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Hindu nationalists in Chhattisgarh want those converted to Christianity removed from beneficiary list Tribal Christians in Ambikapur Diocese protest against the campaign by Hindu nationalists to remove them as beneficiaries of government welfare schemes in Chhattisgarh, India, on June 12 Tribal people including Christians in the central Indian state of Chhattisgarh are up in arms about attempts by Hindu nationalist forces to rob them of reservation benefits. Reservations form a system of affirmative action in India that provides representation in education, employment and politics for historically disadvantaged groups such as tribal people, Dalits and backward castes. Tribal people in Chhattisgarh are alarmed by Janjati Suraksha Manch (JSM) or tribal protection forum, which is affiliated with the Hindu nationalist Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), undertaking a concerted campaign to remove tribal Christians and Muslims from the list of reservation beneficiaries. Demands to delist Christians and Muslims have been raised for the past 15 years or so but Hindu nationalists started holding rallies in support of the move for the first time in May. “The demand and the public rallies in support of it are motivated by political gains,” Bishop Emmanuel Kerketta of Jashpur told UCA News on June 15. There is currently no religious bar to tribal people being

The federal government and judiciary must act immediately to check the worrying trend, says Christian rights group An interdenominational rights group in India’s national capital has demanded the federal government and judiciary intervene immediately to check the rapid rise in incidents of violence, coercion and false arrests of Christians. The New Delhi-based United Christian Forum (UCF) has cited 207 cases of persecution in 2022 to back the demand. It documented 505 cases in 2021. “This data flies in the face of statements by government functionaries and leaders of the ruling party at the center and in the states that there is no persecution and that there are only a few stray incidents by fringe elements,” said UCF national president Michael Williams in a press statement on June 13. William said it was ironic that the culprits, many of whom even film the acts of vandalism and physical violence on unarmed women and men, dare to defy the law with such impunity while the pastors and faithful gathered for prayers are arrested on false charges of religious conversion. “In all such cases, the police are either mute spectators or active participants. Despite our appeals to senior officials and administrators, the police have failed to follow protocol,

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken had highlighted 'rising attacks on people and places of worship' The Indian government has denied “ignoring or even supporting” rising attacks on minorities and their places of worship as alleged in the US State Department’s report on international religious freedom. Speaking after releasing the report on June 2, US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said: “In India, the world’s largest democracy and home to a great diversity of faiths, we have seen rising attacks on people and places of worship.” He did not specify but the 2,000-page report indicated the reference was to attacks on Christian and Muslims and their places of worship. Blinken’s comment was further reinforced by US Ambassador at Large for International Religious Freedom Rashad Hussain. “And as the secretary stated, in India some officials are ignoring or even supporting rising attacks on people and places of worship,” he said. Blinken had in April said that the US was monitoring the “rise in human rights abuses by some government, police and prison officials” in India. Arindam Bagchi, the official spokesperson of India's Ministry of External Affairs, said on June 3 that such assessments by senior US officials based on motivated inputs and biased views need to be

The report by Jasa Macher also reveals that the BJP-led union govt paid between Rs 11.63 lakh to Rs 44.98 lakh on average per lobby group working to influence US policies between 2017 and 2020 RSS-affiliated charitable groups spent about Rs 1,231.6 cr on Hindutva influence peddling in US, India: Report user It was revealed that between 2001- 2019 seven Sangh-affiliated charitable groups in the US reportedly spent at least Rs 1,231.6 crore ($158.9 million) on Hindutva programming, sending much of it to groups in India and there are are reportedly 222 shakhas of the Hindu Swayamsevak Sangh (HSS), the US wing of the militant, paramilitary Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS), across 32 states and 166 cities in the US, according to a new report ‘Hindu Nationalist Influence in the United States’. The BJP-led union government paid between Rs 11.63 lakh to Rs 44.98 lakh ($15k-$58k) on average per lobby group working to influence US policies between 2017 and 2020. The Sangh’s efforts to amplify Hindutva priorities in US domestic and foreign policy were led by groups such as the Hindu American Foundation and Foundation for India and Indian Diaspora Studies (FIIDS); campaign financing through the Hindu American Political Action Committee (HAPAC). The report by Jasa

Man alleges forced conversion in Madikeri, Christian couple from Kerala booked Accused have been booked under IPC section 295 (A), remanded to judicial custody Police official said they have not received circular on Anti-Conversion Law On May 17, an ordinance on the Karnataka Protection of Right to Freedom of Religion Bill (2021) or commonly known as Anti-Conversion Law came into effect, on the same day, a Christian couple was arrested by the Madikeri district police over allegations of forced religious conversion. Based on the complaint filed by a man, an FIR was lodged under IPC section 295 (A). The accused were produced before the court and sent to judicial custody. On Tuesday afternoon, chaos prevailed at Manchalli village of Madikeri district as members of the Bajrang Dal barged into a house belonging to a man named Paniyeravar A Mutha and questioned the motive of a Christian couple, who were inside the house. After arguments between the Christian couple and the right-wing group members, the couple was handed over to the Kutta police. Speaking on the issue, local Bajrang Dal leader Sajjan Ganapati told News9 that, he along with other members went to the spot after they received the information about forced religious

