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11/15/2021 - The Jesuit clergyman, who died in Mumbai after nine months in detention, wrote a scathing article against the Indian government’s policy of auctioning off 41 coal mines to private interests. India’s coal is front-page news in the wake of COP26 in Glasgow. Fr Stan Swamy was a prophetic voice when he spoke about coal mines in India, an issue that is front-page news around the world. That voice was first silenced with prison, then extinguished at the age of 83 when he died last July from the consequences of his detention. One of the issues that led to Fr Swamy’s judicial persecution was his criticism of the central government’s decision to auction off coal mines violating the rights of tribal communities to whom the Indian Jesuit had dedicated his life. The issue is timely. The 2021 United Nations Climate Change Conference held in Glasgow, better known as COP26, wrapped up on Saturday with a compromise among the countries that signed the Paris Agreement. India’s demand to keep using coal was one of the main issues on the table. The new agreement is worded in such a way that it refers to phasing down coal rather than phasing it out. In India, coal has both

Father Bartholomis Minj is approaching the high court to avoid arrest for Uttar Pradesh incident A Catholic priest who tried to help two nuns illegally detained in last month’s Mau incident reported from the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is planning to approach the high court to save himself from likely arrest. “I am planning to move the state’s top court to discharge me from the case I was not involved in any way,” Norbertine Father Bartholomis Minj said, referring to the alleged violation of the anti-conversion law in Mau for which police took several Christians into custody following a complaint by a pro-Hindu group on Oct. 10. Sisters Gracy Monteiro and Roshni Minj of the Ursuline Franciscan congregation were at the local bus stop when they were accosted by Hindu activists and forcibly taken to the police station on suspicion they were part of a Protestant group suspected to be involved in religious conversion. Donate to UCA News with a small contribution of your choice Father Minj rushed to the police station after learning about the nuns' illegal detention. “When asked, I told the officers that I was principal of St. Joseph School and left the place after meeting the nuns,” he told

The child protection agency president inspected the Bishop Clemens Memorial Boarding hostel searching evidence of "conversions" by the nuns. Fr Joseph would like to see the same agency “take note of the safety and security of thousands of children living in the streets of Indian cities.” Sagar (AsiaNews) – A Catholic hostel for girls in Madhya Pradesh has been the subject of an inspection by India’s National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR). Seeking evidence of alleged conversions by the nuns who run the facility, the Commission did not hesitate from traumatising the girls with questions and searches in their rooms. The Bishop Clemens Memorial hostel, which was opened in 2014 by the Sisters of Jesus, is located in Intkheri, a village in located in the Diocese of Sagar. NCPCR president Priyank Kanoongo, who is originally from Madhya Pradesh, came to the facility Monday with a group of people and went through the hostel, which currently houses 19 students aged 14 to 17 enrolled in public schools in Raisen district. “They opened cupboards, checked private rooms as well as bags in search of evidence,” said Sister Jancy, a councillor with the Sisters of Jesus, speaking to AsiaNews. “The girls are traumatised. There is no conversion

Hindu activists have disrupted Sunday prayer services in two Indian states alleging forced religious conversions that were denied by Christians. The first incident was reported on Nov. 7 from the southern state of Karnataka, where members of the Sri Ram Sene (Ram’s army) barged into a Christian prayer hall in Maratha Colony in Belgavi (formerly Belgaum) and locked in the devotees. Police had to rush to open doors of the locked-up hall and asked those inside to go home. Sene members alleged that Pastor Lema Cherian was converting poor Hindus to Christianity by organizing prayer services. Pastor Cherian denied the allegation. “We have been organizing prayer services every Sunday and all are free to join,” he said. He said that the local police were informed about the Sunday meeting and nobody was forced to attend it. “We are free to practice any faith of our choice and it is our fundamental right. No one can infringe upon it,” the pastor added. But Assistant Commissioner of Police Ajjol Chandrappa told media that a Hindu man who attended the prayer service had filed a complaint alleging conversion. The police were verifying the facts and may register a case, he said. Sene leader Ravi Kumar Kotikar alleged that pastors from

