Hardline Hindus have petitioned the authorities in India to stop Christians from celebrating Christmas. In a letter sent to authorities in Gujarat they ask that police take action to halt prayer meetings and Christian events planned for the christmas season, Open Doors says. The letter states: "Heartily we are requesting to you, not to give permission to these people to celebrate Christmas. "If anyone comes to you to get the permission, kindly ask them for on paper Christian Religion certificate. "If you will not take any action regarding this then Anti-National activity in this area will increase and the responsibility will be yours." Jan Vermeer, Asia communications director for Open Doors, said the letter was yet another attempt by hardline Hindus to make life "difficult" for Christians in parts of India. "Over the course of the last several years religious freedom violations and intolerance against Christians has risen dramatically," Vermeer said. "Talking about the Christian faith to a wider group than the family is now generally regarded as a form of evangelism. "Even just revealing one's Christian faith can be regarded as evangelism in the eyes of Hindu radicals."

A Muslim man in eastern Uganda, who said the Quran allows men to beat their wives if they disobey them, beat his 38-year-old wife, who is a mother of three, and forced her to drink pesticide after he found two Bibles in her suitcase, according to a report. The man, identified as Umar Kyakulaga from Uganda’s Bugiri District’s Matovu village, asked his wife, Zubeda Nabirye, if she had converted to Christianity, and Nabirye replied that she was reading the Bible to compare it with what is written in the Quran, according to Morning Star News, a nonprofit that regularly reports on global Christian persecution. The woman had two Bibles, one in English and the other in their tribal language. “I was convicted and decided to embrace Christianity,” Nabirye was quoted as telling her husband. “My husband began reading verses in the Quran that allowed men to beat their wives if they disobey them, and after that he started beating me with slaps and sticks.” “As if this was not enough, he forced me to take Dithane M-45,” a toxic pesticide. She tried not to swallow the pesticide but ingested some while he was trying to strangle her and hitting her leg with sticks, she added, describing

Bhubaneswar: We observe Minority Rights on December 18. It is time we critically examined how India empowers and protects the rights of minorities. There is no internationally agreed definition as to which groups constitute minorities. Francesco Capotorti, Special Rapporteur of the United Nations Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities, in 1977 defined a minority community as a group numerically inferior to the rest of the population of a country. They could possess ethnic, religious or linguistic characteristics differing from the rest of the population. They could also show a sense of solidarity to preserve their culture, traditions, religion or language. In 1992, the United Nations adopted this definition based on national or ethnic, cultural, religious identity. The international body expects the States to protect the minority communities. Minority rights in India According to India’s latest census taken in 2011, minorities in the country are about 19.3 percent of the total population — Muslims 14.23 percent, Christians 2.3, Sikhs 1.72, Buddhists 0.7, Jains 0.37, and others such as Parsi and Jews 0.6. Except Hindus, the rest communities have been identified as minority communities. The government of India established National Minorities Commission in 1978 because, ‘”despite the safeguards provided in the Constitution and the laws in

The last thing pastor Shelton Vishwanathan recalled happening before he lost consciousness in a village in northeast India was Hindu extremists threatening to offer him as a sacrifice to their god as they belted his head. “They punched my back and told me that they would offer me as a sacrifice to their deity as a punishment for distributing gospel tracts,” he told Morning Star News. “They struck severe blows on my head, so that I soon fainted.” When the six radical Hindus first stopped him and told him to quit handing out tracts in Tiryani village, in Bihar state’s Sheohar District on Oct. 5, he had told them “Fine” and was about to go on his way when one of them seized the keys from his scooter, took away his phone and signalled the others to attack him, he said. When he regained consciousness, he found himself locked in a dark room. “I shouted for help, cried loud hoping someone would hear my cries and come to help me, but nobody could hear me,” Pastor Vishwanathan said. “I was lying down on the floor without food or water for the next few days. They did not give me anything to eat or drink.” Seven

Several families are in hiding after tribal animists in Chhattisgarh state, India threatened to kill them for reporting a mob attack to police last week that sent 21 Christians to hospitals, sources said. Armed with bamboo sticks, iron rods, bows and arrows and iron sickles, the large mob at 1 a.m. on Nov. 25 attacked a home and adjoining church hall in Chingrwaram village, Sukma District, where Christians had celebrated a child dedication the previous evening. Some 20-25 friends and family were sleeping in the home and another 25-30 in the church hall when the villagers, many of them drunk, attacked while accusing the Christians of converting people and celebrating with loud music. “They beat up the children as well as the women who were cooking food outside,” said Laxman Mandavi, a 21-year-old survivor of the assault. “While the children were beaten up with hands and feet, the others were shot at with arrows and beaten up with iron rods.” The assailants shot Mandavi’s father, the 50-year-old homeowner Madvi Muka, with arrows, leaving him wounded, and attacked Madkam Sanni with a sickle that left deep cuts between her fingers and fractured her hand, Mandavi said. “It was complete mayhem, and people were running to

