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The Wire News: In the 48 hours before polling ends, candidates are not allowed to put out election matter—whether through TV or theatrical performance—calculated to influence voters. Yet that is precisely what the prime minister did. A shorter version of this piece was first published on The India Cable – a premium newsletter from The Wire & Galileo Ideas – and has been republished here. To subscribe to The India Cable, click here. On the face of it, the interview Narendra Modi gave ANI, a news television channel. on the eve of the first phase of elections to the state legislature in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh is a violation of India’s election law, which prohibits the display of “election matter” in any form in the 48 hours preceding the closing of polls. “Election matter,” Section 126 (3) of the Representation of the People Act says, “means any matter intended or calculated to influence or affect the result of an election.” In the last 48 hours, candidates are simply not allowed to put out election matter, whether it is through TV or a theatrical performance. Frankly, I don’t know which of these two categories Modi’s interview falls into but the answers he

02/09/2022: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari lauched the manifesto in Dehradun city on Wednesday. In its election manifesto for Uttarakhand, the Bharatiya Janata Party on Wednesday announced that if the party came to power those found guilty of “love jihad” will be jailed for 10 years. “Love jihad” is a conspiracy theory espoused by Hindutva activists, claiming that Muslim men lure Hindu women to marry them in order to later convert them to Islam. On Tuesday, the saffron party had made a similar promise while launching its manifesto for Uttar Pradesh. Uttarakhand is one of the many BJP-ruled states that have enacted anti-conversion laws. It states that “forced or fraudulent conversions done through force or allurement” are non-bailable offences and can lead to imprisonment of up to five years. In the manifesto released by Union minister Nitin Gadkari, the BJP also promised to provide 50,000 government jobs to the youth and three free liquefied petroleum gas cylinders to the underprivileged residents of the state, according to ANI. The party also said that the pension given to senior citizens will be increased to Rs 3,600. Gadkari also said that the government will finish the ongoing Char Dham highway project by December. The project, worth Rs 12,000 crore, seeks to

(Edited for a Western Reader) A little after noon on Dec. 6, Rahul Raghuvanshi was about halfway through writing his maths exam paper in St Joseph’s School in the town of Ganj Basoda in Madhya Pradesh state’s Vidisha district. Suddenly, loud cries of “Jai Shri Ram!”, the war cry of Hindu nationalist groups, tore through the silence. There were sounds of smashing glass. Before he could react, the 17-year-old student saw a group of angry men outside his ground-floor classroom window, attacking the panes with iron rods. Shrieking in fear, Raghuvanshi and his 13 classmates jumped from their seats and were bundled out of the room by their teacher and the external examiner who had come to conduct their mid-term Class 12 exams under the Central Board of Secondary Education. They sought shelter in an empty classroom on the first floor. Their school seemed to be under siege by a mob of “400 or 500 people,” according to estimates by the principal and several teachers. The enraged crowd—largely members of the Bajrang Dal and Vishwa Hindu Parishad, the two most violent Hindu nationalist groups affiliated to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party of Prime Minister Modi —had gathered to protest the “first holy communion” ceremony

02/05/2022 INDIA (FIACONA) - According to the Express News Service, some suspected of Hindu nationalists have demolished a Christian prayer hall on 5th February in Panjimogaru town of Mangaluru in Karnataka state of India. According to Roy Castaleno, the Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the Catholic Diocese of Mangalore, the church was built over 40 years ago on a 585 sq ft land which was now managed by the St Antony Building Committee formed by local people of the area. According to the news service, Castaleno said, some men started clearing the trees on the church premises without permission. So, he called the police but the police did not respond. But on Saturday, the news report said around 11 am when all men had gone away to work, some people came with the backhoe and quickly tore down the building. The demolition was recorded by some local women on their mobile phones. A police case was filed and the Deputy Commissioner of Police KV Rajendra has sought a complete report but it is still not clear who demolished it. There has been no arrests so far.  

02/04/2021: Journalistic investigation accuses the president of the NCPCR, the Indian national body for the rights of the child: "Carry out the Hindutva agenda against Christians and Muslims". All while in India the Covid-19 pandemic has created over 147 thousand orphans. "How Hindutva has kidnapped the body for the protection of children". To launch the heavy accusation against the Hindu nationalist movements that form the political base of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, is an investigation published in these days in India by the information site Scroll.in. A phenomenon that deals with a topic that in recent months we have encountered more and more often also in our reports on AsiaNews : the direct involvement of Indian public institutions that are supposed to defend the rights of children in the "anti-conversion" campaigns of Hindu nationalists that go to hit Christian schools and hostels that welcome minors. As the Scroll.in investigation documents, the issue of conversions has recently become a real obsession for the NCPCR: other cases are remembered such as the assault on St Joseph's School by Ganj Basoda , which is located in Madhya Pradesh. in the district where Kanoongo originates. At the beginning of December the school was the victim of

