charges of abusingthe vicar of Arabi St. Joseph’s parish, Fr. Abraham Puthussery, burning the motorcycle on December 2, Archbishop Mar George Valiamattam of Thalassery said.

Fr Puthussery was returning to the church in his car after dropping some nuns in a convent when the CPM activists apparently blocked his path and abused him when he asked them why they were trying to deny him freedom to move about.

Later that night, he found his motorcycle, parked in front of the church, on fire.

Chief Minister Oommen Chandy phoned the priests and has recommended strict action against those responsible.

– ucan

Deportation of U.S. evangelist ordered

October 20, 2011 by  
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US-based evangelist William Lee brought to court on Saturday after case was registered for violation of visa norms

US-based evangelist William Lee brought to court on Saturday after case was registered for violation of visa norms. File photo: Vipin Chandran

Kerala, October 18, 2011: The Ernakulam First Class Judicial Magistrate Court on Tuesday ordered the deportation of United States evangelist and preacher William Lee.

He was detained by the police for violating visa norms. The court also sentenced him to three-day imprisonment and imposed a fine of Rs.10,000 on him.

Mr. Lee, who arrived on a multiple-entry tourist visa valid till March 20, 2012, went into hiding after the police found him violating visa norms by addressing the gospel convention named ‘Musical Splash 2011,’ organised by Faith Leaders Church of God, Tiruvalla, at the Jawaharlal Nehru International Stadium, Kaloor, on October 12. He was arrested from a hotel in the city on October 15 and remanded till Tuesday. Mr. Lee was shifted to the Thrissur Government Medical College on Sunday after he complained of chest pain.

The magistrate said as the accused had served three-days in jail during remand period, he should be deported after getting permission from the District Collector.

– the hindu

Archdiocese to build homes for jubilee

July 28, 2011 by  
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Archdiocese of Trivandrum

July 26, 2011: A southern Indian archdiocese plans to build 75 houses for the homeless and set up a spirituality center to mark its platinum jubilee.

“We will focus the human resources development of the faithful,” Archbishop Maria Calist Soosa Pakiam of Trivandrum told ucanews.com yesterday. He also said the “synod has charted a 25-year road map for the archdiocese.

The Latin rite archdiocese “serves the most backward people who lack opportunities,” the prelate said.

There is another archdiocese with the same name but belongs to the Syro-Malankara Church. Both are based in the Kerala state capital of Thiruvananthapuram.

The Latin archdiocese on July 24 launched a year-long program to mark its 75 years.

The prelate said the archdiocese would also set up colleges for marine technology and nursing during the jubilee year.

“We have already started work on a football academy and a chapel commemorating the late Pope John Paul II’s visit to the city,” the archbishop said.

The archdiocese now has 244,000 Catholics living in 84 parishes and 33 missions.

– ucan

Church decries attack on Pushpagiri college

July 11, 2011 by  
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Pushpagiri Group of InstitutionsThe Minority Rights Protection Committee (MRPC) attached to the Thiruvalla Archi Eparchy of Syro-Malankara Catholic Church has organised a silent march from St. John’s Cathedral to the Pushpagiri Medical College in Thiruvalla on Saturday in protest against the increasing instances of attack on the Pushpagiri Group of Institutions.

Metropolitan Archbishop of Thiruvalla Thomas Mar Coorilos and Auxiliary Bishop Philipose Mar Stephanos led the march. Hundreds of believers, including priests and nuns, participated in the march.

Inaugurating a meeting on the college campus, the Archbishop condemned the attack on the properties of the Church and the Pushpagiri Group of Institutions in the name of self-financing professional colleges’ issue.

He said the attacks could not be justified and the patience and silence of the Church members should not be mistaken as their weakness.

– thehindu

Kerala parish organizes “total eye donation” campaign

June 28, 2011 by  
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Kerala parish organizes “total eye donation” campaign

“Total Eye Donation” Campaign in progress

A Catholic parish in Kerala has created history when all its families agreed to donate their eyes.

St. Francis Xavier’s Church of Kannankara, a parish under Kottayam archdiocese, organized a program on June 26 to help the parishioners pledge their eyes.

The program was part of the archdiocese’s centenary celebrations.

The Kannankara unit of Knanaya Catholic Congress organized the “Vision 2011″ in collaboration with the Kerala Eye Donation Association of the Little Flower Hospital in Angamaly.

Archbishop Mathew Moolakkatt of Kottayam led the Mass that preceded the “Total Eye Donation” campaign.

The archdiocese was erected in 1911 to cater to the section of Syro-Malabar Catholics known as Suddhist, or purists. They are descendents of 72 Jewish-Christian families who settled down in Kerala in the year 345 under the leadership of Thomas Kynai.

– Ucan

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