TN: 15 Christians wounded, houses destroyed & conflicting report about the death of a believer

June 25, 2012 by  
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Tamil Nadu, June 25, 2012: The RSS and BJP activists have attacked and wounded 15 Christians and destroyed 4 of their houses on 23-6-12, Saturday night, in a village called Vanagiri Meenavar village in Sirkali Taluq of Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu. Two of the wounded are learnt to be quite serious. All of them have been admitted to the Sirkali Government Hospital. In the meantime another Christian one Mahalingam, also lost his life, whose death is claimed by his son Rajendran, to be a murder by the radicals, but disputed by both the police and the radicals as a natural death. Rajendran (40) is one of the two wounded seriously by the Sangha Parivar activists and presently lying in the hospital. The other who was seriously wounded in the attack is Jesuraj (30). It is also learnt that all the four houses were looted first and then destroyed.

The problem started on Thursday 21-6-12 when a large group of BJP and RSS activists visited the predominantly Christian village in which about 30 out of a 40 families are Christians and excommunicated all of them declaring a social boycott against them. They also ordered them not to worship Jesus and conduct their prayer service in the village. A month earlier, we understand, the same people had come and warned them not to attend church services or Christian prayer meetings.

The district administration which was very much seized of the matter, had also called for a peace meet on 23rd June morning. However there was no reconciliation at the meeting. The State Minister, Mr. Jaipal, also visited the village and tried to find out some solution to the communal problem. The minister then asked the radicals not to disturb any of the Christians from worshiping their God. But immediately after the minister left the village, late in the evening, the radicals attacked the Christians with swords and wooden rods and wounded 15 believers, two among them very seriously. Then they began ransacking and looting the houses and destroyed 4 among them completely. The terrified believers rushed out of their homes and most of them also learnt to have fled from the village.

The other Christians who had remained in the village then contacted the Poompuhar Police Station and tried to lodge a complaint with the Inspector in charge, Mr. Subramanian, who, it is believed, refused to register any complaints against the culprits. The Christians then contacted the DSP of Nagapattinam and lodged a complaint with him. Though he accepted their complaint no action was taken against the perpetrators of the crime. On 24th night at about 8 pm, the radicals, as per Rajendran’s version, attacked his father and killed him in his village since he was lying in the hospital away from his house. On learning about the death of Mahalingam in the village all the men folk learnt to have fled from the village leaving the ladies behind. It is also learnt that the radicals supposed to have threatened to kill anyone who came to attend to the dead body.

The village has three churches. Pastor Samuel Ramachandran is in charge of Immanuel Prayer House, and Pastor Simpson looks after the Bethsaida Church, while Pastor John looks after the Bride of Christ Church.

– persecution.in

54 year old Pastor found dead near Madurai *HP: RSS activists threaten an Agape worker to leave his residence

June 6, 2012 by  
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Tamil Nadu, June 03, 2012: A 54-year-old pastor from Chennai was found dead with his head smashed with a boulder on the four-lane road near here today. Pastor Wilson was on his way to Madurai from Tuticorin on a two-wheeler when he was attacked by unidentified men. Some materials including tracts in his bag was found scattered near the body. His two-wheeler was found 150 feet from where the body was found.

Police has concluded that the pastor would have resisted the attempts to rob him and tried to escape on foot. But the gang would have chased him and killed him,. Prima facie, it seems like an incident of robbery, but he can be a victim of religious hatred or it can be anything. Until further investigations are carried out, we will not know.

GCIC has reported on 21.03.2012, a team of 15 believers led by Evangelist Jesudoss from Kandanur along with believers went in a van fitted with a megaphone to preach the gospel in Paganeri in Shivagangai District of Tamil Nadu. A group of about 100 BJP workers led by A. Raja and his friend Chidambaram objected to their preaching and attacked them and burnt the Bibles and the tracts and also forcibly snatched the van key from them. They then also destroyed their megaphone. Immediately after this incident the pastor along with some of the believers went to the Paganeri Police Station and lodged a complaint against the BJP workers. But the police did not take any action.

May God rest his spirit in peace. Jesus said: Mark 13:13 All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. John 15:21 They will treat you this way because of My Name, for they do not know the One who sent Me. John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.

– persecution.in

HP: RSS activists threaten an Agape worker to leave his residence

 

Himahal Pradesh, June 01, 2012: Mr. Jai Masih Topno an employee of AGAPE ministry residing in Ghumarwin, Himahal Pradesh was interrupted during an in-house prayer meeting and was asked to leave his residence by RSS activists.

