National Minority Commission to raise demands of murdered techie’s father; proposes banning HRS

August 28, 2014 by admin  
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MohsinMumbai, August 26, 2014: A panel of National Commission for Minorities (NCM) on Monday visited violence affected areas of Pune and after listening Sadiq Shaikh – father of murdered techie Mohsin Shaikh and other members of minority organizations have said that there are sufficient proofs of involvement of radical outfit Hindu Rashtra Sena (HRS) in igniting Pune communal violence in the city and therefore the panel would strongly recommend central government to ban HRS.

The commission panel was in the city to examine the losses suffered by the people and check if the government has compensated the victims, especially family of murdered techie Mohsin Shaikh, a 24-year-old IT manager who was beaten to death in the Hadapsar area of Pune by HRS activists after derogatory pictures of Shivaji and Shiv Sena founder Balasaheb Thackeray were uploaded on Facebook, sparking communal tensions across the city during 31st May to 2nd June.

The commission panel consisted of three members – Dr. Ajaib Singh, T N Shanoo and Captain Praveen Davar (retd) who visited the city after nearly 3 months of the incidence and met members from minority organizations – Khudai Kidmatgar, Jamiat Ulema Maharashtra, Muslim Saurakshan Hakka Samiti, Sadiq Shaikh and many other social activists.

All these organizations along with Sadiq Shaikh insisted the commission to propose central government to ban HRS members of which were responsible for creating havoc in the city resulting into the death of innocent IT manager Mohsin Shaikh in Hadapsar area of the city.

Sadiq Shaikh told the commission that even after state government’s announcement of providing job to Mohsin’s brother, state has not allotted any job to him so far although elections are due in the state for which model code of conduct will resume in couple of weeks.

Chief minister Prithviraj Chavan, in a meeting with Sadiq Shaikh and MLA Pranati Shinde from Solapur on June 9, had assured him that the state government would provide a job for his younger son ‘Mubeen Shaikh’ but no official letter have been issued to his name till date.

With this he also asked commission to raise his demand of prosecuting HRS members arrested for Mohsin’s murder under stringent MCOC Act in a fast track court and to protect witnesses in the case so that trial will not get affected.

Representatives of minority organizations presented some photographs before the commission of damaged Mosques, Kabrastan (funeral ground), burnt Bakeries,shops, vehicles etc and have also demanded to compensate all the victims who have not yet been paid damages by the state.

Qari Muhammad Idris , head of Jamiat Ulema Pune unit apprised commission that since many years Hindu radicals in the city terrorize butchers and forcefully snatch sacrificial goats and bulls from their vehicles during transport for Bakr Eid to other city and sell them in other markets. He also told that even after number of complaints to city police such incidences continue to happen every year due to lack of vigilance of police.

After discussion the commission acknowledged the fact that only Muslim community suffered during the 3 days violence and there is absolute need of banning radical outfit HRS which has proved to be a threat for maintaining communal harmony in the society.

“The Commission will also recommend the ban on the radical outfit. The idea of ‘India’ is that followers of all religions stay together in total harmony in the country,” said Dr Ajaib Singh.

The commission appreciated response of Muslims in the city who kept calm and did not indulge in the violence despite damages suffered to them. The commission also appreciated city police in containing the violence though it hinted that if city police would have been vigilant then damages could have been fewer.

“We found that six incidents that involved digging up of graveyards in Bhosari area, and stone pelting at mosques, could have been avoided if police had been more vigilant,” said captain Davar.

In the end commission promised Sadiq Shaikh and meeting organizations of raising demands of immediately providing job to Mohsin’s brother along with other demands posed by Sadiq Shaikh while it meets Maharashtra Chief Minister Prithviraj Chavan in next two days. The commission also assured of recommending central government to ban HRS.

