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In an interview with Karan Thapar and the activist discuss the report’s findings that the Delhi police and government did precious little to stop the violence. In an interview to discuss the recently released Citizens Committee report on the 2020 Delhi riots which, sadly, has not got the attention it deserves from the media, human rights activists and the founder of Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Harsh Mander agrees the report is “a devastating critique of our country”. He says: “It’s a credible, convincing indictment of all that has gone wrong in our country. It should have led to nationwide outrage. The fact that it’s barely being discussed reflects even more deeply how far the rot has gone.” In a 30-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Mander added: “The report underlines how dark a moment this is in India’s journey as a republic, how every institution is crumbling and with what consequences.” The interview first discusses in some detail the Citizens Committee report’s findings about the response, behaviour and alleged complicity of the Delhi Police. How they failed to act for three days even though they had received at least six internal alerts from the Special Branch. How the Committee has found a mass of information

Some Church leaders upset as all criminal cases under a scrapped provision of Information Technology Act are to be dropped Church officials in southern India have expressed concern over India’s Supreme Court asking to drop criminal cases filed under a controversial provision meant to ensure government control over social media. Human rights groups including a Catholic priest though say the move will stop the government machinery from unfairly targeting its critics and innocent citizens. The Supreme Court on Oct. 12 directed the federal and state governments to drop all cases initiated under the provision of section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, some seven years after it was scrapped. The provision criminalized online communication that was "grossly offensive, menacing,” or the sender knew to be false “to cause annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will.” A Bench led by Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit directed “all Directors General of Police as well as Home Secretaries of the States and competent officers in Union Territories to instruct their entire police force in their respective States/Union Territories not to register any complaint of crime with respect to alleged violation of section 66A,” reported The Hindu newspaper. Father Jacob G Palakkappilly,

Shashi Tharoor is a former UN official currently in the race to become the president of the opposition Congress party The human rights of Indian Jesuit Father Stan Swamy, who died in judicial custody, were violated even though he fought for the rights of poor indigenous people, a senior opposition leader says. Shashi Tharoor, a Member of Parliament who is in the electoral race to become the next chief of the opposition Congress party, was speaking at the Father Stan Swamy Memorial Lecture on, ‘Are Human Rights Universal?’ in Mumbai city on Oct. 8. A former UN diplomat and former federal minister, Tharoor said that “the late activist priest’s death in judicial custody had brought the world’s attention to his work and commitment.” The 84-year-old Jesuit priest died as an undertrial while undergoing treatment in a Catholic-managed private hospital in Mumbai on July 5, 2021, after his arrest alleging involvement in the mob violence during the bicentenary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle victory near Pune city in western Maharashtra state on Jan. 1, 2018. Father Swamy was jailed on Oct. 9, 2020, a day after he was arrested at his home in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state in eastern India. He was charged with

External Affairs Minister meets American counterpart Antony Blinken External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and his American counterpart, Secretary of State Antony Blinken, discussed human rights during their bilateral meeting on Tuesday. The two sides spoke of their commitment to further democracy, governance and human rights, Mr. Jaishankar said. He said each country approached these issues differently. “Each country approaches the set of issues from their history, tradition and societal context. Our yardstick for judgment are the integrity of the democratic processes, the respect and credibility that they command with the people, and the non-discriminatory delivery of public goods and services,” the Minister said at a joint press availability at the State Department. Questioned on F-16 assistance to Pakistan, U.S. says relationships with India, Pakistan distinct “India does not believe that the efficacy or indeed the quality of democracy should be decided by vote banks,” Mr Jaishankar said, adding that the two sides looked forward to a “healthy exchange” of views. Mr Jaishankar had told The Hindu in April this year at a press conference following the India-U.S. 2+2 Ministers meeting in Washington DC that people were entitled to have their views on India but that India was equally entitled to views on their views and the

Federal government appears bent on cornering minority community on issues of land and properties besides conversion An Indian Supreme Court order on Sept 26 seeking a government response to a petition that pleaded for strict action against “religious conversion through fraud and intimidation” will not translate immediately into a national law against conversions to Christianity and Islam. The general allegory among those who accuse Christians of converting through fraud and allurement is that missionaries use their educational and health services to attract and trap poor Hindus and tribal people. The church is possibly right in steeling itself for government action on various fronts. At the top of its apprehensions is the government seeking a greater role in running educational institutions, and possible revocation of British-era land leases on which these are built. Places of worship — India has some majestic and historic cathedrals, churches, and hilltop chapels — may perhaps not be threatened for fear of international rebuke. But the process of safeguarding the land and buildings could take years of court battles and hundreds of millions of rupees in legal fees. The clamor for action, as well as the threat to church lands, comes in the wake of a sustained political campaign that began

