Sri Lanka, March 06, 2014: The Sri Lankan Navy has restricted the entry of those journalists visiting Katchatheevu island to cover this year’s annual St.Antony’s Church festival who have ‘temporary visa.’
Unlike last year, when more than 30 journalists from the print and television media were taken along with other pilgrims, the Lankan navy made it clear this time that only those who had obtained ‘visa’ would be permitted to visit the island and cover the festival.
The festival is scheduled for March 15 and 16.
The Verkodu Parish in Rameswaram, which coordinated the pilgrimage, had appealed to the Lankan authorities through the High Commission of India in Colombo to relax the restriction, but the High Commission, after checking with the authorities, clarified that “these are common formalities and they should be adhered to,” said Fr. L. Sagayaraj, Verkodu Parish Priest.
The Lankan navy, in a communication to the Parish, had said “the media and journalists are welcome to the festival, but they should apply formally for appropriate visa and then attend the festival.”
Enquiries revealed that only a few media persons have applied for the visa.
Meanwhile, about 1,300 pilgrims from different parts of Tamil Nadu and a few from Karnataka and Kerala have registered for the pilgrimage till Tuesday as the last date for the registration, said Fr.Sagayaraj.
Last year, 2,831 pilgrims had visited Katchatheevu in 77 mechanised boats and 23 vallams (country boats) and this year, only mechanized boats would be allowed to carry the pilgrims for safety reasons, he said.
So far, 45 mechanized boats have registered for the trip and 30 pilgrims could travel in each boat, apart from five crew members, he said.
On reaching the island around 3 p.m. on March 15, the pilgrims would attend the “way of the cross” procession followed by a holy mass and adoration conducted by a senior priest from Tamil Nadu, he said.
After attending the Feast mass and adoration, conducted by the Jaffna Parish Priest, the host on the morning of March 16, the pilgrims would return home, he added.
- the hindu
Tamil Nadu, September 17, 2012: The anti-nuke protesters brought water from the sea and cleaned the church in Idinthakarai village in Tamil Nadu that was desecrated by the police.
The protesters suspended their agitation against the Koodankulam nuclear power plant for a day on Saturday.
They had launched a water protest by jumping into the sea, just 500 metres away from the nuclear facility, and forming a human chain to protest fueling of uranium in one of the reactors of the plant.
The protesters claimed that the police entered the St. Lourdes Church in the village and desecrated the church and the statue of Mother Mary.
After the cleaning was completed, special adoration was conducted in the church,
The protesters refused to accept the body of A. Sahayaraj, who died Friday after sustaining head injury during the ‘jal satyagraha’ (non-violent water protest).
Even as the police filed a case of suspicious death, the protesters alleged that the victim, scared by an Indian Coast Guard aircraft flying at low-level, fell on a granite boulder and died.
They demanded registration of a murder case against the pilot.
“We’ll not accept the body till a murder case is registered against the pilot,” they said.
Mumbai, September 12, 2012: The president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) condemns the acts of vandalism committed by police in Idinthakarai which exploded after (peaceful) antinuclear protests in Kudankulam. Police agents destroyed two statues of the Madonna and have urinated on them.
The desecration of a church is a “vulgar, thoughtless and shameful” act “even more unacceptable” when carried out by law enforcement officers, says Card. Oswald Gracias, President of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI). The cardinal condemns the acts of vandalism committed by police officers in the church of Our Lady of Lourdes in the village of Idinthakarai (Tamil Nadu), in violence that erupted during the protests against the Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
Two days ago, a new peaceful demonstration to stop the construction of the plant turned into a nightmare for the local community. Police opened fire on the crowds to disperse them, killing a fisherman. A 6 year old girl lost her life, crushed by the fleeing crowd. Then, some agents raided Our Lady of Lourdes Church destroying two statues of the Virgin Mary, and urinating on them (see 11/09/2012, ” Police violence against antinuclear protesters: two dead and a church profaned “).
“The police – says Card. Gracias – has the duty to protect churches and places of worship, because all must be respected. Nothing can justify such an atrocious act. It is a mark on the secular credentials of India, which challenge our national conscience. ”
The local community – mostly Catholic and devoted to fishing – have been opposed to the construction of Kudankulam plant for several years. According to the people, it is not safe, and will have an impact on the environment dangerous for the lives and livelihoods of the inhabitants. For the authorities of Tamil Nadu, however, the system is safe and is the best way to make up for the energy shortage in the area. In addition, according to the government “hidden” foreign and Catholic NGOs are behind the protests, funding anti-nuclear activists. For this reason, last February the state froze the bank accounts of four NGOs, including the two headed by Msgr. Yvon Ambroise, Bishop of Tuticurin (epicenter of the protest, ed.)
