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States ordered to verify allegations of persecution after federal government described cases as fake Christian leaders have lauded India’s top court for directing the states to verify allegations of persecution against the community people after the federal government refuted their complaints as baseless. “We are satisfied with the Supreme Court order,” Archbishop Peter Machado of the Archdiocese of Bangalore (now Bengaluru) told UCA News on Sept. 5. Archbishop Machado, based in Bengaluru, capital of southern Karnataka state, is one of the petitioners in the public interest litigation (PIL) that sought direction to end the persecution against Christians in the country. A division bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli in an interim order directed chief secretaries of eight states to verify allegations of persecution of Christians listed in the PIL. The verification, the court said, would help it know the reality after the federal government described the incidents listed in the PIL as fake cases and urged the court to dismiss the petition. The top court in its Sept. 1 order also directed the states to provide information such as preliminary police reports, status of investigation, arrests made and charges filed. The top court also directed the petitioners to provide a detailed breakdown of the

Patti, Aug 31, 2022: Some unidentified miscreants on August 31 vandalized a Marian statue kept in front of a church in Patti, an old town in the northern Indian state of Punjab. They also set ablaze the car of the parish priest. According to a message from Father Thomas Poochalil, the parish priest of Infant Jesus Catholic Church in Patti, the “shocking incident” took place around 12:45 am. While some kept the security guards under gun point two others attacked the statue and the car. According to a report in truescoopnews.com, four people were involved in the act. It also reported that Christians jammed the Patti-Khemkaran road in the morning. They also staged a sin-in demanding justice as well as the arrest of the accused. Police tried to convince the people to calm down. Father Poochalil said the miscreants raised slogans, ‘We are Khalistanis.” The church’s CCTV footage shows the miscreants taking the head of Mother Mary’s statue with them. The parish comes under the diocese of Jalandhar and Patti town near Tarn Taran is some 50 km south of Amritsar, the holy city of Sikhs. Father Poochalil said the parish has informed the police, who have started investigation into the incident. The priest sought prayers for the

Around 200 attacks on Christians were reported within the first five months of this year in India, but the country’s government claimed before the Supreme Court that persecution of Christians was based on “half-baked and self-serving facts and self-serving articles and reports…based upon mere conjecture.” “There appears to be some hidden oblique agenda in filing such deceptive petitions, creating unrest throughout the country and perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of our nation,” India’s federal interior ministry said in its response to a petition filed by Christian groups demanding an investigation into rising attacks on Christians and requesting police protection for places of worship, the Hindustan Times reported. Submitting the federal government’s response, India’s Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, told Justices Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna that it was only a “preliminary note.” Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who said there were about 500 attacks on Christians across the country in 2021 alone, is preparing a response to the claim of the government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government claimed, “In some cases, incidents of purely criminal nature and arising out of personal issues, have been categorized as violence

Bhubaneswar, Aug 26, 2022: A state-level peace and harmony convention was held in Odisha on the fourteenth anniversary of the Kandhamal communal massacre in the eastern Indian state. More than 300 civil society groups, political leaders, journalists, lawyers, writers, students, and academicians, including priests, and nuns across the state joined the day-long peace and goodwill convention August 25 at Geet Govind Bhawan, Bhubaneswar, the state capital. The chief speakers at the convention were Prakash Yashwant Ambedkar, a former Member of the Parliament, and Arfa Khanum Sherwani, a renowned journalist and the senior editor of the Wire online portal. Sister Justine Geetanjali, a member of the Odisha unit of the Citizens for Communal Harmony Peace and Justice, in her introductory remark briefed about the current state of affairs in the country and about the Kandhamal riots. Ambedkar, the grandson of the founder of the Constitution, Baba Saheb Ambedkar, who addressed the first session, raised questions on sensitive incidents such as the case of Bilkis Bano. He said injustice done to the exploited class is not known. It has been going on for many decades. “Ambedkar made many provisions for the benefit of the people in the Constitution. He ensured equality, women’s protection, and justice for all.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stood last month atop India’s nearly completed new Parliament, built to mark the country’s 75 years of independence, and pulled a lever. A sprawling red curtain fell back to reveal the structure’s crowning statue. Many across India gasped. The 21-foot-tall bronze icon — four lions seated with their backs to one another, facing outward — is India’s revered national symbol. The beasts are normally depicted as regal and restrained, but these looked different: Their fangs bared, they seemed angry, aggressive. To Mr. Modi’s critics, the refashioned image atop the Parliament — a project that was rammed through without debate or public consultation — reflects the snarling “New India” he is creating. In his eight years in power, Mr. Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party government has profaned Indian democracy, espousing an intolerant Hindu supremacist majoritarianism over the ideals of secularism, pluralism, religious tolerance and equal citizenship upon which the country was founded after gaining independence on Aug. 15, 1947. Drawing comparisons to Nazi Germany, the regime uses co-opted government machinery, disinformation and intimidation by partisan mobs to silence critics while dehumanizing the large Muslim minority, fanning social division and violence. Civil liberties are systematically violated. India, the world’s largest democracy, is where the

