Friday, May 18, 2007

Muslims and Christians not minorities

KOCHI: The Muslim and Christian communities in India do not deserve to be classified as minorities and as such are not entitled to special benefits either in admissions or in the running of educational institutions, Subramaniam Swamy, former Union Law Minister and president of the Janata Party has said.

He was talking after inaugurating a national seminar on `Minority Rights in Education - Logics and Fallacies' organised by the Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) at the Rajiv Gandhi Indoor Stadium here on Wednesday.

Dr. Swamy, in his speech, went on to define `minority' on the basis of a set of conditions.

He said that Muslims and Christians should voluntarily give up reservation benefits if they were to be treated on an equal footing.

He urged the AVBP to oppose tooth and nail any attempt to provide reservation to Muslims and Christians in educational institutions.

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Priest attacked in Jharkhand

Priest at RIMS after attack


Ranchi, May 15: A 45-year-old priest, identified as George Minj, has been shifted to Rajendra Institute of Medical Sciences Ranchi (RIMS) in a serious condition after he was beaten up by some unidentified youths late last evening.

Minj is currently the in-charge of Garha Lodhma parish under the Roman Catholic Church, under Bharno police station in Gumla. The priest, who sustained serious head injuries, is admitted at the neuro ward of RIMS for advanced treatment.

The incident occurred yesterday evening after Minj was returning from Kharsanga Village under Bharno police station in Gumla, some 65-km from Ranchi.

“I had gone to see the people there following reports of an outbreak of malaria. Around 7.30 pm, while I was returning to my parish some youths attacked me. The area where I was waylaid was near a dense forest adjoining the village area,” Minj said.

According to Minj, the attackers were carrying sticks and they had hit him on the head several times unless he lost consciousness. His left eye is badly swollen whilst his left hand is suspected to have been fractured. After recovering from the initial shock, the injured priest somehow managed to inform the nearby villagers who had brought him to his parish at Garha Lodhma. Doctors attending the injured priest said his condition was stable.

Minj recalled that a week ago, some youths had attacked St Paul’s High School and had broken many of the glass panes.

“Attacks on priests are frequent, though we do not complain and carry on our service to the people,” he said.

Meanwhile reacting to the incident, Cardinal Telesphore P. Toppo, who is currently in Rome, told The Telegraph over the phone that the attack on priests reflected the poor state of affairs prevailing in the society.

“Priests go to the most remote of villages, unarmed and unescorted to serve the poor and needy. Attacks on priests need to be condemned in the strongest of terms. However, I will pray both for the injured priest as well as for the attackers so that God might show them the light of the day,” Toppo said.

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Wednesday, May 16, 2007

Christian Principal Shot at in Delhi

NEW DELHI: A Christian priest was seriously injured when two unidentified youths fired at him inside a school at Sangam Vihar in south Delhi on Tuesday afternoon. One of the assailants, according to the staff, had visited the school the day before, seeking admission for his son.

Father George Phillip was admitted to a private hospital with a bullet lodged in his chest. The two assailants opened fire at the 37-year-old priest when he resisted their attempts to rob the school, said the police. The duo managed to flee and a manhunt has been launched to arrest them, the police added.

The incident happened at St Vincent Pallotti School in L Block. Though preliminary investigations suggest that it was a robbery attempt, the police are not ruling out other possibilities, including the fact that the incident could be a fallout of personal enmity.

The priest is currently undergoing treatment at the intensive care unit at Batra Hospital. "He suffered two bullet injuries, one in his chest and the other bullet grazed past his forehead," said a senior police officer.

The school authorities said they had no idea about the intention behind the attack. Said an eyewitness, a junior staff at the school, Devnish Toppo: "Two men entered Father Phillip’s office, seeking admission forms, around 1 pm on Tuesday." One of the youths, Toppo said, had come on Monday as well with some queries relating to the admission of his son in Class I.
Confirming this, another priest working at the school, Father Dominique, said: "We asked him to come on Tuesday along with his ward. On Tuesday afternoon, the same man came with his associate. They asked me for the forms and I directed them to Father Phillip’s office."

The youths entered Father Phillip’s office, and at gun-point, asked him to hand over all valuables to them, said the police. One of the men pounced on the priest and snatched away his mobile phone. Later, they shot at him twice when he resisted their attempts to rob the school.

The school staff came running on hearing the gun shots and a brief scuffle ensued as they tried to hold back the assailants. But the attackers managed to break free and one of them scaled the main gate, bolted it from outside, and ran towards the main road, while his accomplice scaled the wall and vanished into the woods near the school.

Their country-made revolver, which fell on the ground during the scuffle, was recovered by the police.

The duo managed to flee with the principal’s phone, which has been placed under surveillance, said the police. A police team with sniffer dogs visited the school and the adjoining forest, but nothing could be found.

At the time of the incident, the two priests, who stay in the residential block of the school, and some school staff were present. The school, which teaches up to Class VI, has around 150 students and eight teachers. But they were not present, as the school was closed for summer vacation, the police said.