Mr. Topno hailing from Jharkhand had been residing in Ghumarwin, Bilaspur District in Himachal Pradesh since 2004 and had even registered himself with the Police station in Ghumarwin on 11th December, 2004. He also has a written agreement with his landlord permitting him to stay on till 2014. Mr. Topno regularly conducts a prayer service in his residence on Sunday mornings, where a few local Christians meet together. On 25th May, 2012, at around 11 AM, where about 6-7 people were gathered for prayer a group comprising 25-40 RSS activists stormed into Mr. Topno’s residence and physically beat up one of the believers’ present there. About 15 minutes later police men arrived at the scene and took Mr. Topno, two women and another male believer with them into police custody.

The police did not register any case against them but threatened Mr. Topno to vacate his home within two days and leave from the locality. The police also confiscated Mr.  Topno’s AGAPE ministries I-Card and told him he could collect it after he vacates from his present residence.

When enquiring with the police as to the reasons behind Mr. Topno’s mistreatment, it was found that the police suspected Mr. Topno to be a smuggler, who indulged in forcefully converting the locals and since they didn’t want any trouble to stir up in the area, they had asked him to leave for his own good.

– aicc

TN: Meaning of spirits lands pastor in police lock-up *Pastor forced to vacate house church *Hindutvas attack evangelists in Home Minister’s town?

April 30, 2012 by  
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Tamil Nadu, April 30, 2012: Pastor Enoch Sathyanagar has been doing the church ministry in Kondapan Nayakanpatti of Salem District in Tamil Nadu during the last past 5 years. On 07-03-2012, a Hindu acquaintance of the his one Murugan, along with five of his friends, came to Pastor Enoch and asked him to conduct a prayer service for the repose of the soul of his father, 60 year old Kuppan, who had died a few days earlier. The pastor explained to Murugan that he could hold such a prayer meeting only a month after his father’s death and that once such a ceremony was conducted all the evil spirits would clear away from his house. But then Murugan, one usually given to believing in all sorts of evil spirits and black magic etc. misunderstood the whole thing and began quarrelling with the pastor which finally ended up with a physical attack on the pastor. Murugan and his friends severely beat up the pastor and then went to the nearby police station and lodged a complaint against the pastor alleging that the pastor had killed his father through black magic. The police arrested the pastor and locked him up.

Inside the lock-up the pastor explained the whole story to the police in great detail. When they realized what exactly had happened, they released the pastor. The pastor in turn lodged a complaint against Murugan and his friends. The police then arrested Murugan and his friends for their attack against the innocent pastor. However, finally, the police advised both the parties to compromise and end the fight, which they subsequently did and ended their futile quarrel.

TN: Pastor forced to vacate house church

 

Tamil Nadu, April 30, 2012: Pastor Caleb has been doing church ministry in Emapur village of Kallakuruchi in Villupuram District of Tamil Nadu. On 11-04-2012, as usual, he went to preach the gospel in the village. But a group of Hindu fanatics, led by one Balaji, objected to his preaching the gospel in the village and attacked him and beat him up quite severely.

They also told his house owner to get him vacated from the house and close down the church as they have been conducting the worship service in the same rented house. Their pressure upon their house owner to send away the pastor from his house has been mounting by the day and the pastor finds himself in a helpless position. Please pray for him.

TN: BJP workers attack evangelists in Home Minister’s town?

 

Tamil Nadu, April 30, 2012: On 21.03.2012, a team of 15 believers led by Evangelist Jesudoss from Kandanur along with believers went in a van fitted with a megaphone to preach the gospel in Paganeri in Shivagangai District of Tamil Nadu. A group of about 100 BJP workers led by A. Raja and his friend Chidambaram objected to their preaching and attacked them and burnt the Bibles and the tracts and also forcibly snatched the van key from them. They then also destroyed their megaphone. Immediately after this incident the pastor along with some of the believers went to the Paganeri Police Station and lodged a complaint against the BJP workers. But the police did not take any action. Then they went to the DSP and complained to him about the incident. The DSP immediately sent a couple of policemen who brought both the parties together and arrived at a compromise with the help of the local Panchayat President and returned the key to the pastor. Since they arrived at a compromise, the police did not take any action against the BJP workers.

But later when they went back to the village, the BJP workers once again came to fight with them and physically attacked Evangelist Jessudoss .The perpetrators told them that though they had burnt their Bibles they could do nothing to them and that they would not hesitate to do anything to them in the future.