For much of September, Leicester in the United Kingdom saw sporadic bouts of communal tension between Hindus and Muslims. The incident, while unfortunate, was purely a local law and order issue that the city police handled. Unusually, because of the charged communal situation in India, the issue became the focus of prime time television debates in India. A UK journalist pointed out that communal programming by India’s pro-government news channels, already under criticism for pushing hate, had “completely distorted” the events in Leicester. This mainstream media programming was driven by intense social media interest in India about these faraway events. A BBC investigation estimated that half of the tweets about tensions in Leicester actually originated from India. Much of the communal messaging that pushed hashtags such as #HindusUnderAttack displayed “classic signs” of “inauthentic activity, ie a likelihood that individuals are deliberately using multiple accounts to push a narrative”. The BBC singled out OpIndia, the Hindutva website based in India, for spreading misinformation around Leicester. Representing Hindutva, not India However, what was truly odd about this narrative over Leicester was that the government of India soon barged into the conversation. On September 19, the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom issued an official statement

Hindu nationalists hail the murderers of Christians such as the killer of Australian missionary Graham Staines and his sons The Christian community in India remembers Jan. 22, 1999, as the day Australian missionary Graham Stuart Staines, who worked with leprosy patients in Odisha, and his young sons Timothy and Philip, were burned alive. It was on that day that the Western world really came face to face with the violence being meted out to the minuscule religious minority by the Hindutva extremist groups collectively known as the Sangh Parivar. The trio was sleeping in their jeep in a clearing in the Manourharpur-Baripada forest when they were surrounded by a mob led by Dara Singh, a local chief of the militant Bajrang Dal, who had gained a reputation as the scourge of cattle traders driving their animals through forest roads in the state on the east coast of India. Dara Singh had earlier slain a man called Rahman, a Muslim cattle trader. The Staines family massacre remained international news, both in the West and especially in his home country, Australia, for a long time. The triple deaths were horrendous. The father and sons had been set on fire as they slept. As the flames

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Christians in eastern India suspect a church member’s Hindu family killed him last month for refusing to renounce his faith, sources said. In West Bengal state’s Gobindapur village, Jhargram District, Hindu relatives of Madhab Gorai had threatened to burn him to death and feared his faith jeopardized his daughter’s impending marriage, the sources said. Church members last saw the 46-year-old Gorai on Aug. 7, when his wife and adult son disrupted the start of a church service and threatened him, said Ashish Hansda, lay leader in charge of the Church of North India (CNI) congregation in the village. Gorai’s wife was carrying a bottle of gasoline, and his son was carrying a wooden baton, he said. In a scuffle outside the church building, Gorai’s wife and son threatened to burn him alive, Hansda said. Gorai’s wife and son had pressured him to perform Hindu marriage rituals at his daughter’s impending wedding, where according to custom the father of the bride would be required to worship sacred fire, said the pastor in charge of the church, the Rev. Subendu Soren. “Gorai refused to involve himself in Hindu worship practices that contradicted his Christian faith,” Pastor Soren told Morning Star News. Gorai’s

Mangaluru, Sept 20,2022: The Karnataka government has announced that it would include teachings of the Bhagavad Gita as part of moral education in schools from December this year. B C Nagesh, the state’s primary and secondary education minister, said the government has amended its earlier proposal to introduce Gita as a separate subject in schools and decided to teach it as part of moral education. However, some section of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has objected to introducing the Hindu scripture only as part of moral education and not as a separate topic in syllabus. However, Nagesh said the government has already appointed an expert panel to give their recommendations and suggestions after consulting with various stakeholders. The minister also hinted that some historical mistakes will be corrected in the textbooks like the lesson on Baba Dudangiri, a holy place of Muslims in Chikmagaluru to ‘Inam Dattatreya Peeta,’ a Hindu pilgrim center in the same hills. The text books will have more information on some local kings and their kingdoms too, he added. Last year, several school days were disrupted on account of the hijab row by Muslim girls and attacks on some Christian schools for propagating Christian principles in schools. Father Faustine Lobo, the spokesperson

They want nothing less than the abolition of discrimination based on religious bias and bigotry Congress leader Sonia Gandhi, as the powerful chair of the United Progressive Alliance that ruled India some years ago, once told a small, but high-level, Catholic delegation she met at her official residence, that the best chance “for Dalit Christians getting their rights is in the courts.” “I cannot help you. No political party can," Gandhi said and she was right. The men in white cassocks looked crestfallen. Earlier, Gandhi had been told by a senior Christian leader and federal minister that were she to agree, there would be aggressive opposition not just from the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), or from the upper caste men from within the Congress, but also from Hindu Dalits, within and outside the ruling group. Upper caste Hindus see the Dalit issue as an existential threat. Over the years they have also convinced Dalit leaders across the political spectrum that any concessions given to those now professing the Christian or Muslim faith, would cost them dearly. Dalits who remain Hindus — Sikhs and Buddhists are also deemed to be Hindus or “Indic” — get a 15 percent reserved quota in parliament and state legislatures,

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