The President of the CBCI points out: “The Catholic Church has always expressed solidarity with our brothers and sisters in need all over India. We reaffirm our commitment to ensure economic and social justice for our fellow citizens.” According to the cardinal, “true development safeguards the dignity of the human being. It is our duty to accept responsibility for each other, and the growth of India as a whole. At the same time, we must create conditions of justice and peace in which individuals and communities can truly flourish”.
Tamil Nadu, September 5, 2012: One Christian was killed and two seriously injured when Hindu extremists attacked church members at a prayer meeting before going on the rampage in an Indian village.
On 26 August, a mob of militants from the Hindu nationalist organisation Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) came to a house in Sasthancode village, Kanyakumari District, Tamil Nadu state, where a prayer meeting was taking place. They began to smash the windows of cars that were parked outside the property.
Local Christian Gnanamuthu (50), who had organised the gathering at his home, came out with his son Johnson to try to stop them. But the pair were beaten with sticks by the militants and were taken to hospital with serious head injuries.
The mob then went on the rampage in the nearby village of Nadaikavu. They started smashing the windows of a shop, and when Edwin Raj (29), the son of the owner, tried to stop them, he was severely assaulted. He died on the way to hospital as a result of his injuries.
Edwin, Gnanamuthu and Johnson were members of the same church.
The police deployed 1,000 additional officers to patrol the area to stop the violence from spreading. A First Information Report, which launches a criminal investigation, was filed against the head of the local Hindu nationalist party, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), and six other men.
Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), condemned the attacks, warning that the situation in Kanyakumari District was “rapidly deteriorating.” He called upon the central government and Tamil Nadu authorities to take action.
The incident follows an attack on Christian women in the same district on 13 August. Orsilal (25) and Jhansi (22), two sisters, were talking outside their home in West Parasery village when, without provocation, neighbours started to harass them. The two young women went inside; around 15 men then forced their way into the property and beat the sisters and their 44-year-old mother. The attackers kicked the women, hit their heads against the wall and pulled their hair. The women were still recovering in hospital two weeks after the assault.
A local BJP member is also thought to have been behind this incident.
- barnabas team
TN: Pastors and believers beaten up in Kanyakumari *Cardinal Gracias: in midst of economic and social crisis, we remember St. Josemaria Escriva
Tamil Nadu, June 30, 2012: BJP and RSS activists numbering about 15 barged in to Bathel Paryer House at messavalar colony, Kanyakumari at 6 pm on 20th June 2012. The church is located in Kesavan Puthur village, Kanyakumari. The BJP & RSS activists destroyed the furniture and other church equipments and also beaten the believers and Pastors. Pastor Daveed 45 years and Assistant Pastor Babu, 38 years were admitted to the Thakkli Government hospital for 5 days and were discharged on 25th June 2008. Another believer was also admitted in the same hospital for two days.
The Pastor and believers have filed a complaint with Eathamozhi police station. The radical Hindu activists have also filed a false complaint that the Pastor has insulted Hindu god. The police have not taken any step to arrest the attackers till today. The attacks against Christian community in the state has been on the raise since the inception of the Government lead by Miss J Jayalalithaa.
Cardinal Gracias: in midst of economic and social crisis, we remember St. Josemaria Escriva
Mumbai, June 30, 2012: On the memorial of the founder of Opus Dei, the Archbishop of Mumbai reaffirms the importance of the universal call to holiness, preached by the Spanish priest. The Church and Christians in India must witness this holiness in their life and work.
The teachings of St. Josemaria Escriva de Balaguer, a true “saint of our times”, are “more urgent” than ever in these times of economic and social crisis, said card. Oswald Gracias, archbishop of Mumbai and president of the Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), commemorating the founder of Opus Dei on June 26, his liturgical memorial. For the occasion, the cardinal celebrated Mass in the church of S. Andrea in Bandra (Mumbai).
Canonized by Pope John Paul II October 6, 2002, the Spanish priest founded the Personal Prelature of Opus Dei in 1928. St. Josemaria Escriva preached the universal call to holiness, affirming the importance of work as a means of personal holiness and apostolate, when lived in union with Christ.
