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    Satna, Oct 25, 2021: Rightwing Hindu activists on October 25 served a 15-day ultimatum to Catholic school in the central Indian state Madhya Pradesh state to install in the campus an idol of Saraswati, the goddess of knowledge. A 30-member delegation of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and Bajrang Dal (Party of the stout and strong) met Father Augustine Chittuparambil, manager of Christ Jyoti Senior Secondary School in Satna district headquarters, to make the demand through a memorandum. They gave the priest 15 days to comply with their demand or face protests in front of the school. “The Hindu activists came to our school and wanted us to install an idol of goddess Saraswati in the campus,” Father Chittuparambil told Matters India. The radicals forced the priest to give in writing that he had received their memorandum that he accepted at the school’s main gate. The Hindu activists left the place with a warning to come back in case the school failed to comply with their demand. “They claim that the school was built at a place where the idol of goddess Saraswati had existed,” the priest explained. He pointed out that the school was built 49 years ago and no one had made such

    The new probe comes after a court exonerated Cardinal George Alencherry of several charges linked to land deals A federal agency has initiated a probe against Cardinal George Alencherry, head of India’s Syro-Malabar Church, on money-laundering charges which a church official said were part of a conspiracy to tarnish the church and its leader. The Enforcement Directorate (ED) under Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government, which probes financial crimes, has started investigating the dealings of Cardinal Alencherry in connection with the sale of church land that reportedly resulted in a financial loss to the Archdiocese of Ernakulam-Angamaly. “The ED move to probe the cardinal is no doubt an attempt to target him and tarnish the image of the church,” said Father Abraham Kavilpurayidam, the spokesperson of the Syro-Malabar Church. The cardinal is the major archbishop of the Syro-Malabar Church based in Kerala state that has some five million members in India and abroad. Father Kavilpurayidam told UCA News on Oct. 25 that the latest move against the cardinal comes after a local court exonerated him and a special police team in Kerala found no basis to the allegations. “A special team of Kerala police’s Crime Branch probed all the allegations thoroughly and gave him a clean chit”

    IN A VIDEO FILMED IN THE STATE OF CHHATTISGARH, THE SWAMI PARMATMANAND, IN THE PRESENCE OF LOCAL BJP LEADERS, SAYS: "IN OUR VILLAGES WE KEEP HATCHETS AT HOME". DIVINE WORD MISSIONARY FR JOSPEH: "EVERY LIMIT HAS BEEN EXCEEDED" Raipur (AsiaNews) - "Behead all those who come to convert you". In a shocking video circulating on social networks, the Parmatmanand swami, a Hindu religious leader in the State of Chhattisgarh, shows no qualms in calling for beheadings to resolve an alleged "wave" of conversions to Christianity. According to the Indian website The Wire, the speech, which openly calls for violence, was delivered during a demonstration "against conversions" held in the district of Surguja. Prominent figures from the BJP, the Hindu nationalist party of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, were also present on stage at the event. The video shows the former chairman of the National Commission for the Disadvantaged Castes, Nand Kumar Sai, applauding the words of the swami Parmatmanand. In his disconcerting speech, the Hindutva exponent says: "Keep the sticks in your home. People in the cities don't, but in our villages people keep hatchets. Behead them when they come to perform religious conversions". He added: "You may wonder why a holy man

    ARCHBISHOP MACHADO TELLS KARNATAKA GOVERNMENT CHIEF THAT THE CHRISTIAN COMMUNITY WILL OPPOSE IT TOOTH AND NAIL Archbishop Peter Machado, president of the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops' Council, has said that the Christian community will not rest until a draconian order for surveying missionaries in the southern Indian state is withdrawn. In a letter to Karnataka Chief Minister Basavaraj Bommai, the prelate appealed to him to call off the survey ordered by the state’s department for backward classes and minorities' welfare. He further urged the chief minister to also put off the Karnataka government’s plan to enact an anti-conversion law as it would trigger more violence and harassment of the beleaguered Christian community. "We continue to register our firm opposition to the proposed bill and oppose it tooth and nail," he added. The decision to conduct a survey was taken on Oct. 13 after ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lawmaker Goolihatti Shekhar alleged that his mother had converted to Christianity and he was being threatened by missionaries. Church leaders in Karnataka have denied his charges while also expressing the fear that the “false bogey” of conversion could lead to churches being attacked and vandalized. Archbishop Machado reminded Bommai of their meeting on Sept. 22 where a delegation

    Human rights groups which monitor atrocities against Christians in India have documented the violence by Hindutva groups from all states and released a fact-finding report on Thursday. New Delhi: On October 3, more than 200 unidentified men and women, allegedly belonging to local right-wing groups, vandalised a church in Roorkee, Uttarakhand, and attacked several people, including women, assembled there for prayers on a Sunday. No action has been taken in the case yet, despite assurances. The spate of such incidents of hate crimes, mob violence against Christians only seems to be increasingly compounded by rallies and slogans against the community based on triggering fears and anxieties over ‘religious conversions’. Human rights groups which monitor atrocities against Christians in India have documented the violence by Hindutva groups from all states and released a fact-finding report titled ‘Christians under attack in India’. The report highlights that over 300 such instances have been reported from across 21 states, particularly North India, in nine months of this year. The report was released in Delhi on October 21, Thursday, by the Association of Protection Civil Rights, United Christian Forum and United against Hate at a press conference. Speaking at the press conference, A.C. Michael, the former member of Delhi Minorities

