Chief Justice of India H L Dattu had called a conference of the judges on Good Friday.
The KCBC is a common platform of Catholic Bishops in Kerala. Justice Joseph is a member Syro-Malabar Church, which is one of the three Catholic denominations in Kerala.
“By writing to the Prime Minister against holding judges’ conference on Good Friday, Justice Kurian Joseph has upheld the impartiality of the judiciary and secularism. It is not true to construe that Justice Joseph did not participate in the meeting on the ground that he is a Christian faithful and due to his personal inconvenience,” Fr Varghese Kallikkattu, KCBC secretary, said.
“When it comes to religious issues, we cannot say that the central government and the Prime Minister were adopting impartial stand. It was unfortunate that minority communities are facing discrimination. When such an approach is adopted towards the Christians, others would get a feeling that Christian celebrations and rituals are insignificant. Such an approach is an insult to the Christians,” said Fr Kallikkattu.
Another Church body, the Kerala Region of Latin Catholic Council (KRLCC), said conducting a judges’ conference on Good Fridayinfringed upon the minority rights.
It said the Christian community was “deeply hurt by the act of those at the supreme echelons of the judiciary, ignoring the secular values enshrined in the Constitution.”
- indian express
Thrissur, April 8, 2015: Kerala police is yet to make any headway into the case of unidentified people setting afire two bikes and a car parked in front of a Pentecostal Church at Kaniyambal in Kunnamkulam last month.
Police had questioned all the functionaries of pro-Hindu organizations in the locality, but all of them denied any links with miscreants, Circle Inspector of Police in Kunnamkulam Krishna Das told the Indian Express newspaper.
The pastor of the church said that last year some persons had asked him to stop conducting vacation Bible class at the church.
The March 26 attack was just ahead of this years vacation Bible classes. Those who had threatened the pastor last year were not local people and they did not reveal their identity, the newspaper said quoting sources.
State Home Minister Ramesh Chennithala, who visited the church recently said that if the local police did not make any headway in the investigation, the case would be handed over to the Crime Branch.
He also said that the attempt by some people to cause communal hatred in a place like Kunnamkulam known for religious diversity and communal harmony need to be condemned.
CPM state secretary Kodiyeri Balakrishan, who had visited the church on April 1, had said that the ruling UDF Government was going soft on the alleged atrocities committed by Sangh outfits.
- new indian express
Kochi, April 8, 2015: A court in Kochi on Monday reserved its verdict on the case of alleged Islamic fanatics chopping off the right hand of former college professor T.J. Joseph, saying more explanation is required from the accused.
The announcement of the verdict has been postponed.
Joseph, who was teaching at Newman’s College in Thodupuzha was attacked near his house in Muvattupuzha on July 4, 2010 by Popular Front activists who claimed the professor had included a question that insulted the Prophet in an examination.
Six main accused in the case, including the first accused, are still absconding.
The National Investigation Agency said in its charge sheet that the accused attempted to murder the professor with preparations akin to a terrorist strike. They had thrown a country-made bomb at the Joseph’s car to keep passers-by at bay and tried to kill the professor, who was accompanied by his wife.
The Kerala Police had named 54 activists of the Popular Front and the SDPI in its original chargesheet. The NIA took over the investigation on March 9, 2011, making it the first case the national agency investigated in Kerala.
The agency collected evidence against 37 accused but failed to find the main accused, Savad, who chopped off Joseph’s hand at wrist, and M.K. Nasar, the mastermind of the attack.
A chargesheet has been submitted against 31 accused. The trial was held in camera considering the sensitive nature of the case. The NIA produced 306 witnesses before the court.
Joseph’s wife Salomi, a key witness in the case, committed suicide even as her husband was fighting a legal battle to get his job back. The college management suspended him after the question paper stirred a controversy.
The NIA charge sheet says the accused were trying to disturb communal harmony and inciting their community members to violence. They acted like terrorists who conducts trial and imposes punishment on their own.
