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Christian leaders in the central Indian state of Madhya Pradesh have appealed to India’s top constitutional authorities for protection from pro-Hindu nationalist groups. The leaders belonging to different denominations, in a memorandum addressed to India’s President Ram Nath Kovind and Supreme Court Chief Justice N.V. Ramana among others, accused pro-Hindu organizations like Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP--world Hindu council) and its youth wing Bajrang Dal of infringing on their fundamental right to practice their faith. “They [pro-Hindu nationalist groups] make false allegations of religious conversion against the priests and pastors in the community, carry false social media propaganda against us and register false police complaints against us,” the memorandum stated. It further alleged the district and police authorities of siding with the nationalist groups to harass Christians while appealing to the constitutional authorities to step in to protect them and help lead their lives in peace as any other citizen of the country. “We are terrorized and living in fear. We are being falsely projected as religious converters,” said Father Rocky Shah, one of the signatories to the memorandum and public relations officer of Jhabua Diocese. He said Christians have served to educate and uplift the people of this country. They had also provided health care

The minority community which forms 41 percent of Manipur state's population says it's a day of rest and worship Christian leaders and student unions in the northeastern state of Manipur have urged India’s election commission to change the polling date for the upcoming provincial election as it falls on a Sunday. Assembly elections in five Indian states were announced by the commission on Jan. 8 with Manipur set to vote in two phases on Feb. 27 and March 3. The All Tribal Students’ Union Manipur (ATSUM) and Kuki Inpi Manipur (KIM) have urged the commission to reschedule the polling to any other convenient date other than a Sunday. ATSUM in a statement on Jan. 10 said the scheduling of the election date for Feb. 27, which is a Sunday, was a matter of concern for tribal people and the Christian community in the state. Khaiminlen Doungel, secretary of ATSUM, said that “the state predominantly consists of tribal Christians who account for 43 percent of the state’s population and Sunday is a holy and sacred day for them. It is also a day for rest and worship.” Doungel said the commission lacked “the ability to appreciate the spiritual values, beliefs and practices of the Christian community. Its

Reversal of decision within a fortnight of government refusing to renew its registration to accept and utilize foreign funds The Indian government has restored the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of the Missionaries of Charity (MC) clearing the decks for the globally renowned charity to receive and utilize foreign funds. “I am delighted that the Indian government has restored our FCRA license,” said Sunita Kumar, spokesperson of the MC, a congregation founded by Saint Mother Teresa of Kolkata. The change of decision comes less than a fortnight after the federal ministry for home affairs declined to renew MC's FRCA registration citing “adverse inputs.” “We never expected that our registration could be canceled but it happened,” Kumar told UCA News on Jan. 8, a day after the government restored the license of the charity organization on its website among legal entities permitted to receive foreign donations in the country. “We are happy that the restoration of our license happened without much delay,” Kumar said. The congregation was finding it difficult to carry forward its charitable works ever since news broke on Christmas Day that its application for renewal of the FCRA registration had been "refused." The ministry issued a statement on Dec. 27 saying the charity did

NEW DELHI, India (Morning Star News) – Hindu extremists in northern India launched an attack on a house church service on Dec. 25 that seriously injured a pastor’s son, one of at least 10 cases of aggression in Haryana state that stopped Christmas celebrations for hundreds of Christians. Pastor J.J. Singh, a Christian leader in Haryana state, said a team formed to help distressed Christians was exhausted by calls from churches attacked on Christmas Day, as they received reports from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. “Our Christmas was completely spoiled,” Pastor Singh told Morning Star News. “Our team left the Christmas program taking place in the church and sat around a table dealing with one case after another. The calls were still coming, but we were extremely exhausted and decided to shut down our phones.” In the attack on the Christmas service of the house church in Siwanka village, Sonipat District, Hindu extremists brandishing wooden batons and stones assaulted 73-year-old pastor Ram Kishan and seriously wounded his son, Vinod Kishan, the pastor said. “Five or six men pounced on me, and an equal number on Vinod, and began to hit us,” Pastor Kishan said. “They hit Vinod so badly that he began to bleed

