It is shameful that heinous crimes including gang rapes and murder of young Dalit girls in Kandhamal is excluded from the discourse on rape in our country, says Asha Kowtal, All India Dalit Mahila Adhikar Manch
Orissa, January 11, 2013: The National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights with allied organizations like NAWO, Odisha Forum for Social Action, human rights activists and journalists conducted a fact finding visit to investigate into the recent cases of rapes in Kandhamal district, addressed the media today at Red Cross, Bhubaneswar.
On January 10, 2013, the fact finding team visited five villages ( Tiangia, Simanbadi, Daringbadi, Badagaon, Sarangoda and Tikabali ) in Kandhamal district. In each village, the team has met the rape survivor, the family, community members and the investigating police officers at the police station. Finally, the fact-finding team has met the District Collector in Kandhamal and shared the findings and recommendations.
The members of the team express their shock and anguish over the gruesome cases of rape and murder of Dalit Christian girls in the recent months at Kandhamal and at the same time are angered with the fact that these cases never figure in the recent discussions on sexual violence and rape in India. Dalit girls living in remote tribal areas of India with little access to livelihood and life are battered brutally and killed, and yet this is not enough for the Orissa Government to hang its head in shame.
In Kandhamal, if at all given, a rape case is given Rs. 5000 and rape and murder is given Rs. 10,000 as compensation and in Delhi the recent much publicized case was announced Rs. 15,00,000 (Fifteen Lakh rupees) !!! This shows the apathy of the Government and clear exclusion of issues of Dalit and minority girls. The discussion with the District Collector in Kandhamal has revealed that the district administration has no money for rehabilitation of rape survivors and their families. He said, “I have no money for the compensation and rehabilitation of minority (Dalit Christian) girl survivors of rape.”
Delays in investigation, serious lapse in role of police, zero support from district administration and total break down of statutory bodies is clearly visible in every case that has been investigated. The entire child protection system, including CWC, JJB, Child line has not played any role in support of the victims as well the minor accused in the cases that we have investigated, says Manju Prabha, NAWO
Bogus baba’s and fake leaders like Bhagwat have been issuing baseless statements to the media and we condemn them as anti-human and misogynist ideas. The impunity enjoyed by a few in our country has instigated such people and others to get away scot-free. Such is the case in Kandhamal as well, where community control has been dismantled and hence people and officials are shocked to witness such horrific crimes in the area.
The Chief Minister of Orissa claims to have stayed away from New Year celebrations, in solidarity with the recent victim of rape in Delhi, but we wonder what he has done in response to these five inhuman acts of sexual violence on young Dalit girls in Kandhamal? , says Namrata Daniel, National Campaign on Dalit Human Rights
The families of the rape victims live in abject poverty conditions, without access to basic entitlements. Absence of job cards, access to PDS and other flag- ship programmes was clearly visible in all cases.
Key observations of the fact-finding team:
All the five cases reported to the fact-finding team was found to be authentic and the alleged crimes were truly reported. The detail of each case is attached.
All the acts of sexual violence were intentional and pre-planned to victimize the girl by raping and murder.
Rape survivors and family members do not have any knowledge about their legal rights and steps to be taken towards access to justice.
SC/ST PoA has not been invoked in Tikabali case and hence the accused have been roaming scot-free for more than 5 months. No compensation, no protection and no justice for this young girl who was raped and almost lost her life because the accused slit her neck with sharp knives.
The team observed that that local police did not registered FIR immediately and even those case registered police not supply free FIR copy to the victims
Severe gaps in investigation were observed particularly allegations relating to the police forcing the victims to change the statements.
Filing of Charge sheets has been delayed inordinately in all the cases. Police were not able to give a justification for this.
Filing of false / counter cases on family members of victims has been observed.
The entire child protection system is a total failure and has not been linked with any of the case yet inspite of several complaint letters and phone calls. None of the concerned members have supported. In addition, the girl was denied rehabilitation support by the administration.
After the rape and murder of young girls, Siblings of victim’s family and other girls in the villages have dropped out from school in fear.
The victims are living a life of extreme poverty and have not access to life and livelihood. The team observe that financial assistances not given immediately after the cases. In one case Rs. 10,000 was given in case of gang rape and murder and Rs. 5000 for rape was given.
