Protesters under under Sanyukt Sangarsh Samiti supported by CPI(M) said that all education institutions will be kept shut on July 1 and that they would call for state bandh on July 8 following continuous protests across state.
Police is yet to arrest anyone for the June 19 sexual assault on the nun in her bed room in a small medical facility in Raipur.
Communist Party of India (Marxist) leader Dharamraj Mahapatra told media in a briefingon Monday that attitude of state government and police has been extremely disappointing.
“After closure of schools on July 1, we would call for state-wide massive protest on July 4in each district. On July 13, the committee will call for state/ capital bandh if the accused aren’t arrested,” the committee member said.
Condemning the incident of rape, Sanyunkt Sangharsh Samiti was formed on June 24 by nearly 45 social organizations for justice for nun. In joint associations of All India Women Democratic Association, Communist Party of India (Marxist), Student Federation of India, Insurance Union of Working Women, Raipur division, Democratic Youth Federation Of India, state Christian Forum, United Trade Union Council of Raipur, Nadi Ghati Morcha, and advocates, people have come together to protest against atrocities on nuns and women.
“We have come to know that police were acting lenient in the case and their investigation as the spot of crime hasn’t been sealed yet, nor survivor’s belongings, which could give them clues, were seized by the police. Neither there is any record being maintained by the police of the materials seized nor the medical tests which was done on June 20 soon after the incident was conducted by expert doctors,” Mahapatra said.
“All religious places should be provided with security personnel to prevent untoward incidents and maintain a fearless atmosphere in city,” he added.
Talking to TOI, Raipur SP BN Mina said that more than 200 people under have been interrogated and the case was under investigation. “One forensic report will be out byTuesday. Another team had gone to the spot on Monday for more findings. We can’t act lenient in the case due to its seriousness.”
Hindu radicals threaten to ‘burn’ Indian pastor alive, wipe congregation from town following church attack
Kerala, June 30, 2015: Following a mid-June attack on a Christian church in the Indian town of Attingal in Kerala state, Hindu radicals have threatened to wipe out a Christian congregation and burn the church’s pastor if they continue to worship and pray in there.
According to International Christian Concern, a U.S.-based Christian persecution monitoring organization, a mob of 200 angry Hindus surrounded the Reaching the World with Love Ministries Church in Attingal on June 14, while about 400 congregants were in the middle of their Sunday worship service.
As the large mob shouted loud Hindu chants, including “Bharat Mathaki” [Hail Mother India], the congregation’s pastor, known by the name Shiju, told ICC that 30 Hindus broke into the worship hall, charged at him while he was preaching and began beating him down and caused him internal injuries.
“I was literally terrified. I did not know what was going on, as a mob of 30 people advanced toward me while I was preaching the message,” Shiju explained. “They hit me in the face and then kicked me all over the body. They first targeted me and then the congregation. I had to flee and ran away from the church, as I could make out that I was their prime target.”
The attacks and threats on churches and Christians, like the altercation in Attingal, have become increasingly common throughout India since the election of Prime Minister Narendra Modi in May of 2014, ICC’s Regional Manager for South Asia, William Stark, told The Christian Post.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first year in power has marked a very difficult year for Christians in India,” Stark wrote in an email. “The anti-Christian and anti-minority activities of radical Hindu nationalist groups across India has seen a dramatic escalation.”
Stark added that although it is uncertain whether the election of Modi and his Bharatiya Janata Party-led National Democratic Alliance has encouraged the increase in Hindu persecution of Christians, radical Hindus have benefited from little to no government punishment for their actions.
“The culture of impunity these radicals enjoy under the current government has only encouraged more intolerance and violence,” Stark asserted. “To put things in perspective, it took nine months and two public admonishments from President Obama to get Prime Minister Modi to even speak out on the issue of growing religious intolerance in his country.”
An ICC report states that after turning their attention away from pastor Shiju, the Hindus then attacked members of the congregation.
One 40-year-old woman named Girija suffered a broken finger, as one Hindu tried to bash her head in with his motorcycle helmet. Fortunately, she was able to escape without suffering any other major injuries.
