A prayer for when you’re hurting: 10 verses of comfort for tough times

September 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

10 Verses for when you feel broken, for those in need of comfort:
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.” Ps. 147:3

“The Lord is near to the brokenhearted and saves the crushed in spirit.” Ps. 34:18

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says,
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

God is Good

“I believe I will see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.
Wait on the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait on the Lord.” Ps. 27:13-14

“Blessed be God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies, and the God of all comfort,
who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble
by the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.” 2 Cor. 1:3-4

“Do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you, I will help you, yes,
I will uphold you with My righteous right hand.” Is. 41:10

Cling to God

“He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness.
By his wounds you have been healed.” 1 Pet. 2:24

“Cast your burden on the Lord, and he will sustain you; he will never permit the righteous to be moved.” Ps. 55:22

“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me,
for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” Matt. 11:28-30

God’s warranty

“But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses,
so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Cor. 12:9

Know that He loves you,
He cares about what you’re walking through, every single thing.

God and Man

And He hasn’t left you, not ever.
Praying that you’ll have a fresh glimpse of His Presence
as He’s bringing you through, to the other side of the grief.

” There’s more in store…
He has good for you…and whispers hope “.

- fwd: susamma mathews

Boston event links Black Liberation and Palestinian movements with the Anti-Caste Struggle

September 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Anti-Caste-StruggleBoston, September 21, 2015: The #DalitWomenFight United States tour reached Boston on Saturday, September 19th, 2015 with a panel titled “Dalit Women Fight – Moving Beyond Caste Apartheid” at Encuentro5, a collaborative project and space for progressive movement building in downtown. An estimated 70 people attended.

The speakers were Yamila Shannan – a Harvard educated Palestinian teacher and activist, Nina LaNegra – an Afro-Mexican-Indigenous leader who produces a long-standing Boston-based radio show and open mic, and Brandi Artez, an activist with #blacklivesmatter and Mass Coalition Against Police Brutality. They were joined by Asha Kowtal, Vee Kay, Manisha Mashaal and Anjum Singh from the Dalit Women Fight collective, who are promoting awareness about and fighting caste-based sexual violence against women in India. The panel was moderated by Dolly Arjun, a Boston based activist and member of Survivor Theater Project.

Yamila Shannan said from her experience with oppressive systems in Palestine, the U.S. and Latin America, those in power build an ideology of the ‘other’ – and give it different names but the power group themselves remain nameless and are never a subject of study. In this way the powerful want to remain unnamed because their culture, ideology, and way of life are the “normal,” and so the ‘other’ is abnormal. In this system everything that the oppressed group does is subject to comment, analysis, scrutiny, and diagnosis and are often blamed for their plight. However, the power group escapes the same scrutiny because they are ‘the normal’. She said this invisibility and normalization is ‘perfect power.’

Dr. Shannan also cautioned that the role of the state in oppressive systems is sometimes overlooked or underestimated or sometimes oppressed groups look to the state for justice; the same state that sanctions their oppression. She reminded that the key functions of the state (health, schooling, housing, judiciary, policing, etc.) are in hands of the powerful groups and are thus designed and administered in ways that make it inevitable that the benefits of access to those resources accrues to those groups. Emphasizing the centrality of land ownership as a key course and indicator of power, Dr. Shannan argued that calling the judicial system a ‘justice’ system masks the role of the law and the state in creating and sustaining oppressive systems and structures.

Vee Kay, who is a transnational activist with All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch, and is coordinating the North American Self-Respect tour, explained that caste originated in Hindu scripture in Rig Veda which describes that Brahmins were formed from head and Dalits from feet. She said hierarchy is intrinsic in this system. She explained that knowledge, wealth, power and land are concentrated in the top of the caste hierarchy even though they are a numerical minority.

Nina LaNegra shared that as a practicing Buddhist for last 40 years she was horrified to see a system like caste which does not even believe in the basic principle that all humans are equal. She continued that it was sad to see that Buddhism which believed in equality was overthrown by Hinduism in India and caste was introduced in the land where Buddhism was born. Ms. La Negra said that maintaining independent self-identity of oppressed groups is a crucial part of the struggle and was interested in learning more about the ‘Mulnivasi’ or ‘original inhabitant’ discourse in the anti-caste movement.

