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The church should have studied and discussed the judgment in detail before rushing to welcome it. India’s Supreme Court upholding the economic criteria for granting educational and job quotas to the privileged upper castes could be the final nail in the coffin for the country’s affirmative action program for historically disadvantaged groups such as the Dalits or former untouchables and the indigenous tribal people. The Eastern-rite Syro-Malabar Church deserves its share of the blame for missing the woods for the trees by welcoming the decision and expressing its readiness to ignore the historical injustices unleashed on the marginalized sections of Indians in the name of the caste system. For centuries, people in the lowest strata of Indian society were ostracized from public life. The idea of educational and job reservations for the ‘outcastes’ was to enable them to have a level playing field with the so-called upper castes. India’s constitution-makers, fully aware of the rampant poverty in the country, decided that the criteria for reservations should be the social poverty that a community faces, and not economic poverty. However, a 1950 presidential order limited the affirmative action program only to people from the Hindu religion on the grounds that casteism was practiced only by them.

Police said that the arrested 12 persons were making arrangements for a mass religious conversion of Hindu tribals in the region. According to police, after gathering specific inputs, a team of its personnel conducted raids and made the arrests. Police said that the arrested 12 persons were making arrangements for a mass religious conversion of Hindu tribals in the region. The arrested persons were being grilled by the police. Preliminary investigations revealed that many people belonging to Chikkamuduwadi Tandya were kept in a house in Kanakapura town. Sources stated the police will investigate the matter further. More details are yet to emerge regarding the case. Hindu activists for a long time have been alleging forceful conversions in the region by Christian missionaries. Earlier, attempts to build the tallest statue of Jesus in the world in Kapalabetta in Kanakapura taluk were made. The Hindu activists then alleged that state Congress President D K Shivakumar was supporting the building of the tallest statue of Jesus Christ to impress former AICC President Sonia Gandhi in his constituency. Bajrang Dal, Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP), and other Hindu organisations had announced agitation against the building of Jesus Christ's statue at Kapalabetta. The Karnataka High Court later gave a stay order on the construction work

Trio was attending a faith healing, prayer program in northeastern Assam state while on tourist visas India deports 3 Swedes for preaching Christianity A television screengrab of the Swedish nationals deported by Indian authorities for conducting Christian religious activities while on a tourist visa. (Source: youtube.com) Indian authorities arrested and deported three Swedish nationals for participating in Christian religious activities while visiting the northeastern state of Assam on a tourist visa. Hannah Mikaela Bloom, Marcus Arne Henrik Bloom and Susanna Elisabeth Hakannson were sent back to Sweden on Oct 28 after being arrested by police in Dibrugarh city on suspicion of being involved in religious conversions, according to police officials. The trio was attending an Oct 25-27 faith healing and prayer program in Naharkatia in Dibrugarh district organized by the United Churches Fellowship and the Bless Assam Mission Network. “The allegation of religious conversions is baseless. There is no truth in it as the organizers had obtained prior permission from the district administration and local police officials and the program was attended by only Christians, so where is the question of converting anyone,” Allen Brooks, the spokesman of the Assam Christian Forum, told UCA News. "We had no hidden program" However, the Swedish nationals were fined US$500 (41,500

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

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

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,

The situation facing Christians and other religious minorities in India is ‘unprecedentedly grave’, says an Open Doors spokesperson. Across India, people are celebrating the 75th anniversary of Indian Independence. Christians and other religious minorities will be joining in the celebrations – but also recognising that they face discrimination that is ‘unprecedentedly grave’, in the words of Heena Singh*, Open Doors spokesperson on India. “The gravity of the situation, for Christians and Muslims especially, is at its peak,” says Heena. “Every day we receive new prayer requests from friends, for another Christian family attacked, or a pastor arrested on false accusation.” Hostility against Christians is getting worse There is a very large number of Christians in India – almost 69 million, according to Open Doors research – but this is only about five per cent of the country’s population. Christians and other religious minorities have long experienced some hostility, but attitudes are hardening and persecution is worsening as the influence of Hindutva increases. "Now it is often entire communities attacking and expelling converts." HEENA, OPEN DOORS “It is no longer small extremist groups attacking converts, now it is often entire communities attacking and expelling them, beating them or handing them over to the police on false accusations,” says

Western allies are likely to ignore the country’s transition into an ethnocracy given its role in balancing China. India’s democracy faces a crisis unprecedented in its 75-year-old history. An ethnocratic imagination undermines the inclusive Indian nationalism that imbued its founding movement and that aims to consolidate its Hindu majority as the dominant ethnos. Not only do religious minorities find themselves identified as internal enemies, but members of the historically oppressed Bahujan communities who do not conform to the image of a good Hindu are sought to be marginalised. In recent years, the list of internal enemies has come to include liberals and leftists, activists who have raised issues of the environment and human rights, and anyone else perceived to be “anti-national”. Dissent is muzzled, increasingly through official edicts. Old controversies over temples and mosques are reignited, as in Mathura and Varanasi over the last few months, where claims that mosques were built upon the demolition of temples have resurfaced. Local compromises negotiated by Hindus and Muslims over centuries are challenged, and new religious flashpoints threaten to rent asunder the social fabric knitted together by India’s diverse communities. India shares its democratic degradation with many other countries across the world. This process has been variously described as

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