District administration and police have not taken serious steps and it seems are purposefully neglecting the cases of violence against dalit and minority girls
Human Rights Commissions and other statutory bodies have failed completely in addressing the life security and protection of dalit girls and women in Orissa. No committee working in the district such as Women and child development committee and District Vigilance and Monitoring Committee (DVMC) under SC/ST (PoA) Act 1989 and Rule 1995.
1. The Orissa Government should ensure speedy trial for all the cases immediately.
2. Fast track courts should be set up for these trials.
3. Ensure filing of charge sheet immediately for the investigated cases.
4. Review of enforcement of SC/ST PoA Act at district and state level should be taken up the state and include SCST minorities to be included in the PoA Act as they are targeted with the same prejudices biases.
5. Full rehabilitation plan for the survivors and families should be made for the survivor and family. Provide a job for the family member, residential school for the survivor and compensation of Rs. 15,00,00 for rape and murder case.
6. Panchayat standing committee should be activated and take serious action in these cases of violence.
7. Health department (NRHM) has not taken any action in any of the cases. Trauma counselling and medical treatment for the survivors and the witness should be provided immediately.
8. Education department ( SSA ) should ensure that the girls go back to school.
9. Minority Commission to be set up in the district and Orissa State level to look into all matters concerning minority groups.
10. Residential school for minority girl children should be set up to ensure quality education, safety and security of the children.
11. The child protection system ( ICPS ) should be strengthened and activated with continuous monitoring and follow up.
12. The district administration to take steps to generate awareness of legal rights in particular for women and young girls.
13. Sensitization on Gender and exclusion issues – training of police and other district officials should be conducted.
- Asha Kotwal Manjuprava
The Archbishop of Mumbai has declared January 27th a Day of Solidarity for justice, awareness and gender equality. The Catholic Church’s role in education, especially among non-Christians, fundamental to changing the mentality and attitude towards women. Discrimination against women has negative effects on boys and men.
Maharashtra, January 10, 2013: Mumbai On January 27, the Archdiocese of Mumbai will hold a Day of Solidarity for justice, awareness and gender equality, commissioned by the Archbishop, Card. Oswald Gracias, President of the Bishops’ Conference of India. The decision was taken after the rape case in New Delhi, that has rekindled the debate on violence against women. It is “the exclusion of God from human life” that leads people to “every kind of cruelty”, in particular against women. For 24 hours, the Catholic community in the Archdiocese will participate in meetings, seminars and various initiatives. In addition, every parish, convent and seminary will hold an hour of prayer, from 6pm to 7pm in the evening. Card. Gracias hopes that the day will “announce a social transformation”, because “contempt” against women has many faces – selective abortion, female feticide, discrimination, domestic violence and exclusion – and “causes great injury to men and society”. Below, we publish a reflection by Card.Gracias to present the Day.
The “marginalisation of God” in human life leads to all kinds of evil, women are objectified and treated as second class, and the contempt for women” expressed in various forms: selective abortions, female foeticide, discriminations, domestic violence and exclusion.
The Catholic Church in India was plunged into deep anguish and sorrow at the death of the gang rape victim, the savagery inflicted upon this young Indian woman was horrific and barbaric and I am hopeful, that this Day of Solidarity will serve to usher in a social transformation and a radical change in the attitudes towards women and call for an urgent Gender Sensitisation and Gender Justice and Gender Equality in the nation.
Gender equality is a burning issue of all times. It affects not only the fifty percent of women but all of humankind. Gender inequality has done immense harm to women and also men and society.
The culture of domination, marginalization and exclusion which embodies ideas, beliefs, values, traditions, rules, norms, perspectives (ideologies) that prefer males/sons has been styled the culture of patriarchy. Through dominating social structures men own, control and manage financial, intellectual and ideological resources as well as the labor, fertility and sexuality of women, and thus perpetuate gender discrimination. Such a culture produces stereotyped notions of how a woman or man should behave (in words and actions), whereby they themselves become transmitters of the above value system. Consequently women also become both victims and victimizers.
Gender Justice and Gender Equality are part of the ethos of the Church, the Bishops of India in 1974 promised that they would stand for the dignity and rights of women by providing education and empowerment.
In 1984, the CBCI initiated Consultation on Women keeping in mind the need to overcome the cultural bias against the girl.
