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July

July 18, 2022: Some Church leaders have hailed the nomination of veteran Congress leader Margaret Alva as the vice presidential candidate by India’s Opposition parties. “It is certainly a privilege for the minority Christian community in India, as it is the first time a Christian leader is proposed to the vice president’s post,” said Father Faustine Lobo, the spokesperson of the Karnataka Regional Catholic Bishops’ Council. The name of Alva, 80, was announced unanimously by 17 Opposition parties July 17 after they met in New Delhi. Alva was born on April 14, 1942, in Mangalore (now Mangaluru), a Christian stronghold on the Arabian coast in Karnataka state. She has served as a federal minister and governor of Goa, Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttarakhand states. Tweeting minutes after the announcement, Alva said she was a privileged and honored to be nominated as the candidate of the joint opposition for the post of vice president of India. “I accept this nomination with great humility and thank the leaders of the opposition for the faith they have put in me,” she said. Father Lobo, who is currently serving as a parish priest in Mangaluru, told Matters India that Alva’s candidature is a recognition to the Christian community who plays

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Nearly two months after police arrested a pastor in India from his grandmother’s home, tied him to a tree and beat him, threats from officers and others have kept him from filing a complaint on the brutality, sources said. Pastor Pravesh Kumar of Amamahua, Uttar Pradesh state was visiting a sick uncle at his grandmother’s house in nearby Bhais Khur village on April 22 when police arrested him after a Hindu neighbor videotaped them singing during a family devotional on the roof, he said. The neighbor had sent the video clip to police after recording it from the adjoining rooftop, Pastor Kumar said. Officers immediately arrived and questioned him about the purpose of the visit and about their singing. When he explained that they were singing hymns, police told him they were arresting him on suspicion of forcible conversion because hymns were part of converting people, he said. “They completely ignored the fact that the family we were visiting were all followers of Christ,” Pastor Kumar said. Officers took the 26-year-old pastor to Bijauli police outpost at about 8 p.m., tied him face forward to a tree and physically assaulted him as they reviled him in coarse language, he

In the wake of the May canonization, fundamentalist networks are continuing their campaign of online defamation, as they have with other revered Christians. Devotees of St. Devasahayam pray June 5 at the spot where the Indian saint is said to have knelt down and prayed before his execution, which has become a shrine. Devotees of St. Devasahayam pray June 5 at the spot where the Indian saint is said to have knelt down and prayed before his execution, which has become a shrine. When the Catholic Church conferred sainthood on popular Hindu convert lay martyr Devasahayam, it was unpalatable for Hindu fundamentalist networks that thrive on demonizing Christianity. With the mid-May canonization, they were upset that St. Devasahayam — son of a Hindu temple priest and trusted solider of a Hindu king — had led hundreds to Christ during the seven years he was Christian and many more after his martyrdom in 1752. As the local Church in the southern state of Tamil Nadu rejoiced over the long-awaited canonization, secular national dailies like Indian Express published laudatory features. But this flurry of news headlines over the canonization of the convert prompted a leading Hindu nationalist portal, Bharata Bharati (“Mother India”), to publish a defamatory article against

Jesuit Father Stand Swami was remembered on his first death anniversary for his lifelong struggle and tragic death, for a just world Indian Christians along with civil society observed the first death anniversary of Father Stan Swamy, a Jesuit priest and tribal rights activist who died in custody, on July 5, 2021. Swamy was arrested in the highly controversial Elgar Parishad case and suffered from serious health complications while in custody. He was denied bail repeatedly and died while in custody for which his co-prisoners and lawyers blamed the state for not allowing adequate medical help to reach him on time. A year later, protesting against alleged state apathy and lack of accountability, 11 of his co-prisoners observed a day-long fast on the anniversary of Father Stan’s passing. In Ranchi, the capital of eastern Jharkhand state, which the Jesuit priest called home for over three decades, a rally was held at Albert chowk in the heart of the city. A Hindi book, Jharkhand ki Awaz: Stan Swamy (Jharkhand’s voice: Stan Swamy), highlighting his pioneering work among tribal people, Dalits and other voiceless peoples was launched on the occasion. In the national capital Delhi, a memorial lecture was organized by the Federation of Associations of the Catholic

IACONA (Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America) has compiled a list of 761 attacks with a large percentage of those being mob attacks. As a Christian in India today, there is an increasing possibility that while at Church practicing his/her ancient tradition and worshipping Jesus through prayers and songs and communion, a screaming mob of hundreds of angry young men, many armed with iron rods and other weapons could barge into the peaceful prayer hall thrashing worshippers and dragging them out of sanctuary while they smash everything in sight. This is not some fantasy but has become a reality in present-day India under the BJP rule. Indian Christian Community in the Tri-state area is getting ready to celebrate Indian Christian Day on July 3.It may also be a good time to revisit its relevance and related history. July 3 is observed as St. Thomas day, the world over. The New Testament reckons Thomas – who is also known as “Didymus” (meaning “Twin” in Greek) – as one of the twelve apostles of Jesus Christ. He was born in Galilee, Israel, and died on December 21, 72 A.D. According to Christian tradition, Thomas was killed with a spear at

Christians cutting across denominations came together at various parts of India July 3 to organize special programs to mark the 1950th martyrdom day of Saint Thomas the Apostle. Saint Thomas, one of the 12 disciples of India, is believed to have come to India in 52 AD and preached the Christian faith in the western and southern regions of the country. He was martyred 20 years later in Chennai, currently the capital of the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu. Since 2021, the day is being observed as the Indian Christian Day to “love the neighbor, serve society, celebrate Jesus and bless India.” The ecumenical annual day helps Christians to remember and celebrate “the person and message of Lord Jesus Christ in India.” The also helps them preserve their identity with the Indian cultural heritage and promoting unity. The day, a people’s movement, saw Christians organizing festivities, cultural programs, community service, health and literacy camps, food and clothes drive, environmental cleanup and workshops. In the national capital, Christians came together in the downtown Constitution Club from 10 am to 1 pm, and at B M Gange School in Old Delhi’s Raj Niwas Marg, from 5 to 8 pm. A part of the celebrations was the play, “Rahi

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