Hyd Hindu Meet on 25 Dec. It’s like Nizam rule, says VHP’s Togadia

December 15, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

TelanganaHyderabad, December 11, 2014: Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) international president Praveen Togadia Thursday alleged that injustice is being meted out to Hindus in the newly created state of Telangana.

He told reporters here that it was like a Nizam’s rule in Telangana as Telangana Rashtra Samithi (TRS) is showing discrimination against Hindus.

Togadia, who launched the website of Hyderabad unit of the VHP, said the state government is considering 12 percent reservations for Muslims, though both the high court and the Supreme Court have ruled against religion-based job quota.

He said it was a matter of concern that the state government was doing nothing to provide jobs to Hindu youths but is more bothered about the minorities.

The VHP leader also criticised the TRS government for its scheme to provide financial assistance for the marriages of poor Muslim girls and wondered why there is no such facility for the marriages of poor Hindu girls.

Togadia sought strict action to stop evangelist activity near the Tirupati temple.

He said authorities have failed to implement the orders which ban the preaching of other religions on Tirumala Hills.

He said a “Hindu sammelan” will be held in Hyderabad Dec 25-29.

- ians

Land dispute: Sena workers attack church guard

December 15, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Chandigarh christians prayLudhina, December 11, 2014: Church of North India’s Chandigarh dioceses has complained of Shiv Sena workers attacking a security guard and forcibly entering the area near Kalvari church on Tuesday.

The security guard was seriously injured. The dispute is over three yards of land, which the RSS claim, belong to them, the Times of India reported.

At 3:30pm, Shiv Sena workers attacked with revolvers, swords, knives and wooden sticks. They also misbehaved with Father Darbara Singh.

Police officer Gurpreet Singh in the old city said an FIR has been filed against Shiv Sena members. “They came armed with weapons and threatened people. However, there was more of a verbal fight, weapons were not used,” he said.

According to Father Singh, at around 12 noon “they tried to enter the premises of the Diocese of Chandigarh forcefully.” When stopped, they injured the security guard, who is now hospitalized.

Arun Henry, a member of the church, said they came up with fake papers and claimed the land belongs to their friend Rajan T Singh.

Sources said the dispute over the three yards of land, presently with the Diocese, has been going on since 1998.

The two parties are Rajan T Singh and the united CNI. The land previously belonged to Afzal Chaudhary, who handed it over to the Diocese a long time ago. Ironically, Rajan belongs to the same community.

- times of india

Catholic nuns lead raids on brothels

December 15, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

TraffickingKolkata, December 11, 2014: Leaving their habits behind and disguised along with police in regular clothes, a small group of three or four nuns raid brothels in Kolkata, India, at night, snatching young women and girls as young as 12 from the clutches of their captors.

In four years, “we have put 30 traffickers in jail,” said Sister Sharmi D’Souza, a member of the Sisters of Mary Immaculate, told journalists at a Vatican news conference on Wednesday. She and a number of other religious women attended the event that presented Pope Francis’ World Day of Peace message, which urged everyone to fight modern forms of slavery.

“In one night, we saved 37 girls,” she said, adding that 10 were minors. The sisters take the women to safety and offer them support and assistance; the women also provide critical information to police, such as names of traffickers and the location of other brothels.

If police refuse to go with the nuns on a raid because they have been bribed by traffickers, the nuns go to someone higher up on the chain of command, “and they take action,” she said.

“We never go alone. We go along with other NGOs together. But we need our pastors to come along with us, our bishops, our priests to support us, because if they are with us we can still do more,” she said.

- cns

5 lakh for Muslim, 2 lakh for Christian family to switch to Hinduism: Dharm Jagran Manch details cost

December 11, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

letterNew Delhi, December 11, 2014: Just how much does it cost to get someone to change their religion? If the Dharm Jagran Manch is to be believed, its costs Rs 5 lakh for a Muslim family and Rs 2 lakh for a Christian family to switch to Hinduism.

These figures have been given by Rajeshwar Singh, a leader of Dharm Jagran Manch, in a letter he sent out as part of the preparations for the planned mass conversion in Aligarh on Christmas.

On being asked about the figures, the Agra unit chief’s defense was that money was required for any event.

Upon further questioning he bristled up and said that the media had no right to question him. “You are not the law or judiciary, investigating is not your job. Why should I answer your questions? Are you giving me something? I don’t consider the media to be anything,” he snapped at the reporter.