In 2009, the ‘Gender Policy of the Catholic Church of India’ was issued by the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) called for the Church to be gender-sensitive at all times and this policy is Operative in every diocese and parish in India.
The Church has been a Vanguard in the empowerment of women, Pope John Paul II landmark apostolic letter Mulieris Dignitatem in 1988 specifically on the Dignity of women reminding us of the important role woman play in the family, society , world and also church
The socio-cultural situation of women should not be understood in the same way among all social classes and ethnic groups especially among the marginalised and the oppressed. It has its lights and its shadows. Though we have examples of empowered women in leadership positions and role-models like Blessed Mother Theresa and Blessed Alphonsa, nevertheless the reality of women of all sections reveals instances of domestic and societal violence on young girls and women. Depending on the regions, female feticide, infanticide, rape, molestation, kidnapping, abduction, battering, dowry deaths, murdering, trafficking for sex and slavery exist even today.
Women of the marginalized groups such as dalits, tribals, backward castes and minorities suffer much due to poverty, ill-health, lack of access to literacy and appropriate knowledge and lack of hygiene and potable water. In addition, they are being displaced from their lands and livelihoods. They suffer systemic and structural violence that enslave them and dehumanize them economically, socio-politically and religio-culturally.
Gender discrimination has negative effects on boys and men as well. It damages their psyche and increases the incidence of morbidity and crime among them. Relations of distrust, conflict, competition and many forms of subtle abuse emerge instead of those rooted in values of caring, sharing, compassion, mutual respect, collaboration and partnership. Such discrimination thus has negative consequences on human relations.
The process of globalization which is market-centered and profit-driven, leads to further exploitation of women as cheap labour resulting in the increasing pauperization of women.
Fundamentalism and communalism reinforce the subjugation of women to men, suppress women’s movements by dividing women along religious lines and intensify violence against women.
The Church has been spearheading several initiatives to bring about positive changes in the life situation of women and girls. From the time of the early Christian missionaries who placed emphasis on the education of both girls and boys, through its multiple interventions in the fields of welfare, education, health and the empowerment process to organize women, the Catholic Church has played a prominent role to improve the status of women.
The Church in India has been striving to impart this all-round formation in various ways and various fora. In a special way, the Church is doing so through her network of educational institutions. At present, the Church conducts 20,370 educational institutions in India. According to statistics available to us from a recent survey conducted in preparation for the CBCI Meeting, 58.5% of these institutions are in the rural areas and 54.4% of students in our institutions are girls. It is significant that the vast majority of our students are children of other faiths. By imparting a sound character formation and by striving to promote harmony, understanding and a quest for excellence through our educational institutions, the Church renders a service not only to Christians, but also to the nation as a whole.
Every Catholic educational institution has a special concern for the marginalized, especially the girl-child.
The attitudinal change is required to bring about Gender Equality and Gender Justice and we hope that this Day of Solidarity will make an impact on the city of Mumbai, the State and all over the nation and usher in a change for the good in the empowerment of women, Gender Justice and Gender Equality.”
- cardinal oswald gracias
The session for journalists, advocates and academicians was organized correspondingly which was addressed by many high profile speakers.
The session for journalists was on the topic of ‘how to make journalism a representative of the real issues’. AM Khan Yazdani of NTV, Shoukat Ali Sufi, Editor of Rashtriya Sahara (AP), and Syed Ali, journalist from Kolkata gave their views. Abdul Salam Puthige, editor and chief of Kannada daily Vartha Bharati gave the presidential address on how he perceives role of journalism for a better society.
Yovnne Ridely, British journalist who converted to Islam after she was in captive of Taliban was the key speaker of the journalist session. Ridely, who was denied visa by Indian government at the last moment to attend the conference, addressed the session live through Skype.
She in her brief but eloquent address said, that power of media should not be underestimated. Ridely said it is difficult to take on the world which is full of negative stereotypes propagated by the media. She advised Muslim youths to join media to spread the message of Islam. “If you cannot beat them, then join them and beat them from within,” she said.
She also said that non-journalists can also do their bit in fighting negative propaganda against Islam by writing letters to the editors whenever news agency carries false report portraying Islam in low light.
The advocates’ session was addressed by prominent lawyers and by the former chairman of state human rights commission E Ismail. The key note address of the session was delivered by former chief justice of India Aziz Mushabber Ahmedi.
