News (Page 44)

Ranchi: Archbishop Felix Toppo of Ranchi October 16 joined priests, nuns and lay people to form a 5-kilometer human chain to denounce the arrest of an octogenarian Jesuit priest for alleged Maoist links. Many of the more than 1,000 protestors, who lined up in the Jharkhand state capital of Ranchi lit candles, terming it a symbol of hope against the attempts to silence intellectuals and rights activists such as Father Stan Swamy. The 83-year-old priest was arrested October 8 from his residence near Ranchi by the National Investigation Agency, the federal body to counter terrorism. The priest was taken to Mumbai the following morning. He was presented before a court in the western Indian metropolitan city that remanded him to judicial custody until May 23. Nuns in the Ranchi human chain The priest, who suffers from various illnesses such as Parkinson, is currently admitted in a hospital inside the jai. The police allege that he had links with those involved with violence on January 1 2018, at Bhima Koregaon near Pune, western India. The human in Ranchi began at 4:30 pm from Albert Ekka Chowk in the city center and wound through Kantatoli Chowk, Sarjana Chowk and Dangratoli. The human chain was part of ongoing protests by various

In the night between 17 and 18 October, 40 tombstones, crosses and statues of Our Lady were destroyed in the city of Tirunelveli. Catholics have received the solidarity of the population and political parties, except from the BJP, the ruling Hindu nationalist party. Palayamkottai (AsiaNews) - At least 40 graves have been desecrated, tombstones broken, crosses and statues damaged at the Udayarpatti cemetery, in the city of Tirunelveli (Tamil Nadu). Here is the report of the bishop, Msgr. Antonysamy Savarimuthu, from the diocese of Palayamkottai. On the night of October 17th-18th between 10pm.4am, desecrated the cemetery of the Sacred Heart Church at Udayarpatti in Tirunelveli city, Tamil Nadu. The miscreants broke the compound wall, entered our cemetery, where we have around 100 graves, damaged 40 graves, broken and vandalised the crosses and statues of Mother Mary, broke the granites and marbles gravestones, cross and statues and desecrated and damaged 40 graves It was a meticulously planned and calculated act of desecration and vandalism, which has deeply wounded our religious sentiments.  The cemetery is a Holy place, and we were sad, grieved and shocked This act of desecration and vandalism of our cemetery, was noticed by a few parishioners on Sunday morning, who informed the Parish priest

Suspected Hindu extremists set fire to a church in India’s Andhra Pradesh state, burning it to the ground because local Christians refused to stop worshiping together.  On Sept. 8, neighbors of the Christian Miracle Church, located in Ponduru town, reported flames and smoke coming out of the church building, persecution watchdog International Christian Concern reports.  Pastor Prabhu Das, who has led Christian Miracle Church for nearly 38 years, and his son, Jeevan, arrived on the scene in time to witness flames engulf the church building. The pastor’s car was also destroyed. Following the arson attack, the pastor filed a formal complaint with police against the unknown assailants. His son told ICC that Hindu extremists had previously threatened the church and ordered the Christians to stop meeting together.  “We have encountered opposition from the Hindu religious extremists several times in the past,” Jeevan said. “The radicals have threatened us to stop the church activities in the town. They have warned us of the consequences if we failed to close down the church.” “I never expected this to happen,” Jeevan continued. “I suspect this is the work of those who threatened us and told us to close down the church.” Jeevan said the arson attack has “caused a lot

Yangon: Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, president of the Federation of Asian Bishop’s Conference (FABC), has called for the immediate release of Jesuit human rights activist Father Stan Swamy. Hailing the 83-year-old Indian Jesuit priest as the “Friend of the Indigenous People,’ the Myanmar cardinal made the appeal through a letter dated October 26. The FABC represents 29 countries in Asia. A special court on October 23 rejected the interim bail plea of Father Swamy, who was arrested 15 days earlier from Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand state in eastern India, and jailed in Mumbai, some 1,710 km west. He had filed the interim bail application on medical grounds, given his age, pre-existing conditions and the Covid-19 pandemic. “It is with great shock and agony, the FABC heard of the arrest of the 83-year-old Fr Stan Swamy and his incarceration. We are surprised at the charges brought against him. We stand in solidarity with Fr. Stan Swamy and all who support the rights of the indigenous people,” says Cardinal Bo, a friend of India. The cardinal noted that the media in India and abroad have expressed shock over the arrest of Fr Swamy, who for more than three decades lived among the most deprived indigenous people of eastern

A group of young Muslims, descrated and danced on the cross, an act causing widespread concern. According to Msgr. Pamplani, Church leaders fear possibility of ISIS supporters being groomed in Kerala. Tamarassery / Palai (AsiaNews) -: Mons Joseph Pamplani, auxiliary bishop of Tellichery archdiocese in Kerala and the Chairman of Media Commission of Syro Malabar Church has severely accused the gang of Muslim youth who recently desecrated the Cross in two different parts of Kerala.    Widespread protests were held in Kerala against the desecration of the cross by anti-social people at Valamthodu in Thamarassery diocese and in Poonjar in Palai diocese.   A group of young people, pretending to be tourists, photographed the cross in a derogatory way and posted the images on social media. Since it happened several times, the faithful warned the group several times and turned to the police. The state of southern India has always been peaceful and with harmony between Christian, Hindu and Islamic religions. But recent events, according to Msgr. Pamplani, forcing Church leaders to also think about the possibility of recruiting ISIS supporters in Kerala. Bishop Pamplani, in a press conference, commented that the young people who went up and danced on the Cross were dancing on the

