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Christian leaders in Madhya Pradesh are fighting a new media trend where Hindu media is publishing fabricated stories in order to tarnish the image of Christian missionaries in the country. On October 28, Bishop Chacko Thottumarickal of Indore along with a delegation of Christian leaders met with the editor of the Nai Duniya, a mass circulation daily. They asked the editor to take corrective measures after a series of articles against Christians appeared in the daily in September and October "maligning the Christian community." These articles accused Christian missionaries of engaging in conversion activities of socially poor Dalit and tribal people using foreign funds. "Initially, we did not bother, but when it continued to publish defamatory articles against us without any base, we thought it appropriate to inform the editor about our concerns," Bishop Thottumarickal UCA News. "We want the editor to take corrective measures and avoid publishing baseless articles against a community and creating ill will." "We want the editor to take corrective measures and avoid publishing baseless articles against a community and creating ill will." According to Bishop Thottumarickal, his diocese was consulting a team of experts to take legal remedies "if the paper continued spitting anti-Christian venom." Reports from UCA News said

The revelation in the investigation carried out by The Quint that the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) has sent emails in a roundabout manner requesting the users of the PMO’s official ID Sampark.gov.in for contribution to BJP funds, may seem highly unethical and violating all norms of separating government from the ruling Party, but for the BJP leadership, this sort of using official agencies for party purposes has become most natural in the last six years of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s rule. Sampark.gov.in is the official PR ID used for sending mails from the Prime Minister’s Office. It has been found that at least one lot of emails generated by the PMO's sampark.gov.in ID has allegedly been used to collect funds for the BJP. Use of government machinery to collect funds for a political party is a clear violation of the Election Commission’s Model Code of Conduct. On 21 October 2020, the Prime Minister’s Office is alleged to have sent an email blast through ‘no-reply@sampark.gov.in.’ with the subject “Rajmata was a decisive leader & skilled administrator, says PM; People in rural India get ownership rights of their homes…More in the newsletter!” When it was clicked, it was found that at the end of all

Itanagar: Hundreds of Christians belonging to various denominations in Arunachal Pradesh November 2 staged a sit-in to demand “justice for Tawang church.” The sloganeering protesters, under the aegis of the Arunachal Christian Forum (ACF), demanded that the government of the northeastern Indian state approve land allotment for construction of churches in Tawang. On October 6, Tawang Revival Church pastor Joseph Singhi was arrested for constructing “an illegal” church. The police acted on a First Information Report filed by the district land revenue and survey officer The arrest sparked widespread condemnation from the Christian community in the state. Singhi was later released on bail and the police recorded the statements of eight other members who had accompanied him. Addressing the protest November 2 rally, ACF president Toko Teki said that the Tawang church issue “is not a confrontation with Buddhist brothers and sisters of Tawang and other parts of the state.” “Arunachal Christian Forum does not believe the issue is Buddhist versus Christian as a few people are trying to paint on social media,” said Teki. “We have no intention to convert Buddhists into Christian and turn Tawang into a Christian district. We just need a place of worship in Tawang. There are Christian government employees, even health

In a heart wrenching incident in Madhya Pradesh, a young Christian woman was attacked by a group of religious fanatics who dragged her to the police station at night. Maya (name changed for security reasons), found herself trapped between a couple of policemen and a group of religious men, who were shouting threats and accusing her of forced conversions. Maya is well known by her neighbors after her prayers healed a girl from her sickness. Many even experienced breakthroughs in their lives after receiving prayers from Maya. While she prayed, she also visited people to know their conditions. During one such visit to her sister's house to get an update about the neighbor kid she was praying for, Maya was spotted by religious goons in the area. They surrounded her, accused her of forced conversions and took her to the police station. According to reports from Persecution Relief, there were no women constables in the police station. Too many fanatics and policemen were around her, accusing her of being involved in black magic and using it to convert people to Christianity. "I stood alone in the midst of these cruel people, both fanatics and police men who used foul and filthy language against me," she told

Several Bharatiya Janata Party leaders including Union ministers Amit Shah, Smriti Irani and Prakash Javadekar and other senior party functionaries have expressed their outrage at Republic TV editor Arnab Goswami’s arrest, saying the Maharashtra government has abused its power and clamped down on freedom of expression. While the leaders’ concern for media freedom is admirable, several people have pointed that BJP governments across India have targeted and arrested a number of journalists, and no Union ministers have spoken up in those cases. Here’s a list of journalists arrested just in the last few months, who haven’t got the same solidarity from the ruling party as Goswami has. The list of journalists who have FIRs against them or have been summoned by the police – but haven’t been arrested – would have been even longer. 1. Siddique Kappan Kappan, a reporter with the Malayalam news portal azhimukham.com, was arrested by the Uttar Pradesh police on October 5 while on his way to Hathras to cover the Dalit teenager’s gang-rape and murder. He has been charged under the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act for ‘conspiring’ against the state government. 2. Kishorechandra Wangkhem Manipuri journalist Wangkhem was arrested in October this year on charges of sedition for responding to a viral social media