– persecution.in

TN: Prayer meeting disrupted & believer attacked with a sword

April 19, 2012 by  
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Tamil Nadu, April 13, 2012: Pastor Y S John belongs to the Indian Pentecostal Church at Dalmiya Puram. He has about 100 believers in his church. On 12th April, Ms. Juli Dhanpaul, a member of his church, invited the pastor for a prayer at her house located in Venkatachalapuram village in Trichy city. About 30 believers were present at the prayer meeting.

At about 7 o’clock in the evening, a local rowdy, came and disrupted the prayer meeting and asked them to stop their prayer meeting immediately. Pastor’s nephew, Mr. John Britto (38), came out and tried to pacify the intruder and requested him not to interrupt and disturb the meeting as it was a regular prayer meeting. Instead of heeding to his request, the enraged rowdy took out his sword and attacked Mr. John Britto and almost cut off his left hand.

On learning about the tragic incident, the GCIC’s Trichy co-ordinator, Pastor Dhanpaul Daniel, rushed to the spot and got in touch with the family and immediately sent for an ambulance and made necessary arrangements for the hospitalization of Mr. Britto. Mr. Britto is currently undergoing treatment in the Government Hospital at Trichy. A complaint about the tragic attack has been lodged at the Dalmiya Puram Police Station, and the investigations are on.

– persecution.in

UP: Christian meeting attacked *TN: Christians harassed

April 12, 2012 by  
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Uttar Pradesh, April 11, 2012: On April 7 in Maharajganj, Hindu extremists from the allegedly Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh barged into the Christian meeting and beat them up.

According to our correspondent, Ajit Pal, at about 8 a.m, the armed extremists forcefully entered into the “Festival of Deliverance” conducted by Maharajganj Baptist Church (MBC), accusing them of forceful conversion, verbally abused and started to beat them up.

Apart from the Christian leaders, the extremists targeted one believer, Ambika Prasad, a new follower of Christ, who gave the local church a land worth 1.2 million, reported a representative of the MBC.

About ten enraged extremists with their iron rods beat up the Christians injuring Pastor Ram Chander Vish Prasad and his wife, Ambika Prasad and some believers. The police soon reached the spot and put the situation under control.

“It is a spiritual meeting where we are praying for the sick and it has nothing to do with religion” Bishop Jonathan Ansar, main speaker of the meeting told EFI. The meeting was attended by about 4000 people, reported Akhopuro, organiser of the meeting.

The Christian filed an FIR against the attackers. The police arrested four extremists but they were released on the same day without any charges.

– efi

Christians harassed in Tamil Nadu

 

Tamil Nadu, April 11, 2012: In Akkarapettai, Nagapattinam, anti-Christian group tore up Bibles and gospel literature in the homes of children attending Scripture Union’s centre, SUHASYA, which minister to Children in Crisis after learning that they have attended church services.

According to information reaching EFI, after the anti-Christian group learned that there was noticeable drop in numbers of people attending one Hindu festival, they made an enquiry and found out that many villagers were attending church services.

Thereafter, on April 2 the enraged extremists went to a government school and announced to reward the children who have Christian literature in their homes. Some children said they have gospel books in their houses.

Subsequently, the anti people started harassing the children who admitted to keeping Christian books in their homes. They summoned their parents, verbally abused them and threatened to expel them from the village if they continued to go to church and entertain Christian faith.

Again, on the next day, the group went to the houses of the Christians and searched for Bibles and other literature. They tore the Bibles and other gospel literature they found and threatened them not to go to church or face dire consequences. They also threatened to deal with the person in charge of SUSHASYA.

Speaking to EFI, J Herbert Samuel, Ministry Director of Scripture Union, India said, “There are about 42 children in our centre and about 36 are from that Akkarapettai village. SUHASYA centre is not their main target but the Christians. Quite a few of our children’s families have been impacted by Christian care.”

The anti- group asked one family to vacate the house after they openly said they are worshipping Jesus. One person identified only Mahalaxmi and three other families filed a police complaint against the attackers and police protection was provided until yesterday. The anti- group have also locked 12 Christian houses for three days but after the intervention of the police, the Christians are able to live in their own homes again. However, out of fear some Christians are staying away from the village.

There is tension in the village as this group are threatening to enforce further action against the Christians. Kindly pray for them.