According to Card. Gracias, the priest’s teaching on the sanctification of the work is now “urgent” to “bring honesty into public life” so that ” ethics, morality and values return to center stage.” In fact, “the proper functioning of the global economy requires fundamental values and a common code of ethics, founded on faith and reason. And the call to holiness and apostolate to the testimony of the Gospel, is the call of every Christian.”
In India, where Christians are a minority of just 2.3% (and Catholics are only 1, 8%), the teachings of the saint are even more fundamental. “Living in a non-Christian society – said the cardinal – requires us to witness this holiness every day with our lives. We are called to have a structured and mature faith: this is the priority of the Church in India”.
Tamil Nadu, June 26, 2012: The predominantly Christian village of Vanagiri Menvar was assalted; homes and places of worship burnt. The toll is one dead and over 15 injured. Most of the refugee population is still in the woods surrounding the village. This is the fifth attack since 2012.
One dead, over 15 injured, houses looted and burned: this is the toll of the attack made by a group of Hindu extremists against the Christian Protestant community of Vanagiri Menavar, in Nagapattinam district (Tamil Nadu). The assault occurred on June 23 and is the fifth since the start of 2012. 30 Christian and 10 Hindu families live in the town. Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) denounces an increase in violence against the Christians of Tamil Nadu. Three of the five attacks occurred in April alone.
The tensions erupted on June 21 when a mob of Hindu extremists from the Bharathia Janatha Party (BJP) and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) went to Vanagiri Menavar and ordered the Hindu population to boycott the Christians, impeding them from praying and going to Mass. The extremists had already visited the village in May with the same demands. To avoid clashes, the local authorities on June 23 organized a meeting of reconciliation between the two communities. The meeting also involved Thiru KA Jayapal, Minister of Fisheries, who however failed to convince the extremists to leave the village. In the evening, the Hindus attacked Christian homes with swords and sticks, burnt and plundered four buildings, forcing the population to flee. 15 people were injured in the clash, including two in critical condition. After the assault, the remaining families in the village contacted the police station of Poompuhar, which, however, refused to cooperate, forcing Christians to go to the authorities of the district of Nagapattinam. These authorities allowed them to file a complaint, but did not initiate an investigation, leaving the authors of the act unpunished.
On June 24, Mahalingam, one of the wounded Christians, was found dead in the hospital in unclear circumstances. According to his son Rajendran, who was also hospitalized, the man was in bed and in stable conditions, and would have been killed by extremists. The news triggered panic and the few families still living in Vanagiri Menavar fled and still today are camped out a few kilometers from the village.
In 2012, Hindu extremists have intensified their attacks against the Christian minority in Tamil Nadu. On April 11 in the city of Emapur in Villupuram district, a group of radicals beat up a Protestant pastor. On April 21 in Paganeri (Shivagangai), a crowd of 100 activists of the BJP attacked 15 Christians, beating them senseless and seizing their Bibles and other missionary materials. The most recent incident occurred on April 30 in the village of Banglawmedu. After a complaint by some extremists, the local police raided a Protestant church, accusing V. Neethirajan, the minister responsible for the community, of proselytism. The man was holding a three-day Bible course for a few village children, including some of the Hindu religion. To intimidate him, the agents and extremists devastated the classroom and forced the students to go out.
Tamil Nadu, June 25, 2012: The RSS and BJP activists have attacked and wounded 15 Christians and destroyed 4 of their houses on 23-6-12, Saturday night, in a village called Vanagiri Meenavar village in Sirkali Taluq of Nagapattinam District in Tamil Nadu. Two of the wounded are learnt to be quite serious. All of them have been admitted to the Sirkali Government Hospital. In the meantime another Christian one Mahalingam, also lost his life, whose death is claimed by his son Rajendran, to be a murder by the radicals, but disputed by both the police and the radicals as a natural death. Rajendran (40) is one of the two wounded seriously by the Sangha Parivar activists and presently lying in the hospital. The other who was seriously wounded in the attack is Jesuraj (30). It is also learnt that all the four houses were looted first and then destroyed.
The problem started on Thursday 21-6-12 when a large group of BJP and RSS activists visited the predominantly Christian village in which about 30 out of a 40 families are Christians and excommunicated all of them declaring a social boycott against them. They also ordered them not to worship Jesus and conduct their prayer service in the village. A month earlier, we understand, the same people had come and warned them not to attend church services or Christian prayer meetings.