Asha Kowtal said that they have been working on sexual caste atrocity cases for the last four years and are confronted repeatedly with systematic caste bias in India’s judiciary and law enforcement system from the top to the bottom. She stated that while the SC/ST Prevention of Atrocity Act was a progressive law passed 25 years ago, the conviction rate for cases of violence against Dalits remains less than one percent. Dalit women continue to face direct threats, harassment, negligence, and non-cooperation from the law enforcement and judiciary. She said that they were now at a crucial juncture and thinking about how to proceed because the legal system is proving time and again to be hostile and unable to serve the quest for minimum justice for those who have experienced the brutalities of caste-based sexual violence.

Ms. Kowtal added that being a Dalit woman multiplies the effect of belonging to only one category. She said that the feminist movement In India primarily articulates the concerns of upper-caste women and the caste question is never seriously on the agenda. Similarly, within the Dalit movement, she said that the caste-gender intersection was often invisibilized.

Brandi Artez from Black Lives Matter Boston said that she was inspired by the Dalit women led movement in India and hoped that Black Women could form such national movements to articulate their interests independently. She said Black Women’s concerns are often not given proper space in the movement. She emphasized that a member of an oppressed group can behave in oppressive manners too. She said that as a Black woman the oppression from the system was very similar to the stories of Dalit women in that their communities were subjected to ideological violence because the dominant culture is attempting to erase their history permanently.

Manisha Mashaal, a state leader, said that she became involved when there were incidents on 40 gang rape cases of Dalit women and girls reported over a period of only 1 month in Haryana. She was shocked to find that in most of the cases even a simple FIR (First Information Report) has not been filed by the police and the families were living in fear. In one case, to persuade the authorities to conduct, what should have been a routine autopsy, on a Dalit girl who was raped and killed they had to protest for seven whole days. She contrasted this to the Delhi rape case of a dominant-caste girl that elicited international outcry and coverage and where the body was flown to an international hospital for autopsy.

Anjum Singh described working in remote areas in Uttar Pradesh where extreme caste-based feudal systems prevailed. There were entire villages where there was not a single person of any age who was literate and in these areas there was extreme vulnerability to sexual violence from dominant castes.

Both young activists described many instances where they were threatened and intimidated by dominant castes collaborating with police who followed them constantly. Their vehicles had been attacked and they operate in a climate of fear even to go on a fact-finding mission after an atrocity case. However, Ms. Mashaal said that she was not prepared to stay at home out of fear and that if she was killed tomorrow she would rather die as a leader than as a victim. She also said that if she is killed for speaking up about caste-based atrocities in India she hopes that before she dies she will inspire a thousand other such Manishas to raise their voices.

The panel was followed by a question and answer session where attendees wanted to learn more about the caste system and other aspects of Dalit struggles. The standing-room only audience was diverse and the majority was not South Asian. Audience members were visibly moved and many stayed afterwards interacting one-on-one with panelists. Critically acclaimed Pulitzer Prize-winning Dominican-American writer, MIT Professor, and MacArthur “Genius” Fellow Junot Díaz was also in the audience and expressed his admiration and support for the panelists. Díaz said that the event was “profoundly important on one level – a master class in the kind of community education and solidarity building that keeps so many of us alive in our communities, but also for the important knowledge about Dalit Women’s struggles without which I am not sure one can really understand what’s going on in the “Shining India”.

The event was locally co-sponsored by the Association for India’s Development Boston, Dorchester People for Peace, FANG North East, Grassroots International, Haley House, Survivor Theater Project and Activist Calendar, who provided financial, logistical and outreach support, and co-organized by Pampi and Loreto Paz Ansaldo, local community artists, activists and educators.

- tcn

Gulf states refuse to open doors to Syrian Muslim refugees

September 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-asia

Muslim refugeesSeptember 21, 2015: As Europe begins to respond to the need to provide safe shelter for Syrian refugees escaping a brutal conflict, many are beginning to ask why wealthy Gulf states are refusing to accept any refugees, despite the religious, cultural and geographical proximity. “Surely,” wrote Lord Carey in an article published in The Telegraph on 5 September, “if [Gulf States] are concerned for fellow Muslims who prefer to live in Muslim-majority countries, then they have a moral responsibility to intervene.”