– efi

Kudankulam: NCCI urges Chief Minister of Tamilnadu for a responsible solution *The Church in Arabia: I saw people crying with tears of joy

March 27, 2012 by  
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23 March 2012

JayalalithaTo
Dr. J. Jayalalitha,
Chief Minister,
St. George’s Fort, Chennai

Honourable Chief Minister of Tamilnadu,

Greetings from the National Council of Churches in India!

The National Council of Churches in India, the apex body of the Indian Protestant and Orthodox Church traditions of 13 million Indians express its anguish about your press statement and the decision of your government to deploy large contingents of paramilitary and police forces in the vicinity of Idinthakarai protest site and the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

The world perceives you as a popularly elected Chief Minister and a political leader who is Pro-people and who gives due regard to the people and peoples’ voice considering them as important constituents of just-democracy and just-governance. And you have set a role model to other States when you passed a cabinet resolution demanding the Central Government puts on hold the  commissioning of any project until the people say ‘yes’ to the  commissioning.

While the struggling communities see you as the only beacon of hope,  your decision to give the go-ahead to the power plant has made the people more vulnerable than ever since their  30 years of struggle and has created restlessness and hopelessness among the women, men, young, children and old of Radhapuram region.

We have been informed that implementation and execution of Sec 144 by the State authority has caused road blockades, thereby creating a situation in which the people of Radhapuram are starving for food and suffering because of inaccessibility to essential commodities. Even little children are subjected to suffering for want of milk, water and other necessities.

Therefore,

•  We the NCCI would urge you to reconsider using the law and order methodology. Such activities do not lead to a lasting solution. Therefore we advise you and your government to go for a mutually respectful dialogue with the objective and spirit of seeking a responsible solution.
•  We, the NCCI expressing our distress over the deployment of thousands of armed policemen in the vicinity and plead with you to lift Sec. 144 without any delay and make the vicinity tension free and a zone of peace.
•  We the NCCI are very much concerned about the safety and well-being of our Children, Sisters and Brothers. As the head of the Government of Tamilnadu, you can protect the vulnerable people of the State. Let nothing undermine the dignity, health, life, and peace of the people. 
•  We the NCCI would like to bring to your notice that some State Governments have put on hold the commissioning of proposed Nuclear Power Plant Projects considering sentiments of the peoples in Jaitapur in Maharashtra, Chutka in Madhya Pradesh, Gorakhpur in Fatehabad District in Haryana, Haripur in West Bengal and so on. Your ‘go-ahead’ action for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant seem to portray you as an anti-people political leader. Therefore, we request you to be pro-people and to act in accordance with the wish of the people of that locality.   
•  We the NCCI, therefore exhort the Tamil Nadu Government to respond wisely and compassionately thereby leading the State on the path of environmental and social justice.

Roger Gaikwad

The Church in Arabia: I saw people crying with tears of joy

 

Bishop HinderItaly, March 23, 2012: Bishop Paul Hinder is a 69-year-old Capuchin prelate from Switzerland. He lives in Abu Dhabi, and as the vicar apostolic of Southern Arabia, is responsible for the largest Catholic territory in the world – one covering some 3 million square kilometers (1.16 square miles), in which there are approximately 2 million Christians.

Mark Riedemann for Where God Weeps in cooperation with Aid to the Church in Need spoke with the bishop of the Apostolic Vicariate of Arabia.

Q: What countries are we talking about when we’re speaking of the Arab states?

Bishop Hinder: These six countries would be the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Yemen, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain and Qatar. Then there is another Apostolic Vicariate in Kuwait, which is also a part of the Arabian Peninsula.

Q: It is often said that there are very few, if any, Christians in these areas. Can you tell us a little bit about the Christian presence in these Arab states?

Bishop Hinder: In a sense, it is true that we have no local Christians, but we have many Christians, especially Catholics, migrants from all over the world especially from the Philippines and India. Most of them would be there for a relatively short time although there are quite a lot of people who have been there for 30 to 40 years. All need temporary permits to live there. And of course the public worship is limited.

Q: So there is freedom of worship but no freedom of religion?

Bishop Hinder: The freedom of religion in the sense of the human right is not given, at least not fully given because there is no question that a Muslim citizen could become a Catholic, Christian, or change, in any way, his religion; but we are free, at least in some countries, to practice our own faith.

Q: …but for example, evangelization is not possible?

Bishop Hinder: Evangelization in a sense of mission work towards the adults, especially among the Muslims, is not allowed. It is strictly forbidden.

Q: How are the relations of the Christians with the Muslim community?