Jammu & Kashmir, April 02, 2015: Pastor Paul Augustine, GCIC Coordinator in Jammu & Kashmir, who was arrested along with 3 other members of his congregation after the Worship Service on Sunday, 29-03-2015, have been released on bail on 01-04-2015, Wednesday evening, after detaining them in the police lock up for four days. In the midst of the Holy Week schedule, Pastor Paul has to keep running now for a permanent bail for his church members as well as for himself.
As reported earlier, Pastor Paul Augustine was conducting his Sunday morning worship service on 29-03-2015 at the regular church allotted for Christians to have their prayer services at the Recruit Training Centre of the CRPF at Humama in Srinagar.
On that day, the worship service though scheduled for 8.30 a.m. was delayed a bit due to the heavy rains in the Kashmir Valley and the service actually began at about 9 in the morning. Though he has a total congregation of about 100 believers, only about 40 were present on that Sunday morning. A friend of his, one Bro. Philip from Udampur was also present in the church along with a guest of his. Also, some Muslim friends were present in the church.
Pastor Paul was preaching on the Psalm 23, “The Lord is My Shepherd….“and then noticed some Muslim Maulvis peeping through the windows near the door. As soon as the worship service was over, some of the Muslims along with the Maulvis gathered outside the church and caught hold of the Muslims who were present in the church and began to beat them and then took them to the Humama Chowk and also began shouting and forcing them to say that “Father Paul was converting them Christianity”. In the meantime a huge crowd gathered at the Chowk.
Pastor Paul told them that they could verify the facts and settle the issue at the police station instead of having a fight in the middle of the road at the Humama Chowk. When they went to the police station on the Humama Airport Road, Srinagar, the Muslims complained against Pastor Paul that he was luring Muslims to become Christians. Based on their complaint Pastor Paul was arrested along with three other believers and detained in the police station on charges under RPC – 153/a and 295/A. It is also learnt that the Maulvis were threatening the Muslims who were present in the church to bear witness against Pastor Paul Augustine that he was forcing them to become Christians. Please pray for him.
Chandigarh, April 6, 2015: Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader Praveen Togadia on Sunday lashed out at the West Bengal government over the detention of VHP activists there, and termed the action “anti-Hindu”.
The Hindutva leader told media persons here that the detention of nearly 500 VHP activists ahead of his visit to West Bengal was a clear attempt to muzzle the voice of Hindus.
“The act is dictatorial, anti-Hindu and anti-democratic. We will raise our voice and no one can stop us from doing that. The voice of Hindus cannot be muzzled,” he said.
He said the VHP will continue to raise its voice over the social media.
Citing fears of communal tension and law and order issues, the West Bengal government had banned Togadia’s entry into the state. He was to address a rally in Raiganj town.
Togadia demanded that illegal Bangladeshi migrants living in India should be immediately sent back.
He also said the government should effectively implement the two-child norm for everyone in the country.
Mangalore, March 31, 2015: Spiritual Guidance, Education and Development: This is the mission of four Indian priests among tribal Kituri, in Tanzania. Originally from the Diocese of Mangalore (Karnataka), working in Africa since 2012, they are part of a project promoted by their bishop, Msgr. Aloysius Paul D’Souza, to mark the 125th anniversary of the diocese. “On this occasion – said the prelate to AsiaNews – we thought it was high time for us to share the faith with those who need it most. So we decided to go to Africa. “
The choice fell on a remote area of the diocese of Same, where the population – partly Catholic – had no water, no electricity, nor a priest for spiritual assistance. The priests are Fr. Alwyn M. J. D’Souza, superior of the mission and responsible for youth formation and public relations; Fr. Hillary Lobo, pastor of Kifaru; Fr. Ronald Pinto, director of the educational apostolate; Fr. Victor Machado, director of social-cultural care and development.
Msgr. D’Souza told AsiaNews: “We have now established the parish of Kifaru and four stations. Every Sunday our priests are in different communities to celebrate Mass and to teach catechism. In Tanzania, the government places no restrictions, so we can teach our religion. ”
The Mangalore-Africa project started with the construction of a boys secondary school, which today is also the college. “Things are going very well – said the prelate – there are 150 students enrolled and school staff consists of 12 people. One of the priests is the headmaster. From this year, two sisters of the diocese of Mangalore have joined the staff. The institute also teaches catechism, to all students, not just Christians. ”
Alongside the work of the new evangelization, said Msgr. D’Souza, “we have also initiated a development program. When we arrived, the area was without electricity and water. Over time we have installed solar panels among 700 families to light their homes. Now the most urgent need is to give them water, so they do not have to travel so far to get it”.
