Pope’s advisers start first draft toward document overhauling Vatican

September 23, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

New apostolic constitutionVatican, September 17, 2014: Pope Francis’ international Council of Cardinals has begun creating the first draft of a new apostolic constitution that would implement a major reform of the Vatican bureaucracy.

The so-called C9, a papally appointed group of nine cardinal members, held its sixth meeting Sept 15-17 with Pope Francis at the Vatican to help advise him on the reform of the Vatican’s organization and church governance.

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, Vatican spokesman, told reporters Sept. 17 that the series of discussions have now begun a more “concrete” phase with “putting ink on paper” in the form of a draft for the introduction to a new constitution.

“It may be assumed that, with the next two meetings of the council — Dec. 9-11, 2014, and Feb. 9-11, 2015 — the draft constitution will reach an advanced stage of preparation, making it possible for the pope to proceed with further consultations,” the priest said in a written statement.

In a first step toward reorganizing the Roman Curia, Pope Francis created the Secretariat for the Economy in February as a way to begin universal oversight and standards for all of the Vatican’s financial assets and activities.

Father Lombardi told reporters that the cardinals’ discussions concerning financial issues have concluded, and that they now resumed looking at the different pontifical councils of the curia, as part of a bigger strategy of finding the most effective and efficient way to reorganize the large bureaucracy.

In their three days of talks and study, the nine cardinals “focused on two principle hotspots,” the Vatican spokesman said in his written statement.

The first topic included the laity, the family, “the role of women in society and the church, youth, childhood, or matters related to lay associations and movements and so on,” he wrote.

The second topic combined the issues of “justice and peace, charity, migrants and refugees, health, and the protection of life and ecology, especially human ecology,” the written statement said.

The way the different issues were divided into two major areas seemed to lend credence to some news reports predicting the Pontifical Council for the Laity and the Pontifical Council for the Family would be merged into one new congregation, and that the pontifical councils for Justice and Peace, Cor Unum and Migrants and Travelers could be combined, since their areas of focus are closely related and often overlap.

Pope Francis would make the final decisions, Father Lombardi said, based on input from the Council of Cardinals and regular talks with the heads of the curia, other cardinals and bishops.

The Vatican spokesman said the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors will meet Oct. 4-5, and any announcements or clarifications concerning new members and the group’s statutes would be made around that time.

Since its inception in July, the Commission on Vatican media was set to hold its first meeting Sept. 22-24 in the Domus Sanctae Marthae, where the pope lives.

The 11-member body has been asked to review and recommend ways Vatican communications structures could be streamlined and modernized.

The commission president is British Lord (Chris) Patten, former governor of Hong Kong, former chairman of the BBC Trust and former chancellor of the University of Oxford. The commission secretary is Irish Msgr. Paul Tighe, secretary of the Pontifical Council for Social Communications.

- cns

Black sunday observed against persecution of Christians in Nigeria and Middle East

September 23, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Black sundayBangalore, September 15, 2014: Christians of Bangalore offered mass prayers and expressed solidarity with the thousands of innocent people who are being persecuted and subjected to inhuman violence and other atrocities by the Islamic fundamentalists in Iraq, Syria, Nigeria and other countries in the city on Sunday.

The Christians, led by Bangalore Archbishop Dr Bernard Moras, who is the President of the All Karnataka United Christians Federation of Human Rights (AKUCFHR) and the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops’ Council (KRCBC) and leaders of various denominations of Christians, took out massive silent protest march from St Patrick’s Church on Brigade Road to the St Joseph’s Indian High School Grounds on VittalMallya Road opposite Kanteerava Stadium, and held a massive rally braving the scorching sun as part of the observation of Black Sunday.

After the mass prayers, in which the leaders of different Christian denominations affiliated to AKUCFHR like Catholics, Church of South India, Methodists, Baptists, Pentacost, Syrian Orthodox, Assemblies of God and representatives of the FKCCA as well as Sri Shanthaveera Kolada Math Swamiji, BJP leader and former deputy chief minister R Ashok, Shanthinagar Congress MLA N A Harris, Agha Khan and other leaders took part, addressed the large gathering of priests, nuns and other Christians. They also offered prayers for the victims and displaced persons in the flood havoc in Jammu and Kashmir.

