Monday, February 13, 2012

Kashmir Priest case stayed

The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir stayed further proceedings against Rev Chander Mani Khanna. After accusing him of promoting disharmony and religious animosity in Srinagar, the authorities filed a First Information Report against him following allegations by the state’s grand mufti that the Christian clergyman had carried out forced conversions. Despite the favourable sentence, “his life is in danger”, Global Council of Indian Christians President Sajan K George said.

In November 2011, an Islamic court had summoned the clergyman to answer charges that he had pushed seven young Muslims to convert to Christianity in exchange for money. A video posted on YouTube was presented as evidence. Rev Khanna and the converts rejected the allegations.

The clergyman was first arrested and then released a week later. In January, the Islamic court ordered his expulsion as well as that of Fr Jim Borst and other Christian missionaries.

Source: Asia News

SC stays Nun’s rape case

NEW DELHI: The Supreme Court on Monday stayed the trial in the alleged rape of a nun during the 2008 communal violence in Odisha.

The victim alleged that Aug 25, 2008, at the height of the communal riots in Kandhamal district, she was attacked by a mob that molested, assaulted, stripped naked and raped her.

The apex court bench of Justice Altamas Kabir and Justice S.S. Nijjar stayed the trial on the petition by the victim seeking the recall of Sub-Divisional Judicial Magistrate Prasanta Kumar Das, who recorded her statement during the identification parade of the suspects.

She alleged that after the identification parade, Das recorded that the victim had identified accused Santosh Kumar Patnaik. She could not identify any other suspect. It further said that suspect gave "her a slap, pulled her saree" ... groped her "and did not commit any other overt act".

The victim contended that the part of the statement by Das that the culprits "did not commit any other overt act" was contrary to the prosecution case.

As the counsel for the suspects sought to oppose the plea saying that the victim was trying to delay the proceedings, Justice Kabir asked him "a women is raped, molested or something has happened to her. What is her interest in delaying the proceedings". The victim alleged that her plea for recall of Das, who is a witness in the case, was rejected by the trial court. She said she appealed before the session court and subsequently before the high court. The high court rejected her plea Jan 5.

The trial court by its May 16, 2011 order rejected her plea holding that complainant could not move an application for the recall of the witnesses.

The high court by its Jan 5 order held that "no private person has any role to play in the trial beyond the limit prescribed therein".

The apex court Monday issued notice to the Odisha government and other accused and stayed the trial in that case.

The case would next be heard March 22.

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Sunday, February 12, 2012

Mangalore: Huge protest rally against the communal forces in the Twin Districts of DK and Udupi

Mangalore, 11 Febraury 2012: The Human Rights Federation of the twin districts of Udupi and Dakshina Kannada  organised a massive rally against the communal politics in the Karnataka State on Friday, February 10, 2012. The rally started from Ambedkar (Jyoti) Circle at 3 pm. The rally was inaugurated by Jason D’Costa, one of the victims of the attack on minorities at Suratkal  by beating the drum. The rally ended at the Deputy Commissioner’s Office  after covering 12 kilometers. Many minority organizations and general public participated in the rally in great numbers.

The rally was led by Justice MF Saldanha and many other leaders of various minority organizations. The rally was peaceful  largely peaceful as the marchers with various placards denouncing the communal attack on the minority communities and shouting slogans such as ‘down with Kalldka Prabhakar Bhat’ echoed throughout the rally. Besides there was also decrying of the three ministers who were found watching pornographic pictures on their mobiles during the Assembly session.

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Saturday, February 04, 2012

State government failed to protect Christians

Working towards resolution of critical issues that affect minorities — such as extending reservation under the Scheduled Castes quota to Dalit Christians, concerns on the Right To Education Act “setting limits to the constitutional guarantees enjoyed by minority institutions” and the Communal Violence Bill — were among the key topics highlighted in the biennial report of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI), presented here on Wednesday.

At the inaugural function of the eight-day 30th CBCI meet, being held at the St. John's Academy of Health Sciences, Albert D'Souza, secretary-general, CBCI, spoke about the socio-political situation in the country, particularly the anti-corruption mood and trust deficit in governance.

Criticising the Union Government, he said: “The Government is simply delaying replying to the Supreme Court on issues such as inclusion of Dalit Christians in caste reservations.”

The report by the National Commission on Minorities recommending that converted Dalits not be counted in the caste census was “yet another ploy of the Government to delay its response on the issue”, Fr. D'Souza said, reading from the report.

“While globally the community is being targeted — in China, Myanmar and Pakistan, for instance — in India too, we are seeing hate campaigns, even anti-conversion laws by States that are anti-constitutional,” he explained.

Archbishop of Bangalore Bernard Moras also observed that the State Government had “failed to safeguard the Christian minority”.

Following attacks against Christians in 2008 and 2009, the Karnataka United Christian Forum for Human Rights had been actively engaging with the Government and making representations every time such incidents were reported from across the State.

Highlighting the diversity of the Indian church, Archbishop Salvatore Pinnachio, the Vatican Ambassador to India, said the Church must always “promote sound family values, encourage small Christian communities and befriend the poor and marginalised”.

He too emphasised on the struggle of the Dalit Christians in India to get their constitutional rights.

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