Thursday, May 29, 2008

Pastor attacked by Bajrang Dal members near Rewa, Madhya Pradesh

Rewa, Madhya Pradesh, 26th May 2008 - Pastor Rampal Kori (30) who works for Eternal Life Ministries and is a resident of village Maoganj, 65 kilometers from Rewa district, MP was attacked by Bajrang Dal leaders while he was on his way back from Dadar village. The attackers have been identified as Chintaman Kol and Bihari Kol and are said to be block level leaders of Bajrang Dal. According to reports Chintaman Kol hit Pastor Rampal with an iron rod, which knocked him unconscious and left him bleeding heavily.

Pastor Rampal also reports that the attacker duo robbed him of 3000 rupees, which a local Church member gave him for some Church purpose. According to reports last recieved Pastor Rampal had been admitted to the Government run Samudayik Swastha Kendra Maoganj and was recovering from his injuries. An FIR has been filed in the local police station but no arrests have been made. Pastor Rampal and his wife Rajkali (28) have 2 girls 10 and 8 and a boy who is 6 years old.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

30 Christian preachers attacked by Hindu radicals at Andhra Pradesh, India

By James Varghese

ANDHRA PRADESH, INDIA (ANS) -- In yet another savage attack on Christians in India, news has just come out that some thirty Christian preachers were beaten by Hindu activists belonging to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) at Bainsa town in the Adilabad district of Andhra Pradesh.

According to a story issued by the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) on their website, the group of preachers belonging to the Brethren Church went to Bainsa to preach the Gospel on May 23, 2008.

On learning of their presence, the RSS activists first attacked their vehicles and then beat them up, resulting in serious injuries to many of them. Incredibly, the preachers were later taken by the attackers to the police station at Bainsa so they could file a complaint against them and for the police to inquire into their allegations.

As if this wasn’t enough, three truckloads of Hindu fanatics, numbering about 200, then surrounded the police station wanting to attack the preachers again. The Christians had to remain inside the police station as the attackers lay outside waiting for them. Meantime another preacher came to Bainsa town without knowing anything about the attack and was also thrashed severely.

The All India Christian Council has condemned the attack on the preachers and sought protection and safety for them.

Editor’s note: Christians around the world are wondering when the Indian authorities will finally step in and stop what seem to be never-ending attacks on believers in India. One has to ask why Christians in India, the world’s largest democracy, are not allowed freedom of speech in their own country without having to face such violence.

Click here for source

HRD Ministry Asks NMC's Views on Quota for Dalit Christians, Muslims

Posted online: Wednesday, May 28, 2008 at 2212 hrs

New Delhi, May 27: Though already neck-deep in quota quagmire, the HRD Ministry has now asked the National Minorities Commission (NMC) to present its assessment on the controversial issue of granting Scheduled Caste status to Dalit Christians and Muslims.

The NMC had recently commissioned a study which came up with strong recommendation for granting SC status for Dalit Muslims and Christians on the lines of Dalit Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists.

The HRD Ministry has also asked the NMC to take up the case with the Ministry of Social Justice and Empowerment which had earlier expressed some reservations on the issue, saying it would affect the 15% quota for Dalit Hindus.

Interestingly, "quota-friendly" HRD Minister Arjun Singh had made this move when the Government was resisting the pressure from coalition partners like the DMK, Ram Vilas Paswan's Lok Jan Shakti Party and Lalu Prasad Yadav who had made similar demands. They had been asking the Government to place the report by the National Commission for Religious and Linguistic Minorities (NCRLM) Commission before the Parliament which had made similar recommendations on the issue of granting SC status for Dalit Christians and Muslims.

Paswan and Lalu had argued that it would help in taking on Mayawati as it would split her Dalit vote bank as the Hindu Dalits unwilling to share the reservation pie are against it. Both leaders had even taken up the issue with the Prime Minister, who is understood to be "hesitant" in creating yet another reservation controversy.

The study initiated by the NMC had looked into the contemporary status of Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in terms of their material well-being and social status. It had categorically stated that there was a strong case for including Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians in the Scheduled Caste category.

"There are compelling arguments in favour of such an inclusion based on principles of natural justice and fairness. The balance of pragmatic considerations is also in favour of their inclusion. According due statutory recognition to Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians would not only right a wrong, it would also remove an indefensible anomaly in our politico-legal system that can legitimately be construed as discriminatory," the study said. "In most social contexts, they are Dalits first and Muslims and Christians only second."