Although the congregants attempted to flee from the violence, there was still a large crowd of Hindu radicals waiting for them outside the church. One of the church members was able to escape and went to the nearby police station to report the attack. However, it took over 30 minutes for the police department to respond.
After the congregants fled from the building, radicals desecrated the church by destroying the pulpit, technical equipment and a table displaying communion elements for worship.
In the wake of the attack, the Christians in the town organized a protest to condemn the attack, which was attended by over 500 the area’s Christians and some local legislatures in a show of solidarity for the suffering ministry.
Amid the the Christians’ protest, a group called the Hindu United Front staged a counterprotest where they threatenethe church with “dire consequences” if they dared meet again for worship, according to an eyewitness.
“The Hindu radicals are gathering almost every day since the attack in Attingal took place. The slogans on the placards that read ‘wiping Christians away from the town’ was a huge threat to the Christians of the area,” the witness explained. “The Hindu radicals vowed to burn pastor Shiju if he continued the church in Attingal.”
With Kerala state having a 40 percent Christian population, the fact that Hindu-incited persecution is rising in places with such large religious minority populations is alarming, Stark contended.
“Under previous governments, most anti-Christian violence happened in India’s rural areas. Now, we are seeing more incidents spread to India’s major cities, even the capital New Delhi,” Stark told CP.
“Over the past year, we have noticed most attacks on Christians have taken place in Uttar Pradesh, Andhra Pradesh, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, and Telangana. That is not to say that persecution is limited to these states, as this most recent attack on a church in Kerala shows. Unfortunately, it looks like Christian persecution in India is spreading. Even to places where Christians represent a significant portion of the population, such as Kerala.”
In recent months, suspected Hindu activists have raped two Catholic nuns — one being 71 years old. The most recent occurred on June 21 in the town of Raipur, in what Christian community leaders have labeled an on-going “anti-Christian hate campaign.”
- christian post
Mumbai, June 30, 2015: Muslim youths aspiring for a government job in Maharashtra are unhappy with the state revenue department’s decision of holding written examination for the 900-odd posts of ‘Talathi’ on July 19, the date that corresponds to the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
The Maharashtra State Revenue Department has recently published the Talathi Recruitment Notice 2015 for filling 887 talathi posts for all districts of Maharashtra. The exam will be held on July 19 between 2.00 pm to 4.00 pm.
Muslims observe fasts during the month of Ramadan and, after completion of Ramadan, would celebrate Eid-ul-Fitr on July 18 or July 19. Eid is decided upon seeing the moon crescent on 29th of Ramadan. Therefore, if the moon is not sighted in Maharahtra on July 17, then Muslims will celebrate Eid on July 19.
However, the state government’s Holiday List shows July 18 as Eid-ul-Fitr holiday.
The aspiring youths from the community are discontented over government choosing Eid day for written exam for the various posts of Talathis.
TwoCircles spoke with some aspiring Muslim candidates. Anees Khan said, “How will it be possible for us to appear for exam on Eid day. It seems government specifically wanted Muslim candidates not to appear for the exam and hence it selected this very date.”
Another candidate Sajid Shaikh says, “It is in public knowledge that Muslims festivals are decided upon moon sighting and hence there is always a contingency of one day in finalizing the Eid day every year before drawing the calendar year holidays. Government cannot be alien to this.”
“I tried to call revenue department to register my protest with the selection of date but was forwarded to different desks to talk on the matter. I could not talk to find the right authority to speak to,” said Muhammad Taher.
When TwoCircles tried to reach the official concerned, even after multiple attempts, the revenue department did not provide satisfactory answer for the query. Finally, when TCN reached the official concerned Madhav Veer, he said he will not be able to answer the query right away as “he was busy” and asked to call two days later.
The Talathi recruitment 2015 notification has been issued for following districts: Ahmednagar, Akola, Amravati, Aurangabad, Beed, Bhandara, Buldhana, Chandrapur, Dhule, Gadchiroli, Gondia, Hingoli, Jalgaon, Jalna, Kolhapur, Latur, Mumbai, Nagpur, Nanded, Nandurbar, Nashik, Osmanabad, Palghar, Parbhani, Pune, Raigad, Ratnagiri, Sangli, Satara, Sindhudurg, Solapur, Thane, Wardha, Washim and Yavatmal.