- tcn

Chabad Centre reopens 6 years after Mumbai attack

August 28, 2014 by admin  
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Chabad CentreMumbai, August 26, 2014: Jewish outreach centre Chabad-Lubavitch, which was bloodied and brutalised in the 2008 Mumbai terror attack, reopened to normal activities in its renovated avatar Tuesday.

A group of 25 Rabbis from Asia attended the reopening ceremony at the six-storey Nariman House which houses the Chabad-Lubavitch Centre in Colaba in south Mumbai.

It was one of the targets of the 10 Pakistani terrorists who created the 60-hour mayhem in Mumbai during the Nov 26-29, 2008 terror attacks, sneaking in from the Arabian Sea route.

Among the six people gunned down in Chabad Centre were Rabbi Gavriel Holtzberg and his pregnant wife Rivka.

Rabbi Nachman, father of the slain Rabbi Holtzberg, was present during Tuesday’s ceremony.

“It is a very special day, for his (Rabbi Gavriel) family and friends who remember that day’s terrifying tragedy. They had spread the message of goodness, hope, love and tolerance, we must ensure their mission continues to grow further,” Rabbi Nachman said, remembering his son and daughter-in-law.

The Holtzbergs’ two-year-old son Moshe was saved by his Indian nanny Sandra Samuel and their cook Qazi Zakir Hussain who lived there.

Moshe was later taken by his grandparents to Israel along with Sandra. She opted to settle there and was granted that country’ citizenship.

The Chabad Centre is now headed by Rabbi Israel Kozlovsky and his wife Chaya, who are its directors.

There is a plan to set up a $2.5-million Jewish Museum on the fourth and fifth floors.

“This six-storey building was continuously operating under the attack. We are not moving into a new building, we are returning to our original building, and we will be continuing and expanding all the activities that took place here,” Rabbi Kozlovsky said.

Rabbi Moshe Motlarsky, vice chairman of Merkos L’Inyonei Chinuch, the educational arm of Chabad-Lubavitch, said the reopening was “a moment of tears as also of joy”.

“We shall not fight terror with guns and grenades, but by spreading love. I think this is really a message for the whole world. You can overcome challenges, even the most horrific ones,” he said.

Select visitors witnessed the bullet-ridden walls of the two floors which have not been refurbished but shall be covered with glass to enable people have a sense of the monumental tragedy that stunned the world.

- ians

EFI: Kandhamal – Never again

August 28, 2014 by admin  
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Kandhamal riotsOrissa, August 27, 2014: On the 6th anniversary of the Kandhamal carnage, the Evangelical Fellowship of India stands in solidarity with the victims of the violence in Kandhamal district of eastern Indian state of Orissa in 2008. Orissa has a long history of anti Christian violence including the attack on the villagers of Kattingia in Kandhamal (1986), a series of burning of 19 churches in Kandhamal (1986-87), the Catholic Health Centre of India near Latur (1996), burning of Bibles and attacks on the Christian congregations and the burning alive of Pastor Graham Steward Stains along with his two sons, Philip and Timothy, aged 9 and 7 years, who were sleeping in a jeep after a village festival. (1999, January).

However, August 25, 2008 started the worst ever violence against the minority Christian population in the history of independent India. Between 75 and 123 people were killed in the violence – though the government has confirmed only 54 deaths in all. The majority of those killed were Christian dalits or adivasi. Many more were injured, close to 5,000 houses belonging to Christians were destroyed partially or fully, and at least 264 churches and prayer halls were desecrated and demolished. An unestimated number suffered severe physical injuries and mental trauma. While there were a few media reports of women being sexually assaulted, many more such victims were threatened into silence. Although Kandhamal was the epicenter of the attacks, the violence spread to over 14 districts of Orissa and a few other states.

Though the Orissa government claims it took strict action against the accused, statistics show that out of the 827 FIRs filed, charges against the accused were framed in only 512. And only 75 cases ended in convictions, in which only 477 persons were convicted but primarily for smaller or petty offences such as burning of houses and damaging property. Only nine people have been convicted for their role in killing of the Christians.

