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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 The ordinance now stands repealed or canceled with the passage of the bill within six months of the governor issuing it, as required under the Indian Constitution.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

The Oxfam alleged that the Income Tax survey was undertaken without giving a reason. It said that in January 2022 they had a detailed week-long audit of the FCRA accounts by the auditors appointed by the FCRA division. In a latest development in connection with the Income Tax raids which were going on for three days at multiple locations and at the offices of Centre for Policy Research, a think tank, Oxfam India, Bengaluru-based non-profit Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) in connection with the alleged tax evasion, all the firms submitted they did not do anything unlawful. Oxfam India on Friday issued a statement and said that the Income Tax department officials conducted an Income Tax 'survey' at its Delhi based office from September 7 to September 9. "During these 35 plus hours of non-stop survey, the Oxfam India team members were not allowed to leave the premises; the internet was shut down and all the mobile phones were confiscated. The Income Tax survey team took away hundreds of pages of data pertaining to finances and programmes of Oxfam India. They also took all the data by cloning the Oxfam India server and the private mobile phones of the senior leadership team

On the eve of the US hosting the first in-person Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF) Ministerial in Los Angeles, a group of more than 40 influential lawmakers on Thursday urged the Biden administration for a robust engagement with the Congress on this critical trade issue. A letter written by Chair of the House Appropriations Committee Rosa DeLauro, Senator Elizabeth Warren and Senator Bernie Sanders, along with 42 House Democrats urged the Biden administration to learn from the failures of the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP). The first in-person IPEF Ministerial in Los Angeles, beginning Thursday, is being attended by Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal among others. "We urge you to consider the lessons of past trade negotiations that too often were conducted in secret, with members of Congress, workers and their unions, environmentalists, and consumer advocates largely unable to review text and ensure their interests were addressed,” the lawmakers wrote. "…If negotiations on IPEF and APEP proceed, we urge you to ensure that any agreement benefits American workers, not corporate offshoring, and to provide Congress and the public with clearer insight into your approach to the negotiation process, including through robust consultation throughout the process and congressional approval of any binding commitments,” it said. The letter

The Union government had told the Supreme Court that the allegations in a petition calling for a probe into attacks against Christians were based on 'falsehoods' and 'self-serving reports.' New Delhi: Last week, the Union government told the Supreme Court that a public interest litigation urging action against attacks on Christian was based on “self-serving reports”. Data gathered by a non-governmental organisation based on distress calls it received on a helpline number, however, records over 300 incidents of attacks – verbal, physical and with help of law enforcement – on Christians until July this year. On August 28, three people were arrested from a small village of Harchandpur in Uttar Pradesh’s Rae Bareilly over allegations that they had attempted to forcibly converted people. On the day, the three – Ramvati, Dashrath and Raghuveer – say that activists affiliated to Hindutva organisations thronged their church, ostensibly in protest against ‘conversion attempts’ by the three. Hindutva groups had also complained to the police alleging the same. The FIR – accessed by The Wire – charges them under Section 295A (deliberate and malicious acts, intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code and Sections 3 and

Bengaluru-based trustIPSMF funds some media organisations known for investigative stories that question the governments of the day Searches at the Centre for Policy Research office in Delhi's Chanakyapuri started around noon. The Income Tax Department is conducting searches at the Delhi offices of independent think tank Centre for Policy Research and charity organisation Oxfam India; and at Bengaluru-based Independent and Public-Spirited Media Foundation (IPSMF) that partly funds a number of digital media outlets such as The Caravan, The Print and Swarajya. No response has yet been received from any of the organisations facing action. Sources in the tax department told NDTV that the "surveys" are connected to simultaneous action in Haryana, Maharashtra and Gujarat, among other places, "over funding of more than 20 registered but non-recognised political parties". News agency PTI said, citing sources, that the action is part of a probe over foreign donations. No official statement is out yet. Bengaluru-based trust IPSMF funds some organisations known for investigative stories that question the governments of the day. The most recent cover story in The Caravan — a magazine and portal backed by the Foundation — questioned a probe report that cleared PM Narendra Modi of any role in the 2002 Gujarat riots. The Supreme

States ordered to verify allegations of persecution after federal government described cases as fake Christian leaders have lauded India’s top court for directing the states to verify allegations of persecution against the community people after the federal government refuted their complaints as baseless. “We are satisfied with the Supreme Court order,” Archbishop Peter Machado of the Archdiocese of Bangalore (now Bengaluru) told UCA News on Sept. 5. Archbishop Machado, based in Bengaluru, capital of southern Karnataka state, is one of the petitioners in the public interest litigation (PIL) that sought direction to end the persecution against Christians in the country. A division bench comprising Justice D.Y. Chandrachud and Justice Hima Kohli in an interim order directed chief secretaries of eight states to verify allegations of persecution of Christians listed in the PIL. The verification, the court said, would help it know the reality after the federal government described the incidents listed in the PIL as fake cases and urged the court to dismiss the petition. The top court in its Sept. 1 order also directed the states to provide information such as preliminary police reports, status of investigation, arrests made and charges filed. The top court also directed the petitioners to provide a detailed breakdown of the

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

Around 200 attacks on Christians were reported within the first five months of this year in India, but the country’s government claimed before the Supreme Court that persecution of Christians was based on “half-baked and self-serving facts and self-serving articles and reports…based upon mere conjecture.” “There appears to be some hidden oblique agenda in filing such deceptive petitions, creating unrest throughout the country and perhaps for getting assistance from outside the country to meddle with internal affairs of our nation,” India’s federal interior ministry said in its response to a petition filed by Christian groups demanding an investigation into rising attacks on Christians and requesting police protection for places of worship, the Hindustan Times reported. Submitting the federal government’s response, India’s Solicitor General, Tushar Mehta, told Justices Dhananjaya Y. Chandrachud and A.S. Bopanna that it was only a “preliminary note.” Senior Advocate Colin Gonsalves, who said there were about 500 attacks on Christians across the country in 2021 alone, is preparing a response to the claim of the government led by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The government claimed, “In some cases, incidents of purely criminal nature and arising out of personal issues, have been categorized as violence

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