Listen to the sigh from Kandhamal

By Abdul Nasar Maudany, 16 August, 2014, Countercurrents.org

Abdul Maudani

Abdul Nasar Maudani

When Babari Masjid was demolished several innocent Muslims were attacked, houses were destroyed, looted and burnt and women were raped. While questioning the injustice done to my Muslim brothers and sister, I responded with a statement at that time in many public places that `even if a thousand mosques are demolished, not even a fistful sand from a temple should be lifted, my children!’ But they put me behind bars with fabricated cases in jail in Coimbatore without even a trial for nine and a half years. When the judge finally concluded that I was innocent and I was released, they were not satisfied. More fabricated charges came against me and I have been spending my time in Parappana Agrahara Jail in Bangalore for the last four years and I had to pursue legal action even for my basic health care as a citizen of this country. On the 17th of August, I will be completing four years as an under trial prisoner. I am fully aware that all those love me and respect me will remember this date.

Kandhamal woman holding on to the symbols of her faith

Kandhamal woman holding on to the symbols of her faith

I am only one among those who are suffering in Indian jails as an under trial with fabricated cases. There are thousands of others who can not even express their voices. In Kandhamal over 300 churches and worship places were attacked, over 6,000 houses were destroyed, burnt and looted, over 56,000 people were displaced, over 100 people were killed and women were raped. All the victims belong to the Adivasi Christians and Dalit Christians. Those who conducted the crimes are not punished and several innocent people are being punished. Even the draconian law named Unlawful Activities Prevention Act (UAPA) which is used against me is being used against many innocent people who are involved with the human rights issues of Kandhamal. Sitting here in Bangalore, I can hear the sigh of my Adivasi Christian and Dalit Christian brothers from Kandhamal appealing for justice for the victims and survivors. On August 25, 2014, this sigh will be heard more widely all over the country with many groups giving a call for the observation of Kandhamal Day. I appeal to all my supporters, friends and brothers listen to the sigh from Kandhamal and observe the Kandhamal Day on August 25th. Together, let us pray to build a nation without communal hatred, a nation based on justice, peace and harmony.

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HUMAN RIGHTS ACTIVIST CALLS FOR ACTION, 25 AUG 2014

Orissa day
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ti4JaHO2-XY
Dhirendra Panda is one of the pioneers in contemporary human right activism in the state of Odisha. He is painstakingly putting his efforts so that the gross human rights violence’s are reduced. He has been in the forefront among the civil society actors working for peace, justice and harmony aftermath of communal violence’s in December 2007 and August 2008. He has been consistently engaging himself so that the minority communities’ rights are restored and atrocities are reduced.

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“FASCISM”: Some Characteristics!

Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ

‘Fascism’ is best described as a kind of “radical authoritarian nationalism” which saw its roots in the early 20th century of Europe. It thrives on ‘majoritarianism’, where the more powerful (either with numbers or with resources) genuinely feel that there is no place for the weaker or for the minority sections. In the wake of neo-fascist trends emerging in several parts of the world today, it is good to take a close look at some of the characteristics which are embodied in this ideology; these include:

• to create a false sense of ‘nationalism’
Fascists normally try to unite their followers by creating a feeling that they and the country are one. They use loose terms like “they are the nation”, “they are for all”, “the country comes first”. These terminologies are conveniently lapped up by their followers. Sooner or later, they create the bogey of an “outside” enemy which helps in rallying the people.

• to denigrate the minorities / weaker sections
In the context of the above, fascist ideologies subtly and openly denigrate, demonise and attack the minorities and the weaker sections of their society. These groups just do not have a place in their scheme of things. At times, they are conveniently ignored and at other times, they are made to feel as though they are a major burden in the country; they are “terrorists”, “they are out to convert you” are familiar words. The way Hitler exterminated the Jews, the Catholics, the gypsies, the nomads, the homosexuals, the writers and the poets of his times helps to illustrate this point.

• to take-over / use the media for their agenda
Among the first take-overs by the fascists is that of mass media and communication. They do so either directly or through one of their honchos from the corporate sector. Once media is in their control, it is easy to manipulate gullible citizens. The way Josef Goebbels, the propaganda minister of Hitler regime was able to use the media so effectively on behalf of the Nazi regime is today termed ‘Goebbelsian’. The fundamental axiom is “to tell a lie a thousand times and people believe it as the truth”. What fascists conveniently do is to highlight issues of others and sweep under the carpet their own; eg. a gangrape which takes place in an area which is not ruled by them is highlighted several times over by the media whereas a dozen more serious crimes in their own territory hardly find a mention.