The failure to effectively prosecute those accused of carrying out violent attacks against the Christian community and the apathy of the state machinery has left victims vulnerable to threats, discrimination and social isolation. The impunity enjoyed by the mobs in Orissa has also emboldened other fundamentalist groups to attack the community elsewhere in the country.

The compensation received by the victims is paltry at best and many victims have complained that they have yet to receive even the full compensation declared by the government. There are petitions pending before the Supreme Court calling for an increase in the compensation payable.

The Evangelical Fellowship of India calls upon the central government and the government of Orissa to take active steps to ensure the protection of the rights of religious minorities in India and strict action is taken against those responsible for violence and hate crimes against religious minorities.

- richard howell

CID begins probe into national shooter’s alleged conversion

August 27, 2014 by admin  
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Tara SahdeoRanchi, August 26, 2014: The Crime Investigation Department (CID) of Jharkhand has started a probe into a woman national shooter allegedly having been tortured to convert to Islam by a Muslim man who married her after posing as a Hindu.

A CID team went to house of Tara Sahdeo during the course of the probe.

Meanwhile, accused Ranjit Kohli alias Rakibul Hussain has sent an email to media houses through his friend Rohit, with a five-page letter attached to it.

In the letter Ranjit alias Rakibul has alleged that Tara had demanded Rs.15 lakh for marrying him. He claimed that he was Hindu and the issue was fabricated.

Tara has refuted the allegations. “Does anyone pay Rs.15 lakh to marry a girl? If he is innocent then why is he absconding. There is enough evidence against him but police are not investigating the case properly,” Tara told reporters.

In her complaint to the police, Tara Sahdeo, a national-level gold-medallist rifle shooting champion said she got married in July this year to a person named Ranjit Kohli.

She said the marriage was solemnised in accordance with Hindu rituals.

However, during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan, when people invited her husband for Iftar, she came to know from invitation cards that her husband’s name was Rakibul Hussain.

She also alleged that Hussain and 20 other people forced her to change her religion. When she refused, she was allegedly beaten up and a dog was made to bite her.

Sahdeo alleged that she was threatened with dire consequences if she told anyone about the conversion.

She was kept under close vigil but when Hussain went to New Delhi Aug 19, she sent a message to her family members and was rescued.

Police have sealed three houses where Rakib was staying on rent and seized his seven vehicles.

- ians

West Bengal: President lauds Church

August 27, 2014 by admin  
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Shri Pranab MukherjeeKolkata, August 26, 2014: President Pranab Mukherjee on Sunday laid the foundation stone of Daya Duar Mini Hospital at a function held in the Church of Palsanda in West Bengal, lauding the Church services.

The President lauded services of the Church at Palsanda for the betterment of tribal population in the area.

“Tribal communities lag behind the general population in maternal and child mortality, access to education and size of agricultural holdings. They are yet to receive full benefits of development despite tribal sub plans under our Five Year Plans and allocation of substantial funds. This is because of problems in our delivery mechanisms,” the president said.

As per the 2011 Census, the tribal population in India is 104 million and accounts for 8.6 per cent of the total population of the nation.

“Our path of development faces a dichotomy. We need to exploit our mineral and forest resources but often that results in displacement and uprooting of our tribals who are the best protectors of these resources. Law and order problems arise when there is a feeling that proper compensation has not been paid and rehabilitation packages provided,” he said.

The Constitution guarantees that land belonging to the tribals should not be alienated but sadly it still happens due to the ignorance of the tribals and greed of non tribals,” he added.

The president lauded the Church’s services at Palsanda in the field of education, social work, and health care for the people of the area.

He said he was happy to know about the five English medium high schools, the Azimganj Bengali medium Residential School and other residential hostels run by the Church.

He was also happy to know that the Church is working with inmates of correctional homes and has established a clinic in every parish.