Justice Ahmedi, in spite of his ill health, addressed the gathering of Muslim legal practitioners. In his address he said, Muslim community wants to properly utilize the law, then they have to remove any kind of fear of the system from their minds. He said Muslims like rest of Indians have been provided rights under the Constitution and Indian Muslims should apply those rights.
He asked Muslim community to properly use right to education and make their children educated. In his speech, justice Ahmedi, by giving examples, defined the importance of education especially for Muslim women.
Justice Ahmedi also discussed bias and prejudices in the criminal prosecution system. He said that people are losing hope from the criminal prosecution system as police have made a point to often arrest innocents, and police has developed a mentality that after arresting an accused their job is done.
He also gave suggestion that to make police public friendly, ‘lathi’ (stick) from their hand should be taken. “Nowhere in the Constitution it is given that police should have lathis, take lathis from their hand then see how their attitude towards general public will change,” Justice Ahmedi said.
In the academician session special importance was given to explore the ways to propagate education in the Muslim community. The session was addressed by former vice-chancellor of Osmania University Prof. Suleman Siddiqui, Dr. Aslam Abdullah university of Naveda L.A., and Dr. Faheemuddin Ahmed of Maulana Azad National Urdu University. The presidential address was given by Dr. Abdul Bari Momeen, President All India Ideal Teacher Association, teachers’wing of JIH.
Another important session of the day was of social activists which explored the title of ‘Khairul Umateen’ given to Muslim community in Quran. Hamed Mohammed Khan, president of JIH sister organization Movement for Peace and Justice, gave the inaugural address, and illustrated the concept of ‘Khaira Umateen’ and its relation to social activism. The presidential address was given by Prof. AA Faizi of Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration, Mussorie.
After afternoon prayers two separate sessions for women and children were arranged. Many schools from the city made their children participated in the kid’s session, which was also attended by Hafiz Baig and Rashed Baig, receptionist of National children award 2012 by President of India. Awards were also given to the children who made an exceptional performance in arts. The women session also witnessed huge turnout which was addressedmainly by JIH women wing leaders, including women section national chairman Atiya Siddiqui.
In the evening nearly 25,000 men and women attended general people session which was addressed by top JIH leaders. The general session began with fierce speech by Taufeeq Aslam Khan, JIH Maharashtra president on the ‘signs of domination of Islam’ and ended with presidential address by Khaled Mubasheer Zafar, in charge JIH greater Hyderabad.
Lord Jagannath, presiding deity of the 12th century temple in Puri, is listed as a landlord in the Orissa government’s revenue records. He reportedly owns 56,000 acres, of which at least 25,711 acres is registered against the name of “Sri Jagannath Mahaprabhu Bije, Puri” in the state’s land revenue records. The temple’s managing committee headed by the Puri king manages the land on behalf of the deity. The lands are spread over 23 of Orissa’s 30 districts as well as states such as Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, West Bengal, Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
But the land mafia, allegedly helped by bureaucrats and corrupt politicians, is believed to have parcelled away at least 20 per cent of his recorded land in Orissa. Chief administrator of the temple Arvind Padhee, a senior IAS officer, decided to strike back early this week. The temple administration cleared 250 acres in Jatni area near Bhubaneswar and Delang area of Puri district. The land is worth an estimated Rs 500 crore.
“When I started clearing the area, there were goons all over the place. But we were determined to clear it,” said Padhee, who as revenue divisional commissioner, central division, has been trying to get the lord’s land records updated. Among the alleged encroachers was the son of a former Assam governor, whose stone crusher was obscuring the landscape. The anti-encroachment team’s bulldozers razed a rice processing mill, a housing society, a market complex and several dhabas that had mushroomed over the land. A head clerk working at the temple’s Jatni office, who was found guilty of conniving with the land mafia, was suspended.
Officials said the encroachers had sought to justify the land-grabbing, saying it had been authorised by the endowment commissioner under the Orissa Hindu Religious Endowments Act, 1951. But Padhee cited section 16(3) of the Shri Jagannath Temple Act, 1954, which says any transfer of immovable property recorded in the name of Lord Jagannath of Puri by any person including any institution would be null and void. As per section 2(1) of the temple Act, the provisions of the Hindu religious endowments Act are not applicable to the temple except with respect to actions taken, things done and contributions levied as such.