- abp news

Karnataka: Worshippers attacked and church vandalised

December 11, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Church vandalism in KarnatakaKarnataka, December 3, 2014: Around 25 extremist Hindu militants interrupted a Sunday worship service in Karnataka, southern India on 23 November. After vandalising the church, they attacked worshippers using wooden sticks and iron rods, warning them not to rebuild the church. Eight of the church members were injured, two of whom were hospitalised with broken legs.

Despite the fact that there is a local police station close to the church, the police did not intervene when they arrived at the scene of the attack. Instead, they took Pastor Robert Solomon D’Souza for questioning.

Pastor Robert told reporters that he had been threatened by Rajendran, leader of the BJP (a radical Hindu party), and told, “We do not want a church in this place. You better leave this place or face the consequences.”

- barnabas team

International human rights day – OJPD-CBCI

December 11, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

International human rights dayOn the eve of the 64th International Human Rights, one is baffled by the sheer magnitude of human rights violations in India and in the world at large. It is very disconcerting to note that the State which is under covenantal obligation to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights of its citizens has failed them. What is comforting, however, is the fact that there is growing awareness among the people of their rights. Hence, one sees massive protests and demonstrations by people in defence of their rights.

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day this year, the Office for Justice, Peace and Development, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (OJPD-CBCI) wishes to compassionately delve into the human rights situation in India, and, at the same time, to urge those who act on behalf of the State to urgently remedy the situation.

The most distressing is the situation of the religious minorities whose right to religious freedom is ruthlessly rubbished and trampled upon by the militant majoritarian groups that apparently enjoy utmost impunity in the new political ambience following the general elections this year. These militant groups not only take the law into their own hands, and violently assault and intimidate the minority religious groups but also challenge the local / district administration that honestly attempt to maintain rule of law. The incidents in Trilokpuri and Bawana in Delhi, Alirajpur in Madhya Pradesh, Kundupur in Karnataka and Bastar in Chhattisgarh are only the tip of the iceberg. Unless restrained, these footloose majoritarian groups that have little regard for constitutional norms can become a national menace and imperil human rights.

Equally disconcerting is the situation of the tribals whose rights are not respected in the name of ‘development’ in order to placate the profit-hungry corporates. Hundreds of MoUs signed between the state governments and the companies only result in the displacement of millions of Adivasis in the central India. Their struggles for jal, jangal, jamin are heartlessly repressed. And, the bloody repression is ‘justified’ by powers that be by merely branding the Adivasis as Maoists/Naxalites. The situation of dalits leaves much to be desired. They have been unscrupulously subjected to violence and riots. This being the reality, Article 17 of the Constitution of India states: “Untouchability” is abolished and its practice in any form is forbidden. Indisputably, the most discriminated among the dalits are the Christian and Muslim dalits who, unlike the Hindu dalits, have been denied the Scheduled Caste status and, hence, their right to affirmative action.

The other vulnerable groups that merit special attention are women and children in India. According to India’s National Crime Bureau, 92 women are raped in India every day. Another recent survey reveals that 91 percent of women and girls in India face sexual harassment in their lifetime. On the other hand, the Child rights activist Mr Satyarthi, who is one of the two recipients of this year’s Nobel peace prize, laments that not enough is being done to protect children from servitude.

There are two groups of people in India whose three-decade-long quest for justice remains unfulfilled: the survivors of the 1-3 November 1984 anti-Sikh riots that left about 7,000 Sikhs dead; and, the survivors of the 2-3 December 1984 Bhopal gas-leak disaster that killed more than 3,000 people instantly and thousands more over the years.

Against this backdrop, one can rightly appreciate the pertinence and significance of the announcement by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights that the theme for Human Rights Day this year is: Human Rights 365. The theme encompasses the idea that every day is Human Rights Day. The theme also celebrates the fundamental proposition in the Universal Declaration that each one of us, everywhere, at all times is entitled to the full range of human rights.

On the occasion of the International Human Rights Day, the CBCI Office for Justice, Peace and Development underscores the need for inculcating rights-respecting codes of conduct among people everywhere and endorses as well as echoes the following message of Pope Francis:“The Church renews today her strong appeal for the protection of the dignity and centrality of every person, respecting his fundamental rights, as her Social Doctrine stresses, rights that she requests be really extended where they are not recognized to millions of men and women in every Continent.” (Pope Francis’ Address to Pontifical Council for Migrants, Vatican City, on 24 May 2013).