In just two and a half years the mission has grown, but there is still a lot to do. “We always lookto the integral development of the population – said the Bishop of Mangalore – we are about to open a kindergarten for the children of the area. Our project is to start from the bottom and allow these people access to education from an early age. Then we are planning to help these people to create self-help groups, to learn how to organize themselves together, and to promote the empowerment of women. ”
“The response of the population – he notes – has been very good. They were a bit ‘excluded, no one wanted to go there, there was no priest in the area, so when we arrived we were greeted with joy. They collaborate a lot with us. “
According to Msgr. D’Souza, the Mangalore-Africa project “can be considered a model for the Indian Church. Our diocese is the first in the country to have started a mission in a foreign country. We are trying to follow what Pius XII said in his encyclical Fidei Donum “.
Karnataka, March 24, 2015: The High Court of Karnataka rejected the bail applications yesterday (24/3/2015) of Fr. William Patrick, Fr. Ellias Daniel and Altar Boy Peter in the Rector murder case of Fr. K.J. Thomas of St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary . March 31 makes the second anniversary of the gruesome and bloody murder of the Priest appointed by Rome to head the prestigious institution.
The High Court of Karnataka observed that a prima-facie case has been made out and that the accused being influential and well funded are likely to interfere with the investigation.
Two other accused Francis and Swamy are absconding. After the murder Vatican expressed shock and anguish and instructed its Apostolic Nuncio H.E. Salvatore Pennacchio to take up the case with the Government of India.
The case was personally investigated by the Deputy Commissioner of Police Mr. V.S. D’Souza under the supervision of Inspector General of Police Mr. Pranab Mohanti, IPS currently IG in CID.
The accused have been well funded by a small group of pro-Kannada priests led by one Fr. Chesara. “ During the investigation volumes of call details were analyzed and hundreds of people were questioned,” then Director General of Police Mr L.R. Pachuau had said.
The 62 year old Fr Kochupuryil J Thomas was born on May 13, 1951 at Ettumanoor near Kottayam in Kerala. After his high school studies in his native place, he joined the Diocese of Ooty as a minor seminarian due to the fraternal and vocational influence of his uncle, who is a priest still alive. He did his major seminary studies and had formation at St. Peter’s Pontifical Seminary/Institute in Bangalore.
Karnataka Kannada Dharmagurugala Balaga ( Forum of Kannada Priests) led by its President Fr. Chesara have collected funds and have approached political leaders of both the Congress and the BJP to defend the accused. He has demanded that the Bangalore Archbishop Dr. Bernard Moras also be subjected to interrogation for hisRole. He wanted an independent and effective impartial CBI enquiry in the case.
“We strongly and vehemently deny the false, fabricated, conspired and framed charges against the priests”, Fr. Chesara said and expressed the “total displeasure and heartfelt pain about twisting and turning the brutal murder of the Rector into an instrument to put down four decades of intensive struggle by the Kannada Christians for just rights in the Archdiocese of Karnataka.” Fr. Chesara has attacked the Home Minister Mr K.J. George as an outsider who is interfering in Kannada matters. He also said that the Archbishop has been targeting the innocent Catholics with ulterior motives of victimization.
The Catholic community is restive over the delay in making further arrests and in filing the final charge-sheet. “They want justice for the departed soul,” said CSF Chairman, Justice M.F. Saldanha. How long will this investigation take ? Why can’t the Bangalore Police Commissioner Mr M.N. Reddi speed it up ? ”
- press report
Kolkata, March 26, 2015: A Christian school Jalpaiguri district of West Bengal has received letters threatening to set it ablaze if the nun, who heads the institute, does not leave, reports said on Wednesday.
Reports say that the school has received four letters, which threaten to set on fire a nearby church too.
The West Bengal administration has made elaborate security arrangements for the missionary school.
Security was beefed up after the nun filed a police complaint on Sunday, Zee news reported.