Bishop Hinder: I would say it is more a ‘living beside’ than ‘living with’ because of the civil situation or the social situation of the people who are living there. Christians are there doing their job. They are migrants among other migrants. In some countries, they are a large majority of the population and they have, I would say, a professional relationship with the Muslims, but in ordinary life they preferably have relationships with their own people or within their own religion.

Q: So there is very little interaction?

Bishop Hinder: I would say there is generally little interaction except for those who have to interact professionally.

Q: We are speaking of migrant workers while in other countries of the Middle East, there are Arab Christians, who are natives of the land?

Bishop Hinder: Exactly. There is a big difference between these two realities. It has surely to do that our people, including me, normally do not speak Arabic or not well. I have been planted there and I did not expect that. That is why interaction is not so easy, especially with the religious leaders. An imam in any one of the countries does not necessarily speak English and there is immediately a problem of translation … of the language …

Q: You mentioned that you were planted there. Was it a shock for you when you were asked to go to Arabia?

Bishop Hinder: I was shocked when I knew for the first time that I was a serious candidate for this in Abu Dhabi; that was a difficult time. At the moment of my appointment it was no longer a surprise.

Q: If I may be presumptuous, why did they decide on you?

Bishop Hinder: It was John Paul II who appointed me… but I think one of the reasons was surely this: I was a member, at the time, of the General Council of the Capuchin Order, which was in charge of the Arabian mission, as we used to call it at least in the past. Within the General Council I was also in charge of the Capuchins of the Middle East, so I had a slight idea of the realities. Then it should be normally a European to facilitate travel within the different countries; for someone from the Philippines, for example, or India, it might be more difficult to travel than for me. Then surely at the end of the list was the fact that I was a Swiss citizen, which in this situation could have been a positive thing — the experience of a multicultural country or at least multilingual country.

Q: What was the greatest cultural challenge that you had to overcome?

Bishop Hinder: It was precisely the language. I was quite familiar with, of course German, Italian and French. English was not my language and to be obliged practically from one day to another to speak, to write in English was a heavy burden in the beginning. I never during my lifetime had to speak and preach as often as I do now. So it was really a challenge and it still is because you never have the same freedom as you have in your mother tongue or at least in a language that you are familiar with since one’s youth.

Q: Your Excellency you have achieved a sort of historic breakthrough in the sense that you have helped and worked toward an introduction of the first Catholic Church in Qatar. Can you tell us how this came about?

Bishop Hinder: The merits are not mine. I think this is due a lot to my predecessor, Bishop Giovanni Bernardo Gremoli, who did a marvellous work for the past 29 years; practically all the existing churches in the different countries were renovated or built by him. Then to the people who there in Qatar who worked hard to achieve this; the local Catholics, some ambassadors who have worked for many, many years to prepare the ground until it was possible. I now harvest the fruits from the people who have planted the seeds before.

Q: What sign of hope is the construction of a church that can contain approximately 2,700 faithful?

Bishop Hinder: We have to remember that there were churches here as early as the 1939 in Bahrain and in the late 60s or 70s in the United Arab Emirates and the Sultanate of Oman. And this is not speaking about the very first church in the peninsula, in Aden, where the mission first started in the 19thcentury. But it is extraordinary for Qatar because the situation is similar to what we have in Saudi Arabia. It is a sign of hope for the Christians living in that country. I remember that day; it was emotional and I saw people crying with tears of joy to finally see their church; let’s say a living room for their faith, and that is something very important as a point of visible reference, where people can gather and celebrate without being at risk. It also shows the openness and generosity of the emir, and also a sign that they would like to be more open, tolerant and to be aware of the realities of the country. There are hundreds of thousands of migrants in the state of Qatar. We do not know the number of Christians, but Catholics number around 200,000. The Filipino population alone is close to that and there are many from India. For them it is something extraordinary — to have this point of reference where they can go, although for many it is still a problem to get to the church but for those in the capitol, Doha, it is a success.

Q: A lot of conversation has been devoted to how to reconcile and how to move forward together with the Muslim community. One proposal is the encouragement of the separation of faith and state. Is this a possibility?