The district administration which was very much seized of the matter, had also called for a peace meet on 23rd June morning. However there was no reconciliation at the meeting. The State Minister, Mr. Jaipal, also visited the village and tried to find out some solution to the communal problem. The minister then asked the radicals not to disturb any of the Christians from worshiping their God. But immediately after the minister left the village, late in the evening, the radicals attacked the Christians with swords and wooden rods and wounded 15 believers, two among them very seriously. Then they began ransacking and looting the houses and destroyed 4 among them completely. The terrified believers rushed out of their homes and most of them also learnt to have fled from the village.
The other Christians who had remained in the village then contacted the Poompuhar Police Station and tried to lodge a complaint with the Inspector in charge, Mr. Subramanian, who, it is believed, refused to register any complaints against the culprits. The Christians then contacted the DSP of Nagapattinam and lodged a complaint with him. Though he accepted their complaint no action was taken against the perpetrators of the crime. On 24th night at about 8 pm, the radicals, as per Rajendran’s version, attacked his father and killed him in his village since he was lying in the hospital away from his house. On learning about the death of Mahalingam in the village all the men folk learnt to have fled from the village leaving the ladies behind. It is also learnt that the radicals supposed to have threatened to kill anyone who came to attend to the dead body.
The village has three churches. Pastor Samuel Ramachandran is in charge of Immanuel Prayer House, and Pastor Simpson looks after the Bethsaida Church, while Pastor John looks after the Bride of Christ Church.
54 year old Pastor found dead near Madurai *HP: RSS activists threaten an Agape worker to leave his residence
Tamil Nadu, June 03, 2012: A 54-year-old pastor from Chennai was found dead with his head smashed with a boulder on the four-lane road near here today. Pastor Wilson was on his way to Madurai from Tuticorin on a two-wheeler when he was attacked by unidentified men. Some materials including tracts in his bag was found scattered near the body. His two-wheeler was found 150 feet from where the body was found.
Police has concluded that the pastor would have resisted the attempts to rob him and tried to escape on foot. But the gang would have chased him and killed him,. Prima facie, it seems like an incident of robbery, but he can be a victim of religious hatred or it can be anything. Until further investigations are carried out, we will not know.
GCIC has reported on 21.03.2012, a team of 15 believers led by Evangelist Jesudoss from Kandanur along with believers went in a van fitted with a megaphone to preach the gospel in Paganeri in Shivagangai District of Tamil Nadu. A group of about 100 BJP workers led by A. Raja and his friend Chidambaram objected to their preaching and attacked them and burnt the Bibles and the tracts and also forcibly snatched the van key from them. They then also destroyed their megaphone. Immediately after this incident the pastor along with some of the believers went to the Paganeri Police Station and lodged a complaint against the BJP workers. But the police did not take any action.
May God rest his spirit in peace. Jesus said: Mark 13:13 All men will hate you because of Me, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved. John 15:21 They will treat you this way because of My Name, for they do not know the One who sent Me. John 15:18 If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first. Matthew 24:9 “Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of Me. John 7:7 The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify that what it does is evil. John 16:33 “I have told you these things, so that in Me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 1 John 3:1 How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him. 1 John 3:13 Do not be surprised, my brothers, if the world hates you.
HP: RSS activists threaten an Agape worker to leave his residence
Himahal Pradesh, June 01, 2012: Mr. Jai Masih Topno an employee of AGAPE ministry residing in Ghumarwin, Himahal Pradesh was interrupted during an in-house prayer meeting and was asked to leave his residence by RSS activists.
Mr. Topno hailing from Jharkhand had been residing in Ghumarwin, Bilaspur District in Himachal Pradesh since 2004 and had even registered himself with the Police station in Ghumarwin on 11th December, 2004. He also has a written agreement with his landlord permitting him to stay on till 2014. Mr. Topno regularly conducts a prayer service in his residence on Sunday mornings, where a few local Christians meet together. On 25th May, 2012, at around 11 AM, where about 6-7 people were gathered for prayer a group comprising 25-40 RSS activists stormed into Mr. Topno’s residence and physically beat up one of the believers’ present there. About 15 minutes later police men arrived at the scene and took Mr. Topno, two women and another male believer with them into police custody.
The police did not register any case against them but threatened Mr. Topno to vacate his home within two days and leave from the locality. The police also confiscated Mr. Topno’s AGAPE ministries I-Card and told him he could collect it after he vacates from his present residence.
When enquiring with the police as to the reasons behind Mr. Topno’s mistreatment, it was found that the police suspected Mr. Topno to be a smuggler, who indulged in forcefully converting the locals and since they didn’t want any trouble to stir up in the area, they had asked him to leave for his own good.