1,793 Christians reconverted to Hinduism

New Delhi (AsiaNews) - Yesterday, 1,793 tribal Christians reconverted to Hinduism in a ceremony in Borivli (Mumbai), presided over by Hindu leader Swami Narendra Maharaj. Maharaj, who led the ritual of shuddikaran (purification), said that 42,200 people have been reconverted, above all in the tribal areas of Maharashtra and Gujarat.  He accused Christians of using "luring and misleading" methods to convert Hindus, and said that "an anti-conversion law is needed," because "nobody should be converted, whatsoever be his religion".  He criticised the political parties that "have refused to take a firm stand on the government’s conversion bill", and expressed his hopes for the creation of a "pressure group" that would protect Hindu "interests". He also blamed the Hindu fundamentalist parties Bharathiya Janata and Shiv Sena for not being decisive enough.

There are laws in various Indian states punishing the activity of proselytism.  In general, these are interpreted in the sense that it is not prohibited to convince someone to renounce other religions in order to return to Hinduism, which is considered the "natural" religion for Indians.

On April 14, in the city of Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu), over one thousand Christian Dalits reverted to Hinduism, and the organisers of the ceremony announced their intentions to reconvert another 20,000 Christians in Villupuram in upcoming months.

The auxiliary bishop of Mumbai, Percival Fernandez, told AsiaNews yesterday that "two points must be clarified: 1) no adult can receive or be given the sacrament of baptism without his or her free consent.  Baptism given by coercive methods is totally invalid, hence the person so baptised cannot be numbered among Catholics. 2) We have been asking persons who are shouting from the house-tops that we are converting people to Christianity by force or other coercive methods, that they should produce before us persons who have been thus baptised and received into the Catholic Church: so far not a single person has been produced.  If they feel shy to do so before us Catholics, let them produce such persons before the courts of law in our country".

On the state anti-conversion laws, Bishop Percival, who is also the chairman of the St. John's National Academy of Health Sciences, maintains that it is more important that "legislators spend their precious time in the legislatures to plan and execute  projects that get drinking water, decent housing, daily affordable bread and  primary education to the millions who are deprived of these basic requirements for which they have a right. Instead of wasting precious time in working out anti-conversion laws, it would be much more profitable if they appointed a high level commission consisting of excellent judges that we have in plenty in the country, identify the persons converted by the Catholics by force and allurements and identify the person who did such a condemnable deed, and punish both concerned with laws that are already available in the constitution of our beloved country".


Monday, May 26, 2008

Bible school attacked in Karnataka

Hindu Jagarna Vedike & VHP- hinduvta extremists on 24th May assaulted staff and students of 'Timothy Theological School' in Sathanarayapettai, Bellary district of Karnataka.

Around 12.30 p.m. around 20 extremists led by Mr. Anil Naidu and Siddesh barged into house-church as lectures were going on and attacked Rev. Jayaprakash and the 15 students in the classroom. The radicals then physically assaulted Rev. Dr. Isaac Namadevu, chairperson of the theological school and also Pastor of "Assembly of God Ministry church.

The radicals have beaten up Rev. Isaac and Rev. Jayaprakash. Fifteen students were also injured in the attack. Rev. Jayaprakash has sustained head injury during the attack. The attackers were alleging forceful conversion. The radicals tore the bibles, broke the window glasses and destroyed all the furniture.

Dr. Rev. Isaac Namadevu has filed complaint against the radicals. Mr. Nayak is the Circle Inspector Gandhinagar Police Station apprehended anad detained eleven radicals for enquiry.

Click here for source

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Nuns attacked in Bhopal, MP

By Pervez Bari,,

Bhopal: A group of miscreants assaulted two inmates and ransacked Novitiate of the Presentation Sisters on Thursday evening on the outskirts of Bhopal here. The incident took place at Gondarmug village under the Gandhinagar Police Station area.

According to Fr. Anand Muttungal, PRO & Spokesperson Catholic Council of Bishops Madhya Pradesh & Chhattisgarh, the Sisters lodged a police complaint immediately after the incident against the unidentified persons at Gandhinagar police station following which nine persons have been arrested under Sections 147, 452, 426 and 502 of the Indian Penal Code, (IPC).

While narrating the incident, Superior of the convent Sr. Silvya Francis reportedly said: “the miscreants numbering 30 first forced their way into the convent campus. Then 12 of them barged into the convent through the main door and began to destroy the windowpanes, television set, lantern and other furniture.” The loss is estimated to be around one lakh.

The anti-socials were armed with hockey sticks, cricket bats and stones, she said adding they vandalized the convent for nearly 12 minutes. They also climbed up the first floor of the two storied building and dragged two of the novices down and manhandled them. Besides this, they tried to lock one of them into a room. However, both managed to escape from their clutches.

The marauders had also disconnected the telephone line before entering into the campus. The convent is the novitiate house of Sister of Presentation since last six years.

One of the novices reportedly said: “ they were shouting at sisters saying, “we are Hindus and we don’t want you here” They also asked them to leave the place, she added.