The President said it is good that Missionaries are working to spread all round development and not just education. Christian teachings such as ‘Service of humanity is God’s service’ and ‘Love the neighbor’ reinforce India’s core civilization values.

He also appreciated relentless efforts of the Church leaders for community welfare and said their example will inspire many more to join in the service of people, nation and God.

- india tv

Kerala: Politicians discuss Mass Wine

August 27, 2014 by admin  
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Wine during MassThiruvananthapuram, August 27, 2014: The use of wine in Mass has become part of a political discussion in Kerala after some groups wanted a ban on wine in the backdrop of the state’s move to implement total alcohol prohibition.

V M Sudheeran, the head of the Congress party in the state, said the demand to ban wine in churches is not correct, reminding that it is part of a ritual and a tradition, which is in vogue for centuries.

“It is for the Christian church to think over whether liquor should be banned. The interference of external forces is not proper,” Sudheeran told media persons here on Monday.

He was responding to a demand put forward by SNDP Yogam general secretary Vellappally Natesan for banning wine in churches also, if curbs are imposed on the sale of liquor in the state.

His reaction comes amid continuing political row over the new liquor policy and community organizations also joining issue with it.

Also the remarks are significant as he has drawn flak over allegations that he had hobnobbed with Church leaders to facilitate an atmosphere to promote his stand against renewal of licenses of closed liquor vends in the state.

Admitting what the Excise Minister K Babu had stated on the possibility of a hooch tragedy was true, Sudheeran said that he had informed the CM and Ministers of Home, Excise and Revenue as and when he got information on it.

“It was after that the government and various departments maintained vigil,” Sudheeran claimed.

“I congratulate the government for taking steps to prevent a hooch tragedy,” he added.

“I don’t know as to why Minister Babu had criticized me,” Sudheeran said, making an apparent climb down from his reported stand that the Excise Minister had vitiated the bar license renewal issue through his “provocative” statements.

- new indian express

Church of England, partners observe Kandhamal day

August 23, 2014 by admin  
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Kandhamal DayUnited Kingdom, August 21, 2014: The Church of England and its Ecumenical partners will be observing Kandhamal Day on 25 August to mark the sixth year anniversary of communal violence against Christians in Orissa state’s Kandhamal district.

The Kandhamal communal violence claimed an estimated 100 lives, displacing around 56,000 people and saw the destruction of 295 churches and worship places.

Bishop Humphrey Southern of Repton, who chairs the Derbyshire Partnership of Churches with the Church of North India, said in a statement that “Kandhamal Day is being observed to raise greater awareness of the communal violence in Orissa.”

He said that by recognizing this day, “we are encouraging the Indian government to take the necessary actions to ensure that justice is done for the victim-survivors and work towards ensuring that such atrocities do not happen again.”

The need for this is all the more urgent in a world where persecution and ethnic cleansing on the basis of religion continues to be so horrifically apparent in Iraq and elsewhere,” he said according to a press release from rights group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW).

A recent CSW visit to Orissa revealed that six years on and there has been no justice for the people of Kandhamal. The scars of this violence continue to plague Christians in the State as they endeavor to rebuild their lives, the release said.

The National Solidarity Forum in India noted that “we have observed and created enough pressure on the fact that the economic justice of relief and compensation has been minimal from the part of the Government. We hereby express our deep shock at the process of the criminal justice delivery system which is still not provided to the victims and survivors of Kandhamal violence in Orissa”.

The bishop’s statement continues: “The Church of England with its Partners call for solidarity and prayers for the victims in recognition of Kandhamal Day. We need to build the confidence of minority communities being persecuted for their faith and to remind the government of its responsibilities to the people of Kandhamal.

- press release

Cardinal supports Kerala move for total prohibition

August 23, 2014 by admin  
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KeralaKochi, August 22, 2014: Cardinal George Alencherry, the head of the Syro Malabar Church, has welcomed a government decision to make the Kerala, India’s top alcohol consuming state, liquor free in 10 years.