Archbishop Moras, in his address, said it was a matter of deep concern and anguish to all people throughout the world, especially Christians, in view of the targeting of the religious minority by the fundamentalist and extremist Islamic group wantonly carrying out the genocide.

Over 1.75 lakh of Christians and people sympathetic to them had been massacred in Irag, Syria, Nigeria and other African countries by the ISIS terrorist organisation. ”We need to rise against such inhuman holocaust, brutal torture and murders. Our silence and non-responsive attitude would mean our consent and support to such violence and atrocities against humanity,” the Archbishop said.

- daijiworld

EFI: Persecution in MP, UP, Bihar & Chhatisgarh

September 23, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

MP: Five Christians arrested for converting

Madhya Pradesh ChristiansOn 12 September 2014, police arrested five Christians after they were accused of forceful conversion and of luring people to convert to Christianity by offering monetary benefits in Barwa, Khargoan.

About 10 Christians from Thlarau Bo Zawngtu Team (TBZ) were on their way to conduct a prayer meeting in one believer’s house when the Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal stopped them in front of the house, questioned them and told them not to pray in the area. “We just reached the believer’s place when two people standing outside the house prohibited us from entering into the house, told us to go back and not to pray.” Mimi, one team member said.

Thereafter, the Christians prayed a small prayer outside the house and started heading back home on their motor cycles. However, by that time about 20 extremists swelled up near the spot. “They let the first few of us go but barred two Christians, Sawmtea and Zonuna who were coming at the last.” Mimi said.

Realizing that the two Christians were stopped, two Christians from the team went back to the spot when the extremists started slapping them, verbally abused them for their faith and accused them of forceful conversion and offering Rs 1 lakh to each family to convert to Christianity and took them to the police station.

The rest of the Christians went ahead and waited for their friends in the house of one believer in the same area when the police went and took another three Christians to the police station. Altogether seven Christians including two women were questioned in the police station. Five were arrested under Section 151 of the Indian Penal Code for knowingly joining or continuing in assembly of five or more persons after it has been commanded to disperse, and sent them to jail on the next day. The two women were released without any charges filed against them.

Speaking on the incident, Rev. Zaithanga, Field Director of TBZ said, “The accusations against our workers were baseless. They went to the area after they were invited by one believer to pray in his house. There was no case of forceful conversion and we did not offer money to anyone to convert them.” The Christians were released on bail around 6 p.m on 16 September 2014

Tension prevails in the area and the Christians were relocated for safety measures at press time. Kindly pray that the Christians will stand strong amid persecution and kindly pray for the ministry of TBZ.

Bihar: Christians repeatedly attacked

BiharOn 30 August 2014 in Balwanazir, Kaliyanganj, about five Hindu extremists forcefully entered into the house of Shri Lal Khatiyan, questioned them on who had visited them, called them pagans and started to beat them up. The Christians in the area were not allowed to visit anyone’s home nor entertain anyone in their home,” area pastor Laxmi Prasad told said. The couple later received hospital treatment.

Later that day, about 100 extremists with sticks stood in each corner of the village to make sure that no Christian go out from the village to file a police complaint and threatened to cut into pieces anyone who dare venture out to report the attack against the couple. From 26 May 2014 onwards, the Christians have been beaten up, ostracized and harassed because of their faith. The prayer hall was shut down where the extremists threatened to kill and bury anyone who opens the church door in the premises, said Pastor Ajayan, area leader from the Evangelical Team of India.

Chhattisgarh: Pastor arrested

Chhattisgarh ChristiansAt Koranga, Jashpur, Hindu extremists forcefully pulled out Pastor Virendar Bhaskar from an independent church while he was conducting a Sunday worship meeting and accused him of forceful conversion and of terming the Hindu gods as evil spirits on 17 August 2014.