Padhee said the temple administration is now planning to evict encroachers from at least 1,000 acres in the next few weeks. After it is freed, the land would be sold to the general public through the Bhubaneswar Development Authority. The funds so generated would be deposited in the temple corpus fund.
Encouraged by the success of the drive, the temple administration is now in the process of identifying the remaining 30,000 acres for which there is no record of rights as yet. “Most of these lands are in districts of Puri, Khurda, Cuttack and Ganjam. If we get back the land, the lord’s would probably be the richest among all shrines in India,” Padhee said.
- indian express
Lenin Raguvanshi, director of the People’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (Pvchr), comments on Benedict XVI’s messgae for the 46th World Day of Peace. Among the threats to a “sustainable peace”, male selfishness in male-female relationships, which leads to violence, such as New Delhi rape or selective abortions. The “fundamental” role of religion, against extreme forms of secularism that hinder peace.
Mumbai, January 09, 2013: A “powerful” call to be received “with hope and courage,” to “help and guide the nations of the world to create pluralist democracies” and “sustainable peace”. Lenin Raghuvanshi, director of thePeople’s Vigilance Committee on Human Rights (Pvchr) in Varanasi, thus welcomes the Message of Benedict XVI for the 46th World Day of Peace, on the topic “Blessed are the peacemakers.” Speaking to AsiaNews the Indian activist, a layman, stresses the importance of the Pope’s words, in a difficult social and political time for India, still shaken by the New Delhi rape, which has reignited the debate on violence against women and human dignity, and hit by scandals of corruption of its ruling class.
Raguvanshi points to what Benedict XVI said on the “dominance of a selfish and individualistic mentality” in society. For the activist, in India and in the world the male-female relationship is characterized by “a male selfishness, which seeks to destroy the woman and all those most vulnerable,” such as Dalits and tribal communities, but also the victims of selective abortions.
“In his message – says Raghuvanshi – the Holy Father correlated peace with the gap between rich and poor. Peace without justice is a symptom of a culture of silence and impunity.” This, he explains, “means that we need to support the countries and peoples in need. What is the message of Jesus, why was he born into a poor family? In order to bring dignity to the poorest. Nobody is excluded from the grace and dignity conferred by the glory of God, the gap between rich and poor is not democratic “and” is generating conflicts around the world. ”
Citing a fundamental point of the message, in which the pope said that “peace is the gift of God to man,” the secular activist emphasizes “the crucial role of religion and spirituality in the life of every person.” “Today – he explains – even extreme forms of secularism are an obstacle to peace.Whatever kind of extremist ideology creates problems is dangerous and leads to violence. Extremism in the form of terrorism (the others must conform to my beliefs), made with individual or state actions, is dangerous for sustainable peace. ”
According to Lenin Raghuvanshi “theology is very important to involve humans in the peace process.”
The program would provide training to those interested in social work.
The 41st Development Dynamic Courses, which began on Jan. 7, would provide training to 43 participants from India and other south Asian countries, including Combodia, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.
The 26-day program is one of the flagship training programs organized by Caritas India, the social wing of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India, every year.
The training program, which has been going on for the last 26 years, has trained more than 3,000 social workers.
The event was inaugurated by Archbishop Thomas D’souza of Calcutta.
In his inaugural speech, the prelate stressed on teaching, preaching and healing of Jesus’ ministry.
“Being as a social worker it is our duty to resemble Christ in our activities,” he said.
Other dignitaries who attended the program included Fr. Fredrick D’souza, executive director of Caritas India, Fr. Frankline, director of Seva Kendra Calcutta and Vicar general Msgr. Dominic Gomes.
- press release
Jharkhand : A Christian school teacher was stabbed to death in Sahibganj town by three students. The students went to the residence of 57-year-old teacher Rita Biswas at Netaji Subhash Colony on Tuesday on the pretext of taking tuition and stabbed her in the stomach when she opened the door.The victim was declared brought dead by the doctors at the Sadar Hospital. she was a teacher with the St Joseph School. Victim’s 64-year-old husband, Asish Kumar Biswas, was admitted to the hospital with injuries he suffered while trying to resist the attackers
“The matter is still under investigation, whether the students were of the same school and what could have been the reason for the crime.