New Delhi, June 24, 2015: The Congress party on Wednesday accused the NDA government at the Centre of “blatantly” trying to “destabilise” elected Congress governments in the north-eastern states by using terror groups to upset the law and order situation.
“The (union) Home Ministry and the Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs are directly involved in creating law and order problems in the north-east,” Congress leader V. Narayanasamy claimed while briefing media persons at the All India Congress Committee headquarters here.
Nayaranasamy is the Congress leader in-charge of the seven northeastern states of which four — Mizoram, Manipur, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh — are ruled by it.
“Some terror groups are very close to the Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs (Kiren Rijiju). In Arunachal Pradesh, Rijiju is directly involved in such activities to destabilise our government. They are trying to destabilise the democratically elected governments. The Home Ministry, MoS Home and BJP President Amit Shah are involved in this. All this is happening with the approval of PM Narendra Modi,” charged Narayanasamy.
Rijiju, however, called the allegations “a joke”.
“This is a joke and should not be taken seriously at all. There is no point in paying heed to any comments from any person who does not have any support from the people,” Rijiju told IANS.
Rijiju, who was in Ladakh for an event and got to know about the allegations made by Narayanasamy through some of the BJP leaders, said: “No one would take Narayanasamy’s comments seriously as he was talking without any proof.”
Rijiju said he would call a press conference on Thursday and give a strong reply to the false charge levelled against him.
“Even media is not going to believe the allegation made by the Congress leader. No one should make casual remarks on the militancy issue in northeast as it is a very critical issue,” he told IANS.
Narayanasamy, however, said the Congress party will raise this issue in parliament and outside it. MLAs of the Congress party were being threatened using terrorist outfits to switch over to the BJP, thereby destabilising the state governments, a statement issued by the Congress in-charge said.
“Ever since the BJP government has come to power, the Centre has been blatantly trying to destabilise duly elected Congress governments in the north-eastern states,” the statement added.
He said the government was unabashedly using their power at the Centre and “through the political heavyweights in Delhi, the BJP is trying every trick to attain instability”.
“These blatant efforts at destabilisation are not only threatening to divert the democratic will of the people, but have also created a security issue in the area after a long time,” he said.
The senior Congress leader said the lives of security personnel were at risk on a daily basis and the people of the region were living in constant fear.
“While Prime Minister Narendra Modi is talking about high moral values and cooperative federalism, on the other hand, BJP President Amit Shah is indulging in disturbing duly elected Congress governments in the north-east,” said Nayaranaswamy.
“The central government has appointed governors from RSS background who are acting as destabilising agents and be it the home ministry or the DONER ministry, all are working in tandem with the sole aim of grabbing power through the backdoor,” he said.
Narayanasamy said the Naga peace talks failed because of the home ministry’s failure to carry all the terrorist outfits to the negotiating table and try to resolve the vexed issue.
“R.N. Ravi, interlocutor for the Naga talks, is said to be unhappy over the breakdown of the ceasefire agreement with the NSCN(K) and is believed to have conveyed to the Prime Minister’s Office about alleged ‘mishandling’ of the Naga rebel group by the home ministry,” he said.
“NSCN-K withdrew from the peace talks because of Rijiju’s comments that he would not engage with terror groups like them,” he said.
New Delhi, June 26, 2015: The government, which has been criticized for targeting NGOs, Wednesday said that there was no order against Caritas India, an organization which is affiliated to the Vatican.
A Home Ministry spokesperson while referring to news appearing in a section of media claiming that Caritas India has been put under “prior approval category”, gave details of the case and said the NGO had been remitted Rs 1.6 crore by the Netherlands-based donor which had been stopped, Press Trust of India reported.
“A Netherlands-based foreign donor agency Stichting Cordaid has been placed under prior approval category on August 6, 2012. Any inward remittance from this agency to any Indian NGO will be credited only after clearance from the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the spokesperson said.