Arab nations in the Gulf Cooperation Council (Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman and UAE) have taken extremely few, if any, refugees from Syria – “and this,” said Geoffrey Mock, Syria specialist for Amnesty International USA, “is shameful”.

None of these Arab countries are signatories of the 1951 United Nations Refugee Convention, and to enter them Syrians must be in possession of a tourist visa or a work permit. Saudi Arabia has accepted around 500,000 Syrians since 2011, according to the BBC, but all of these have entered with visas or because of family connections. The only Arab countries that will accept Syrian refugees without a visa are Algeria, Mauritania, Sudan and Yemen.

Gulf states have responded to criticism by pointing out the millions of US dollars of aid they have given to support refugees living in camps. In total, Gulf nations have given US$900 million from charities and private individuals.

Donations to the United Nations Syria response fund show that Saudi Arabia has given US$18.4 million this year so far and Kuwait US$305 million; the US has given US$1 billion and the UK US$475 million.

The Gulf states are some of the wealthiest nations in the world, much more so than the countries that neighbour Syria, which are accommodating millions of Syrian refugees. Jordan has taken in 630,000 refugees despite the fact that the average income is 13 times higher in the Gulf state of Qatar.

The majority of Syrian refugees are Sunni Muslims, as are most people in the Gulf nations. But Gulf countries are concerned about the potential threat to security should Syrian refugees supportive of Bashar al-Assad enter their countries with the intention of carrying out revenge attacks. Gulf nations have backed rebel groups fighting Assad’s regime in Syria, which is supported by Iran, a Shiite Muslim regime.

Gulf nations are also concerned about the social impact of accepting an influx of Syrian refugees where so much of their resident populations is made up of migrant workers. In the smaller Gulf states of UAE and Qatar, nationals make up around just 10% of the population.

Cultural identity is controlled through the strict control of the non-Arab resident population. Visas are granted only to those who have work permits and their spouses. As soon as the work contract terminates, residents are obliged to leave the country. It is almost impossible for migrant workers to obtain nationality.

Criticism of the Gulf countries’ stance has even begun to emerge from within, particularly in recent days as heart-wrenching pictures of desperate Syrian refugees permeate the global media.

Saudi Arabia’s Makkah Newspaper published a cartoon depicting two closed doors: at one, a woman dressed in rags and carrying a baby in her arms, kneels begging for the door to open. This door opens the way to Europe: the yellow stars of the European Union flag circle the tiny window. At the other, an Arab man looks out of the window and shouts angrily at the Europeans to let the woman in. His own door, however, remains firmly shut and barbed wire prevents the desperate woman from even getting close.

“The Gulf must realise that now is the time to change their policy regarding accepting refugees from the Syria crisis,” said Arab expert Sultan Sooud al-Qassemi. “It is the moral, ethical and responsible step to take.” Few, however, expect the Gulf nations to relent.

Owaisi asks government to spell out its stand on RSS chief’s statement

September 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

RSS meet in BangaloreHyderabad, September 21, 2015: : Asserting that reservations to other backward classes (OBCs) can’t be discontinued at all, MIM president Asaduddin Owaisi on Monday asked the Narendra Modi government to make its stand clear on the statement by RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat.

He said the true face of the government was slowly coming out as it wants Hindu consolidation to ensure that OBC reservation and other reservation comes down.

“We would like to know what is Modi government’s policy on the statement given by the RSS chief who is ideological guru of all swayamsevaks including the prime minister,” the Hyderabad MP said while reacting to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) chief’s statement.

Owaisi said calling for a review of reservation policy was convenient way of saying that reservation should be discontinued to OBCs. “This can’t be done at all,” he said.

The Majlis-e-Ittehadul Muslimeen (MIM) leader challenged the Modi government to release caste census. “The whole world will come to know what is the actual reality and then OBCs will decide.”

He also wanted to know why the government was opposing promotions to Dalits in government employment.

Bhagwat has called for a review of the reservation policy in the country, contending it has been used for political ends. He suggested that an apolitical committee be set up to examine who needs the facility and for how long.

- tcn

Wakf income can solve all problems of minorities: Heptulla

September 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

WakfHyderabad, September 21, 2015: Minority Affairs Minister Najma Heptulla on Monday said the income generated from Wakf properties across the country can help solve all problems faced by the minorities regarding their development.