Rev. Kalerdan Tirkey reported that Pastor Bhaskar was arrested under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code for deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs. However, the local villagers and believers testified at the Kunkuri police station that the allegation against the pastor was false.

The pastor was released on bail on 28 August 2014. Kindly pray for him.

Chhattisgarh: Two Christian women arrested

On August 8 in Sakti, Raigarh, two Christian women, Jyoti Pal and Manju Modu were arrested under Section 4 of the Chhattisgarh Freedom of Religion Act. The arrest took place when the two women were conducting a healing prayer meeting and prayed for some sick patients when the Hindu extremists alleged that they were forcefully converting people to Christianity, reported area pastor Raju Yadav. After the intervention of the area church leaders, the Christians were released on bail.

UP: Christian girl beaten up

On 7 August 2014 in Jalanpur, Haridwar, Hindu extremists allegedly from Rashtriya Swamyamseval Sangh beat up the minor daughter of Pastor Pyare Lal ji from an Independent church while she coming back from her school and later pelted stones at the Pastor Lalji’s house . The Christians fled in fear. “I was away in a nearby village when the incident took place. The extremists have threatened to harm me several times in the past if I did not stop conducting worship meetings”, Pastor Pyare Lal said. The Christians filed a police complaint. However, no action was taken against the attackers.

UP: Christians detained & beaten up

UPOn 30 August 2014 in Kulesra, Greater Noida, police detained 13 Christians after the Hindu mob forcefully stop a fasting prayer meeting and accused the main pastor of forceful conversion. Two persons barged into the fasting prayer conducted by Pastor Sanjay Singh from Calvary Temple and told him to stop the meeting. Thereafter, about 100 Hindu mob swelled up near the church and started to verbally abuse the Christians, beat them up and took five pastors to the Surajpur Thana. Later, the mob came back to the church, beat up the Christians and took three more pastors to the police station.

The mob demanded the arrests of the eight Christians when another five Christians arrived at the spot. The mob along with two police officer beat up the five Christians. One believer, Shibu Abrabram sustained a severe injury on his left ear and he was not able to hear thereafter. “The police, however, maintained that they have beaten up the Christians to please the Hindu mob as a mean of protection for the Christians.” advocate Promod Singh the Christian Legal Association said. He added that the police claimed the Hindu extremist groups, RSS, BJP and the Arya Samaj to be behind the attacked.

After the intervention of the area Christian leaders, the Christians were released without any charges filed against them. “There was no case of forceful conversion, people come to the church by their own choice.” Rev. Wilson said adding that worship meeting is going on under the tense situation. About 200 people worship at the Calvary Temple. Kindly pray for them.

Kerala: Priest attack – civil society calls for shut down

September 23, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

KeralaChanganacherry, September 16, 2014: Kerala – A Catholic archdiocese in Kerala Tuesday organized a rally to protest an unprovoked midnight attack on a priest.

The civil society of Changanacherry has called for a dawn-to-dusk general strike Wednesday.Fr Tom Kottathil, assistant pastor of St Joseph’s Church at Veroor, a parish of Changanacherry archdiocese, has been hospitalized with head injuries after three drunken persons assaulted him Monday night while returning to presbytery after dropping a parishioner in his house. The priest has recovered from critical stage, the authorities of St. Thomas Hospital, Chethipuzha, told reporters.

Based on the details given by the 35-year-old priest, the police have taken into custody three people for questioning.

The priest said he was returning after dropping home Antony Malayil, editor of the parish directory, when the incident occurred at 11:45 pm Monday. He had noticed three persons near an Automatic Teller Machine in suspicious circumstances. He stopped his motorcycle to enquire why they were standing. Finding them drunk, the priest drove off.However, the gang followed the priest, overtook him and started attacking him. The priest told the attackers that he was the assistant pastor, but they ignored his plea and continued the attack, the Deepika newspaper reported.

Father Kattathil said he left the motorcycle and ran to a nearby hospital. But the attackers chased him and snatched the priest’s helmet and hit him with such a force that it broke into two pieces. It was only then that the attackers left him on the road. The priest then called the parish.