Kochi, January 08, 2013: Minister for Overseas Indian Affairs Vayalar Ravi made it clear Tuesday that the government was willing to go to any extent to help Indians to return from the United Arab Emirates (UAE) under the amnesty offer of the UAE government.
“We do not want any Indian to suffer because they don’t have money to pay for their fare. We will make all arrangements for them,” Ravi told reporters at the 11th Pravasi Bharatiya Divas being held here Jan 7-9.
“We will use the India Community Welfare Fund for the repatriation of Indians,” said Ravi.
Speaking to IANS, Kerala Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said they are baffled by the poor response ever since the amnesty offer started Dec 4.
“So far just 300 Keralites have registered for it. We will find out why there has been such a poor response,” said Chandy.
According to reports from the UAE, 800 Indian’s have registered for the amnesty, which ends Feb 3.
“We want to ensure that our people can continue to work legally in the UAE. But as a government we will be able to do little in that respect because the laws of that country have to be respected,” said Chandy.
State Minister for Diaspora K.C. Joseph told IANS that the state government will lend a helping hand to those who return.
“We can link up with commercial banks in the state to provide soft loans to the returnees to help them start a business,” said Joseph.
The Kerala government had earlier announced that they would set apart Rs.25 lakh to meet repatriation expenses of Keralites who wish to return.
The last time the UAE offered an amnesty was in 2007 and 40,000 Indians made use of it and returned. Another 37,000 used the offer to legalise their stay in the UAE by paying reduced penalties.
It has demanded introduction of gender-sensitive curriculum at the school level.
New Delhi, January 08, 2013: Caritas India, the social service wing of the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI), sent its suggestions to make India a gender sensitive nation but said it cannot support death penalty as punishment for rape.
In its eleven-point recommendation made last Saturday to the Verma Committee set up by the federal government, Caritas asked to introduce gender-sensitive curriculum from school level onward to promote and foster a balanced gender perspective in India.
The government set up the committee after massive crowds lay siege to the national capital for almost two weeks in December and the first week of January 2013 calling for justice for the 23 year old physiotherapy student victim of gang rape.
Six men raped her in a moving bus and male companion who sought to defend her was also attacked. Both were dumped on a roadside by their attackers presuming them to be dead. The woman died 13-days after the incident in a Singapore hospital of her injures.
Several groups have demanded revise laws to award death penalty for rapists. Although, justifying public rage and protests, Caritas said it does not support death penalty as a punishment to rape.
The official teachings of the Church also do not support death penalty on the ground that God alone is the owner of life and no one could legitimately interfere with life.
Caritas also noted with concern the failure of the country to protect girl-children and women.
Other recommendation of the Caritas include setting up of special fast track courts with women lawyers, women welfare committees at district levels, anti-sexual harassment task force with 60% women at Panchayat levels, higher rank of police officers for handling rape and sexual crimes, national toll free women helpline, CCTV cameras with announcement facilities in public spaces.
While strict and effective enforcement of the law is required for the safety of women, Caritas has also cautioned the government against appropriate safeguards to prevent misuse or taking any undue advantage of such laws.
The Verma Committee’s recommendations would be placed before the government in less than a month which is expected to pave the way to amendment of existing laws to deal with rape and other crimes against women so as to provide speedier justice and enhanced punishment in sexual assault cases in India.
- press release
Help Christian Adivasis Stopped from Taking Water & Firewood
- Please Send SOS Petition for Protection & Representation –
Maharashtra Persecution Rises – After Malvan, its Palghar
If we suffer, we shall also reign with Him: if we deny Him, HE also will deny us – 2 Timothy 2:12
MAHARASHTRA STOP PRESS: After the attack on Christians in Malvan, we now have Christians in Manohar targeted. No Sunday worship has taken place since the attack on New Year’s eve. Even worse, today we received information that Christian adivasis (tribals)have been refused water and firewood by the non-Christian villagers. How do they survive?
The authorities seem to have left them to fend for themselves. The police are callous. And we can’t even visit them, as Hindutvas turn on us. We need you to urgently send this SOS email petition calling for action and for the state government to nominate Christian representatives on various commissions, corporations, councils, boards, etc. to help. Please find below, a brief report of what has happened.
By God’s Grace – Your emails in every instance have been successful & provided succor to the suffering. And we are confident, the LORD will bless this one will be no different. This email from you can bring relief to persecuted Christians in Maharashtra….