The latest episode has come to the fore days after a school in Ranaghat was attacked and a 71-year-old nun was gang-raped.
While the attacks on Christian institutions continue in various parts of the country, Home Minister Rajnath Singh has said everything will be done to ensure their security.
There were several attacks o Christian churches in the past month. A church was allegedly vandalised in Haryana in the last fortnight.
In Jabalpur, a cathedral premises and a Catholic school where people had gathered for a religious convention were vandalised allegedly by Hindu activists on March 20.
A catholic church in New Panvel was attacked in the wee hours of Saturday.
Also, in the last few months, several churches and a school have been allegedly vandalised in Delhi, prompting Christian groups to demand protection for their institutions and action against those involved in such acts.
- zee news
Jharkhand, March 26, 2015: Officials of Christian schools in Jharkhand’s Dhanbad say district officials accused them for faulting rules of Right to Education (RTE) Act, and threatened action without considering their rights as minority institutions.
As many as 48 principals from higher secondary schools in the district, including catholic schools, were summoned on Wednesday to the meeting at the deputy commissioner’s office by Dhanbad superintendent of education (DSE) Bankey Behari.
But representative of De Nobili group of schools Father Gerald D’Souza and Margaret Mary principal of Carmel School in Dhanbad alleged the officials singled them out and targeted them, accusing them of faulting in the implementaion of the RTE.
“The DSE asked me to leave the hall as I am not a principal but a representative of the eight De Nobili schools. I was called rule flouter by Manoj Mishra, secretary of Jharkhand Abhibhavak Manch,” D’Souza said.
Dhanbad’s additional collector B.P.L. Das chaired the meeting that was attended by Behari and members of Jharkhand Abhibhavak Manch.
Das asked all schools to abide by the RTE Act and submit action-taken reports furnishing all information by March 31. He gave schools time to implement all rules till April 15 and warned of action in case of any complaint.
Sister Margaret Mary said the Supreme Court has allowed certain privileges to Christian minority schools in implementing the RTE, which aims to help government to provide free education all children.
“We (Christian minority institutions) cannot be forced to abide by rules blindly,” she said.
Refuting the allegations, additional collector Das said: “No one was insulted. We only asked all the schools to adhere to the RTE Act,” the Telegraph reported.
Of these, the highest number – 2,708 vacancies – are of police sub-inspector (PSI) rank, a critical backbone of the entire police department supporting investigations and maintaining law and order, said activist Anil Galgali.
The state has 219,986 police posts, of which 12,115 are vacant for various reasons.
Against the requirement of 9,659 posts of PSI, 6,951 are filled up, with a shortfall of 2,708.
Of 25 posts of additional director-general of police, three are vacant. Of the 47 posts of special inspector general of police (IGP), eight are vacant.
Similarly, seven out of 38 posts of deputy IGP, including two vacancies for two sanctioned posts of deputy IGP (technical), are not filled up.
At the superintendent of police (SP) and deputy commissioner of police level, out of the 265 sanctioned posts 30 are vacant, while there are 209 vacancies for the post deputy SP or ACP (unarmed) out of the 686 posts, he added.
In the armed category of deputy SP or ACP, there are 50 vacancies out of 87 posts, for assistant police inspector posts – 471 unfilled out of 4,447, for assistant sub-inspector there are 1,030 vacant out of 18,804, while for the post of police constables 2,323 out of 42,964 are vacant and constables 4,101 out of 96,240 are vacant.
The categories of police sub-inspector of motor transport of marine IInd Class and First Class Master Engine Driver are run with only 11 out of the total 270 posts, PSI Motor Transport 54 vacant out of 109 posts and at many times the current employees work under inhuman conditional due to severe pressures, Galgali said.
Following the replies from Public Information Officer P.K. Ghuge of the Maharashtra DGP office, Galgali brought it to the notice of Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavis, who is holding the home portfolio.
He urged Fadnavis to take measures to immediately fill up the large number of vacancies at various levels to relieve the unwarranted stress and pressures on the police force.
“In fact, such constant pressures and difficult working conditions have resulted in various health conditions for the police force, resulting in suicides, heart attacks and other issues in recent years,” Galgali said.