The primary school is run by the Queen of Apostle’s Church, based in Kanpur. It was established in 2004. Father Phillip joined as the principal here about six months back. Before that, he was looking after the Indore branch of the school, the police said.

Pastor arrested in Orcha, Madhya Pradesh

Pastor arrested in Orcha, Madhya Pradesh

15th May 2007

Kunal Pasricha, a Pastor was beaten up by Hindu fundamentalists and later arrested by the police on the evening of May 14th at Narayanpur village, District Chhatarpur, Madhya Pradesh.

On 14th May Pastor Kunal Pasricha was visiting a village in order to show a film on the life of Jesus Christ. Before he could do that a mob of about 70 -80 people attacked him, beat him and took him to the local police station. They accused him of hurting their religious sentiments and of forcible conversions. An FIR under sections 153 of the IPC and Section 4 of the Madhya Pradesh Dharma Swatantrya Adhiniyam has been registered against the Pastor.

Christian Priest Attacked in Delhi

Wednesday, May 16, 2007

DL: Christian priest attacked

New Delhi: Two unidentified miscreants on Tuesday opened fire at a church priest following a scuffle in south Delhi, police said. Father George Phillips, who resides in the St Vincent Palloti Primary School campus in Sangam Vihar area, received bullet injuries after the two men tried to snatch his mobile phone. The assault shot at him after failing to overpower him. The accused entered from the school gate and later fled into the bushy area in the school vicinity, a police official said. Phillips was later rushed to the Batra Hospital where the bullet was removed. His condition was said to be stable.

However, police did not rule out the possibility that the priest was attacked for religious reasons. "We have launched investigations and the actual motive behind the crime could only be known after the arrest of the accused," a senior police official said. (IANS)

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Bills to ban cow slaughter and conversion in coming session of Assembly – Khanduri

By Ravindra Saini in Dehradun

Uttarakhand Chief Minister B.C. Khanduri has assured the saints to bring the cow protection and anti-conversion Bills soon in the state. He said the cow is backbone of Indian economy and she is most revered for Hindus world over. He said cow slaughter would not be allowed at any cost in the state. Shri Khanduri was addressing a large gathering of saints in Haridwar on April15. He said the anti-conversion Bill would be brought soon to ban conversion with allurement or fraudulent means. Prominent saints who were present on the occasion included Swami Satyamitranand Giri, Swami Hansdas, Swami Chidanand Muni, Swami Paramanand Maharaj, Dr Pranav Pandya, etc. Shri Khanduri said the Bills to ban cow slaughter and conversion would be brought in the coming session of the Assembly.

Later talking to Organiser in Dehradun, the Chief Minister spoke about the changes he brought in the state to improve the economic condition and administrative set up. “Since the financial condition of the state is bad the wasteful expenditure needs to be stopped with immediate effect. I have said that any strict action to stop the wasteful expenditure should begin from me. Therefore, I have tried to cut down the unnecessary expenditure on my office. I have reduced my caravan and vehicles from 8 to 2. I have directed the bureaucrats to travel by train where the train connection is available particularly between Delhi and Dehradun and not use the helicopter or road transport which prove very costly. We have brought out a number of changes in the number of vehicles, which were unnecessary,” he said.

When asked about the welfare of the people living in remote areas of the state, Shri Khanduri said he would do everything to improve the pitiable condition of the people living in remote areas. “We will make all the resources available in these areas so that there may not be any inconvenience to those people and people don’t need to come down the places where facilities are available.

He said the efforts are being made to come out of the dept of Rs. 14000/- crore. Several steps have been taken to bring about financial discipline and austerity in the state, resulting in the saving of crores of rupees of the state exchequer during the last one-month.

Commenting on his government’s decision to put a ban on fresh appointments in the state, he said the reports on irregularities in ongoing appointments including issuing of backdated appointment letters made the government freeze all appointments that were in the pipeline. “There is no ban on fresh appointments. We want to first put a system in place where there is no scope of corruption or recommendations,” he added. He said the objective behind this whole exercise is to ensure that we should not commit the same mistakes that were made by the previous government and get caught in scams.

The focus is to put a foolproof system in place right from day one. He said the government has reiterated its resolve to check the spiraling prices of real estate in the state, much to the consternation of builders and property dealers. Shri Khanduri had hinted at it a few days before he took over as the Chief Minister. During the last two years or so, there had been phenomenal rise in real estate prices in Uttarakhand, particularly in Dehradun. The possibility of about 500 industrial units coming up near the BHEL in a few years resulted in manifold increase in the prices. The Uttarakhand Kranti Dal (UKD) had all along demanded introduction of Section 371 to check the rise in real estate prices.

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Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Newly baptised believers and Pastors threatened and thrashed in Maharashtra

On Sunday 7th May , Pastor Ramesh D. Gopargode (34) and Pastor Ajit Belavi (35) of the "Friends Mission Church", Bangalore had set a church in Shahapur village , Maharashtra for the past 6 months. They had a small congregation of regular believers who attended the prayer meeting regularily.