She told media persons here that an annual income of Rs.12,000 crore as estimated by the Sachar Committee in its 2006 report will ensure implementation of the schemes without imposing a burden on the government.

She said the Sachar Committee in its report stated that Wakf property is spread over six lakh acres across the country.

As many Wakf properties were encroached, a bill to remove the encroachemnts and develop them is pending in parliament.

Heptulla exuded confidence that the bill will be passed in the winter session or the budget session.

“I will speak to M. Venkaiah Naidu (parliamentary affairs minister) to list the bill in the coming session. If not this session, the bill will definitely be passed in the budget session,” she said.

She said the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Social Justice and Empowerment, to which the bill was referred, recently gave its report.

To deal with the problem of encroachments firmly, the panel recommended increasing imprisonment of up to three years and a fine of up to Rs.1 lakh for encroachers on Wakf property.

She said the department was implementing various schemes for the development of minorities in tune with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s slogan of ‘sab ka saath, sab ka vikas’.

While her ministry was working for all six minority communities, the focus was on Muslims as they are the largest in number and most backward, she said.

She pointed out that the Sachar Committee in its report said the condition of Muslims was worse than that of Dalits.

Targetting the Congress party, she said the Muslims were worst victims of the excesses committed by the party.

She denied that attacks on minorities have increased since the BJP-led NDA came to power last year. “There has not been a single attack or a riot. This is all in your mind,” she said in reply to a query.

- tcn

Islamic State militants issue dhimma contract for kidnapped Syrian Christians

September 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-world

Syrian ChristiansSyria, September 17, 2015: According to classical Islam, Christians and Jews as well as some other non-Muslim groups, are labelled dhimmi, which means “protected”. As such, they are allowed to live in the Muslim community and practise their religion. However, the protection extended to dhimmi goes only so far as to say that they will not be forced to convert to Islam, leave their homes, or be killed (a protection that is not offered to pagan communities). Moreover, dhimmi are forced to live with second-class status, subjected to humiliating restrictions on their freedoms and forced to pay a poll tax known as jizya.

Barnabas Fund is deeply distressed at the news that on 3 September Islamic State (IS) militants posted a photograph on the Islamist forum Shumoukh Al-Islam showing captured Christians in the seized town of Qaryatain, in Syria, signing a dhimma contract that listed eleven articles. The Assyrian International News Agency (AINA) confirmed the next day that IS had released 15 Christians who had signed the contract and paid the mandatory jizya tribute.

Around 260 Christians were kidnapped on 6 August as jihadists captured the town and hunted out its Christian population. Dozens of the Christians were taken to Raqqa, the so-called capital of IS territory. On 2 September, militants gave those who remained 48 hours to decide whether they would convert to Islam, pay the jizya tribute, or leave.

These are the eleven articles of the dhimma contract that Qaryatain’s Christians were forced to sign by the jihadists who seized their city and hunted out its Christians.

1. Christians may not build churches, monasteries, or hermitages in the city or in the surrounding areas.

2. They may not show the cross or any of their books in the Muslims’ streets or markets, and may not use amplifiers when worshipping or during prayer.

3. They may not make Muslims hear the reciting of their books or the sounds of church bells, which must be rung only inside their churches.

4. They may not carry out any act of aggression against IS, such as giving refuge to spies and wanted men. If they come to know of any plot against Muslims, they must report it.

5. They must not perform religious rituals in public.

6. They must respect Muslims and not criticise their religion.

7. Wealthy Christians must pay an annual jizya of four gold dinars (about £364; €500; US$560); middle-class Christians must pay two gold dinars (about £182; €250; US$280), and the poor must pay one (about £91; €125; US$140). Christians must disclose their income, and may split the jizya into two payments.

8. They may not own guns.

9. They may not engage in commercial activity involving pigs or alcohol with Muslims or in Muslim markets, and may not drink alcohol in public.

10. They may maintain their own cemeteries.

11. They must abide by IS dress code and commerce guidelines.

- dr. patrick sookhdeo

Pastor Craig Groeschel shares 8 biblical reasons to be optimistic

September 24, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

optimisticSeptember 21, 2015: Pastor Craig Groeschel of LifeChurch.tv started a new sermon series called “Stay Positive,” and shared in his first message on Sunday eight reasons for believers to be optimistic in life based on what God says in just one chapter in the book of Romans in the New Testament.

