CSF: What about Christians? Muslims at the bottom of healthcare: Kapil Sibal

October 1, 2012 by  
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Kapil Sibal, minister for HRD, communications and IT

Kapil Sibal, minister for HRD, communications and IT

Uttar Pradesh, September 30, 2012: Kapil Sibal, minister for HRD, communications and IT Saturday said that the Muslim community in India was at the “bottom of the pile” as far as healthcare was concerned.

“It is unfortunate, but health parameters indicate that the Muslim community in India are at the bottom of the pile. We face great challenges in the field of health. Our health services in rural areas are inadequate, availability of doctors and trained health personnel is far from satisfactory, Sibal said while addressing an audience at the Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU).

He added: “The cost of healthcare is creeping up beyond the reach of the common people. Lower level of education and income, which are important social determinants of our nation’s health, also severely affect health outcomes in rural areas as well as amongst the Muslim community.”

Sibal was the chief guest at the ceremony held to observe the golden jubilee of the college.

He also called upon AMU students to play their due role “by coming forward and fulfilling the dreams of their founding father, Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, by playing a lead role in serving their environment through poverty and illness elimination programmes”.

Earlier, Union Minister of Health and Family Welfare Ghulam Nabi Azad inaugurated the Rajiv Gandhi Centre for Diabetes and Endocrinology, built at a cost of Rs.397.81 lakh.

Azad also laid down the foundation stone for the upgradation of Jawaharlal Nehru Medical College hospital under Pradhan Mantri Swasthya Suraksha Yojna (PMSSY), Phase-II at a cost of Rs.150 lakh.

Addressing the golden jubilee celebrations of J.N. Medical College at the Kennedy Auditorium, Azad announced that 19 medical colleges of the country including J.N. Medical College were being upgraded to the level of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences.

He also announced that the Ministry of Health and Family Welfare would provide all financial grants and amenities at par with those of top central government hospitals in New Delhi.

– ians

‘Over 95 lakh Muslim students benefited through scholarships’. The CSF urges Christians to take benefit.

September 12, 2012 by  
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New Delhi, August 23, 2012: The CSF calls upon Christian educational institutions and students to take benefit of these scholarships by referring to the website http://momascholarship.gov.in/ or contact us in case of any difficulty.

New Delhi : More than 95 lakh Muslim children benefitted under the government’s pre-matric scholarship scheme till the end of March this year, the government said.
Minister of State for Minority Affairs Vincent H. Pala gave the information in the Lok Sabha in response to a question. The minister said, “More than 95 lakh Muslim children benefitted under the pre-matric scholarship scheme from inception of the scheme in 2008-09 till the end of the 11th Five Year Plan, i.e 31-03-2012”.

The allocation has been increased by 50 percent during the current year – “from Rs.600 crore in 2011-12 to Rs.900 crore in 2012-13 in order to cover more minority students under the scheme”. In response to another question, the minister said that there was no proposal to increase the number of scholarship schemes for students of minority communities.

He said the working group on the 12th Five Year Plan constituted by the Planning Commission has recommended to make the scholarship schemes “demand driven in order to cover all eligible minority students”. Students can apply online through the Online Scholarship Management System for merit-cum means based scholarship scheme.

– tcn

6,000 Indians & Sri Lankans mark St Anthony’s celeb

March 7, 2012 by  
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Some 6,000 devout Indians and Sri Lankans mark St Anthony's togetherKachchathivem March 4, 2012: Almost 6,000 Indian and Sri Lankan Catholics have taken part in the annual celebration of St Anthony of Padua in the church that bears his name on the island of Kachchathive (Sri Lanka). The Portuguese-born Franciscan is the patron saint of local fishermen and sea people. For the occasion, the Sri Lankan Navy organised a two-day celebration last weekend.

The event gave New Delhi and Colombo an opportunity to renew their bilateral friendship since the island where the festivities were held in the middle of the strait that separates the two nations. As a symbol of this friendship, 40 religious from Sri Lanka and 150 representatives from the Indian Catholic Church in Tamil Nadu co-celebrate Sunday Mass.

As part of its preparations, the Navy fixed the roads and set up sanitary facilities on the island. The authorities also built facilities for drinking water and handed out 6,700 snacks on Saturday evening and 8,000 breakfast packs on Sunday morning.