OJPD-CBCI calls on government authorities to honour their obligation to protect human rights everyday of the year and also urges all, especially the people of good will, to seek out more meaningful roles where they can make a difference in their attempt to respect, protect and promote human rights that belong to each of us and bind us together as a global community with the same ideals and values.

- rev dr charles irudayam, executive secretary, ojpd-cbci

Card Gracias calls for the rediscovery the new evangelisation in the footsteps of Saint Francis Xavier

December 10, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

St. Francis Xavier ExpositionMumbai, December 03, 2014: Today India celebrates the feast day of Saint Francis Xavier, Apostle of the Indies and patron saint of missions and the East. Goa, where the Jesuit priest began his work of evangelisation, is also home to the saint’s remains.

Revered by local Catholics as “Goencho Saibh”, the “Saviour of Goans,” he was remembered today by a big Mass celebrated in his honour. Card Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai, attended the service.

In what follows, Card Gracias talks about the legacy of St Francis Xavier, and the path the Church in India must follow for the new evangelisation.

Today on the feast of St Francis Xavier, we give thanks to God for the gift of St Francis Xavier. So many of us owe our faith to him. I personally thank God because of my own ancestors received the faith due to his preaching. And so thousands and thousands of us have come from all parts of Goa, all parts of India and all parts of the world to pray before the relics of St Francis Xavier. This solemn Mass is the best thanksgiving we can give for this glorious son of Spain to us.

As we thank God we also ask ourselves, what use have we made of this gift? We received the Gospel; we were evangelized 500 years ago. Has the Gospel, the life of Jesus, become vibrant, brighter or dimmed in our lives? Is the Gospel still the driving force of all that we do? We come here to thank Francis Xavier for what he brought to us, but will he be proud of us? Can we say we have made good use of what he gave us? Do we feel that we have genuinely used his gifts?

Pope Saint John Paul II, who came here to Goa, often spoke of a new evangelization.  And what does this new evangelization mean for us? For you and for me? Christianity is like a jewel in our life which must be polished to make it shine more brightly.

I present to you a few possibilities for new evangelization.

  • To understand our faith more. Survey after survey in India has shown that we Christians do not know sufficiently about our faith. We must learn more about our faith, read more about our faith, understand more deeply what Francis Xavier has taught us. In Goa, we have the privilege of having the SCCs. This is an excellent instrument of deepening our faith knowledge.
  • Living our faith more. The Gospel values of love, service, becoming peacemakers, bringing reconciliation, honesty, truth, should become even more our way of life. We should deepen more what St Francis Xavier taught us and live by these principles.
  • Proclaim our faith more. By being active in our parish associations, in our communities, by building up what St Francis Xavier first gave us, by being active in service in our villages, for our people, not only Christians but also non-Christians who are brothers and sisters of one family. Goa has a very good history of harmony among religions. This is what we must build on through the values that St Francis Xavier taught us.
  • We work out our spirituality, our happiness, our joy in the family. The whole Church the world over is thinking of family life through the Synod, through meetings, discussions, plans and programmes. Family life in Goa was always strong, united and continues to be so because of the prayer in the home. Keep the prayer in your homes, keep God in your homes through prayer, Bible reading, sharing. Prayer brings God’s blessings, prayer brings unity, prayer strengthens love. Francis Xavier gathered together families in the evening to pray together. Let us continue this holy tradition today.
  • Pope Francis has always been reminding us that we must reach out to the poor and the marginalized, those in need. This we must do as an expression of the faith that St Francis Xavier has brought us.

At a recent meeting in Barcelona, on the Pastoral Care in Mega cities our Holy Father Pope Francis outlined the challenges of mega cities.  The four challenges that the Pope outlined, is very applicable to the situation in India.  And the  Church in India, continues  the  Mission of St Francis Xavier,  with the  New Evangelisation  with “concrete mercy and tenderness”,  through our Apostolates of  Education, Health Care and Welfare services,  even though the Christians are a miniscule 2.3% of the population.