“There’s an epidemic of negativity around the world,” Groeschel said after he introduced the new series, in which the description reads: “Cynicism and negativity may be the easy choice, but they’re not the best choice. If you seek what’s good, you’ll see what’s good. Let’s embrace the way we’re created to think and stay positive.”

The pastor said he also needs this message, as he can also easily drift into negativity. The series will look into biblical qualities of optimism, gratitude, encouragement, generosity, enthusiasm and confidence, he added.

Some are naturally optimistic, while others are naturally pessimistic, Groeschel told the congregants. An optimist would read the verse, “My cup overflows,” and say, “The Lord is blessing me.” And a pessimist would say after reading the verse that there’s going to be more mess today.

It’s true that many things are going wrong today, but there are also many things that are going right, the pastor said.

“You always find what you look for,” Groeschel added, and quoted Proverbs 11:27, “If you search for good, you will find favor; but if you search for evil, it will find you.”

However, he cautioned, “I’m not optimistic based on what I feel. I’m optimistic based on what God says.”

The pastor then shared eight reasons from just one chapter in the book of Romans why he is optimistic, just as all believers should be.

One, my sins are forgiven and my eternity is secure, he said, quoting Romans 8:1-2, “Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death.”

“This makes me eternally optimistic,” the pastor said.

Two, Jesus is at the right hand of God praying for me, Groeschel added, and read out Romans 8:34, “Christ Jesus who died — more than that, who was raised to life — is at the right hand of God and is also interceding for us.”

Jesus knows what we go through as He also lived on Earth, the pastor explained, adding that it gives him immense confidence to know that Jesus is praying for him.

Three, my future victory is grater than my present pain. God is going to sharpen us to conform us to the image of His Son through what we are going through right now, Groeschel explained, and quoted Romans 8:18, “I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us.”

Four, my mind is filled with the peace of God, the pastor said, based on Romans 8:6, “The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace.”

God’s Word renews our mind, helping us experience peace, he explained.

Five, if God is for me, who can be against me? The pastor quoted Romans 8:31, 33, “Who will bring any charge against those whom God has chosen? … It is God who justifies.”

If you live boldly as a Christian, people would ridicule you and persecute you, but since God is with you, all those things do not matter, Groeschel said.

Six, God’s Spirit helps me in my weakness, the pastor shared, and quoted Romans 8:24-26, “Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently. In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness.”

When we are weak, we get to know God in a more intimate way because it is His strength that carries us, he explained.

Seven, my God is working everything in my life for good, Groeschel said. He read out Romans 8:28, “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”

Eight, nothing can separate me from the love of God, Groeschel said, and quoted Romans 8:38, 39, “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, not any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

You cannot outrun God’s love and cause it to stop, he stressed, and stated that our God is too good for us to be negative in life.

- christian post

10 daily habits to stop back pain

September 21, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

1. Sleep With a Pillow Under Your Knees

Elevating your legs slightly relieves pressure on your back as you sleep.
Sleeping on your back puts an estimated 55 pounds of pressure on your spine.
By placing a pillow under your knees, you can cut that pressure in half.

back pain

2. Up Your Calcium and Vitamin D Intake

Strong bones can help prevent osteoporosis,
one of the most common causes of back pain later in life, particularly for women.
Keep the bones in your spine strong by consuming plenty of calcium and vitamin D,
whether in milk, yogurt, leafy greens, or vitamin supplements.
However, always consult you doctor before taking any kind of supplement.

3. Work Your Core

The numerous health benefits of exercise are well known,
but a regular strength training routine that focuses on the core muscles of the body
can also help reduce your risk of back-related incidents, such as strains and muscle spasms.
For a stronger, more flexible back, try to incorporate some sort of back
and abdominal strengthening exercise into your workout at least twice a week.

Back Pain

4. Change Your Shoes

Comfortable, low-heeled shoes are best bets for back pain prevention
as they reduce the strain on the back while standing.
Sorry ladies—pumps with less than a one-inch heel are the best bet for your back.

5. Straighten Up

Good posture isn’t just a way to look more proper.
It protects the intricate pieces of your spine to keep them functioning and healthy.
Bad posture puts strain and stress on the back and, over time,
can actually change the architecture of the spine itself.
Avoid rounding your shoulders, slouching, or bending sideways while standing.