Parish priest Fr Gregory Naduviledathu, called for an emergency parish council meeting Tuesday morning, and demanded meeting out exemplary punishment to the culprits.

The archdiocese has planned a protest massive rally to be addressed by archdiocesan officials and local political leaders.

- matters india

Chinese authorities demolish two churches on same day

September 23, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-world

church demolition in chinaHong Kong, September 21, 2014: Two Catholic churches in two neighboring provinces in China were demolished this week while a third in Zhejiang province had its cross removed.

On Monday, Jinxi Catholic Church in Hunan province was forcibly destroyed. When the priest tried to block the demolition, he was handcuffed and taken away.

The government said it needed the land for a development project and promised to build a new church in the same township ahead of the demolition, Bishop Methodius Qu Ailin of Changsha (Hunan) told ucanews.com.

“Though the new one is now built, we haven’t renovated the rectory and the worshipping area is still not ready for use. The authority promised to provide temporary shelter for us and asked our priest to sign an agreement on August 1. But before things materialized, the authority broke its promise and demolished the old church,” he said.

Bishop Qu, who was notified that his priest had been detained, managed to secure his release the following day. “The officials have apologized. The priest is now staying in a hostel but we still haven’t received a temporary worshipping place as promised.”

In Jiangxi province, east of Hunan, the Our Lady Church in Jingdezhen was demolished just after midnight on Monday.

The incident was shared in a pair of anonymous reports that have since gone viral online.

A Church source in Jiangxi who spoke on condition anonymity confirmed both reports were true.

One, signed by “Catholic Church of the city,” reported that parish priest Father Dong Guohua was tricked by Religious Affairs officials into leaving the church on September 14 in order to discuss a reconstruction.

After dining with five officials, Father Dong stayed overnight in a room they reserved for him. At midnight, he received a call from his neighbor that the church had been leveled.

Some religious articles and furniture were moved out before the demolition but “the tabernacle was damaged by the bulldozer and buried among the debris,” the report stated.

The other report was undersigned by the “door guard of the Church”. He said a mob abducted him that night, forcing him into a vehicle.

The mob leader told him that he would be safe if he cooperated and that he would be freed when the time came. The vehicle then drove around the city and dropped him off around 6:30am on Monday. When he returned to the church site, he found only ruins.

In a third incident also on Monday, Jingtou Church of Wenzhou diocese in Zhejiang had its cross removed.

“Laypeople came to protect the church since the parish received a removal notice in late July. They even damaged the bridge that leads to the church to prevent bulldozers approaching,” said a Wenzhou Church source.

The government then installed surveillance cameras in the area to wait for an appropriate time to take action.

After some negotiations, the parish finally agreed to let the authorities take down the existing cross, which was judged illegal; they were allowed to install a smaller one afterwards, he said.

- ucanews

Confession is good for the soul?

September 23, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-miscellaneous

“I confess my iniquity; I am troubled by my sin.”  Psalm 38:18
“Confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” James 5:16.

Confess

While discussing the importance of confessing “one to another,”
a friend said, “I always feel better after I’ve confessed.”
Because I do not always experience such relief,
I wondered if perhaps her brand of confession was more spiritual than my own.

Confess to one another

Many years ago another friend described his own post-confession reaction:
“Confession was so horrific and shameful that I never want to go through that sin…or the confession again!”

The psalmist doesn’t say that he confessed his iniquity so that he would feel good.
It seems rather that after confession, the nature of his sin—though forgiven—still deeply troubled him.

Christians know and bask in the amazing truth that
“there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus,”
but that does not mean we should not look deeply into the horror of sin or the reasons behind sinful actions.

We should not berate ourselves unnecessarily or remain in the “slough of despond,”
but it is far too easy to cheapen the grace and forgiveness of our loving God by surface confession
with a subsequent sigh of relief that all is well.

Sin

While Jesus graciously forgave Peter his heartbreaking denial,
it is interesting that there on the beach near the embers of a fire,
the conversation that concluded with a world changing job description for the disciple,
Jesus lingers, asking three times, “Do you love me?”