The excise policy of the Congress-led United Democratic Front government, finalized in a two-hour meeting held at the chief minister’s official residence on Thursday, made the proposal.

The coalition “has come out with a unanimous decision for a liquor ban in the state to achieve total prohibition,” chief minister Oommen Chandy said after the meeting.

The government also decided to keep Sunday a dry day.

Cardinal Alencherry and other Christian leaders in the state, who have been campaigning for total prohibition in the state, welcomed it as a move in the right direction.

The UDF recommendation will be shortly ratified by the state cabinet following which it would be conveyed to the Kerala High Court as a policy decision, the Times of India said in a report.

As a first step, 418 bars closed since April 1 as they had failed to upgrade to two-star facilities, won’t have their licenses renewed.

Similarly, licenses of 312 functioning bars in the state won’t be renewed after March 31, 2015. The government will also seek the legal possibility of terminating the licenses of these 312 bars immediately.

From April 1, 2015, only five star hotels – there are 23 in the state — will be granted bar licenses. The excise policy draft is mum on the status of 111 beer/wine parlors in the state, but sources in the UDF said they will be allowed to function.

The UDF also decided to phase out Beverages Corporation (Bevco) outlets in the state, which sell liquor in the retail sector. The 334 outlets functioning in 14 districts will be phased out by winding up 10% of the outlets every year.

Kerala has the highest per capita consumption of liquor in the country at 8.3 litres. Punjab comes second with 7.9 litres, while the national per capita consumption of liquor is 4 litres.

Apart from the doubtful efficacy of total prohibition, Chandy risks putting more pressure on an already sluggish economy. The state would incur a loss of Rs 8,000 crore due to the ban that is more than one-third of the state government’s annual plan outlay.

- toi

Jesuits celebrate International Indigenous Peoples Day

August 23, 2014 by admin  
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Indigenous PeopleChattisgarh, August 9, 2014: International Indigenous Peoples Day was celebrated as a day of rights at Pathalgaon with a theme, ‘an occasion of being aware of rights to acquire them’. In the morning it was celebrated at RVT Kerakachhar, with the trainees and boys and girls of Gorrapara Middle School. The celebration was commenced with lighting of lamps and with a song. Welcoming the audience Fr. Theodore Kujur, S.J. explained the meaning and purpose of gathering and celebration.

Fr. Marcel Ekka, S.J. told in detail, ‘what is tribalness and characteristics of tribals’. According to him the core characteristic of tribalness is communitarian life, consisting in common ownership of resources, group singing and dancing, etc. Five “J” namely Jal, Jangal, Jamin, Jan and Janwar (water, forest, land, people and cattle-animals) give identity to tribals. On the other hand language, custom-traditions, culture, kinship relationships add to tribalness.

With songs and examples he explained these to the audience and shared his vast experience with regard to the situation (past) of tribals in Jashpur. Fr. Yacub Kujur, S.J. told that rights and powers give identity to a person. Therefore, all want power and authority. One who has physical, mental and economic power easily obtains his rights. Physical and economic powers can be controlled by mental power. Therefore, students should set their goals in attainment of this power and prepare themselves for the coming tuff competition. Their aims should be to become owners not servants.

Whatever high posts a person holds, he is a mere servant but one who has even a small business, is an owner. He challenged the audience with a question “What do you want to be, an owner or a servant?” He briefly explained the indigenous peoples rights declared by UN (13 September, 2007), Constitutional rights including PESA and FRA. Telling the purpose of the celebration he said that it is an opportunity to become aware of the rights and take it as an opportunity to obtain them. Obtaining them requires struggle. For, there is no one to give them rather there are many to loot them from us.

We are the greatest enemy of so call ‘development’. Indian Constitution has given some rights to us, but we do not know them, we receivers of them are still sleeping. We do not know what have we to take. Rather, we are regretting over our resources being snatched away. The time has come to become aware of the rights in saving tribalness and identity, which is to be handed over to the coming generation as a divine gift.