Bishop Hinder: I would like to make a comparison. Jesus Christ didn’t come and found a state. He didn’t come with military forces. He didn’t come with a social or political project. That came 300 years later in the Christian world when the emperor Constantine opened the possibilities. In the first 300 years, Christians did not exist as a political force, while the birth of Islam is very closely connected to a political and military project. I don’t think it will be easy to overcome this, which is so connected to the beginning of Islam. I don’t say that it is impossible because, I think, that even in the Koran there are elements that can be interpreted for the development of more tolerance regarding other religions; unfortunately there are also other texts, especially in the traditional Islamic doctrine, where we have very heavy stumbling blocks towards these developments. Fortunately, within the Muslim world there are many working towards this but I think it will take time.

Q: Working in the direction of moderation and cooperation?

Bishop Hinder: Yes, Let us take Turkey as an example, which is secular state, but it is not easy for the Christians there because the mentality is marked by a Muslim or Islamic foundation.

Q: What is your hope for the Catholic Church in the Gulf of Arabia?

Bishop Hinder: My hope is that we, Catholics, will not live in fear. I hope for more tolerance. We do not really hide in most countries. We do not really have a problem for example in Dubai. If someone hangs a rosary with the cross in the front mirror of a car it is not a concern.

Q: Is it possible?

Bishop Hinder: Yes, it is not a problem in some countries, but that is not a Christian life because we do everything at a minimum. We should be freer in organizing to live our Christian life in a better way. We just have the minimum in offering the catechism for the children, the minimum Masses and the charitable work in private. As soon as you would like to have a few schools, that becomes difficult because regulations become more demanding. We hope to have a freer space to organize and develop and to have organization or associations, for example like hospitals. Why not? It is not possible now. Immediately if you want to work in an institution you face the Sharia law. You need a local sponsor and the sponsor legally has to own 51%. So you have many limitations, which makes it difficult especially for institutions like the Church. We are not the only ones suffering; every institution faces similar problems. Only for us, it is especially problematic concerning the employees because they demand that a certain percent of the employees have to be locals and the locals are not Christians — so you can see the consequences that we have to face.

– mark riedemann

Lift ban on Tuticorin accounts: Concessao *India needs committed NGOs: prelate

March 8, 2012 by  
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Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of DelhiNew Delhi, March 8, 2012: He said he supported the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council’s demand for revoking the ban on Tuticorin diocese.

Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi has asked the federal government to “immediately” lift the ban on the bank accounts of Tuticorin diocese and several other NGOs in Tamil Nadu.

The recent ban is “gross injustice” to these organizations and “unfair” to the poor and oppressed who benefit from their work, the archbishop said in a statement yesterday.

He said he supported the Tamil Nadu Bishops’ Council’s demand for revoking the ban on Tuticorin diocese.

The government has accused Tuticorin diocese of diverting funds it received from overseas for social service and other purposes to support the protest against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.

Archbishop Concessao said that he has learnt from the local bishops that the diocese has in no way misused the foreign contributions.

“The Church always strictly follows the rules laid down by the government for the use of foreign contribution and the money is solely used for the welfare of the poor.

The prelate said that the Church organizations all over the country are involved in “alleviating the pains and pangs of the poor and helping the government in what it should be actually doing,” he said.

He appealed to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Home Minister P. Chidambaram to make proper inquiries before taking such a “drastic step.”

– ucan

India needs committed NGOs: prelate

 

Ajay Vishnoi, Madhya Pradesh minister for minority welfareMadhya Pradesh, March 7, 2012: The organisation works with over 300 partner organizations all over the country.

Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal has said that India needs committed NGOs to serve the increasing number of poor in the country.

Appreciating the efforts of Caritas India, the social service wing of the Catholic Church, the prelate said that the organization has selflessly worked in the interest of the poor, thus translating the Christian values into action.

He was speaking at the concluding ceremony of the state-level golden jubilee celebration of Caritas in Bhopal.

A short documentary film highlighting the works of Caritas was screened on the occasion.

Ajay Vishnoi, Madhya Pradesh minister for minority welfare, fisheries, new and renewable energy, said that Caritas has the poor with exemplary commitment.

The organisation works with over 300 partner organizations all over the country. It was founded in 1962.

It has so far implemented 22,551 projects of disaster relief, community development, livelihood promotion, natural resource management and women empowerment.

– ucan

Announcement *RSS lauds crackdown on NGOs *Government, not NGOs, against India: citizens

March 6, 2012 by  
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Announcement for Mumbai : The Legion of Mary is organising a prayer walk on 10th March, 2012 from Infant Jesus Church / Dominic Savio School Ground at Pant Nagar in Ghatkopar East to Mount Mary’s Church in Bandra. The walk will start at in the night at 11 pm and will conclude with Mass at the shrine in the morning.