Peter’s soul is revealed when the writer records,
“Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time…”

Peter

Confession, while necessary,
may not always bring the instant relief promised by the makers of aspirin or cool drinks.

- fwd: vc mathews

Sydney church targeted by IS threats

September 19, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-lead

Our Lady of Lebanon ChurchSydney, September 18, 2014: Church-goers in Sydney’s west have been left shaken after a stranger shouted death threats from a car bearing the Islamic State flag.

The car drove past Our Lady of Lebanon Church at Harris Park on Tuesday and witnesses claim it had a flag similar to those brandished by Islamic State jihadists hanging out the window.

A priest from the church told AAP the people in the car threatened to “kill the Christians” and slaughter their children.

“They were strong words and people were scared of what they saw,” he said.

Witnesses told police there was a small triangular flag placed out the window with Arabic words similar to “there is only one god and Muhammad is the prophet”.

Rosehill police Inspector Brian Jackson confirmed “some threats were made in regard to some people” near the church.

Maronite Catholic parish priest Monsignor Shora Maree contacted police ahead of the church’s 7pm mass on Wednesday night.

Officers were sent down to patrol the Harris Park church while hundreds took part in mass inside.

It’s understood detectives are looking into who is behind the threats.

- 7 news

Caritas’ National Assembly to showcase its best so far

September 19, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

CaritasNew Delhi, September 18, 2014: The National Assembly of Caritas India, starting today, will showcase best of community mobilization efforts of the organization with the thrust of animation.

The two-day event is organized in Bangalore and will see 167 Caritas member organizations under one roof.

Nearly 200 participants, including international donors, directors of member organizations and special invitees are expected to take part in the event.

Using story telling method, sixteen best cases will come alive on canvas in vibrant colors creating a visual impact of tangible results churned after 25 years of reflection and realization process of animation.

“The definition of human development puts ‘people first’, as subjects of change, having the power and capacity to make the choices and uphold their own dignity,” Fr. Paul Moonjely, deputy director of Caritas India.

He said that the concept of human development today is better understood in terms of equity and justice.

Cases from the fields of community health, natural resource management, rights and entitlements and disaster mitigation are some of the key thematic focuses during the event.

The event will also be marked by a release of the book “Animation Muse” on animation and three awards would be conferred under the categories of best annual report, best animation story and best story teller.

Renowned activist and author Prakash Louis and presently the Director of Indian Social Institute will deliver the key note address on the occasion.

- press release

Priest hoists saffron unity flag

September 19, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

priest hoists unity flagThiruvananthapuram, September 17, 2014: An “unlikely guest” unfurled the Sangh parivar’s saffron flag to mark the launch of its 2014 Janmashtami festivities in Kerala last week.

Nidheesh Njanakkal, a priest of the local St Francis Xavier’s Church at Thaikkattusseri in Alappuzha district, did the honours on Wednesday morning on an invite from the RSS organ for children, Balagokulam.

This was the first time that a Catholic priest had hoisted the flag at the Balagokulam event.

Balagokulam state general secretary Prasanna Kumar said the flag-hoisting ceremony was a state-wide “annual” ritual that has been going on for 36 years. “Local units invite an eminent person, irrespective of political or religious leanings, to hoist the flag. In Pathanamthitta district, we had Janata Dal MLA Mathew T. Thomas and (actor) Suresh Gopi in state capital Thiruvananthapuram,” he added.

“This time, we held it at 10,000 centres. The event announces the start of the festivities that culminate in a ‘sobhayatra’ (procession) on Janmashtami day.”

This year’s sobhayatra took place today, when Kerala observed Lord Krishna’s birth, the delayed celebration a result of differences in the astrological calendar. North India celebrated the day in mid-August.

Njanakkal, whose church belongs to the Syro-Malabar Catholic division, said he accepted the invite to promote religious harmony. “The event was taking place not far from the church and I attended as it would help strengthen religious harmony,” the young priest told The Telegraph.