Fr. Rajesh Xalxo, S.J. Proposed vote of thanks. Every one enjoyed himself with group singing and dancing.

In the afternoon, another celebration was arranged in the hall of Prakash School under the leadership Fr. Petrus Kerketta, S.J. Students and staff of Holy Cross, Praksh School and Ashs Deep participated in it. Seasonal group dances were presented by the girls and a street play by the boys. In between views and reflections were put forward. Fr. Petrus Kerketta, S.J. gave a brief history of Oraons, telling that they were the developer of rich Idus Valley Civilization. Defeated by the enemies they moved to South India, from there again towards North and settled themselves at Rohtasgarh. Again defeated by Cheros they came to Ranchi area and from there they spread toward Barwe, Beeru, Gangpur anf Jashpur. A group of Oraons remained on Rajmahal Hills and now they are called Mal Paharia. Frs. Marcel and Yacub addressed the gathering as mentioned above.

Fr. Agapit Tirkey, S.J. threw lights on present situation of Jashpur. In which he mentioned that Jashpur is abundantly endowed with natural resources and mines and minerals-bauxite, gold, diamond, coal, precious stones, etc. So many companies are eagerly waiting to come to this area and of course some of them have already come. Consequently, tribals are threatened with displacement. On the other hand tribals themselves are inviting companies through their migration and non cultivation of lands. Educated have migrated for services and uneducated and dropouts are migrating in search of livelihood. Due to this process of migration the number of tribals of this area has drastically gone down. This alarming situation invites every tribal of this area for deeper reflection and quick action plan.

In between the program awakening slogans kept the audience cheerful and attentive and with loud shouting of slogan, “Jai Adiwasi” the celebration was concluded. Fr. Rakesh R. Bara, S.J. and Srs. Ruth and Cyrila did the work of M.C. and vote of thanks was proposed by Cyrila. The audience was served with ‘Murra’ sponsored by Prakash School.

According to the plan it was to be celebrated at Block, Panchayat, village and any appropriate forum levels. The main focus was village. But due to rain and cultivation people could not give time for the celebration. The aim of coming together was to be ware and be educated with ones rights and struggle to acquire them. Sometimes it is observed that people do not want to come together for such gatherings. It indicates that they do not value such things. Immediate needs are their concerns, not of long term gains which would come through rights and education. For other celebrations they can sacrifice their work but not for educational and awareness building. Most of them are half educated, pretend to know everything and so do not want to listen and learn. These attitudes have to be corrected without delay if tribal culture, identity and existence to be maintained and preserved.

One encouraging thing is that most of the participants in these celebrations were youth. These and other such occasions could be considered starting point and solid ground of preparing of youth. If they ponder upon the above points, there is possibility of creation of new society. Change and revolution are brought through youth. The vibrant energy of youth has to be channelized in right direction in order to create a new tribal society where justice, peace and love will reign.

- yacub kujur

Secular forces in Gujarat, Bangalore and Thane speak against persecution

August 15, 2014 by admin  
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GUCFHR special prayers in all Christian churches of Gujarat for peace in Iraq & the Middle East

Iraqi Christians at prayerAt a meeting of the Gujarat United Christian Forum for Human Rights (GUCFHR) held at Bishop’s House, Mirzapur held, Bishops, Church Elders and representatives of the Christian Community in Gujarat decided that:“Special prayers for peace in Iraq & the Middle East will be held in all Churches all over Gujarat on Saturday, 16th & Sunday 17th August 2014”.

The GUCFHR unequivocally condemned the attacks on the Palestinians  in Gaza and also the brutal killings and attacks by the ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq & Syria) on Christians and other minorities in Iraq.  Further, the GUCHFR re-echoed the words and appeals from the World Council of Churches, the Vatican and of His Holiness Pope Francis that, ‘You cannot make war in the name of God’, and have urged the perpetrators to shun these inhuman acts of violence immediately.