Radicals Use Extreme Violence to Make Village “Christian-Free” 11/08/2021 – International Christian Concern (ICC) reports that a Christian community in India’s Chhattisgarh state was brutally attacked by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists over the weekend. The attack left nine Christians seriously injured, including three who are currently hospitalized in critical condition. On Saturday, November 6, a mob of 50 radical Hindu nationalists attacked 14 Christian homes in Metapal village, located in the Dantewada district. Local Christians report that the mob was led by four men named Joga, Lakhma, Magda, and Sukka. The mob went from house to house, attacking Christians to make Metapal a “Christian-free” village. Wielding fists, wooden clubs, and other objects, the extremists beat the Christians of Metapal, including women and children. The attack left nine Christians seriously injured with broken bones, dislocated joints, and head injuries. “Santu, a teenage boy, was carried by four people to the hospital like a dead body,” Pastor Susheel Kumar, a survivor of the attack, told ICC. “He suffered multiple fractures to his legs and hand.” Following the attack, Mogadi Madkami, Santu Madkami, and Hidma Podiyami were taken to Dantewada District Hospital where they remain in critical condition. Police have registered a First Information Report (FIR

11/08/2021- India. (FIACONA News Service) The Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations (FIACONA) has learned from witnesses that a group of 20 Hindu nationalists barged into Pastor Anjeet's house in the northern Indian state of Utter Pradesh on November 5th around 11 PM and started attacking his wife and children rods and whips accusing them of forcefully converting people to Christianity. The incident took place in Ambedkar Nagar about 350 Kilometers (270 Miles) east of New Delhi, near Shajahanpur in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh (UP). Victims were seriously injured. Friends and some neighbors rushed the family members to a local hospital. According to the sources, this is not the first time, Pastor Anjeet's family was attacked. The same Hindu nationalists have reportedly abused and assaulted the Pastor and his family in the past. But it was mostly threats and minor physical assaults but no serious injuries. The pastor has reported such assaults but no action was taken against the Hindu nationalist groups. Several hundred such cases of violence have been reported in the state of UP so far in 2021 alone. Out that over 80 cases have been documented. In many cases, the police have filed charges against

November 5, 2021 - In a village in Bijapur district, extremists Christians forced to perform a religious ritual in order not to lose homes and property. Local law does not consider a “return” to the “ancestral” religion as conversion, even when involving members of tribal who were never Hindus. Christians in Jaitaloor, a village in Bijapur district in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh, were forced to "return" to Hinduism. To achieve this goal, Hindu extremists shaved their heads and put coconuts in their hands as part of a Hindu religious ritual. Such acts were accompanied by the threat of seizing land, homes and properties owned by Christians and having them denied access to publicly owned forest land if they did not comply. “This is a barbaric act and an evident forced conversion," said Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), speaking to AsiaNews. This, George explained, is “A violation of the fundamental right to religious freedom and respect for the dignity of every person”. It is “also a way to publicly humiliate, mock and insult Christians, whose daily life is constantly in the crosshairs of right-wing extremist nationalist groups.” What is more, it “is not an isolated incident. Christians in Chhattisgarh live

11/04/2021- On November 2, two pastors were ruthlessly beaten by a mob of radical Hindu nationalists in India’s Chhattisgarh state. According to local reports, the radicals disrupted a prayer meeting, beat the two pastors, burned Bibles, and demanded the Christians stop holding worship services in the village. Local sources report that the attack started around 4 p.m. when a mob led by Rajnikanth Devaghan and Nilambari Sahu disrupted a prayer meeting taking place in Biler village, located in the Dhamteri District. The mob dragged Pastor Sasharath Maanikpuri and Pastor Kesar Manikpuri from the house where the prayer meeting was taking place, verbally abused them, and beat them. The mob then confiscated Bibles and other Christian texts from the pastors and the congregation and burned them in the street outside of the building where the prayer meeting was taking place. The radicals told the Christians to turn back to Hinduism and threatened that if they continued to hold worship services, they would be killed. One nationalist even told the Christians that they were not allowed to read the Bible, or any other book related to the Christian faith. Attacks on Christians and their placed of worship in India have continued to increase both in

Social media memes have captured the common mind more than the carefully clicked formal photographs showing Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi embracing Pope Francis when the two met in the Vatican for a 55-minute meeting last week. The prime minister’s office and the captive media are hoping the photographs will portray the warmth of the Catholic pontiff for the visiting Indian premier, who is projected as the “Hindu Hridaya Samrat” or “Emperor who rules the heart of [Hindu] Indians.” The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in turn hopes the half a dozen colorful pictures will help sway Christian votes in the elections early next year to the state assemblies of Goa on the west coast and Manipur in the northeastern hills. Alas, the first of the two most viral memes splices an old photograph of Adolf Hitler with Pope Pius XII with the Modi-Francis visual, while the second shows the Indian premier in the vestments and mitre of a Catholic bishop. No captions were needed. In multilingual India, civil society activists wanted them to reach out far and wide. Other than in Kerala, whose hierarchy had been in the lead in failed negotiations over six years for a papal visit to India, the meeting

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