He said a reference was received from Standard Chartered Bank’s New Delhi branch seeking clearance for crediting of an inward remittance of Euro 2,30,000 (Rs 1.6 crore) from the Netherlands donor agency in favour of Caritas India, which is an NGO working in India registered under FCRA, 2010.
“Comments of security agency were sought and on the basis of the inputs received from them the matter is under consideration in the Ministry,” he said.
An official of Caritas India, however, said the case was related to last year when the organisation was notified by the bank concerned.
“We made it categorically clear that if the government had objection over the donor agency, we will not take the money at all. Therefore, no such amount has been debited to our account,” the official said.
The government has been cracking on various NGOs and has so far cancelled 15,876 licences of these entities under the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act after the NGOs allegedly failed to submit their annual returns and complete other anomalies.
All the organizations were given proper notice by the Foreigners’ Division of the Home Ministry with adequate time to reply before their FCRA licences were cancelled, official sources said.
Mumbai, 25 June, 2015: For the past four days, the rev. Gigi P. Paul, president of Faith Gospel Mission, has been locked away in a prison in Chhattisgarh on the basis of false accusations made by some Hindu radicals.
Yesterday a court denied him bail. The new hearing to decide his release was scheduled tomorrow. Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews: “The tiny Christian community continues to live without freedom of religion and the increasing intolerance is creating problems of public order.”
The Pentecostal pastor was born and raised in the district of Pathanamthitta in the State of Kerala. After completing his theological studies at Bible school, he moved to the north of India. Since 1991 he has worked in the district of Bastar in Chhattisgarh.
Here, in addition to guiding the community of Faith Gospel Mission, he is also the dean of the Faith Bible Training Centre, Director of Faith Child Development Centre and president for the Chhattisgarh Indian Pentecostal Church of God, the largest Pentecostal denomination in India.
“Rev. Gigi’s arrest took place on 22 June, just three days after the attack on a Salesian Sister “. This climate of intolerance is related to Chhattisgarh Freedom of Religion (Amendment) Act 2006, the State anti-conversion.
“The measure – he said – is a tool of intimidation and abuse against the Christian minority. In some districts, the Christian students of the ashram are not allowed to participate in Sunday Mass. In Mahasamund an official has banned Christian missionaries from being called ‘father’ by their students”.
New Delhi, June 19, 2015: In the run up to the International Day of Yoga on June 21, K M Shareef, the Popular Front of India (PFI) chairman, on Friday requested all sections of the society to refrain from mixing religious and political agenda into Yoga and other physical fitness practices.
“Since Yoga has evolved into thousands of variants as it prevails today, those who insist adding ‘Suryanamaskar’ to it are led by motives other than that of physical well-being of the people. The ongoing Yoga campaigns by the government with the Hindutva outfits acting as key players have brought in apprehension among minorities because of the religious fervour added to it,” Shareef said in a statement.
He pointed out that this is happening in spite of the official position that Suryanamaskar would not be part of Yoga demonstrations. He cited that some ‘Yogasanas’ have been included in the Physical Education programme of Popular Front of India since its declaration in 2007 and its members did not relate the same to religion or politics, Muhammad Arif Ahmed, PFI’s director, Media and Public Relations, informed in the statement.
“Publicising and demonstrating Yoga and other forms of physicals exercises were carried by Popular Front as part of its annual campaign ‘Healthy People, Healthy Nation’ during these years,” Shareef sought to remind and added, “These campaigns were well received by the minority communities proving that now they have shown apprehension only when majoritarian festive mood is being created by Hindutva groups in the name of popularising Yoga.”
Shareef has also announced the decision of PFI to hold its annual ‘Healthy People, Healthy Nation’ campaign for the year 2015 during October 1-15, the release added.
Belgium, June 19, 2015: Ten years back Feroze and Sameer Khan opened their yoga centre in Brussels, starting initially in the auditorium of the Indian embassy. Today, they are household names in the European Union (EU) circles on yoga.
In a run-up to the International Day of Yoga on 21 June, Sameer Khan led a special yoga session in Berlaymont, the headquarters of the European Commission, in the Belgian capital on Thursday. Among those who participated was Cecilia Malmstrom, the EU’s trade commissioner.