Participants from India, both lay people and clergy, were grateful to Sri Lankan authorities for the way they were well treated. However, some young people from Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu, were displeased that Indian authorities had allowed only people from their state to take part in the feast.

Coming with a group of 12 people, Arokiam Selva said, “We are happy to see more people than last year, but everyone in India should be free to come.” “It is an important occasion to show solidarity and love to our neighbours,” said Fr Milfer Vaz. Kachchathive Island is located some 24 kilometres from Rameshwaram and 70 from Jaffna.

India ceded it in 1974 when it signed an agreement with Sri Lanka demarcating the maritime border. Under the terms of the accord, Indian fishermen can fish in the area. Indian Pilgrims can also visit the Chapel of St Anthony without a visa or Sri Lanka’s permission. The original chapel was built in 1806 and expanded into a church in 1828.

Most islanders are fishermen and pray to St Anthony, their patron saint. For them, the days of 3 and 4 March are one of the most important moments of the year.

– asianews

Pak non-Muslims urge to revise textbooks

November 15, 2011 by  
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Pak non-Muslims urge to revise textbooksPakistan, November 11, 2011: Catholics urging education reform have hailed yesterday’s US commission report on religious intolerance in schools in Pakistan.

“We totally agree with the findings of the US Commission on International Religious Freedom. Our surveys have also pointed the prejudices and biased in textbooks; a major factor in prevalent wave of terrorism”, said Anjum James Paul, chairman of the Pakistan Minorities Teachers’ Association PMTA based in Samundri, Faisalabad diocese.

The study states that text books in Pakistani schools foster prejudice and intolerance of Hindus and other religious minorities, while most teachers view non-Muslims as “enemies of Islam.

Researchers this year visited 37 public schools and and 19 madrassas (Islamic seminaries) to interview pupils and teachers.

The PMTA has been struggling for the rights of non Muslims students for seven years and has sent numerous recommendations to government officials for a balanced syllabus.

Paul referred to “maximum emphasis on Islamic way of life” in compulsory subjects taught from first to tenth grade. “There is disinformation, disrespect and propagation against religions other than Islam in the textbooks of Pakistan”, he added.

Although non-Muslim students can opt for ethics instead of compulsory Islamic studies in pre-high school examinations, Catholic institutes prefer to teach Islam for better scores and competent teachers.

Heads of Catholic, Church of Pakistan and United Presbyterian Churches and the Salvation Army have already submitted a unanimous catechism syllabus for Christian students to the government last year. The Catholic Bishop’s National Commission for Justice and Peace (NCJP) is following up the education policy.

“We had to revise our strategy when the government refused to meet our demand for exclusion

of religious education. Non-Muslim students should be given an opportunity to learn their respective faiths”, said Yousaf Benjamin, coordinator of NCJP.

– ucan

Colorful tribute to Mother Teresa

October 25, 2011 by  
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A painting of Mother Teresa by Ritu SinghWest Bengal, October 25, 2011: A Kolkata-based painter held a week-long solo exhibition on Mother Teresa in the City of Joy.

Ritu Singh documented Mother Teresa’s selfless work for the poorest of the poor through her 45 paintings executed over a period of almost 50 years. An artist and a long-time associate of Mother Teresa, Singh organized the exhibition to mark her 101st birth anniversary. Though the entire exhibition, which concluded yesterday, was a ‘shraddhanjali’ to Blessed Teresa, one of her paintings has an offering of flowers at Mother’s feet as she enters Singh’s home.

Viewers at the gallery were surprised to see Mother Teresa in a series of 12 paintings depicting the zodiac signs. Another painting has Mother Teresa amidst clouds to signify that she is leaving the world and going to heaven. A painting titled ‘Prarthana’ (prayer) captures Mother in a meditative mood wearing a crown of thorns.

“It is symbolic to show that she was surrounded by agony,” Singh said.

One of the paintings (Come Be My Light) was presented to Pope John Paul II at the Vatican on October 19, 2003, on the occasion of Mother’s beatification. Another painting shows the transformation of Mother Teresa from a stern sister running a school to an ever-smiling mother. All paintings are done in mixed media – ink, acrylic, pastel, charcoal and thin oil and make portraits of Mother come with a glaze finish.