The suicide of a girl in a hostel run by the Franciscans of the Immaculate Heart of Mary is being used to fuel accusations of conversion. The case is now in the hands of India’s Central Bureau of Investigation, but according to the local school board no complaints were ever filed against the nuns. Meanwhile, in another district, two nuns were attacked by Hindu radicals. For Archbishop Felix Machado, Hindu nationalists “have cleverly constructed a narrative and found ways to carry it out” against Christians. Chennai (AsiaNews) – Sr Sahaya Mary, a 62-year-old member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, will remain in prison. She was arrested in connection with the suicide on 19 January of a girl at a hostel run by the Sisters in Michaelpatti, a village in Thanjavur district (Diocese of Kumbakonam). Hindu nationalists have been exploiting the tragedy, which stems from the girl's troubled relationship with her family, in order to accuse the nuns of pressuring the girl to convert. They rely on a video that went viral in which the girl mentions being asked to convert two years ago, which she refused to do. The nun’s application for bail was turned down by the Madras

(FIACONA NEWS SERVICE) Jan 31, 2022, New Delhi: Thousands of Hindu holy men who are attending the annual 47-day religious festival called Magh Mela have demanded that the Modi government make way for declaring India officially a Hindu nation-state by removing the word "secular" from the preamble to the Constitution of India. They also have resolved that the Modi government in Delhi must pass legislation that makes religious conversion of any Hindu to another faith is an act of treason, a crime deserving capital punishment reports Times of India. The conference is held during the 47 day festival on the banks of the Ganges river. The demand of the holy men, for whom Mr. Modi and his government have a great deal of respect, and whose support they need to stay in power, comes at a time when attacks against Christians are becoming a normal occurrence every day across India. The Hindu nationalists of the BJP party accuse the Christian families and pastors of converting the local people even if they hold a private prayer meeting at a home or at a church. Such prayer meetings are branded as conversion attempts and are subject to attacks and violence. The supporters of Mr. Modi's

(CNN)On paper, the change was subtle -- the word "caste" appearing in parentheses after the term "race and ethnicity." But for many advocates and student leaders, the tweak to California State University's anti-discrimination policy that quietly went into effect on January 1 was a civil rights victory: An acknowledgment from the nation's largest, four-year public university system that the insidious form of oppression that has long haunted some on campus is, in fact, real. Caste-oppressed students, who mostly hail from South Asian immigrant and diaspora backgrounds, say that casteism tends to manifest in US colleges and universities through slurs, microaggressions and social exclusion. But because these dynamics play out within these minority communities, most other Americans have little understanding of how they operate -- leaving these students, many of whom refer to themselves as Dalits, without recourse. Click here to read the full story on CNN

The inclusion of caste in its anti-discrimination policy by the California State Universities is as a major triumph for activists. “Saale cha*** tumhari kismat bahut tez hai, tum America pahunch gaye. Translated, this means, ‘you cha*** – a slur used by ‘upper’ caste members – you’re in luck to have made it to America.’ The casual, casteist insult was one of many Neha Singh grew accustomed to on campus, as a student at California State University a decade ago, where she pursued Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees. At the time, she had no idea whom to complain to, as she wasn’t sure the American university system would understand the Indian caste system. So she held her tongue, avoided revealing she was Dalit, and dropped out of South Asian dance groups on campus after repeatedly being asked what her last name was. The many instances of casteism she recalls on campus include an Indian student talking of how Christianity was not an Indian religion, so all Indian Christians were low-caste converts. “This shocked me,” she says. She is delighted that California State University (CSU) added caste to its anti-discrimination policy earlier this month. CSU is America’s largest four-year public university, spanning 23 campuses with over 480,000 students.

Catholics in India’s southern state of Tamil Nadu breathed a sigh of relief after police arrested two suspects for vandalizing a statue of St. Sebastian three days after the incident. The incident was reported on Jan. 23 at a shrine close to Holy Trinity Cathedral Church in Ramanathapuram. “We don’t have any history of hostility with anyone and we are surprised at this development,” said assistant parish priest Father Bastin Joseph. He said the vandals had broken open the glass case and destroyed the statue. Catholics staged a peaceful protest in front of the cathedral demanding action against the culprits. “We are happy that police arrested two persons and identified two others behind this attack,” the priest said. Police said that prima facie the incident appeared to be an act of revenge in response to the suicide of a minor girl in Thanjavur district, which falls under Kumbakonam Diocese. The girl had consumed poison on Jan. 9 and died on Jan. 19 while undergoing treatment. Some Hindu groups had alleged that the girl, who stayed in a hostel managed by nuns and studied in a church school, took the extreme step after she was harassed for refusing to convert to Christianity. In her confidential statement to a magistrate,

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