The Syro-Malabar Church, headquartered in Ernakulam, is a part of the Roman Catholic hierarchy and is a congregation of Syrian Catholic Christians and, perhaps, the biggest in Kerala.

The priest’s cynosure role came barely three weeks after another church in Thaikkattusseri played host to the Sangh’s Rakshabandhan celebrations. At that event held in St Antony’s Church on August 17, priest Paul Alanchery tied rakhis on children.

Vimal Ravindran, an RSS functionary and Balagokulam office bearer for the district, said the invite to the priests was a “conscious effort to reach out to various communities and remove misunderstandings, if any”.

“Every year, we have instances where teachers in some minority-run educational institutions ask children to take off rakhis as they believe they are a religious symbol. We wanted to send the message that it was not so and that it was a national festival which reaffirms the sense of brotherhood,” Ravindran added.

Kerala, where Christians account for a substantial chunk of the population, has sometimes seen tensions between the community and Hindus. In the early eighties, Hindu outfits had successfully fought attempts to erect a cross at Nilakkal, considered a point of entry to the Sabarimala hill temple.

Thaikkattusseri, in the fishing community-dominated Alappuzha district, has had its share of religious strain, too, when the backward Pulayas converted in droves to Christianity.

But with sects like the Pentecosts winning over converts from Catholicism, there has been a reduction in tension between Sangh outfits and Catholics. The friction between the Catholics and the Pentecosts, an emerging sect, has helped defuse the hostility between the traditional foes — the Sangh and the Catholics.

There has even been instances of cooperation between the two — as in 2009 — when reports of alleged “love jihad” — a perceived conspiracy involving marriage and conversion of Hindu girls — prompted the Vishwa Hindu Parishad and some Christian groups to fight it out together as they both felt threatened.

The Sangh’s latest attempt to reach out to the Church, too, has coincided with allegations of “love jihad” by some groups, although BJP Union minister Rajnath Singh has dismissed such reports.

CPM leaders spied a “political motive” behind the Sangh’s Janmashtami festivities. Sangh sources rubbished the allegation, saying “rivals were jealous of the roaring success” of the sobhayatra. The outfit’s state president, T.P. Rajan Master, told a media conference there would be 10,000 sobhayatras this year.

Last year, the state Congress had tried to wrest the Janmashtami limelight from theparivar and its children’s wing, the Jawahar Balajana Vedi, had drawn up plans to celebrate the day. But it dropped the plan after a report in the Jamaat-e-Islami run Malayalam daily Madhyamam criticised it as an “attempt to saffronise the state Congress”.

- telegraph

Maharashtra Muslims to go for elections without strategy but with miraculous expectation

September 19, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Muslims VotingMumbai, September 16, 2014: Maharashtra assembly elections are round the corner, 288 seats to go for polls on 15th October and as usual the anxiety of Muslims in the state have started to build up for two major reasons – to keep communal parties at bay and to increase Muslim representation in the assembly.

These worries of Muslims always crop up only days before elections – parliamentary or assembly. Barely a section of the community in reality bothers about the actual strategy months before elections to achieve these two goals in the elections which basically rest at almost all Muslims’ heart.

Even though these are main concerns of Muslims but the community never prepares a united strategy to accomplish the common objective. Muslims make up 11-12% of the population in the state and hence have the possible strength in proving vital during elections if their votes are not divided.

Presently in the state there are set of Muslim led or so called pro-Muslim parties who are eying to fight assembly polls from Muslim majority areas. These are Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), Awami Vikas Party, Welfare Party of India, Samajwadi Party (SP) and All India Majlis-e-Ittehadul-Muslemeen (AIMIM). Although SP is not purely Muslim party but is the strongest Party mostly preferred by Mumbai Muslims.

As of now these parties have not allied together plus there is no apparent possibility of alliance between SP and AIMIM. Even if these parties get together they will pose main hurdle for INC-NCP than Shiv Sena (SS) – BJP alliance as Muslims in the communally sensitive state are known to least vote for SS and BJP rather they are identified to choose INC-NCP candidates due to their secular stand.