Karnataka state plans to bring in an ordinance after failing to steer an earlier bill outlawing religious conversions The Catholic Church in the southern Indian state of Karnataka has criticized the government for its attempts to keep the pot boiling on the contentious issue of religious conversions. The May 12 announcement by Law Minister J.C. Madhuswamy of the state government’s plan to usher in an emergency law to counter religious conversions and interfaith marriages by issuing an ordinance has alarmed Christians. The state's legislative assembly passed an anti-conversion bill — Karnataka Right to Freedom of Religion Bill 2021 — last December but failed to present it in the upper house or legislative council for final sanction, perhaps because the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is one seat short of a majority there. An ordinance comes into effect with the signature and seal of the state's governor but has to be ratified by the elected legislative house within six months. “The pro-Hindu BJP wants to keep alive the bogey of conversions ahead of the crucial elections,” said J.A. Kanthraj, public relations officer of Bangalore Archdiocese, while referring to the local polls to be held in a couple of months followed by provincial assembly elections next year

CBI officials visited around 40 locations including in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Mysuru and some places in Rajasthan. Fourteen officials were apprehended. New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Tuesday, May 10, conducted operations at 40 locations and apprehended around 14 people including home ministry officials, NGO representatives and middlemen for allegedly facilitating the clearance of foreign donations in violation of the Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act, 2010. An FCRA registration or licence is mandatory for any association and NGO to receive foreign funding. In recent times, the non-renewal and cancellation of such licences by the government has made news as various NGOs and bodies have had their operations suspended as a result. “The operation was launched after a complaint from the Union home ministry to the CBI in this regards,” a home ministry spokesperson was quoted by news agency PTI as having said. The coordinated operation took place at around 40 locations including in Delhi, Chennai, Hyderabad, Coimbatore, Mysuru and some places in Rajasthan. “Around half a dozen public servants and others are being questioned,” Indian Express quoted a CBI officer as having said. PTI reported the number as 14. Express also reported sources as having told the outlet that the agency is “likely to

A Timely Warning by Over 100 Very Senior Ex-Bureaucrats On 26 April over 100 former senior civil servants of India belonging to the Constitutional Conduct Group sent a letter to the Prime Minister drawing attention to the shocking increase in communal violence and government response to this. What is stated in this letter is so important that this should be taken to be a very timely warning to protect the country and its constitution by deeply concerned, extremely sincere and highly well-informed persons. While all the nearly 108 signatories earlier held very senior positions in the government, what further increases the importance of this letter is that the signatories include those officials (retired) who held very senior positions in the security establishment. The signatories include, for example, such names as Shivshankar Menon, former National Security Adviser; G.K.Pillai, former Home Secretary, Government of India and Shyam Saran, former Chairman, National Security Advisory Board. When some important events take place, we need very senior and experienced persons with inside knowledge of systems to provide us a proper understanding of these events and what is unfolding. In the present context we could not have asked for a more experienced and better qualified group than this Constitutional

While it awaits the school’s response, the government has directed all state block educational officers to monitor schools for religious teachings and issue notices The state government has issued a notice to Clarence High School in Richards Town in East Bengaluru to explain its decision to mandate teaching of the Bible. Considering complaints from parents and media reports, the Department of Primary and Secondary Education issued a notice to the school on Tuesday, with Primary and Secondary Education Minister B C Nagesh confirming that the government will take confirming that the government will take action after the school’s response. The minister told a press conference on Tuesday that the school’s action is a violation of the Karnataka Education Act. “While issuing a No Objection Certificate to other board schools, we insist that they stick to the provisions of the act,” he said. Although minority educational institutions may get administrative relaxations, they are not allowed to teach religious books. “There will be no special provisions in the curriculum to teach or preach religious books in schools. All these were mentioned while issuing the No Objection Certificate,” Nagesh added. While it awaits the school’s response, the department has directed all state block educational officers to monitor schools

Hindi as the national language suits the BJP's wider agenda of establishing a nation of and for Hindus A strong push for a Hindi-speaking, Hindu India Home Minister Amit Shah gestures during an election rally in Uttar Pradesh on Feb. 3. Federal Home Minister Amit Shah, a trusted aide of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, has come all out in support of Hindi as the official language of communication across a multilingual India. Hindi is the mother tongue of around 40 percent of Indians in the northern belt while the rest of its citizens speak over 120 other languages, with English serving as the crucial bridge. Shah made it clear that Hindi should become an “alternative to English” and not the other Indian languages. He wants non-Hindi speakers to start using Hindi while communicating with each other. He also suggested making Hindi flexible by accepting words from other Indian languages to help propagate it. Leaders from Hindi-speaking northern India have been pushing to make Hindi the national language for a long time, hoping to further endear themselves to their voters. But Shah’s remarks at a recent meeting of the parliamentary official language committee are a bit baffling. There is perhaps a communal angle here. The Bharatiya Janata

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