TN: Meaning of spirits lands pastor in police lock-up *Pastor forced to vacate house church *Hindutvas attack evangelists in Home Minister’s town?
Tamil Nadu, April 30, 2012: Pastor Enoch Sathyanagar has been doing the church ministry in Kondapan Nayakanpatti of Salem District in Tamil Nadu during the last past 5 years. On 07-03-2012, a Hindu acquaintance of the his one Murugan, along with five of his friends, came to Pastor Enoch and asked him to conduct a prayer service for the repose of the soul of his father, 60 year old Kuppan, who had died a few days earlier. The pastor explained to Murugan that he could hold such a prayer meeting only a month after his father’s death and that once such a ceremony was conducted all the evil spirits would clear away from his house. But then Murugan, one usually given to believing in all sorts of evil spirits and black magic etc. misunderstood the whole thing and began quarrelling with the pastor which finally ended up with a physical attack on the pastor. Murugan and his friends severely beat up the pastor and then went to the nearby police station and lodged a complaint against the pastor alleging that the pastor had killed his father through black magic. The police arrested the pastor and locked him up.
Inside the lock-up the pastor explained the whole story to the police in great detail. When they realized what exactly had happened, they released the pastor. The pastor in turn lodged a complaint against Murugan and his friends. The police then arrested Murugan and his friends for their attack against the innocent pastor. However, finally, the police advised both the parties to compromise and end the fight, which they subsequently did and ended their futile quarrel.
TN: Pastor forced to vacate house church
Tamil Nadu, April 30, 2012: Pastor Caleb has been doing church ministry in Emapur village of Kallakuruchi in Villupuram District of Tamil Nadu. On 11-04-2012, as usual, he went to preach the gospel in the village. But a group of Hindu fanatics, led by one Balaji, objected to his preaching the gospel in the village and attacked him and beat him up quite severely.
They also told his house owner to get him vacated from the house and close down the church as they have been conducting the worship service in the same rented house. Their pressure upon their house owner to send away the pastor from his house has been mounting by the day and the pastor finds himself in a helpless position. Please pray for him.
TN: BJP workers attack evangelists in Home Minister’s town?
Tamil Nadu, April 30, 2012: On 21.03.2012, a team of 15 believers led by Evangelist Jesudoss from Kandanur along with believers went in a van fitted with a megaphone to preach the gospel in Paganeri in Shivagangai District of Tamil Nadu. A group of about 100 BJP workers led by A. Raja and his friend Chidambaram objected to their preaching and attacked them and burnt the Bibles and the tracts and also forcibly snatched the van key from them. They then also destroyed their megaphone. Immediately after this incident the pastor along with some of the believers went to the Paganeri Police Station and lodged a complaint against the BJP workers. But the police did not take any action. Then they went to the DSP and complained to him about the incident. The DSP immediately sent a couple of policemen who brought both the parties together and arrived at a compromise with the help of the local Panchayat President and returned the key to the pastor. Since they arrived at a compromise, the police did not take any action against the BJP workers.
But later when they went back to the village, the BJP workers once again came to fight with them and physically attacked Evangelist Jessudoss .The perpetrators told them that though they had burnt their Bibles they could do nothing to them and that they would not hesitate to do anything to them in the future.
Tamil Nadu, April 13, 2012: Pastor Y S John belongs to the Indian Pentecostal Church at Dalmiya Puram. He has about 100 believers in his church. On 12th April, Ms. Juli Dhanpaul, a member of his church, invited the pastor for a prayer at her house located in Venkatachalapuram village in Trichy city. About 30 believers were present at the prayer meeting.
At about 7 o’clock in the evening, a local rowdy, came and disrupted the prayer meeting and asked them to stop their prayer meeting immediately. Pastor’s nephew, Mr. John Britto (38), came out and tried to pacify the intruder and requested him not to interrupt and disturb the meeting as it was a regular prayer meeting. Instead of heeding to his request, the enraged rowdy took out his sword and attacked Mr. John Britto and almost cut off his left hand.
On learning about the tragic incident, the GCIC’s Trichy co-ordinator, Pastor Dhanpaul Daniel, rushed to the spot and got in touch with the family and immediately sent for an ambulance and made necessary arrangements for the hospitalization of Mr. Britto. Mr. Britto is currently undergoing treatment in the Government Hospital at Trichy. A complaint about the tragic attack has been lodged at the Dalmiya Puram Police Station, and the investigations are on.