AIMIM has made a grand entry into Maharashtra with Akbaruddin Owaisi holding a huge rally in Mumbai this week where he announced of fielding candidates from Muslim majority areas in the upcoming elections with the motive of increasing Muslim representation in the assembly so as to raise community issues more rigorously.

Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) which has a strong presence in Kerala has announced of fighting from all 20 Muslim majority seats in and around Mumbai. Former police commissioner Shamsher Khan Pathan led Awami Vikas Party has also announced of fielding candidates from all Mumbai seats. Three years before launched Welfare Party of India has also declared of fighting on 80 seats.

These sections of Muslim parties are indeed going to disturb the equation of Muslim votes in the state especially for already struggling INC-NCP in the state. Learning parables from the defeat in the parliamentary elections and with the worry of impact of debuting AIMIM in the state, Samajwadi Party (SP) state Chief Abu Asim Azmi has already declared of going into seat sharing with INC-NCP.

“One cannot deny that the AIMIM’s candidates will divide the Muslim votes. To avoid the division, we have decided to support the secular parties and may field only 8 to 10 candidates in seat sharing arrangements with the Congress and the NCP,” Abu Asim Azmi reportedly told HT.

In present political scenario in the state some short sighting Muslims are expecting of a miracle in their community favor from the elections while Muslims having awareness are worried with the announcement of fighting election by the number of Muslim parties.

Advocate A.W. Shaikh, resident of Mumbra in Mumbai told TwoCircles.net, “At a time when communal forces are at rise and minority voices are suppressed, there is no need of such Muslim parties as an alternative in the elections rather they should increase awareness in the minority people and unit their vote for secular candidate in the region”.

Sajid Shaikh, a government employee residing at Bandra in Mumbai said, “Even though we learn lessons in every elections but the community never comes up with united strategy that could help the community as a whole. Rather than launching new Muslim party in the elections the community leaders should compel the already existing secular parties to listen to their problems and to implement schemes in the community favor”.

Till now, Vidarbha Muslims have not recovered from the shock of Lok Sabha election results from where all the 10 seats were won by SS-BJP alliance and hence are not optimistic about the upcoming assembly elections.

Talking TCN, social activist A. Raza from Vidarbha said, “I have found Muslims in the area to be less enthusiastic about the election this time. They are feeling that their votes have no meaning as in the Lok Sabha elections majority of the Muslims in the region had voted to defeat saffron party but none of the candidate they voted won in the election”.

Although some Muslim youths in Marathwada region who are energized with Owaisi brothers speeches are seeing a hope in AIMIM and are expecting the party to deliver same performance as like in Hyderabad.

“This is the party we were waiting for. I am not party worker but wish to soon work for it”, said Saleem, a vendor at the Nanded train station.

“We supported congress against Shiv Sena many times but congress has not lifted Muslim issues and hence we feel AIMIM will be the better option for Muslims”, said a young businessman from Aurangabad who wished to be identified with only his last name Khan.

In such a mixture of hope and worry for the Muslims in the state, Jamaat-e-Islami Hind is the only organization working to unite Muslim votes. It has announced last week that it is going to hold a state-wide campaign highlighting its various demands.

The organization aims to reach out to at least six crore voters through various means, including door-to-door campaigning, corner meetings, symposiums and rallies between September 12 and 21.

Aslam Gazi, senior member of Jamaat-e-Islami and resident of Kurla in Mumbai said to DNA, “At the end of the day, a winnable candidate is someone who can trounce a communal person. We look to consolidate votes instead of dividing them. If votes get divided, that will affect us. If both the major candidates happen to be from the same community, or a non-Muslim stands in a sure-shot secular seat, we look at the standing of the person in the community. In the past this has happened: Muslims were put up, but non-Muslims have won if they were better.”

All political parties will begin their campaigning soon in the state and it is exciting to watch how INC-NCP alliance play its cards this election so as to defeat grand Mahayuti (BJP-SS-RPI) alliance while winning over Muslims vote which will otherwise go to the set of debuting Muslim parties in the state.

Fingers crossed!

- tcn

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