Reacting to the incident Fr. Anand Muttungal in a statement lamented that it is really sad to see the deteriorating religious harmony along with law and order. The Bharatiya Janata Party, (BJP), ruled Madhya Pradesh Government has failed to follow the High Court interim order to provide security to Christian community, he pointed out.

"We will approach the High Court again because after the court direction there have been around ten such incidents in Madhya Pradesh”, Fr. Anand claimed.

Meanwhile, a delegation comprising of office-bearers of Madhya Pradesh Isai Mahasangh, (MPIM), Roy John Thatta, Richard D’ Silva, senior journalist and Convener of Rashtriya Secular Manch L S Herdenia and Fr. Anand Muttungal, met the Bhopal Collector Manish Rasthyogi and Superintendent of Police Jaydeep Prasad. They have assured strict action on the accused. He also told that he will look into the damage happened to the building.”

Richard D’Silva, General Secretary of MPIM has asked the Government to provide security to the Christian community otherwise, he warned the community may have to take to the streets.

Madhya Pradesh Congress Committee spokesman J. P. Dhanopia while condemning the incident said since the BJP came to power four years back attacks on Christians and their places of worship has been going on at regular intervals. He said that up till now 82 cases of attack on Christians have occurred but still the state government has not woken up from deep slumber. The violence against Christians have taken places mostly in the districts of Bhopal, Indore, Ujjain, Ratlam and Jhabua, he pointed out.

Dhanopia has demanded from the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan to order impartial inquiry into the attacks on Christian community and see to it no such attacks take place in future. If this is not done then Congress would have to launch a campaign for it, he threatened. (

Click here for source

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Team to visit Kandhamal

Bhubaneswar, May 10: A four-member independent tribunal headed by two former high court judges is scheduled to visit Kandhamal district, which had been ravaged by communal strife last December.

They would oversee the relief, reconstruction and security situation. The team would comprise Justice Hospet Suresh and Justice Kolse Patil, former DGP of Gujarat R.B. Sreekumar and human rights activist Teesta Setalvad.

The members of the tribunal will visit Orissa from May 12 to 17.

After arriving at Bhubaneswar on Monday, they will travel to Brahmanigaon in Kandhamal, the place worst affected by the communal violence.

They will visit most of the areas affected by the communal strife and hold public hearings at Baliguda from May 13 to 15. During these hearings, a cross-section of the victims, including displaced villagers, will depose.

The tribunal is expected to return to Bhubaneswar via Phulbani, the headquarters of Kandhamal district, on May 16.

They would present the preliminary report before the media on May 17, said Pran Parichha, convener of the state unit of Indian Christian Council.

Kandhamal district had witnessed communal strife from December 24 to January 2.

Three persons were killed and hundreds of them lost their houses in the riot.

Places of worship also bore the brunt of the strife that threw the district completely out of gear and everything else in a state of disarray.


Monday, May 05, 2008

Goondagiri by BJP in Uttarakhand

Dehradun, May 3 (ANI): Uttarakhand Police on Saturday registered a case against a legislator in Dehradun after BJP activists vandalized a Christian school on the day of a shutdown called by the party.

The youth wing of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ransacked the school on Friday when the BJP issued a call for a nationwide shutdown to protest against inflationary trends in the economy.

The school Principal alleged that the security guard of the school saw Ganesh Joshi, a legislator who was involved in the case standing outside the school gate.

The party cadres broke windowpanes of the Grace Academy School and engaged in a scuffle with the Principal Benjamin Newton.

Around 11.30 a.m. on Friday, a mob entered the school. I went outside to investigate the matter. They asked us whether the school was closed. I replied in the affirmative. But they said that they could see children from outside. They roughed me up, pushed me aside and went in. They came till the reception and saw that all the classes were shut. They enquired about the principal and they hailed me with blows when I admitted that I was the principal, said Benjamin Newton, principal.

Newton charged the police with negligent behaviour as they failed to respond and even delayed in registering the case against the miscreants.

Police lodged an FIR (First Information Report) when several educational institutions came out in support of Benjamin Newton.

Grace Academy has filed a complaint against MLA Ganesh Joshi (BJP) for causing damages and for engaging in a scuffle. They told us that some people came along with MLA to beat up the principal and also broke his glasses, Ashok Kumar, Inspector General of Police, Garhwal, told reporters on Saturday.

Newton also said that if the miscreants were not arrested, the school would remain shut for indefinite period.

However, Joshi played down the entire incident as a minor fracas and brushed aside all the allegations.

For the first time in my political career of 23 years I found that the shops were closed till evening. A few people deliberately created such a situation. So if members of our party displayed aggressive behavior then I don’t consider it wrong, said Ganesh Joshi, MLA, BJP.

Joshi in his defense said that he went to the school to stop his party members from ransacking the school. (ANI)