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Trio was attending a faith healing, prayer program in northeastern Assam state while on tourist visas India deports 3 Swedes for preaching Christianity A television screengrab of the Swedish nationals deported by Indian authorities for conducting Christian religious activities while on a tourist visa. (Source: youtube.com) Indian authorities arrested and deported three Swedish nationals for participating in Christian religious activities while visiting the northeastern state of Assam on a tourist visa. Hannah Mikaela Bloom, Marcus Arne Henrik Bloom and Susanna Elisabeth Hakannson were sent back to Sweden on Oct 28 after being arrested by police in Dibrugarh city on suspicion of being involved in religious conversions, according to police officials. The trio was attending an Oct 25-27 faith healing and prayer program in Naharkatia in Dibrugarh district organized by the United Churches Fellowship and the Bless Assam Mission Network. “The allegation of religious conversions is baseless. There is no truth in it as the organizers had obtained prior permission from the district administration and local police officials and the program was attended by only Christians, so where is the question of converting anyone,” Allen Brooks, the spokesman of the Assam Christian Forum, told UCA News. "We had no hidden program" However, the Swedish nationals were fined US$500 (41,500

Vishwa Hindu Parishad says benefits of affirmative action must be denied to those who become Christians The Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) or World Hindu Council has urged the Indian government to withdraw the benefits of its affirmative action program to Hindus who convert to Christianity. Vijay Shankar Tiwari, the national VHP spokesman while addressing a press conference in Jaipur city in northwestern Rajasthan state on Oct. 19, alleged those converting to Christianity continue to use their Hindu names and credentials in official documents and draw benefits from the government’s reservation policy for Dalits and tribal people. “The central government should make a plan and do a survey to ensure that those people who are from the SC [Scheduled Caste, the official name for Dalits] and ST [Scheduled Tribes] communities and adopted Christianity don’t get the reservation benefits,” he demanded. Tiwari further accused Christian missionaries and Muslim clerics of acting as pressure groups to pass on the benefits of education and employment reservations in government institutions under India’s affirmative action program to those converted to their religions. “Since these religious groups claim their religions do not have any caste system and that every individual is equal, they do not come under the reservation schemes,” said Tiwari. He

RSS body demands action against Global Hunger Index surveyors for ‘defaming India’ The Swadeshi Jagran Manch urged the Centre to take steps against a German NGO which ranked India 107th among 121 countries on the index. The Swadeshi Jagran Manch, an affiliate body of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh on Sunday urged the Union government to take action against German non-governmental organisation Welt Hunger Hilfe which last week ranked India 107th among 121 countries in the Global Hunger Index, PTI reported. The index has been prepared in an irresponsible manner to defame India, the Swadeshi Jagran Manch claimed in a statement. Ashwani Mahajan, the co-convenor of the body said that India was self-sufficient in food grains and a net exporter country. In the Global Hunger Index released on Friday, India fared worse than its neighbours Pakistan (99th), Nepal (81st) and Bangladesh (84th) for the second successive year. In 2021, India was ranked 101st out of 116 countries on the index that calculates the hunger levels and malnutrition across the world. This year, India had the highest child wasting rate in the world of 19.3%. Child wasting rate – one of the four indicators of the index – refers to the share of children under the age

In an interview with Karan Thapar and the activist discuss the report’s findings that the Delhi police and government did precious little to stop the violence. In an interview to discuss the recently released Citizens Committee report on the 2020 Delhi riots which, sadly, has not got the attention it deserves from the media, human rights activists and the founder of Karwan-e-Mohabbat, Harsh Mander agrees the report is “a devastating critique of our country”. He says: “It’s a credible, convincing indictment of all that has gone wrong in our country. It should have led to nationwide outrage. The fact that it’s barely being discussed reflects even more deeply how far the rot has gone.” In a 30-minute interview with Karan Thapar for The Wire, Mander added: “The report underlines how dark a moment this is in India’s journey as a republic, how every institution is crumbling and with what consequences.” The interview first discusses in some detail the Citizens Committee report’s findings about the response, behaviour and alleged complicity of the Delhi Police. How they failed to act for three days even though they had received at least six internal alerts from the Special Branch. How the Committee has found a mass of information

Some Church leaders upset as all criminal cases under a scrapped provision of Information Technology Act are to be dropped Church officials in southern India have expressed concern over India’s Supreme Court asking to drop criminal cases filed under a controversial provision meant to ensure government control over social media. Human rights groups including a Catholic priest though say the move will stop the government machinery from unfairly targeting its critics and innocent citizens. The Supreme Court on Oct. 12 directed the federal and state governments to drop all cases initiated under the provision of section 66A of the Information Technology Act 2000, some seven years after it was scrapped. The provision criminalized online communication that was "grossly offensive, menacing,” or the sender knew to be false “to cause annoyance, inconvenience, danger, obstruction, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred or ill will.” A Bench led by Chief Justice of India U.U. Lalit directed “all Directors General of Police as well as Home Secretaries of the States and competent officers in Union Territories to instruct their entire police force in their respective States/Union Territories not to register any complaint of crime with respect to alleged violation of section 66A,” reported The Hindu newspaper. Father Jacob G Palakkappilly,

Shashi Tharoor is a former UN official currently in the race to become the president of the opposition Congress party The human rights of Indian Jesuit Father Stan Swamy, who died in judicial custody, were violated even though he fought for the rights of poor indigenous people, a senior opposition leader says. Shashi Tharoor, a Member of Parliament who is in the electoral race to become the next chief of the opposition Congress party, was speaking at the Father Stan Swamy Memorial Lecture on, ‘Are Human Rights Universal?’ in Mumbai city on Oct. 8. A former UN diplomat and former federal minister, Tharoor said that “the late activist priest’s death in judicial custody had brought the world’s attention to his work and commitment.” The 84-year-old Jesuit priest died as an undertrial while undergoing treatment in a Catholic-managed private hospital in Mumbai on July 5, 2021, after his arrest alleging involvement in the mob violence during the bicentenary celebrations of the Bhima-Koregaon battle victory near Pune city in western Maharashtra state on Jan. 1, 2018. Father Swamy was jailed on Oct. 9, 2020, a day after he was arrested at his home in Ranchi, the capital of Jharkhand state in eastern India. He was charged with

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