  • The Church in India is continuously engaged in a multicultural dialogue through our various Apostolates, without discrimination, the Church serves the people of all cultures and faiths. St Francis Xavier’s missionary work also speaks to us, in engaging in multicultural dialogue, knowing the ways of thinking of our culture, discerning what is good and what is inauthentic, seeking to engage with it but always bringing Christ;
  • Going to the peripheries – the Pope spoke of “evangelical horizon”, and in India, this is an immense challenge, bringing God back to the centre of our lives from the apathy towards the spiritual life and practice of the faith, the challenges of injustice, and the culture of death
  • Embracing hardships as St Francis did, going into the geographical peripheries and caring for the care of the poor and migrants.
  • Another challenge the Holy Father outlined was care for the great city mission with passionate zeal and following in the footsteps of St Francis Xavier, we are all called to have a passionate zeal – preaching by our lives and our genuine compassion for all, especially the most needy, as Pope Francis continuously reminds us, the Church of the Poor, for the poor.
  • Seeking always the Kingdom of God, and not our own gain – solidarity – The Catholic Church in India following in the footsteps of the Patron of the Mission, has always selflessly worked in the remote rural and unreached areas, serving without discrimination the poorest, the vulnerable and most oppressed sections of society, showing solidarity and working for the Kingdom of Justice Peace and Development and Truth..

Such lessons from the life of a great missionary about how to be an evangelist in our time and place will help us bear fruit as Xavier did. My dearest people of Goa, my dearest pilgrims from all over the world – A very Happy Feast to you, remembering the day when St Francis Xavier entered heaven 462 years ago.

May the gift that St Francis Xavier brought to each one of us shine brightly in our lives. May the prayers of St Francis Xavier bring many blessings to each one of us. May the fire that burned in the heart of St Francis Xavier touch our hearts, and make us live our Christian faith with great fervour, enthusiasm and commitment.

Happy Feast.

- archbishop of mumbai

Indian Shias are disappointed over restrictions due to ISIS threat

December 10, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Indian Shias are disappointedDelhi, December 05, 2014: The annual ritual of Arbaeen – it falls on December 12 this year – has commenced. Young and old, men and women, more than 20 million of them clad in black are marching towards the city of Karbala, south-west of Baghdad in Iraq. Chants of Labbaik Ya Husain (being at the service of Husain, the grandson of Prophet Mohammed) rent the air.

These mourners from Shia faith are visiting the shrine of Imam Husain, risking their lives to travel through Iraq, braving the threat of deadly attacks, which have in the past targeted the Shia community. Many pilgrims walk barefoot from the city of Najaf to cover a distance of 80 KM; some even take over 500 KM foot journey from the port of Basra to Karbala over two weeks. Braving the scorching sun and chilling nights, the pilgrims now also face threats passing through the ISIS – known as Islamic State – controlled areas.

Arbaeen marks the end of a 40-day mourning period following Ashura, commemorating the martyrdom of Husain, one of the Shia Islam’s most revered figures. He gave his life in saving Islam against the tyrannical rule of Yazid in 680 AD. Karbala is one of the holiest places for Shia Muslims as it holds the shrine of Imam Husain.

Millions throng to pay the respect to the bereaved Imam. Last year, more than 20 million people visited the shrine. This number is almost four times more than the annual Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. Easily, one of the largest annual religious peaceful congregations, only the Hindu pilgrimage of Kumbh Mela in India sees more pilgrims than this, but it is held once every three year.

While Arbaeen is an exclusive Shia spiritual exercise, Sunnis, Christians, Yazidis, Zoorastrians and people from other faiths also take part in both the pilgrimage as well as for serving the devotees.

The pilgrimage was banned during the regime of Saddam Husain but was reintroduced in 2003.

Security threats in Iraq

Many pilgrims have lost their lives during their pilgrimages to holy Karbala since 2003 in bombings and armed attacks. This year with ever-growing presence of the radicalized ISIS terror group, the threat is more extreme as many hardliners denounce Shias as Muslims and regard them as apostates; thus justifying their killing. They attack both the believers and their places of worship. Last year, the terror groups attacked the pilgrimage with suicide bombers and rockets leaving dozens dead.

Security forces in Iraq have been taking tougher measures to secure the routes for this year’s pilgrims, according to the Iraq state news agency. The police have increased the number of highway patrol and check points. They are working in tandem with the National Security, the Army and the Intelligence agencies to counter the attacks.

