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Jesuit Father Stand Swami was remembered on his first death anniversary for his lifelong struggle and tragic death, for a just world Indian Christians along with civil society observed the first death anniversary of Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist who died in custody, on July 5, 2021. Swamy was arrested in the highly controversial Elgar Parishad case and suffered from serious health complications while in custody. He was denied bail repeatedly and died while in custody for which his co-prisoners and lawyers blamed the state for not allowing adequate medical help to reach him on time. A year later, protesting against alleged state apathy and lack of accountability, 11 of his co-prisoners observed a day-long fast on the anniversary of Father Stan’s passing. In Ranchi, the capital of eastern Jharkhand state, which the Jesuit priest called home for over three decades, a rally was held at Albert chowk in the heart of the city. A Hindi book, Jharkhand ki Awaz: Stan Swamy (Jharkhand’s voice: Stan Swamy), highlighting his pioneering work among tribal people, Dalits and other voiceless peoples was launched on the occasion. In the national capital Delhi, a memorial lecture was organized by the Federation of Associations of the Catholic

The federal government and judiciary must act immediately to check the worrying trend, says Christian rights group An interdenominational rights group in India’s national capital has demanded the federal government and judiciary intervene immediately to check the rapid rise in incidents of violence, coercion and false arrests of Christians. The New Delhi-based United Christian Forum (UCF) has cited 207 cases of persecution in 2022 to back the demand. It documented 505 cases in 2021. “This data flies in the face of statements by government functionaries and leaders of the ruling party at the center and in the states that there is no persecution and that there are only a few stray incidents by fringe elements,” said UCF national president Michael Williams in a press statement on June 13. William said it was ironic that the culprits, many of whom even film the acts of vandalism and physical violence on unarmed women and men, dare to defy the law with such impunity while the pastors and faithful gathered for prayers are arrested on false charges of religious conversion. “In all such cases, the police are either mute spectators or active participants. Despite our appeals to senior officials and administrators, the police have failed to follow protocol,

Father Stan Swamy, who stood with tribal people to oppose exploitative policies, died in judicial custody in 2021 Indian Jesuit's martyrdom recalled on his birth anniversary Father Denzil Fernandes, director of the Jesuit-run Indian Social Institute in New Delhi, garlands the bust of Father Stan Swamy on his birth anniversary in Ranchi, Jharkhand, on April 26. (Photo supplied) The 85th birth anniversary of Father Stan Swamy, the first since his death, was observed with the release of a book and unveiling of his bust at Bagaicha, a training and social action center he founded in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand. Elsewhere in the country, members of the Indian Church and civil society remembered the martyred Jesuit’s contributions to upholding the human rights of the most marginalized sections of society. The main event was held at Bagaicha in Namkum, Ranchi, on April 26 where the two-foot-high bust of Father Stan stands tall overlooking the institution he founded in 2006. Keeping his memory alive, Bagaicha continues to empower individuals and organizations working against the displacement of marginalized people, human rights violations, illegal land acquisition and confinement of tribal people by branding them as Maoists. Also released on the occasion was the Hindi version of the priest’s memoir

03/10/2022: Karnataka Government has passed the Anti-Conversion Bill in the Assembly despite stiff opposition from civil society and political parties. The Bill is expected to be tabled in the upper house to be made into a law. The Anti-Conversion Laws affect Christians, Muslims, Dalits, Adivasis and Women. It restricts the rights of an Indian citizen to choose one’s religion. It violates the equality and freedom of religions in India as per the Indian Constitution. It is discriminatory as well as draconian. The National Solidarity forum initiated a campaign to Repeal Anti-Conversion Laws in India. The appeal is to support the campaign through endorsements on: https://chng.it/gBYcGCPZyV The National Solidarity Forum (NSF) is a coalition of groups and individuals across India, upholding the principles of secularism, human rights, peace, justice and harmony. This campaign petition appeared on https://countercurrents.org/

02/13/22: Thousands of people cutting across religions have demanded the repeal of all anti-conversion laws in India. The demand comes ahead of February 14 when the Karnataka government plans to table the Anti-Conversion Bill in the state’s Upper House. Prominent signatories of the petition to the Indian president of India included among others Admiral L Ramdas, former Chief of Naval Staff of the Indian Navy, Mallika Sarabhai, accomplished dancer and choreographer, Medha Patkar, social activist, Anand Patwardhan, film Maker and Mani Shankar Aiyar, former federal minister. They assert the new anti-conversion law is unnecessary, since the Indian Constitution has enough provisions to curtail fraudulent religious conversions. `Wherever the anti-conversion law, ironically officially called Freedom of Religion Act, was passed, it became a justification for the persecution of the minorities and other marginalized identities” the petitioners explain. They also say the attacks on the minorities has grown sharply in recent years since this law was used as a weapon targeting the dignity of Christians and Muslims particularly belonging to Adivasis, Dalits and women. The petition urged people to join the campaign to defend the values enshrined in the Indian Constitution and protect human rights of the minorities and other marginalized sections in India. The petition was initiated

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Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations Pray for a Persecuted Church
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