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
Holy men and seers gathered at an annual Hindu festival demand, India be declared a Hindu nation, and want death penalty for conversions.
(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.
Two arrested for vandalizing St. Sebastian statue in India. Police suspect an act of revenge for the suicide of a minor girl allegedly for refusing to convert to Christianity
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,
Intense opposition to Christianity grew in an area of northern India in the past month as a Hindu mob invited news media to record them reviling a house church gathering, and another pastor and his family were driven from their home, sources said. Intending to stir public sentiment against Christians, members of the Hindu extremist Bajrang Dal in Jammu and Kashmir state’s Kathua District brought local news reporters to record them intruding into a house church worship service in the district’s Ward No. 4 colony on Jan. 5. “Suddenly, the mob forcefully entered our church member’s house where we gathered with my family to pray together,” pastor Pawan Kumar told Morning Star News. “They started abusing us in extremely foul language. Soon the media and cameramen started recording the exchange.” “But they did not pay heed to our requests – they said that we are brainwashing the minds of Hindus to attract them to Christianity,” he said. “I told them, ‘Nowhere is it written in the Bible that we should brainwash others to attract them to Christianity. You have totally misunderstood our faith. We are asked to love everyone irrespective of their religion, caste or sect.’” The home, located in a secured, upscale neighborhood, is
(Opinion by M.G. Devasahayam - Retd Army and Indian Administrative Service Officer) A healthy nation reinforces democracy by removing bigotry, arbitrariness, injustice, hate and intolerance, which exist within the country and threaten the unity of people. The slug-fest between the Centre and States over the tableau displays during the Republic Day Parade is back again in full fury. Following the parade’s theme this year—India@75—Tamil Nadu, West Bengal and Kerala submitted their respective tableaux to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the controlling authority for the parade held on 26 January every year. The Tamil Nadu tableau proposed sketches that depict the contribution of renowned freedom fighters from the state, including VO Chidambaram, Subramania Bharathi, popularly known as Mahakavi Bharathiyar, Rani Velu Nachiyar and other women soldiers. The West Bengal tableau sought to feature Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose and his Indian National Army, whose 125th birth anniversary falls on 23 January. The tableau would have carried portraits of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda, Chittaranjan Das, Sri Aurobindo, Matangini Hazra, Birsa Munda and Nazrul Islam. Kerala’s tableau was of the social reformer Sree Narayana Guru and the Jatayu Park monument, the world’s biggest bird sculpture in a national park covering 65 acres over four
Indian nun arrested after suicide of minor girlAn old video of the deceased girl alleging a conversion attempt has complicated the case in Tamil Nadu state
A state court has ordered forensic testing of old video footage about an alleged attempt to convert a minor girl who recently committed suicide in southern India’s Tamil Nadu state. Sister Sahaya Mary, a 62-year-old member of the Franciscan Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, also known as Pondicherry Blue Sisters, has been arrested and sent to judicial custody after the death of the 17-year-old girl studying in class 12 at Sacred Heart Higher Secondary School in Michaelpatti in Thanjavur district falling under Kumbakonam Diocese. The nun was the warden of the school hostel where the girl resided and reportedly consumed poison on Jan. 9. She was rushed to a hospital but died on Jan. 19 while undergoing treatment. In her statement to police, the girl alleged that she took the extreme step after the hostel warden made her clean the rooms. Meanwhile, an older video surfaced on social media of the girl alleging that a nun, whom she does not name, had asked her parents’ permission to convert her to Christianity. A male voice in the background of the 47-second video asks her if her parents’ refusal was the reason behind her harassment by the warden and she replies: “It may be.” Though the
Dropping Mahatma Gandhi's favorite hymn is another move by Narendra Modi to bury India's past Until New Year’s Day, not many people other than Christians in India, Catholics among them, who attend the English Sunday services in their neighborhood church had known of the hymn Abide With Me. With Amazing Grace, it was a favorite of a select few, among them a man called Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi. Today, most Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Buddhists with access to English-language media would know the hymn’s title, could have read the solemn verses and even hummed the tune. Narendra Modi, India’s hyper-nationalist and arguably xenophobic prime minister, has had an inadvertently big hand in spreading the hymn among tens of millions of its new admirers. He did this by banning it from the repertoire of the massed military bands whose brass and bagpipes played the tune with stunning impact at the Beating Retreat ceremony held down the Raisina hill at Rashtrapati Bhawan, the residence of the president of India. The Retreat ends the week-long state festivities that mark the birth of the Indian republic on Jan. 26, 1950, after a bloodstained partition and independence from Britain on Aug. 15, 1947. While Pakistan was hived off as a homeland of
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 24, 2020. Washington DC. India to remain a liberal democratic state is vital for the US interests and the US-India relationship. If India slips into a religious fundamentalist state as Pakistan or Turkey has, it will have far-reaching implications for the US interests not only across the Indian Ocean Corridor but even at home. What is taking place in India this week is a clear indication yet of where that country is headed. Prime Minister Modi removed the Hymn "Abide With Me" from India's annual Republic Day Parade this week. This hymn was part of the official annual parade for the last 73 years. It was first included in 1949 by the Indian Amry played by its band. It is considered to be Mahatma Gandhi's favorite hymn. Ever since, it has been a tradition for the army band to play it every year. It is not about whether or not a tune is removed or added in a lineup this year. It should be seen from a historical perspective. Mr. Modi's Hindu nationalist party has long been arguing that, for India to be truly independent, she should shed the remnants of colonial past and all that are associated with it - including the