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2022

Karnataka state introduced the law as an ordinance after it failed to sail through the upper house of the state assembly Christians feel betrayed as Indian state criminalizes conversion Christians in India's Karnataka state feel betrayed and hurt after their government criminalized religious conversions ignoring concerns, says Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore, who heads the regional bishops' forum. “The Christian community feels betrayed when its sentiments are not taken note of and its selfless services in the fields of education, healthcare and other social areas for the welfare of all communities are not taken into consideration,” said May 18. The prelates' statement came a day after the state government, run by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), promulgated the ordinance on May 17 with the signature of the state governor. The Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 was passed by the state legislative assembly in last December but the ruling BJP failed to muster enough support in the legislative council or upper house, whose final sanction is required for any law to come into force. The BJP-led government then decided on taking the ordinance route to implement the anti-conversion law. Archbishop Machado, who heads the state's bishops' council said, called the move “a big letdown”

As many as six people have been arrested on Monday for allegedly trying to convert people into followers of Christianity at the Christ Memorial School in Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, an official said. Following this matter, Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra said that the police have been directed to monitor the conversion activities in schools. Bhopal’s Bairagarh police station in-charge DP Singh said that following a complaint, a police team on Sunday raided the Christ Memorial School premises where a group had gathered and people were about to be converted. Father Paul Polas, Kamini Paul, Rajesh Malviya and Ritika Malviya were arrested on spot while the school director Menis Mathew and Rahul Sharma were arrested on Monday, he said. DP Singh said that the accused are being booked under Section 153A of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) for promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion and provisions of the Madhya Pradesh Freedom of Religion Act. When asked about this incident, the state government spokesperson and home minister Narottam Mishra told reporters, “Instructions have been given to the police intelligence to monitor whether the conversion activities are going on in missionary schools of Madhya Pradesh." Meanwhile, a project has been launched in Madhya

The hill shrine in Andhra Pradesh is being falsely claimed as a sacred spot for Hindus Attack on shrine upsets Christians in southern India Christians protest against vandals attacking the statues of Mother Mary, Infant Jesus and the Sacred Heart of Jesus in the Guntur Diocese in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh on May 15. (Photo supplied) Unidentified vandals destroyed statues of Mother Mary, Infant Jesus and the Sacred Heart of Jesus at a hill shrine in the southern Indian state of Andhra Pradesh causing shock among the local Catholics. The incident happened on the intervening night of May 14 and 15. "We came to know about it through some Catholics who had been there early morning,” said Father Bala Subash Chandra Bose who is in charge of the shrine. The newly constructed shrine complex at Edlapadu in the Guntur district was being readied for an inauguration, Father Bose told UCA News on May 18. “Christians here are in a state of shock and disbelief,” the Guntur diocesan priest said. “We organized a protest march on May 15 evening to press for speedy investigations.” However, three days after no one had been arrested and the priest said a peace march had been planned on the

Man alleges forced conversion in Madikeri, Christian couple from Kerala booked Accused have been booked under IPC section 295 (A), remanded to judicial custody Police official said they have not received circular on Anti-Conversion Law On May 17, an ordinance on the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill (2021) or commonly known as Anti-Conversion Law came into effect, on the same day, a Christian couple was arrested by the Madikeri district police over allegations of forced religious conversion. Based on the complaint filed by a man, an FIR was lodged under IPC section 295 (A). The accused were produced before the court and sent to judicial custody. On Tuesday afternoon, chaos prevailed at Manchalli village of Madikeri district as members of the Bajrang Dal barged into a house belonging to a man named Paniyeravar A Mutha and questioned the motive of a Christian couple, who were inside the house. After arguments between the Christian couple and the right-wing group members, the couple was handed over to the Kutta police. Speaking on the issue, local Bajrang Dal leader Sajjan Ganapati told News9 that, he along with other members went to the spot after they received the information about forced religious

Karnataka state plans to bring in an ordinance after failing to steer an earlier bill outlawing religious conversions The Catholic Church in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has criticized the government for its attempts to keep the pot boiling on the contentious issue of religious conversions. The May 12 announcement by Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy of the state government’s plan to usher in an emergency law to counter religious conversions and interfaith marriages by issuing an ordinance has alarmed Christians. The state's legislative assembly passed an anti-conversion bill — Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 — last December but failed to present it in the upper house or legislative council for final sanction, perhaps because the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is one seat short of a majority there. An ordinance comes into effect with the signature and seal of the state's governor but has to be ratified by the elected legislative house within six months. “The pro-Hindu BJP wants to keep alive the bogey of conversions ahead of the crucial elections,” said J.A. Kanthraj, public relations officer of Bangalore Archdiocese, while referring to the local polls to be held in a couple of months followed by provincial assembly elections next year