The GUCFHR have also called upon all world leaders and all men & women of goodwill to do all they can to ensure lasting peace in these zones of conflict. Finally, the GUCFHR expressed  sympathy, solidarity and support to all victims of these violent conflicts. A circular will  be read out at all services in all Churches of Gujarat on August 16th & 17th.2014.

For GUCFHR
Archbishop S. Fernandes sj (Catholic Archdiocese of Gandhinagar)
Dr. Geevarghese Mar Yulios (Syrian Orthodox Church)
Bishop Silvans Christian (CNI Diocese of Gujarat)
Bishop Thomas Macwan (Catholic Diocese of Ahmedabad)
The Church of North India (Gujarat Diocese)
Catholic Archdiocese of Gandhinagar
Catholic Diocese of Ahmedabad
Catholic Diocese of Baroda
Catholic Diocese of Rajkot
The Gujarat Regional Conference of the Methodist Church in India
Salvation Army Indian (Western)
Malankara Orthodox Syrian Church
Mar Thoma Syrian Church
Seventh Day Adventist Church (Gujarat Conference)
Syrian Orthodox Church
Christian Missionary Alliance of India (Gujarat Synod)
and many more…

Secular forces in Bangalore speak against persecution

BangaloreThe Indian Social Institute in collaboration with Karnataka Komu Souhardika Vedike (KKSV) – Karnataka Communal Harmony Forum – and other individuals, civil society organizations, faith based organizations etc is organising a public demonstration on 17th August (Sunday), 2014 at Town Hall, Bangalore from 5.30 pm to 7.00 pm.

The KKSV is holding its consultative meeting in ISI on 16th and 17th August, 2014. Girish Karnad, Ram Punyani, Irfan Engineer, Teesta Setalwad, Anand Teltumbde etc are expected to be present. On 17th evening a public demonstration is being organized at Town Hall highlighting our solidarity for the following issues:
1)      The Victims of War in Gaza;
2)      The Victims of Communal Violence in Kandhamal;
3)      The Victims of Violence against Women;
4)      Demand for Greater Democratic Space.

We can all gather under the banner of KKSV and / or others can bring their own banner and or placards. Let us be present and also mobilize lots of youth who are willing to be part of these efforts and express their solidarity.

- Prakash Louis

Kandhamal Day in Thane, Maharashtra

Anti-Christian Violence in Kandhamal25th August marks the sixth year of the anti-Christian violence in Kandhamal, Odisha in 2008. Six years after the violence, the perpetrators are still at large, and justice and peace for most of the survivors remain illusive. Justice and Peace Commission (Mumbai), Sanjeevan Kendra (Thane) and Archdiocesan Women’s Commission are organizing a public meeting to observe Kandhamal Day – by way of extending solidarity to the victims and survivors, and their brave struggle for justice and citizenship rights. The meeting will also discuss the importance of peace, justice and accountability for a secular democracy in India. You are cordially invited to participate in the meeting and discussion.

Venue:  The Pavilion, St. John the Baptist, Jambli Naka, Thane (West)

Date and Time:   23 August 2014, Saturday, 6.00 pm-8.00 pm

The following is the schedule of the program, remembering our affected sisters and brothers :
a. Film Screening: Indomitable Women Survivors of Kandhamal (duration: 25 mins)

b. Kandhamal Violence: Repercussions on a Secular India
- Irfan Engineer (Peace activist and Director, Centre for Study of Society and Secularism)

c. Breaking the Shackled Silence: Unheard Voices of Women from Kandhamal
- Saumya Uma (Researcher & activist – human rights, gender and the law)

d. Impact of Communal Violence on Minority Rights, Women’s Rights & a Secular Democracy
- Vahida Nainar (Independent researcher – women’s rights & human rights)

e. Questions and Answers / Discussion

Note: Kindly confirm your participation by 20th August 2014 by email to drtc@vsnl.com

- allwyn  d’silva

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