The Mother Teresa nuns are hoping for some support from state governments in India after losing foreign donations Since Christmas, the Missionaries of Charity have been strictly rationing the food and daily use items for their regular 600 beneficiaries at their motherhouse and Shishu Bhavan, a children's orphanage, in Kolkata. On Jan. 2, the breakfast of tea, bread and eggs was cut short by an hour. "As long as you did it to one of these, my least brethren, you did it to me," said Razia, a beneficiary of the Missionaries of Charity, as she waited for the nuns to give her the weekly provisions. She lives with her two sick children across the road from the motherhouse and says she visits the tomb of St. Teresa and prays for the "difficult times to pass." Abdul Razzak, a 45-year-old beggar, stays put outside the motherhouse curled in his rags. He has been staying there since Christmas in hopes of getting his share of food and medicine. A few others like him sit along with him to receive their subsidy from the nuns. Since the pandemic began, they received their daily meal from the motherhouse, but now "sisters told us that we might not

The government of Orissa is offering economic aid to the Missionaries of Charity, who tell us from Bhubaneswar: "We are not worried, the Father will take care of our needs. New Delhi (AsiaNews/Agencies) - The Indian governments stop to foreign funding is not limited to the Missionaries of Charity: as of January 1, almost 6,000 Indian NGOs can no longer access funds from foreign countries. The news - offering a broader picture of the problem that has come to the fore precisely at the time of Christmas in India - was broken by The Hindu newspaper which cites official documents of the Ministry of Interior in New Delhi. To be precise, 5933 organizations have lost the status required by the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act, the legislation that regulates the possibility for Indian organizations to receive funding from abroad. One figure is enough to give an idea of the impact of what is happening: until December 31, 2021, there were 22,762 active licenses, today there are 16,829. In just a few days, therefore, they have been quartered. Together with the Missionaries of Charity, there are other high profile victims of this obstacle: Oxfam India, the local branch of one of the best-known international NGOs, released

Read the article in Scroll.in Scroll.in tracked three incidents in Bihar, Haryana and Madhya Pradesh that did not even make it to the news. On Christmas eve in Madhya Pradesh’s Jhabua district, eight Christians set out on their bikes to do their yearly round of carol singing. As the bikes passed through Parnaali, a forested area in Meghnagar tehsil, they were waylaid by a group of alleged Bajrang Dal members. The carol singers were struck with sticks and axes. “Out of nowhere, these men started pelting stones at us,” said Pastor Naikhya Garhwal, who was one of the carol singers. “Two people fell off their bikes,” he continued. “We were hit on our arms and backs with stones. When we fell off our bikes, more [attackers] came out and hit us with an axe. One of us, Ramesh, was hit directly on his head and his scalp was torn apart. My son, Sem, was hit so hard there was a big bump on his head. He developed serious internal injuries.” Nearly a week after the incident, both were still in hospital. The Jhabua incident is among the rash of attacks that broke out across the country around Christmas this year. Hindutva mobs disrupted celebrations in schools and

12/30/2021: The Missionaries of Charity runs many leprosy homes and orphanages in Odisha. Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has asked District Collectors to be in regular touch with organisations run by the Missionaries of Charity in Odisha. On December 30, Patnaik directed District Collectors to ensure that no inmate of these organisations suffered, especially from food security and health related distress. "Wherever needed, funds from the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund can be utilised for this purpose," the Chief Minister said. The Union Home Ministry had recently refused to renew the Foreign Contribution Regulation Act (FCRA) registration of Missionaries of Charity, a Catholic religious congregation established by Nobel laureate Mother Teresa in 1950. The FCRA registration is mandatory for any NGO or association to receive foreign funds or donations. The Centre’s decision had come under criticism in various quarters. Read the story in www.frontline.thehindu.com

Read the story in National Herald The MHA order would mean that after midnight of 31st Dec, the organisation would have no funds to operate its large number of children and old people’s homes which employ thousands of Indian workers I wouldn’t know for sure if the signature of Mother Teresa of Calcutta was on the application of the Missionaries of Charity when they applied for permission under the Foreign Contributions Regulations Act, FCRA, to receive donations from people all over the world for their work with foundling babies and the dying destitute in almost every state of India. But there is little doubt that Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s personal nod would have been necessary for the cancellation of the FCRA permission. Specially as it is the Christmas season when the eyes of the world are, unfortunately, so firmly fixed on India. The small Christian community here is reeling under a fusillade of Sangh extremist violence against churches, statues of Christ, and as always, against children, women and men deep in worship, and perhaps singing lullabies to the new-born Yesu. For the record, at least 300 cases of such violence were recorded primarily from Karnataka, which is enacting an anti-conversion law targeting Muslims and

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