top
Religion

Mangaluru, Sept 20,2022: The Karnataka government has announced that it would include teachings of the Bhagavad Gita as part of moral education in schools from December this year. B C Nagesh, the state’s primary and secondary education minister, said the government has amended its earlier proposal to introduce Gita as a separate subject in schools and decided to teach it as part of moral education. However, some section of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party has objected to introducing the Hindu scripture only as part of moral education and not as a separate topic in syllabus. However, Nagesh said the government has already appointed an expert panel to give their recommendations and suggestions after consulting with various stakeholders. The minister also hinted that some historical mistakes will be corrected in the textbooks like the lesson on Baba Dudangiri, a holy place of Muslims in Chikmagaluru to ‘Inam Dattatreya Peeta,’ a Hindu pilgrim center in the same hills. The text books will have more information on some local kings and their kingdoms too, he added. Last year, several school days were disrupted on account of the hijab row by Muslim girls and attacks on some Christian schools for propagating Christian principles in schools. Father Faustine Lobo, the spokesperson

Religious choices are best left to the individual while ensuring the rule of law and constitutional guarantees The situation is tense in India’s northern state of Punjab bordering Pakistan where militant Sikh religious groups continue to put pressure on churches and prayer halls of Catholics, independent churches, and itinerant pastors working among Dalit communities in outlying western districts. Both communities are minorities in the Hindu-majority nation, but Punjab has a large Sikh community and a tiny Christian population. At last count in 2011, Sikhs were about 57.6 percent, Hindus 38.4 percent, Muslims1.93 percent, and Christians 1.2 percent. Efforts at rapprochement have not picked up real traction with the National Minorities Commission actively using institutional muscle on behalf of India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which was routed in the last legislative assembly elections in Punjab. The BJP once ruled Punjab in a coalition with the Shiromani Akali Dal, representing the Sikhs, but the coalition broke up on the issue of the contentious farm laws introduced by Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government. The farmers’ protest and the long siege of the national capital New Delhi forced Modi to withdraw the laws, but it was too late. The state elections saw the Delhi-based Aam Aadmi Party (AAP)

The Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021 has already been passed in the state Legislative Assembly. The Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill, 2021, was passed in the Karnataka Legislative Assembly in December. However, it was not tabled in the Legislative Council, as BJP at the time had 32 seats in the Legislative Council – six short of the majority mark. The party now has 41 members in the Upper House. The Karnataka Cabinet had then decided to pass an Ordinance to get a clearance for the Bill. An Ordinance is a temporary law passed by the president or a governor when Parliament or a state Assembly is not in session. The ordinance was cleared by Karnataka Governor Thawarchand Gehlot on September 17. It was then required to be approved by the Assembly within six months or it will cease to be in effect. The Karnataka anti-conversion bill says that “conversion from one religion to another by misrepresentation, force, fraud, undue influence, coercion, allurement or marriage’’ is prohibited. Under the Bill, a person who engages in “forced conversion” will be punished with three to five years imprisonment. Forced conversions of members from Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribe communities will lead to

Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore says he will disclose stance on Karnataka’s latest anti-conversion law in court. Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore had a guarded response a day after the provincial government in India’s southern state of Karnataka gave its final seal of approval to a law criminalizing religious conversions. The state’s Legislative Council or upper house passed the contentious Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill with a majority vote on Sept. 15. The anti-conversion law was already in force after the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which rules the state, promulgated an ordinance on May 17 with the signature of the state governor after it failed to muster enough support in the Legislative Council, whose final sanction is a must for any law to come into force. The law was passed by the state Legislative Assembly last December but the BJP was one seat short of a majority in the 75-member upper house. Having mustered up enough numbers now, it went ahead in what is perceived as a well-planned political strategy. The ordinance now stands repealed or canceled with the passage of the bill within six months of the governor issuing it, as required under the Indian Constitution. The opposition Congress and Janata