Demolition of a two-decade-old concrete cross and construction of a makeshift temple just 200 meters away from the cross seemed like a targeted event against Christians for villagers in Madanpur, Chhattisgarh. In the hillock of Madanpur village was a popular cross that gathered villagers and people from nearby areas for prayers, especially during the Lenten season. When the cross was destroyed, the villagers at first did not know what led to the destruction. Arun Pannalal, president of Chhattisgarh Christian Forum, maintained that the land on which the cross stood was "not officially owned by the Church but the Christian villagers have used it for many years and the local villagers never objected to its use."  He told UCA News that “The sudden destruction of the cross is to target the Christians." According to Pannalal, right-wing Hindus perform acts in order to intimidate Christians in the regions. They specifically target the local tribal people and convert them to Hindu religion. "These new temples seek to establish that tribal people were Hindus and force them to convert to Hinduism. They also accuse Christians of forcefully converting tribal people," he told UCA News. A month ago, in Chhattisgarh’s Kondagaon district, 16 Christian houses were destroyed in the presence of government

Hindu activists campaign in villages of Jhabua district in India's Madhya Pradesh state on Nov. 3, asking people to support their demand to deny social benefits to tribal people who convert to Christianity. (Photo supplied)   Right-wing Hindu groups in India have stepped up a campaign seeking to strip tribal Christians of government concessions with the aim of stopping more indigenous people converting to Christianity. A group of right-wing Hindu activists marched through Jhabua town in the central state of Madhya Pradesh on Nov. 4. They shouted slogans asking the government to remove tribal people who have converted to Christianity from the list of beneficiaries. "The benefits of reservation meant for tribal people should strictly be given to only those who have not converted to any other religion," protest leader Azad Prem Singh told media. India's constitution guarantees social benefits such as reserved seats in government jobs and educational institutions along with educational fee concessions and financial support for socially poor Dalit and tribal people to help them move to the social mainstream. However, these benefits have been denied to Christians and Muslims of Dalit origin since 1950 on grounds that these religions do not practice the caste system. Tribal Christians continue to benefit from these concessions, but Hindu groups now argue that tribal people lose their

Father Stan Swamy has consistently denied any connections to Maoist rebels. (Photo: UCA News) A special court in India has further extended the judicial custody of an elderly Jesuit priest facing sedition charges.The court of th National Investigation Agency (NIA) based in Mumbai, the capital of Maharashtra state in western India, extended the judicial custody of Father Stan Swamy, an 84-year-old social activist, for another 21 days to Nov. 26 when the case will be heard again.The same court on Oct. 23 had directed the priest's personal appearance in the court. However, officials did not produce him reportedly on account of his advanced age and the Covid-19 threat.Officials of the NIA, a federal anti-terror combat unit, arrested Father Swamy on Oct. 8 from his residence on the outskirts of Ranchi, Jharkhand's capital in eastern India.He is accused of sedition and having links with an outlawed Maoist group. The following day, the priest was produced in the special court in Mumbai and was remanded in 14-day judicial custody despite his old age and various ailments.His case links him with violence in Bhima-Koregaon, a town in Maharashtra, on Jan. 1. 2018, in which one person died and several were injured. The priest's lawyers on Oct. 23 pleaded for an interim order based on his advanced age

The Jesuit priest is accused of "Maoist terrorism" because he has always defended the Dalits and tribals in Jharkhand. He is locked up in the Taloja prison (Mumbai). The ills of age (83) and Parkinson's weaken him. But his friends and cellmates take care of him. Mumbai (AsiaNews) - A prayer for his fellow prisoners: this is the request from Fr. Stan Swamy, an 83-year-old Jesuit, arrested for "Maoist terrorism", but in reality because he has been defending the life and rights of tribals in Jharkhand for years. In a letter that the priest managed to send to his friend, human rights activist Jonh Dayal, he says that his cellmates all come from "very poor families", and that they help with his daily needs. Fr Stan, in addition to the problems of age, is suffering from Parkinson's disease, which means he cannot wash or eat alone. His cellmates help him bathe, wash his linen and feed him. For the priest these are signs that "despite everything, humanity overflows in Taloja prison". Fr Stan, who was transferred from Ranchi to Mumbai, had sought release on bail for health reasons, but it was not granted. Both the Catholic church and human rights groups have petitioned on his behalf. The priest says

A Christian villager who was wounded in the attack in India's Chhattisgarh state on Nov. 25. (Photo supplied) Police are investigating a violent attack on indigenous Christian villagers in India’s Chhattisgarh state in which 15 persons were injured, four of them seriously. The seriously injured have been admitted to a government hospital and the rest were discharged after receiving first aid following the Nov. 25 attack “The Christians were attacked at 2am while they were asleep after a community function in their village of Chinghavaram, under Gadiras police station, in Sukma district,” Pastor Chinnam Wycliff Sagar told UCA News on Nov. 26. “A group of close to 50 attackers armed with iron rods and lathis [sticks] attacked them without any provocation.” Police registered a case against 16 persons and began a probe into what they believe is a case of revelry that turned violent. Christian groups, however, denied the police version and said it was a communal attack on the Christians to force them to give up their faith in Christianity. “Our people were attacked for their faith in Jesus,” said Pastor Moses Logan, president of Chhattisgarh State Christian Welfare Society. “The indigenous Christians in the state are under pressure from right-wing Hindu groups and others opposed to Christianity to

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