• to intimidate and harass independent writers / poets and social media activists
Even in the most totalitarian State, there will be those who cherish freedom of speech and expression and will not hesitate in writing about the truth and what will ultimately help others; fascists cannot tolerate such people and they are systematically hounded, denounced and even put in jail.

• to take on human rights defenders and others who take a stand
Fascists brook no dissent. They are unable to deal with those who highlight their shortcomings and take a stand about it and also those who support the victims of injustice and accompany them in their struggle. So what is foisted on these groups of people are false cases, subtle leaks of “abuse” of power and money. Human Rights Defenders are always on the radar by fascist forces. Fascists are always afraid of the truth!

• to manipulate education and distort school textbooks
This is one of the easiest ways by which fascists manipulate tender minds and provide them with an ideology which is one-sided, subjective and even perverted. History becomes something to be tampered with; replete with lies and falsehood. School textbooks then seriously violate the rights of children. Fiction is highlighted as historical facts. Those who conform to the ideology are made the editors / writers of school textbooks.

• to divide and rule
This is a time-proven strategy of fascists anywhere – their ability to play one against the other; very specially from among those who seek to oppose them. Their methodology is very simple: they co-opt a few, through favours and other privileges and make these co-opted their ‘spokespersons’. This creates great confusion among the rank and file of the opposition and it also helps in quelling voices of dissent.

• to create fear and panic
Fascists are known to create fear and panic among sections of the masses. They normally start the fire but conveniently blame the other for this. Vulnerable groups (particularly the marginalized and minority communities) are really afraid to take on fascist forces because of long term repercussions to their lives, families, possessions, their work and livelihood. Panic and fear put people on the back-foot. Often key leaders or spokespersons are either killed or literally made ‘impotent’ through false cases and frivolous charges.

• to infiltrate realms of governance
Fascism is not a phenomenon that happens overnight. It begins in innocuous and subtle ways; those who follow their ideology are placed in ordinary and in key positions in the bureaucracy, in the judiciary, in the media, the police and in other significant institutions. Over the years, these officials are able to deliver; before one realizes fascists have their people running and controlling everything that matters.

• to be wedded to the corporate sector
The corporate sector which is normally market-driven and who seek their own profits are normally wedded to fascists who can take quick and hard decisions on their behalf. So if a certain environmental clearance is needed, a multi-national knows that they will easily have the clearance even if they violate standard norms or their land acquisition is faulty. Several from the corporate sector will do plenty of flag-waving for fascists who are able to deliver on their terms and conditions. Fascists have plenty of resources available to them.

• to defocus from ground reality
When the ground reality becomes too hot for them to handle, fascists normally try to defocus in a very clever way – they change not only the tune but also the song. If one group is affected, they cleverly speak about “the whole country”. If the issue is about communal violence, they use concepts like ‘development’. Simultaneously, they will also ensure that their affiliates and associated organizations propagate their agenda blatantly.

The above are just some key characteristics to enable us to understand how the fascists operate. It is important that all of us look around and in a calm and mature way, do our part to ensure that the values enshrined in democratic traditions and upheld by the fabric of pluralism, are not compromised anywhere.

30th July, 2014

(* Fr. Cedric Prakash SJ is the Director of PRASHANT, the Ahmedabad-based Jesuit Centre for Human Rights, Justice and Peace)

Address: PRASHANT, Hill Nagar, Near Kamdhenu Hall, Drive-in Road, Ahmedabad – 380052
Phone: (079) 27455913, 66522333 Fax: (079) 27489018 Email: sjprashant@gmail.com http://www.humanrightsindia.in

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Assam Don Bosco University launches three Masters programs

This banner designed by ADBU BTech students (10 ON 10 Designs) is 12.5 ft x 4 ft, and is back drop for the "Convergent Media and Technologies" classroom in Rm 401.     This banner designed by ADBU BTech students (10 ON 10 Designs) is 12.5 ft x 4 ft, and is back drop for the "Convergent Media and Technologies" classroom in Rm 401.

This banner designed by ADBU BTech students (10 ON 10 Designs) is 12.5 ft x 4 ft, and is back drop for the “Convergent Media and Technologies” classroom in Rm 401.