RSS lauds crackdown on NGOs

 

Nuclear Plants TamilnaduTamil Nadu, March 5, 2012: The RSS weekly claimed that more than 75 percent NGOs that received funds from overseas belonged to Christian groups.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has won kudos from an unexpected source for his move against voluntary groups.

“The prime minister’s unusually forthright and strong stand on the Kudankulam protestors is welcome,” said an editorial in the Organizer, the mouthpiece of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, an umbrella organization of rightwing Hindu groups.

The prime minister last week alleged that NGOs had supported anti-Koodankulam protests with funds they received from overseas for social service and other purposes.

His allegation came after the federal government froze the accounts of four NGOs, two of them belonging to Tuticorin Catholic diocese, and sent notices to 77 others in Tamil Nadu.

Federal Home Minister P. Chidambaram has clarified that the government action has nothing to do with the protests in Koodankulam.

The RSS weekly claimed that more than 75 percent NGOs that received funds from overseas belonged to Christian groups, most of them being “just extension counters of the Church dabbling in religious conversions rather than social work.”

The “Organizer” welcomed the government move as “late, but not too late.” It also said the home ministry should have acted earlier without sitting on “so much information regarding the overt and covert operations” of the NGOs.

The weekly alleged that the NGOs bring truckloads of people from neighboring areas to Koodankulam that has only 300 families.

The editorial said that Kudankulam was home to about 300 families and truck loads of people were being brought from neighbouring areas like Thoothukudi.

“They are provided food and money and take turns to sit through dharnas. Questions are being asked how the local population, mainly dependent on fishing have kept out of sea for so long. It is not possible to sustain an agitation for over five months without outside support,” the editorial said.

– ucan

Government, not NGOs, against India: citizens

 

Government not NGOsNew Delhi, March 6, 2012: The group urged the prime minister to initiate a “truly inclusive” process of deliberations.

A group of jurists, journalists and activists yesterday criticized the Indian prime minister for accusing NGOs of using overseas funds to oppose nuclear power plants and genetically modified crops.

The group, headed by former Supreme Court Judge V.R. Krishna Iyer, yesterday said it was the government and not NGOs that worked against the country’s interests.

“In reality, what we are all working against is indeed a foreign hand operating at the behest of and from within your government, supported by Indian and foreign commercial entities, to corporatize Indian agriculture and farming practices and the energy sector, without in-depth and impartial analyses,” said a letter the group sent to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.

Presenting the letter to the media at a press conference in New Delhi the eminent citizens found the premier’s remarks against NGOs “highly inappropriate misrepresentation of facts.”

Singh last month told “Science,” an international journal, that the Indian intelligentsia supported genetically modified crops and nuclear power plants but some NGOs opposed such programs by diverting funds they received from overseas for social service and other purposes.

The citizens group said such “an inappropriate distinction” between thinkers and non-thinkers was made on the basis whether an NGO agreed or disagreed with the government policy.

The group regretted that the prime minister’s office had not bothered even to acknowledge several communications that highlighted gaps in safety and liability surrounding GM crops and nuclear power plants.

It urged Singh to initiate a “truly inclusive” process of deliberations with all stakeholders to help formulate a “rational” public policy for the two technologies.

The letter’s signatories included former Chief Election Commissioner, J.M. Lyngdoh, former Chiefs of Naval Staff, Vishnu Bhagwat, L. Ramdas and R.H. Tahiliani, activists Medha Patkar, Aruna Roy and Prashant Bhushan, historian, Romila Thapar and writer, Praful Bidwai.

Bidwai said anti-nuclear activists would organize various programs on March 11 to mark the first anniversary of the Fukushima disaster in Japan and follow it up with a march to Koodankulam four days later to express solidarity with activists and NGOs protesting against the nuclear power plant there.

He asserted the anti-nuclear protest at Koodankulam had remained peaceful.

– the hindu

NGOs claim government froze accounts arbitrarily

March 3, 2012 by  
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Fishermen protest against Nuclear plantTamil Nadu, March 2, 2012: Government claim action was taken against the NGOs for allegedly funding protests against Koodankulam nuclear plant.

Three non-government organizations, whose accounts were frozen by the government, have said that no reason was cited for the crackdown.

The government had said yesterday that it had taken action against four NGOs for allegedly funding the protests against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant.

The home ministry has frozen foreign contribution accounts of Tamil Nadu based Rural Uplift Centre (RUC), Tuticorin Diocesan Association (TDA) and the Tuticorin Multi-Purpose Social Service Society (TMSSS) of the diocese.