Pragya Singh Thakur is no ordinary member of BJP, the ruling dispensation in the country. She is an MP from Bhopal and was also made the member of defense committee before she was removed from that committee for her statement hailing Nathuram Godse. She first came to lime light after the Malegaon blasts, in which six people were killed. Hemant Karkare, the police officer who was killed in 26/11 (2008) attack was investigating the case and he came across the fact that the motor cycle used in Malegaon blast was previously owned by Thakur. That led to her arrest and unearthing of the plot in which many were arrested. She is currently under bail on medical grounds. Then she came to prominence as she stated that Karkare had tortured her and it is due to her shap (curse) that Karkare got killed. Under pressure from top, she withdrew this statement. After this she went to state that Nathuram Godse was a nationalist, is a nationalist and will remain a nationalist. Again she was pressurized to withdraw this statement, and Mr. Modi even said he will not be able to forgive Thakur. Latest in the series of her statement come the one about Varna

Two plaster statues of the Virgin were smashed whilst the concrete statue of Mother Teresa was damaged. Police and the Minorities minister expressed solidarity. For Bishop Shyamal Bose: “This attack is puzzling. People of different faiths keep statues of Mother Teresa in their homes. Many NGOs and non-Christian clubs are named after Mother Teresa.” She is “an inspiration for her commitment to serve the poor”. Two weeks after two statues of the Virgin Mary were smashed to bits and a statue of Saint Mother Teresa of Calcutta damaged at the Sacred Heart parish church in Morapai (diocese of Baruipur), local Catholics are still wondering why no one has been arrested in connection with these acts of vandalism. The statues were in two grottoes outside the church on parish land next to the road. “Two of the statues were removed from the grottoes and smashed into pieces since they were made of plaster,” said bishop Shyamal Bose, speaking to AsiaNews. “The other statue, that of Mother Teresa, is made of concrete and the vandals were unable to destroy it; they damaged and defaced it.” “The day after the accident I visited the place and everyone present expressed regrets and showed solidarity. I asked our people

Representatives of eight village councils in central India first summoned a new Christian to give him an ultimatum in October. They interrupted a church service on Oct. 18 asking for Sattar Singh Markam. “I was conducting the church service when some men came to call Markam and asked him to present himself before the council,” pastor Chitrasen Sahu told Morning Star News. “He went to see them after the church service was over.” At the joint meeting in Bargaon, in Chhattisgarh state’s Gariaband District, they told Markam to renounce Christ or “leave with your Christian faith and never come back,” Pastor Sahu said. Markham, who was suffering three epileptic seizures a day before he put his faith in Christ 12 years ago, told them the Lord had healed him and given him life and that he would never turn away from his Christian faith. A week later, on Oct. 25, a tribal mob of about 300 people incited by radical Hindus attacked his house after his church, which meets there, had finished worship. Two women remained inside, praying, when the mob arrived and began manhandling and arguing with them while Markam was working in his field. The mob also damaged his house. When he returned, the

December 8, 2020. Washington, D.C – The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA), an advocacy group that promotes religious freedom, expressed its deep disappointment with the U.S. Administration for their lack of resolve in naming India to the "Countries of Particular Concern" (CPCs). Although the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom has recommended in their 2020 Annual Report to place India on the CPC list, the Trump Administration appeared to lack the political will. The USCIRF report cited that in 2019, India's religious freedom conditions experienced a drastic turn downward, with religious minorities under increasing assault. The national government allowed violence against minorities and their houses of worship to continue with impunity and engaged in and tolerated hate speech and incitement to violence. The Indian government headed by the Hindu nationalist BJP party continues to claim so conveniently that all such violence against Christians in India are isolated incidents and not the policy of the government. While it may not be the policy of the Indian government, it is public knowledge that it is the policy of Prime Minister Modi's Hindu nationalist political party in power. The Trump administration that showboats its advocacy for religious freedom in America, especially on behalf

Catholics in Delhi Archdiocese pray during an annual rally on Palm Sunday on April 9, 2017. (Photo: Bijay Kumar Minj/UCA News) The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has reconverted 23 people from five Christian families to Hinduism. A reconversion ceremony on Nov. 29 was organized by Anant Kumar Hegde, a BJP leader and MP for Uttara Kannada district. “Hegde was handpicked by the Hindutva hierarchy to create communal divisions and tension in the coastal belt of Karnataka,” Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told UCA News. “After BJP victories in the 2014 and 2019 general elections, the Sangh Parivar [fanatic group] moved with the speed and cunning of a barracuda to attack and weaken the constitutional institutions needed to transform Indian society into a more equal and just one.” George said the BJP has used the twin weapons of a brute majority and communal polarization to implement laws and policies that have impacted most adversely those who are denied all rights and can make no claims to equality: women, Dalits, backward castes and tribal people. “This advance towards a Hindu Rashtra [Hindu nation] is viewed with concern and alarm by many, but as far as the majority

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