‘Burning Lanka’ tells all what not to do, says Uday Kotak In the backdrop of the country's economic crisis, Kotak Banker Uday Kotak has come out with an intriguing comment as an outbreak of violent civil unrest in neighbouring Sri Lanka forced a regime change in the island nation with the resignation of its Prime Minister, Mahinda Rajapaksa, on Monday. “The Russia Ukraine war goes on and the going gets tough. True test of nations is now. Strength of institutions like the judiciary, regulators, police, government, Parliament will matter. Doing what is right and not populist is crucial. A ‘burning Lanka’ tells all what not to do!” Kotak Mahindra Bank CEO Uday Kotak said in a tweet on Tuesday. Couched in generic terms, there was no explicit indication that this was a rare bit of advice to the Modi government from one of its most ardent supporters. The Modi government has been battling a crisis on several fronts: inflation has shot through the roof and is expected to cross 7.5 per cent — an 18-month high — when the government statisticians come out with the numbers for April on Thursday. Rising food and fuel prices, surging commodity prices, a severe disruption in supply chains, and

CBI officials visited around 40 locations including in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Mysuru and some places in Rajasthan. Fourteen officials were apprehended. New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday, May 10, conducted operations at 40 locations and apprehended around 14 people including home ministry officials, NGO representatives and middlemen for allegedly facilitating the clearance of foreign donations in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. An FCRA registration or licence is mandatory for any association and NGO to receive foreign funding. In recent times, the non-renewal and cancellation of such licences by the government has made news as various NGOs and bodies have had their operations suspended as a result. “The operation was launched after a complaint from the Union home ministry to the CBI in this regards,” a home ministry spokesperson was quoted by news agency PTI as having said. The coordinated operation took place at around 40 locations including in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Mysuru and some places in Rajasthan. “Around half a dozen public servants and others are being questioned,” Indian Express quoted a CBI officer as having said. PTI reported the number as 14. Express also reported sources as having told the outlet that the agency is “likely to

May 4, 2022 -Christians falsely charged with crimes related to an act of vandalism in central India five years ago spent five days in jail and are fighting the case anew after it mysteriously resurfaced, sources said. The 18 Christians, including a widow, in Chhattisgarh state’s Bhelwapal village, Sukma District, were jailed March 9-14 even though one of the traditional tribal animists who falsely accused them in 2017 has since become a Christian and has explained how they were framed. Tribal villagers who damaged a pastor’s house and church building in 2017 smashed a Hindu idol and told officers the pastor had done it in an effort to justify why they had vandalized his property, according to the church leader, Pastor Hidma Sodi. “A family that was hand-in-glove with the ones who brought the idol and broke it but blamed the Christians for the same has come to the Christian faith,” Pastor Sodi told Morning Star News. “They not only told us how this conspiracy was planned and executed to frame the Christians but are also willing to speak as witnesses before the court.” As the Christians had registered a complaint with police, the tribal animists then planned to assault the pastor and three

A Timely Warning by Over 100 Very Senior Ex-Bureaucrats On 26 April over 100 former senior civil servants of India belonging to the Constitutional Conduct Group sent a letter to the Prime Minister drawing attention to the shocking increase in communal violence and government response to this. What is stated in this letter is so important that this should be taken to be a very timely warning to protect the country and its constitution by deeply concerned, extremely sincere and highly well-informed persons. While all the nearly 108 signatories earlier held very senior positions in the government, what further increases the importance of this letter is that the signatories include those officials (retired) who held very senior positions in the security establishment. The signatories include, for example, such names as Shivshankar Menon, former National Security Adviser; G.K.Pillai, former Home Secretary, Government of India and Shyam Saran, former Chairman, National Security Advisory Board. When some important events take place, we need very senior and experienced persons with inside knowledge of systems to provide us a proper understanding of these events and what is unfolding. In the present context we could not have asked for a more experienced and better qualified group than this Constitutional

USCIRF religious freedom report recommended designating India as "country of particular concern" Washington:  A Hindu body in Washington has called the USCIRF report on religious freedom a work of "Hinduphobic" commission members while Muslim and Christian groups hailed the observations made in it, demanding that the US declare India as a "country of particular concern". The US Commission for International Religious Freedom or USCIRF report recommended to the Biden Administration to designate India, China, Pakistan, Afghanistan and 11 other nations as "countries of particular concern" in the context of religious freedom. The recommendations are not binding on the US government. HinduPACT, an initiative of the World Hindu Council of America, in a statement alleged that the USCIRF has been taken over by "Indophobic and Hinduphobic members". The American Muslim Institution (AMI) and its associate organisations applaud the USCIRF recommendation, saying religious freedom conditions in India "significantly worsened" in 2021. The Federation of Indian-American Christian Organisations and the Indian-American Muslim Council in separate statements reportedly applauded the USCIRF recommendation. During a special virtual congressional briefing, a day after the release of the report, USCIRF Commissioner Anurima Bhargava had alleged that Indian government officials were tolerating and engaging in religious persecution of Muslims and Christians with prolific mob violence. India has

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