Feroze and Sameer Khan hail from Pune and learnt their yoga from the famed BKS Iyengar. They are certified yoga trainers from the Bikram Yoga College of India in the Los Angeles and are affiliated yoga instructors at the European Commission since 2006.
As Feroze Khan heads to New Delhi to participate in the International Conference on Yoga being organised to mark the International Day of Yoga, analysts opined that their role in extending India’s soft power in Europe will certainly be acknowledged.
The elder Feroze is now successfully running Bikram Yoga centres also in Frankfurt in Germany. He has developed a very large following and has taught more that 15,000 students in groups and through individual classes.
According to law enforcement sources, the five could be members of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), a Hindu radical paramilitary group. Police, which is still looking for their accomplices, filed complaints against 20 people.
Last Sunday, the attackers targeted a Pentecostal community, the Reaching the World with Love Ministry, when the faithful were attending a spiritual meeting. Those arrested – TR Anoop, 38; Anoop, 30; Vimal, 30; Abhijit, 22; and Deepu, 20 – are all natives of Attingal.
According to police, the RSS militants stormed the Pentecostal prayer meeting, accusing the Christian group of forced conversions of Hindus.
“Kerala is known as ‘God’s Country’,” Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), told AsiaNews. “Unfortunately, Christians cannot freely worship him because of rising radicalism in the state.”
Still, “The GCIC is very grateful for the authorities’ swift action against militants. A culture of mob violence harms society and the state’s development. If people are unable to live together and respect each other’s beliefs, how can we move forward?”
Kerala is considered one of India’s most tolerant states. Nation-wide, Christians are only 2.5 per cent, but in this southwestern state, they represent 19 per cent of the population.
Kathmandu, June 18, 2015: Nepali authorities have banned the transfer of children to shelters and centres run by Hindu holy men after 237 children went missing when they found refuge in such sites in the wake of the massive 25 April earthquake. The Indian-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Yoga Centre run by guru Ramdev is one of them.
The order was issued after the Central Child Welfare Board (CCWB), the government body responsible for monitoring children’s movements in the country, reported the disappearance of 215 children from Gorkha District and 22 from Okhaldhunga District. Most of the children lost their parents in the powerful earthquake that killed 8,700 and injured 17,000 more.
“Hundreds of children who lost their parents or guardians have been welcomed by many organisations working on behalf of shelters run by gurus in India. However, many of them are currently unaccounted for,” CCWB Director Dilli Ram Giri told AsiaNews.
The situation came to light on 9 June when police in Kathmandu and Dhading District rescued 195 children from the Lho monastery, in Lho village (Gorkha District).
Minors were travelling without the authorisation of their home district, which was made compulsory to prevent the trafficking and exploitation of children after thousands of complaints were filed in recent weeks.
The authorities have charged Chiranjibi Bhandari, from the Nepal Children’s Organisation, of criminal association aimed at the sale of children from government-run schools.
Officials rescued 337 children from several districts, including Dhading, Dolakha, Kavre, Okhadhunga, Rasuwa, Nuwakot, Lamjung and Rukum.
According to Superintendent Krishna Gautam, head of the Women and Children Department in the Nepalese police, child trafficking has increased significantly following the earthquake.
On Tuesday, with a mandate from the Nepal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Kavre District Administration Office raided the Patanjali Yogpeeth Yoga Centre and rescued 22 children who were about to be moved to the organisation’s headquarters in Haridwar (in the Indian state of Uttarakhand), and returned them to their parents.
Led by Baba Ramdev, a well-known guru, the Indian-based Patanjali Yogpeeth Yoga Centre is setting up a branch in Nepal.
Right after the earthquake, Baba Ramdev announced that he would take in 500 children affected by the earthquake, and provide them with care and education up to the fifth grade in Haridwar. However, minors found in the yoga centre in Kavre were not authorised to move.
“Those found to be taking minors with them without permission will face human trafficking charges,” warned Laxmi Dhakal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs.
“Many children taken to India will not be allowed in shelters run by Indian Hindu gurus, even if they have the right papers, because of reports about serious cases of exploitation,” said Kavre District Chief Sudarshan Dhakal.