Email Below SOS Towards Zero Tolerance on Persecution in Maharashtra – Model State
Request: Act on The CSF Recommendations & Nominate Christians, ASAP
We have been given to understand that The CSF has presented to you police inaction in Malvan and now in Manohar, Palghar, where Christians are being targeted. ICAN has increasing reports of such attacks by fundamentalists, which can be offset by due Christian representation on various commissions, corporations, councils, boards, police, etc.
However, it seems that the term minority is some to mean just one community or groups that take to the streets. We therefore call upon you to assist Christians prevent attacks on the community and fill in the vacancies, recommendations for which have already been made. This is the least we would expect in a state ruled by ‘secular’ parties – Congress, NCP and others.
Looking forward to your earliest corrective action – bro. Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary will follow-up with you in this regard.
Me & My Loved Ones
New Year Eve Attack
The CSF expresses its shock at the behaviour of the Manohar police station officers, in Kaspada, village Tamsai, Palghar taluka of Thane Rural district in Maharashtra state. I met with some of the victims, who even produced photographic evidence, which is surprising because we are ruled by the Congress-NCP combine. Soon after the Malwan incident, this is an even more severe attack, which happened on 30th December, 2012 by a mob of 400 to 500 Hindutva fundamentalists. Around 25 Christian adivasis had gathered for Sunday worship service, in the house church of one Halya Patil, as they had been doing so for the last almost 2 years. Suddenly the mob surrounded the place and asked the Christian villagers to stop the prayer service. Then about a dozen of the began beating the believers, which included many women and children, who were not spared. The musical instruments were broken and bibles were torn or desecrated. About 25 of the worshipers sustained injuries and had to be treated.
Other Christians Warned
Since early that day morning, believers who came to the house church from near-by places (Amban, Gharatpada, Durvesh, Embur, etc.) where accosted on the road by the Hindutva communalists and asked not to attend the prayer service or were threatened with danger. Many turned back out of fear, or the number of casualties would have been more. When the Christian adivasis went to the Manohar police station, the officers were hostile and refused to entertain them. Instead in front of the police that Hindutva fundamentalists openly threatened to attack the Christians and kill any pastor that came to lead the worship. They also threatened to deny the Christians ration and government benefits, if they continued to pray in the village. The group panchayat (local self-governing agency) of the Pochade and Tamsai villages called for meeting to impose economic sanctions, social boycott and restrictions on practicing of Christianity in the area.
Women & Children Not Spared
Of those hurt, about 10 were women, 5 were children and 14 were male believers. Most injuries were internal and x-rays / CT scans have been advised, but the Christians are too poor to afford any such medicare. No action was taken against the 14 main culprits, rather the Christians were given a warning notice by the police not to give any cause for trouble or action would be taken against them. The Christian advasis being given no protection or even hope of assistance from the police are mortally afraid of them and had this Sunday’s worship in Vikramgad, Voice of Holy Spirit House Church, which is about 20 kilometers away from their homes. Some of the victims visited The CSF office in Mumbai to record their complaints. The Hindutva fundamentalists are reported to have said that they have orders from their seniors to prevent any practice of Christianity in the region.
Police Inaction Emboldens Hindutvas
The area has been simmering since the last over 2 years, with Christians being targeted and the police looking the other way. Instead the police have been saying it would cost the Christians, Rs.2,000 per constable, if they needed protection. The Christians are fearful of the police with The CSF receiving complaints from believers of the neighbouring villages of Nandgaon, Talauli, Savarkhand… For Christian adivasis from the Palghar and Vikramgad talukas of the Thane district, the Constitutional Right to Freedom of Religion, certainly has no meaning. In these talukas, there is no cremation ground too, with Christian believers, being forced to cremate bodies, denying their faith or burying dead bodies in their own land. The affected Christians however, are putting up a heroic fight and refuse to stop praying or converting back, though there are a few reports of believers secretly worshiping and not publicly.
In view of the above, you are urged to pray and act to protect the Christians from a bloodbath in Kaspada, village Tamsai, Palghar and also the neighbouring Vikramgad talukas.
You may get in touch with the undersigned for confidential information about the incidents, as the Christian adivasis are afraid for their lives and hence no names are mentioned.
- Joseph Dias +91 9769555657