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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

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