Among scholars of note who have written to the apex court in the light of the Zakia Jafri judgment are Noam Chomsky, Martha Nussbaum, Wendy Brown and Sheldon Pollock. Top Global Scholars Urge SC to Review Recent Orders Harming 'Human Rights in India' A view of the Supreme Court building Photo: Reuters New Delhi: Top international scholars have written a statement expressing that they are deeply disturbed by some recent judgments of the Supreme Court which they believe have had a “direct bearing on the future of civil liberties and human rights in India.” The signatories draw attention to the apex court’s judgment in a plea by Zakia Jafri, the wife of slain MP Ehsan Jafri, challenging a Special Investigation Team’s clean chit to 64 people, including then chief minister Narendra Modi, in the 2002 Gujarat riots case. The statement is signed by: Bhiku Parekh, House of Lords, London, UK. Noam Chomsky, Professor emeritus, Massachusetts Institute of Technology; and Professor, University of Arizona, USA. Arjun Appadurai, Professor, Max Planck Institute, Germany. Wendy Brown, Professor, Institute of Advanced Studies, Princeton, USA Sheldon Pollock, Professor Emeritus, Columbia University, USA. Carol Rovane, Professor, Columbia University, USA. Charles Taylor, Professor Emeritus, McGill University, Canada. Martha Nussbaum, Professor, University of

István Perczel could well be a modern-day Indiana Jones for Kerala’s elite approximately 60,00,000-strong Syrian Christian community spread across the globe. But instead of engaging in gun fights and discovering lost treasure and ancient cities, The Hungarian scholar of Byzantine history and early Christianity is bringing to life a forgotten body of Malayalam scholarly literature—one that is written in a script based on the Syriac alphabet, an ancient writing system that dates back to the 1st century AD, and shares similarities with Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic and Sogdian. He is now on a quest to develop an InScript keyboard for the lost script—the first of its kind—for which he had to decode thousands of palm-leaf documents lying forgotten in cupboards. They were arguably the oldest written historical records of the Syrian, or Saint Thomas Christians, a community that converted long before colonisation and missionary expansion in India. Most of the records, popularly believed to have been destroyed in the 16th century by the Roman Catholic Church, are written in Garshuni Malayalam. While Garshuni is traditionally referred to as Arabic in a Syriac script, the records Perczel is digitising are Malayalam written in the Syriac script. It was used by the Kerala Syrian Christian

One of the convicts spoke to Scroll.in and claimed he was innocent. He also claimed he had come home straight from prison, a fact belied by photos of the event. In Godhra, Bilkis Bano convicts felicitated by RSS member soon after their release Eleven men convicted in the Bilkis Bano gangrape case walked out free on August 15. They were felicitated at the Deen Dayal Upadhyay Trust auditorium by a member of the RSS. | Sitting in his family-run grocery store on Tuesday, flanked by a host of relatives, 47-year-old Radhshyam Shah kept referring to himself as the “accused”. When it was pointed out to him that he had, in fact, been convicted of gangrape – a verdict upheld by the Supreme Court – his response was matter-of-fact: “Yes, the court did say that.” “But,” he was quick to add, “we are innocent.” In 2008, Shah and 11 other men from Randhikpur in Gujarat’s Dahod district were sentenced to life imprisonment for raping a young pregnant woman from their village, Bilkis Yakub Rasul Patel, more commonly known as Bilkis Bano, and for murdering 14 of her relatives during the 2002 communal violence in Gujarat. Those killed included a day-old infant and Bano’s three-year-old daughter. The

Seeks dismissal of a petition for urgent intervention of Supreme Court to end attacks on Christians and their institutions India’s federal government has sought dismissal of a petition that sought to end the persecution of Christians, saying there could be a “hidden oblique agenda” behind it. In its affidavit submitted to the Supreme Court on Aug. 16, the government said there seemed to be an agenda behind filing “such deceptive petitions.” The government alleged that such petitions were meant to “create unrest throughout the country and perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of our nation.” The Public Interest Litigation (PIL) filed by Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, the National Solidarity Forum and the Evangelical Fellowship of India, said that an average of 45 to 50 violent attacks against Christian institutions and priests were reported every month. A record 57 attacks were recorded in May, the petition said and sought urgent intervention from the top court. Solicitor-General Tushar Mehta, who appeared for the federal government, told the court that such “half-baked and self-serving facts and self-serving articles and reports culminating into a petition — based upon mere conjectures — clearly appear to be for an oblique purpose.” Describing the petition as

We find ourselves slowly slipping back into the feudal mess we came out of Among national festivals in many countries, Independence Day usually takes first place. It’s the day that celebrates the birth of a nation, the shaking off of colonial oppression, the welding of many ethnic groups into one modern state. When India celebrates 75 years as a nation on Aug. 15, it’s also an occasion to ask ourselves: Has independence made a difference? How has freedom changed us? Have we realized the hopes we had? Not easy questions to answer. Looking at the broad picture, one can see two contradictory movements in almost every area of life. On the one hand, we celebrate the rise of the ordinary person, the aam aadmi, the aam aurat. Today the president of the republic is a tribal woman, a public statement that even the most oppressed groups can make it to the top. "Standards of education are in decline almost everywhere, universities are in disarray, and in many places, there’s violent hostility to girls going to school" And yet, on the other hand, every day brings home the almost total failure of the sarkar — the ruling class. In those memorable words of Gurcharan Das: “India grows by night,

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