2021 (Page 43)

“Legal luminaries, eminent intellectuals, are questioning the legal validity of this ordinance, which touches the core of the constitution,” the prelate said. A pastor and some faithful are beaten and arrested. Mumbai (AsiaNews) – Last Sunday, a gang of Bajrang Dal men attacked a Christian clergyman in Shahjahanpur, a district in the State of Uttar Pradesh, during a prayer meeting. According to The Hindu newspaper, Rev David, who hails from Tirunelveli in Kerala and a group of local people, including women and children, had gathered in a garden for prayer to mark the first Sunday of the New Year when men stormed the premises and disrupted the activity. After the Bajrang Dal members filed a complaint, local police charged the pastor and four others under the new anti-conversion law. “This is a special ordinance,” said Archbishop Felix Machado of Vasai, but “there is a groundswell of public opinion against it. “Legal luminaries, eminent intellectuals, are questioning the legal validity of this ordinance, which touches the core of the constitution”, For the prelate, who is also general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), “A few national and local influential newspapers are questioning this ordinance and even the procedures by which it was passed. “Reputed newspapers are

Catholics pray at the Christ the King festival in New Delhi on Nov. 20, 2017. (Photo: Bijay Kumar Minj/UCA News) Police in an Indian state have directed officers to keep a watch on prayer gatherings after five Christians were arrested on a charge of religious conversion. Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), a hardline Hindu group, handed the five Christians to police in Shahjahanpur district of Uttar Pradesh state, which is run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “It is just an allegation from the fanatic groups and if they are sure about it, let them prove it. People are free to express their views in a democratic country,” Father Harold D' Cunha, vicar general of Bareilly Diocese, told UCA News. “As far as the Catholic Church is concerned, it does not promote or propagate religious conversion in the diocese as well as in the country. “Occasionally, these groups blame us for conversions, but until now there is no record of any religious conversion where the Church is involved.” He said the Church is engaged in many charitable works that can be construed as allurement to conversions, “but it is not true.” S. Anand, superintendent of Shahjahanpur police, told the Press Trust of India that after the alleged religious conversion

Persecution has been widespread across India and China even during the pandemic, but things are only likely to get worse in 2021, Release International has warned. The charity, which supports persecuted Christians worldwide, says that China has "bought the silence of the international community" through trade relations. This year has continued to see unregistered churches in the country raided or forced to close. There is increasing surveillance as authorities in some areas have forced registered churches to install CCTV cameras. Christians also report some churches having to put up posters proclaiming communist beliefs.  "The government of President Xi Jinping is increasing its 'clean up' of anything that does not advance the communist agenda," Release partners said. "They appear to believe that they can achieve this by systematic opposition." The Chinese authorities "have bought freedom from censure due to trade with China. Many countries now regard this trade as essential to their own economies," they added. The report warns that China has exploited the pandemic to increase its grip of churches, particularly unregistered ones. Release partner Bob Fu, the leader of ChinaAid who has faced bomb threats this year for his religious liberty work, says the Chinese government has accelerated the forced removal of crosses from churches during the pandemic. "The

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