6. Don’t Slump Over Your Desk

When sitting in your office chair,
use the same good posture techniques you would use while standing.
Because many of us spend hours each day sitting down,
it is absolutely critical that you maintain good posture and support your back.
Choose a quality chair that provides firm support in the lower back area,
and make sure your knees are a little higher than your hips when you sit.

back pain

7. Mingle

Whether you are at an office party or a bar for happy hour,
avoid sitting in an awkward position or standing in one place. Instead, move around the room.
This prevents undue pressure on the spine, a result of standing in one place for too long.

8. Put Out That Cigarette

We all know smoking is a serious health risk, but numerous studies have found
that smokers are also more likely than nonsmokers to experience back pain,
particularly later in life.
One reason for the higher risk is that nicotine restricts the blood flow to the spine’s disks,
and this can cause them to dry out, crack, or rupture.
Smoking also reduces the amount of oxygen in the blood thus reducing nourishment
for the muscles and tendons in the back.
An unhealthy, weak back is more vulnerable to accidental strains
and pulls that cause back pain.

back pain

9. Lighten Your Load

Back pain is frequently caused by improper or heavy lifting,
but it doesn’t happen only to those lifting heavy boxes on the job.
Carrying a bulky laptop bag, suitcase, camera,
or load of groceries could also cause a sudden strain on the back.

Whenever possible, take some weight off your shoulders by carrying less,
distributing the weight to both sides of the body,
or shifting the weight from shoulder to shoulder to give each side a rest.
For heavier loads, such as bags of groceries or boxes of files,
consider using a rolling cart or bag with wheels.

10. Stretch

Standing, sitting, or lying down in one place for an extended amount of time
may be a necessary part of life, but it is not healthy for your back.
Relieve the strain of the day whenever you can by getting up,
walking around, and doing some simple stretches.
This will help keep the blood flowing through the bones and muscles of your back
and ease away any strains or aches caused by inactivity.

- fwd: vc mathews

Catholic cemetery vandalized in Belgaum

September 21, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Catholic cemetery vandalized in BelgaumBelagavi, September 9, 2015: Vandals have attacked a Catholic cemetery in Belgaum breaking and uprooting over a dozen crosses installed atop graves.

Some of the graves inside the cemetery in Bharatnagar of Shahapur had also been damaged and a waiting room inside the cemetery was found burnt. Empty liquor bottles and other material were found littered in the room, the Hindu newspaper reported.

The incident came to light on Monday morning when a group of people went to the cemetery to prepare a grave for a deceased person. The matter was brought to the notice of the Christian priests and community leader and the police.

Police in Shahapur have registered a case and launched investigation.

Bishop Peter Machado of Belgaum said the incident had hurt the community, which treats its cemetery as the “second holiest place, after the church”. “Yet, he prayed that God forgive the perpetrators of this dastardly act,” he said.

He also said that he expected the Belgaum City Corporation to provide proper fencing to the cemetery.

- the hindu

Bangladeshi, Pakistani minorities can stay in India after visa expiry

September 21, 2015 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Minority refugees from Pakistan and Bangladesh can stay back in IndiaNew Delhi, September 8, 2015: India on Monday decided, on humanitarian grounds, to exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities, who entered the country on or before December 31 last year, to stay in the country, even after expiry of their visas, an official statement said.

“The central govennment has decided, on humanitarian considerations, to exempt Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities who have entered into India on or before December 31, 2014 from the relevant provisions of rules and order made under the Passport (Entry into India) Act, 1920 and the Foreigners Act, 1946, in respect of their entry and stay in India without such documents or after the expiry of those documents, as the case may be,” the home ministry statement said.

It said the central government has accordingly issued two notifications in the official gazette on Monday under the two acts, adding that there were reports that a number of Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals belonging to minority communities, such as Hindus, Sikhs, Christians, Jains, Parsis and Buddhists, in those countries were compelled to seek shelter in India due to religious persecution or fear of religious persecution.

“They have entered into India either without any valid document including passport/other travel document or with valid documents but the validity of such document has expired. The issue of regularization of entry and stay of such Bangladeshi and Pakistani nationals in India has been under consideration of the central government,” the release said.

- ians

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