    A pastor of a Protestant church was held by the police after a mob of pro-Hindu activists barged into a church in the Indian state of Karnataka and began singing bhajans or Hindu devotionals as a protest against alleged forced religious conversions. A video clip of the incident reported from Hubbali town on Oct. 17 showed activists of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (World Hindu Council) and its youth wing, the Bajrang Dal, forcibly entering Bairidevarkoppa Church and singing devotionals. Pastor Somu Avaradhi and some of his associates reportedly sustained minor injuries in a scuffle but Arvind Bellad, a local member of the legislative assembly belonging to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), blocked a highway along with his supporters demanding their arrest. Local media reported both the groups claiming they were attacked. The pro-Hindu activists in their complaint charged the pastor with “deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings.” Pastor Avaradhi was held by the police but let free after questioning. The church's authorities too filed a complaint on Oct. 18. City Police Commissioner Labu Ram said investigations were underway. Brother Simon of the Divine Deliverance Ministry in Dharwad told UCA News that he and his community had full faith in the law

    JOHN DAYAL/ OPINION: Oct 19, 2021. It is a moot question which of the two October developments poses a more potent threat to the Christian mission in India, or at least in states other than Christian strongholds like Kerala, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Nagaland. The first development is a firman or diktat issued by Sikhism’s top body, the Shrimoni Gurudwara Prabhandhak Committee (SGPC), to curb Christian evangelical activities among the Sikhs in the northern state of Punjab. The SGPC has sent 150 teams, each comprising seven preachers, to scour the 12,729 villages in the state. This is ostensibly to extend their own pastoral care to the young in Sikh families so that they can resist temptations that may come their way. This is almost exactly what the Islamic Tabliqi Jamaat does among Muslims, and the Hindu groups such as Vishwa Hindu Parishad and Arya Samaj do among Hindus. Unexceptional, on the face of it. The second development is a decision by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government in the southern state of Karnataka through its backward classes and minorities welfare committee to investigate “official and non-official” Christian missionaries. The state is expected to join nine other states that have passed laws against “forcible and fraudulent

    HIS COMMENTS DREW CRITICISM FROM THE FORMER CHIEF MINISTER AND CONGRESS LEADER SIDDARAMAIAH AND PROGRESSIVE GROUPS IN THE STATE. New Delhi: Karnataka chief minister Basavaraj Bommai has stoked a controversy with his statements that appeared to justify incidents of moral policing in the state. According to the Indian Express, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) chief minister seemed to perceive nothing wrong with right-wing vigilantes impinging on the privacy of people to prevent inter-community relationships. “This is a sensitive issue. We all have responsibilities in a society. There are multiple sentiments in society and people will need to function in a manner that does not hurt sentiments. When sentiments are hurt, there will normally be action and reaction,” Bommai said. “Today, we cannot live without morality. Peace in society and relationships are dependent on morality. When there is no morality there will be action and reaction. There is a responsibility on everyone and not just one section of society,” the Karnataka chief minister said. His comments drew criticism from the former chief minister and Congress leader Siddaramaiah and progressive groups in the state. “Is your loyalty towards our Constitution or towards Manu Smriti?” Siddaramaiah asked in a series of social media posts addressed to the Karnataka chief

    THE BJP LEGISLATOR IN THE CENTRAL STATE OF MADHYA PRADESH ASKED HINDUS TO KEEP AWAY FROM CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS. RELIGIOUS AND POLITICAL LEADERS IN INDIA HAVE CONDEMNED A CALL BY A RULING BHARATIYA JANATA PARTY (BJP) LAWMAKER URGING HINDUS TO STAY AWAY FROM CHRISTIANS AND MUSLIMS TO SAFEGUARD THEIR RELIGION, CULTURE AND TRADITIONS. Rameshwar Sharma, a member of the legislative assembly in the central state of Madhya Pradesh, told a crowd at a recent Dusshera festival celebration in the capital city of Bhopal “to stay away from Father and chadar [ceremonial cloth offered at Muslim shrines],” warning that they “would spoil you.” He further said Hindus should also keep away from Sufi shrines and spiritual guides, calling them obstacles in their path to Hindu temples. A video of Sharma’s speech went viral on social media on Oct. 17, inviting criticism from the opposition Congress party, which asked the BJP to clarify if it agreed with the lawmaker’s public pronouncement dividing people on the basis of their religious beliefs. “It is unfortunate that a lawmaker is dividing people calling from a public platform to boycott Christians and Muslims,” said Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal. The prelate told UCA News that such insensitive remarks “hurt the sentiments

    Activists of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad alleged that the church authorities were conducting forced religious conversions - a charge that has been denied. They sang Bhajans at the makeshift church in Hubbali.Activists of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad forced their way into a makeshift church in Karnataka's Hubbali on Sunday morning and sang bhajans or Hindu prayer songs as a protest, alleging forced religious conversions there. A video of the incident showed dozens of women and men sitting inside the Bairidevarkoppa Church in Hubbali around 11 am singing bhajans with folded hands over their heads. Later, the local BJP MLA Arvind Bellad blocked a highway demanding the arrest of pastor Somu Avaradhi. Both sides - members of the church and the activists of the right-wing organisations - alleged that they were attacked over the incident. Pastor Somu and some of his associates were admitted to hospital with minor injuries. The pastor and others have been named in a complaint under the law for protection of Scheduled Castes and Tribes as well as one against "deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings". He has been arrested and three others were let off after questioning. The church authorities said they filed

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