In its order issued to RUC on February 9, the home ministry said that it had violated the provisions of Foreign Contributions Regulations Act (FCRA).

The order said acceptance of foreign contribution by the association is likely to “prejudicially affect public interest” and therefore it is prohibited to receive foreign contribution.

In the case of TDA and TMSSS too, the home ministry only informed the diocese that their accounts would be examined “as there were reasons to believe” that FCRA provisions were violated.

While many fishermen protesting against the nuclear plant belong to the Tuticorin diocese, TDA spokesperson Fr William Santhanam said they had not undertaken any activity in Koodankulam recently.

RUC secretary Maria James said after completing post-tsunami relief activities in March 2007, they had “not gone to the area with any scheme.’’

– indian express

Tamil Nadu: Two Catholic NGOs blamed in anti-nuclear protest *77 NGOs under government scanner

March 2, 2012 by  
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nuclear-plantTamil Nadu, March 01, 2012: The two NGOs involved, the Tuticorin Diocesan Association and the Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society, are headed by Bishop Yvon Ambroise. The government froze their bank accounts, accusing them of using foreign funds to support demonstrations against the construction of the Kudankulam nuclear plant.

“All the funds of Church organisations can be viewed on the Indian cabinet website. There is no ambiguity but absolute transparency,” said Fr William Sadhanam, spokesman for the Tuticorin Diocesan Association and the Tuticorin Multipurpose Social Service Society. He spoke to AsiaNews about two of the four NGOs accused by Tamil Nadu state authorities of diverting funds. Both NGOs are headed by Mgr Yvon Ambroise, bishop of Tuticorin.

Last week, the federal government announced it had frozen the accounts of four NGOs associated with the protest against the Kudankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu state. The other two NGOs are based in Kanyakumari.

Federal Minister of State for Parliamentary Affairs V. Narayanasamy said these NGOs used funds from foreign countries donated for social service causes such as helping the physically handicapped, eradication of leprosy or for religious purposes, but were using them instead in anti-nuclear protests.

Freezing “the diocesan bank accounts [. . .] is completely unjust,” Fr Sadhanam said. “Just because a large number of the protestors against the Koodankulam nuclear plant in Tamil Nadu state are Catholic fishermen,” does not mean that “we are providing financial support as well. This is completely false and baseless. When there was the tsunami, the government requested the assistance of the Church for relief and rehabilitation of thousands of victims, and now, we are being falsely accused.”

Agreed to in 1988, the Kudankalam nuclear plant has been under construction since 1997. But ever since, it has been plagued by delays and grassroots opposition.

On 11 September 2011, 127 people went on a hunger strike in the village of Idinthakarai. After 12 days, they stopped when the state’s chief minister, J. Jayalitha, said he would stop the project. He did not.

– asianews

77 NGOs under government scanner

 

NGOTamil Nadu, March 02, 2012: The move has come in for sharp criticism from the opposition and civil society.

The government of India has placed 77 non-governmental organisations (NGO) under surveillance for allegedly being “hostile to national interests”.

Government intensified its drive against the NGOs following the crackdown on four such organizations allegedly instigating protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.

The government sees the protests as an attempt to stall India’s ambitious nuclear energy programme.

Finance minister Pranab Mukherjee Tuesday directed home ministry officials to monitor the NGOs to check whether they were violating rules that guide funding and mandate their actions.

He was chairing a meeting of the Economic Intelligence Council.

The NGOs, mostly from the US and Europe, will be placed on a watch list with the external affairs ministry asked to ensure visa applications of their members are scanned.

Representatives of the ministry of external affairs said that the list of suspect NGOs drawn by home ministry has been “circulated to Indian missions and posts abroad with an advice to monitor those when they apply for visas”.

Most of the NGOs on the “watch list” receive funding from US and European countries.

Action has been sought against 12 NGOs in Tamil Nadu – apart from the four facing cases for alleged diversion of funds.

The government has, however, refused to divulge names of the NGOs that it says are behind the protest at Tamil Nadu.

The government action has drawn sharp criticism.

The opposition has demanded a statement from the prime minister while civil society activists have decried the government’s strong arm tactics.

However, the NGOs have denied any involvement in the agitation and insist they are involved in charitable work.

Local protests organized at Kudankulam have derailed the commissioning of the first 1000 mw unit of the 4780 mw nuclear power plant.

– timesofindia

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