Shias in India

Shia is a minority but a growing community in India. In July, more than 6,000 Shias had applied for visa at the Embassy of Iraq for this annual pilgrimage and volunteering for the relief mission. Incidentally, many others from Sunni and Hindu communities joined in to be a part of the volunteers in facilitating the relief work for Shia community in Iraq.

The Indian government is sceptical in issuing visas to these pilgrims-cum-volunteers, apparently because of the security fear as ISIS has also listed India as one of their targets. It is also being reported that 40 missing Indians in Iraq have been shot dead by ISIS.

About two week ago, a Shia delegation known as Anjuman-e-Haideri flying to Iraq headed by a notable Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawad was detained at the Delhi airport.

The Maulana, who clarified that they had taken prior permission from the Ministry of External Affairs and were going for the rehabilitation and relief work, later condemned the move. Mahmood Pracha, legal advisor of the delegation said, “The lookout circulars (LOC) issued against the delegates were illegal and so is the forcible abduction and detention of the delegates by Delhi Police.”

Anjuman has now written to the Prime Minster and the Home Minster seeking intervention. Bahadur Abbas Naqvi, general secretary of Anjuman-e-Haideri, told TwoCircles.net that the government has stopped a peaceful delegation that was going to voluntarily serve the pilgrims and to make a public statement that Muslims are against terrorism. “When Sri Sri Ravi Shankar can go, why was the delegation led by Maulana Kalbe Jawad denied permission,” he wondered.

Unrelenting Spirit

Even after the potential life threats, the devout defy the worst security conditions, terrorists’ threat. Every year the attacks take place but with each passing year, the pilgrims continue to grow in numbers. What moves them?

It’s the spirit to challenge terrorism and oppression that these worshippers have embodied from Husain, who defied tyranny, about 1400 years ago but continues to live among the hearts of billions of faithful.

Being at the service of Husain, expresses the idea of fighting for the justice and being on the side of the justice. Once again, ‘Labbaik Ya Husain’ is a slogan of believers who only worship Allah and thus they support the righteous slave of Allah – the Imam Husain. Just as Mahatma Gandhi had aptly summed up after achieving freedom for India “I learnt from Husain how to achieve victory while being oppressed.”

- tcn

500 Christians join BJP in Delhi

December 10, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Christians join BJPNew Delhi, December 9, 2014: The BJP’s Delhi unit on Sunday made a special membership drive among Christians ahead of state elections in the national capital and successfully enrolled some 500 Christians.

Atif Rasheed, president of Delhi BJP’s minority wing that organized the drive, said his people worked at four churches for two hours from 10 in morning and enrolled over 500 Christians, according to a report in the Indian Express.

The membership drive was at four churches including the Sacred Heart Church, the Catholic cathedral of Delhi archdiocese. The other churches were in Mandir Marg, Turkaman Gate and Kingsway Camp, he said.

During the drive, “over 500 people took membership” and “a similar drive will be carried out for next few Sundays in similar fashion,” said Rasheed.

The minority cell of the BJP, which always focuses on the Muslim community, has decided to reach out to other minority communities in the city, some reports said.

The BJP aims to enroll over 10,000 Christians in the party in next one month.

Delhi’s 70 assembly constituencies have some 500,000 Christians with voting rights and they are at the center of BJP strategy for the upcoming Delhi elections.

- new indian express

Fear more attacks on Delhi churches

December 5, 2014 by admin  
Filed under newsletter-india

Christians protestNew Delhi, December 4, 2014: With incidents of fire in a church and a break-in attempt at a convent in Delhi, clergy is suggesting equipping churches with CCTVs and private guards.

In another part of Delhi, a local priest has been demanding street-lighting outside his church for several years now, and after Monday’s fire at St. Sebastian Church in Dilshad Garden, he is apprehensive about security of his parishioners.

A Catholic sister said unidentified people tried to break into the convent in Rohini’s Sector 29 on Monday night.

“There are two pet dogs at the convent and both started barking around 12.30am. When a sister got up to check, she heard people talking and immediately called the police,” said the sister.

She added that CCTV footage showed youths with iron rods and torches walking about the compound.

Police have lodged a case under IPC sections 457 (lurking house-trespass or house break-in by night in order to commit offence) and 511 (attempt to commit offence).

- ucan

Next Page »