It is not that Indian churches are without their problems. But Dilip Mandal is wrong to use proselytisation as the yardstick to measure Indian Christianity. Periodically, experts of mainstream media come up with theories on why Christianity is a “failed project” in India. Recently, senior journalist and author Dilip Mandal put forth the argument that Christianity has no future in India and, therefore, there is no reason for the Rashtriya Swayamevak Sangh or the Vishva Hindu Parishad to spread false alarm or panic about the proselytising capacity of Christian missionaries. Mandal also points out that the Christian population in India is either static or dwindling. Mandal is, obviously, not open to recognising the idea that conversion was not the main purpose of the educational, medical and social work of Christian missions in India. Compassion International, a Christian organisation mentioned by him, in a detailed statement pointed out that their sole purpose in India was social outreach. And no official complaint of conversion has been filed against organisations such as Compassion International. Dilip Mandal’s severe criticism that the Christian missionary’s work in India became “a tool for Brahmins and elites” seems baseless. He argues that the failure of Christianity in the early centuries in

Delhi-based Concerned Citizens Group is hoping to involve AAP leader Arvind Kejriwal in talks between the two faiths Activists from Sikh organizations shout slogans after offering prayers at the Golden Temple on the 38th anniversary of Operation Blue Star in Amritsar on June 6 Representatives of different faiths in New Delhi have begun work to establish peace between Christian and Sikh minorities at loggerheads in Punjab over religious conversions. The growing number of churches and churchgoers in the Sikh-majority state in north India has led to sporadic friction with Sikh religious organizations who accuse Christians of using forceful and fraudulent means of conversion. A C Michael, convener of the Concerned Citizens Group in New Delhi said in a press note issued on Aug. 12 that the group at its recent meeting decided to meet Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal, who is also the founder and leader of the Aam Adami Party (AAP) that rules Punjab. The interreligious group “feels that the good offices of Mr. Kejriwal could play an important role in bringing about a much-needed peaceful atmosphere between two clashing groups as Mr. Kejriwal enjoys the goodwill of both communities,” Michael said. AAP’s Punjab Chief Minister Bhagwant Mann had called the latest attack on a

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

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.

István Perczel could well be a modern-day Indiana Jones for Kerala’s elite approximately 60,00,000-strong Syrian Christian community spread across the globe. But instead of engaging in gun fights and discovering lost treasure and ancient cities, The Hungarian scholar of Byzantine history and early Christianity is bringing to life a forgotten body of Malayalam scholarly literature—one that is written in a script based on the Syriac alphabet, an ancient writing system that dates back to the 1st century AD, and shares similarities with Phoenician, Hebrew, Arabic and Sogdian. He is now on a quest to develop an InScript keyboard for the lost script—the first of its kind—for which he had to decode thousands of palm-leaf documents lying forgotten in cupboards. They were arguably the oldest written historical records of the Syrian, or Saint Thomas Christians, a community that converted long before colonisation and missionary expansion in India. Most of the records, popularly believed to have been destroyed in the 16th century by the Roman Catholic Church, are written in Garshuni Malayalam. While Garshuni is traditionally referred to as Arabic in a Syriac script, the records Perczel is digitising are Malayalam written in the Syriac script. It was used by the Kerala Syrian Christian

No merit in reports judges not keen on anti-violence case filed by Christians, says Archbishop Peter Machado India's Christian community has immense faith in the nation's judiciary, says Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore India's Christian community has immense faith in the nation's judiciary, says Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore. (Photo: UCAN files) A Catholic archbishop has condemned media reports saying India’s top court was delaying the hearing of a case seeking an end to violence against Christians. “I am extremely distressed about articles in newspapers that the honorable Supreme Court, India’s top court, is not taking up the matter of attacks against Christians. There is no merit in the allegation. I strongly condemn it,” said Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore in southern Karnataka province, on July 30. The prelate’s statement came a couple of days after Supreme Court Justice D Y Chandrachud criticized a section of the media for carrying news items hinting that the top court was not very keen on hearing the petition. Ucan Store “You get it published in newspapers that the Supreme Court is delaying the hearing. Look, there is a limit to which you can target the judges. Who supplies all this news,” asked Justice Chandrachud on July 27 while clarifying the

Where to find us

FIACONA

Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations Pray for a Persecuted Church
[contact-form-7 404 "Not Found"]

SUBSCRIBE TO OUR NEWS UPDATES