7 believers expressed a great desire to embrace Jesus as Savior out of their own freewill.

The pastors of Friends Mission Church arranged the baptism of the 7 believers while returning after the baptism in the local river; they were waylaid by a mob of 65 RSS extremists.

The extremists questioned the believers and pastors of their activities. The terrified and poor newly baptized feigned ignorant about the pastors.

They abused the pastors in filthy language and also Christianity.After thrashing the pastors they dragged them to the nearby police station and lodged a false complaint of forcible conversion.

Pastor Ramesh and Pastor Ajit have been arrested filed under section 295A of the Indian Penal code.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Probe team indicts Catholic centre

THE HIGH Court-appointed special police team that probed the functioning of a Christian retreat centre in Kochi has filed a preliminary report making serious charges against the centre.

After a six-month investigation, the team has registered a case against the director of the centre, Father George Panackkal, and nine other office-bearers, including nuns- They have been booked under various charges, including forceful confinement, causing hurt by poison, cheating and destroying evidence. –

The team is learnt to have found that during 1996-2006, 927 “mysterious deaths” took place at the centre, and on many occasions the bodies were disposed of without informing the police. Documents were allegedly forged to make the deaths appear natural, the FIR said, demanding a detailed probe into the deaths.

Claimed to be the largest Catholic healing centre in the world, the Divine Retreat Centre in Muringoor, near Kochi, was in the news recently after one of the believers sent an anonymous letter to the High Court. The letter reportedly carried serious charges, including of sexual harassment, forceful confinement and murder, against the centre.

The court suo motu constituted a team headed by Inspector General of Police Vincent M Paul.

“Prima facie, we found some of the charges against the centre were right. A high-level inquiry is needed. So we filed an FIR. We are proceedthg agathst them,” IGP Paul told the Hindustan Times.

In the centre, the probe team found that people were locked up in cells in the name of healing. Those showing violent behaviour were often injected with unknown drugs by untrained persons.

Besides the FIR filed at the Koratty police station, the team has also filed a report before a magistrate recommending a probe into the foreign funding of the centre.
Reacting to the police action, Father George Panackkal said, “It is a concerted bid to destroy the centre. We are yet to see the details of charges filed against us.”

Source: Hindustan Times


Kerala police finds irregularities in Christian prayer centre

Police Monday filed a formal complaint against a leading Christian faith-healing centre in Kerala on the basis of the findings of a court-directed probe into allegations of criminal activities there.

From correspondents in India, 30 Apr 2007 - (

Police Monday filed a formal complaint against a leading Christian faith-healing centre in Kerala on the basis of the findings of a court-directed probe into allegations of criminal activities there.

The court-appointed special investigation team filed a first information report (FIR) at the police station here indicting Fr George Pannackal, director of the Muringur Divine Retreat Centre near Trissur district, and 10 other members of the staff, including nuns, confirmed Inspector General of Police Vincent Paul.

'In order to go ahead with the investigation an FIR is required and we have filed it. The director and 10 others have been named in the FIR,' Paul told IANS.

Acting on various complaints, the Kerala High Court had in March last year asked Paul to submit a report on allegations about criminal activities going on at the centre and irregularities in foreign funds received by it.

The centre, billed as Asia's biggest of its kind, was subjected to a surprise inspection by a joint team of police and state health department officials in September.

The inspection detected irregularities in the manner in which the centre was treating a large number of patients suffering from depression and alcoholism.

Following the scrutiny, politicians in the state, cutting across the party lines, raised a hue and cry while Pannackal urged the court to stop the inspections.

Justice R. Basanth dismissed the petition and ruled that the court has the right to order inspections even if it is a place of worship or prayer.

(Staff Writer, © IANS)


Five arrested for attack on Pastor Walter Massey

Jaipur, April. 30(PTI): Five persons were arrested today by the police in connection with the assault on a pastor Walter Masih at his house in the Nandpuri area here.

In a shocking incident, a group of 20 masked youth had barged into the house of Masih yesterday and beat him up badly with lathis alleging that he was indulging in religious conversions.

The five persons were identified as Suresh(20), Vimal(27), Pratap Singh(42), Mukesh Singh(20) and Ganesh Singh(25), all slum dewellers from Bhojpura kachchi basti.

Masih said in the FIR that he had received multiple injuries after being manhandled by the assailants.

Meanwhile, nearly two dozen members of congress accompanied by some Christian community representatives met Governor Pratibha Patil and demanded a probe.

State Pradesh Congress Committee President B D Kalla termed the beating of the pastor as inhuman and demanded immediate action against the police for remaining "mute spectators".

State Home Minister G C Kataria told PTI that the government will take stern action against all those who were behind this act. "It does not matter what brigade or outfit they belong," he said.

Members of Jaipur Christian Fellowship has also organised a peace march to express solidarity with the victim.

Source: The Hindu