RAIPUR: Social and civil rights groups have expressed serious concern over increasing incidents of violence against tribal Christians in Bastar in Chhattisgarh and urged the Bhupesh Baghel government to conduct an impartial investigation and to take preventive measures to protect peace and harmony in the villages of the tribal region. Social activist Medha Patkar, who led the fa .. Read more at:

While analysing the features of fascism in the Italian context, Antonio Gramsci had pointed out that grounds were prepared even before the dominating forces unveiled themselves. The various democratic structures were slowly taken over. Uniformity was imposed on culture replacing its multiplicity. Efforts were made to influence the psyche of people and either win them over or do away with opposing sections. To get rid of any divergence, there were attempts made to directly eliminate them taking extreme positions or slowly usurp the hegemony manoeuvring all the way. The Dussehra speech made by Rashtriya Swayamsewak Sangh (RSS) chief Mohan Bhagwat on October 24 this year in Nagpur reflects the maturing up of the same process that was initiated by RSS in 1925, an organisation that strived for exclusivity, allowing no other to prevail. Bhagwat, in his speech, also said that the organisation was not power centric. However, the fact is that the Bharatiya Janata Party which is closely linked with the RSS has the country’s governance in its hands since 2014. The ruling BJP has traversed a long way, and it showed when in his speech, the RSS Supremo openly declared, “India is a "Hindu Rashtra" and Hindutva is the essence of

India's tribal-dominated Jharkhand, Odisha, Chattisgarh and Telangana states are the worst for persecution of those accused of witchcraft. (Photo: YouTube drama) Police in the eastern Indian state of Jharkhand have arrested three people for killing three members of one family for alleged witchcraft in a crime described as an “inhuman act” by a Catholic official. The bodies of Birsa Munda, 48, his wife Sukru Purty, 43, and daughter Somwari Purty, 20, of Kuda village in Khunti district, were found by police on Oct. 28 after they went missing on Oct. 7. “It is an inhuman act and we condemn it because we have no right to take away anybody’s life. It is a matter of concern and civil society has to take it very seriously as it can’t be acceptable in modern times. The Church is always pro-life and these kinds of incidents sadden us,” said Father Vincent Ekka, who heads the department of tribal studies at the Jesuit-run Indian Social Institute in New Delhi. “When the whole country is talking about development and progress, killing in the name of witchcraft is certainly a setback to all of us. We have to address it collectively because it needs the involvement of government machinery, non-government organizations, civil society and missionaries.” The Oraon

This photo taken on Oct. 29 shows the destroyed concrete cross, which stood on a hillock in Madanpur village in Korba district in Chhattisgarh state. (Photo supplied)  A cross was demolished and a makeshift temple set up some 200 meters away in a village in India's Chhattisgarh state, Christian leaders said. The concrete cross on a hillock in Madanpur village in Korba district was popular among Christians living in the village and its nearby areas for more than two decades.  They gathered around for prayers, especially to do the Way of the Cross during Lenten season, said Arun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum that works among persecuted Christians in the state.   "We saw the cross destroyed and the temple near it. But we do not know exactly when it happened," Pannalal told UCA News on Oct. 30. He said some villagers informed them on Oct. 29 and they plan to complain to police. "We will also seek the intervention of the state's chief minister through district officials," he said. He said the land on which the cross stood was "not officially owned by the Church but the Christian villagers have used it for many years and the local villagers never objected to its use," Pannalal said. "The sudden destruction of the cross

CNA Staff, Nov 2, 2020 / 04:31 pm MT (CNA).- An Indian activist and a local Catholic bishop are calling on a local government to investigate an alleged hate crime against Christians that apparently took place after the Christians refused to take part in animist prayer rituals. According to activist Medha Patkar’s report, widespread violence and vandalism against Christians occurred in three villages— Kakrabeda, Singanpur and Tiliyabeda— in the Bastar region of the Indian state of Chhattisgarh Sept. 22-23. The attacks apparently came after tribal Christians refused to take part in rituals and prayers of Sarna, an animist tribal religion. “We are saddened by the incidents and are demanding an impartial investigation to safeguard the welfare of the tribal community and bring communal harmony among different religions,” Bishop Paul Toppo of Raigarh told UCA News. “Tribals are generally peace-loving people who have a very good rapport with other faiths, but some vested interest groups want to create divisions among people in the name of religion, caste and creed, which is very unfortunate.” A group of non-Christians reportedly used wooden sticks and poles to partially destroy the thatched roofs of 16 houses belonging to tribal Christians. They also “assaulted women and children,” with many seeking refuge in

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