“I grew up with Mother right from when I was a nine-year-old. It is a special mother-daughter relationship. Every day with the Mother was like a miracle,” Singh said.

“My mother would often accompany Mother Teresa to slums and I would be left behind at the Mother House, under the supervision of the sisters. I was always looked upon as Mother’s daughter. As I waited for my mother to return, I would sketch Mother and the sisters. That’s how I developed a passion for art and later took it up as a profession,” she added.

– cm paul

Prelate advises high standards for nurses

October 20, 2011 by  
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Holy Cross coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addresses Catholic nurses at a seminar in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Holy Cross coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addresses Catholic nurses at a seminar in Dhaka, Bangladesh

Bangladesh, October 17, 2011:  An archbishop in Dhaka, Bangladesh, has urged Catholic nurses to uphold Church teachings and maintain good standards in their professional lives during a seminar held over the weekend.

Holy Cross Coadjutor Archbishop Patrick D’Rozario addressed 65 male and female nurses at the event marking World Standards Day on October 15 at the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of Bangladesh in the capital.

“Catholic nurses render pastoral care through their health service to patients. We thank you for your frontline contributions but would like to call upon you to deliver better services in line with Church teachings.”

The prelate further spoke about the general role of Catholics in the country’s health care institutions.

“The Church fully acknowledges your great efforts … and believes you can improve on the delivery of your services. I would like you to maintain and step up your efforts as we have seen in other institutions that standards have fallen.”

Archbishop D’Rozario told nurses to call on priests to administer pastoral care or the sacraments for their terminal patients and advised nurses of other faiths to do the same for their patients by calling on other religious leaders.

Teresa Rebeiro, 73, president of the Bangladesh Catholic Nurses Guild, said that while nurses in the country have improved their academic and technical proficiency, there is still a concern about a decline in the standards of health care.

“In various hospitals and clinics, Christian nurses have taken major roles and have earned a reputation for their service. If they work well, others will follow their lead.”

Fulkumari Rozario, 40, an attendee of the seminar and a practicing nurse, said the archbishop’s advice was useful.

“I have learned today that attending to a patient’s needs is more than a professional duty. It is also a spiritual duty. Even under unfavorable conditions, I will try to evaluate my patients’ states of mind more accurately and encourage others to do the same.”

There are about 12,000 Catholic nurses working in the country, and about 4,000 of them are employed in various health institutions in Dhaka, according to data from the guild.

– ucan

Two young girls rescued from a brothel in India

October 20, 2011 by  
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James Varghese, founder of the Indian Rescue Mission

James Varghese, founder of the Indian Rescue Mission, with some of the girls who had been rescued earlier

Maharashtra, October 16, 2011: Two young girls who were trapped in a prostitution ring in a red light area in Pune, India, were rescued by a Christian organization, the Indian Rescue Mission, along with the social security cell of Pune police on Thursday, October 13, 2011.
Acting on a tip by from Indian Rescue Mission about the presence two minor girls in a brothel, the local police, along with the activists of the Indian Rescue Mission, raided the brothel and rescued girls named Roopa (16) and Gowri (17).
In the operation, the manager of the brothel was arrested.
In the statement given by Gowri after the rescue operation, she said that she was brought to India with the “false promise” of a job and finally landed in a brothel in Pune. She was sold by the agent to a brothel owner and was kept there forcefully.
James Varghese, founder of the Indian Rescue Mission, said, “One of the rescued girls, Gowri, was trafficked from Bangladesh and she was made to attend customers by force and if she denied them then she would be beaten. She was kept in captivity for four months.”
He went on to say, “The other girl was also trafficked from a city in Maharashtra to Pune’s red light district. We received the information that they both had been forced into prostitution and hence we decided to rescue them.
“The police have sent them for a medical examination, after which they will be sent to a shelter home for rehabilitation and for self-employment training,” Varghese added.
The police are trying to ascertain the identity of the persons on who trafficked the girls.
The Indian Rescue Mission has so far rescued hundreds of girls from their terrible life and has set them free.

– jacob philip (assist news service)

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