GUWAHATI, (C.M. Paul) — Starting its seventh academic year tomorrow, Assam Don Bosco University, the premier Catholic University in India will launch three new Masters degree programs in Philosophy, Physics, and Mass Communication, 31 July.

Additional Chief Secretary, the Principal Secretary Finance and Tourism Departments and Principal Resident Commissioner of Assam Mr H.S. Das will address the academic assembly at the university’s School of Technology and Social Sciences campus at Azara.

Parents and guardians of some of the new arrivals at the university from Assam and neighbouring states will be present at the two hour long solemn ceremony during which new faculty members and students will be introduced.

“We are offering brand new programs to reach out to a wide section of eager students of northeast India, in new areas of study like doing philosophy, doing science, and availing of the cutting edge social media through convergent media and technologies,” says Vice-Chancellor Dr Stephen Mavely stating the rationale for the new courses.

Students who scored the highest marks in every department of the Schools of Technology and Social Sciences will be felicitated with cash awards.

The university’s School of Management at Kharguli, Guwahati will hold its own inaugural function.

Some 1,200 students are expected to participate.

Masters programs launched last year included Educational Leadership, Psychological Counseling, and MTech.

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Dr John Dayal for Rajya Sabha

This piece of writing is not to cause offense to anybody, nor a panegyric for somebody.

Rights activist Dr John Dayal

Rights activist Dr John Dayal

I have used the freedom of expression to offer my views to the Indian Church.

Regardless of denominational boundaries, John Dayal is undoubtedly a household name.

Recognized as an unusual gift from God, the indelible mark he has made on Indian Christian community is conspicuous everywhere – East, West, North and South.

How often India has read him in Newspapers and watched him on television on crucial issues pertaining to the minorities!

Be it the Gujarat carnage or the pogroms against Christians in Odisha, whether it is the individual ignominy or an ecclesial scandal, be it a legal battle or an aggressive frontal assault, major Christian groups have all sought his help to defend their cause.

He is not just a “prominent member of catholic community” as the renowned Journalist Javed Naqvi described him in Deccan Chronicle recently. He is perhaps the most sought-after stalwart and champion of suffering Christians in the country today who stays bonded with all sections of the community.

Indian Christian Community is sometimes baffled to see some obscure Christians occupy prominent places in Government Agencies and Commissions. It is indeed mind-boggling why a person of the stature and calibre of John Dayal has never made into those positions.

The community has fielded him to speak for those who have no voice and to fight for those trampled and denied of their rights. But it has perhaps never thought collectively of deploying him in high places of power to be able to bolster a beleaguered community he has served with so much of zeal and enthusiasm.

Like a stigmatized Karna in Mahabharata, totally divested of his supernatural shield and weapons, he fights his battle naturally.

Admittedly, John Dayal’s contribution to the victims of persecution has been immense. Though not placed in the corridors of power, he has served the community well and produced extra-ordinarily.

It would be interesting to witness how a man like him would perform when seated in the Upper House.

Some may argue, it is impossible to think of a motion such as this, certainly not under the new government. But John Dayal is not a new kid on the wall.

The Governments which had many Christians in places of authority in the past had never thought about sharing power with him. Except for a membership in the National Integration Council with no major role to play, he seems thrashed out of the arena.

It clearly calls for freedom from sectarian agendas. Those in political parties who have cherished a long time friendship with him now have to galvanize their good wishes into serious action. There can’t be a better time for Christian friendly states and constituencies to march on magnanimously considering the candidature of John Dayal.

Federations like CBCI, NCCI, EFI and other national bodies have to form and reform ways to impact the process of the government in the next few years, if not anon.

Those who know Dr. Dayal would concur he has the will, the determination, the passion, the prowess, the skill and dexterity.

Doesn’t he deserve a rich offering from the Indian Church before he hangs his boot to retire from active service?

Respectfully submitted by,
Bishop Joab Lohara
President, Free Methodist World Council

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Asian theologian Karotemprel dies

Dr Sebastian Karotemprel, SDB

Dr Sebastian Karotemprel, SDB

SHILLONG, (C.M. Paul) — A legendary theologian in northeast India, died 20 July Sunday evening, 4.50 pm, at Woodland Hospital Shillong. Salesian Fr. (Dr) Sebastian Karotemprel succumbed to a fall he suffered three weeks ago on Sunday 29 June. He was 83 years old.

The burial is on 23rd Wednesday 2014 at 1.pm at Mary Help of Christians Cathedral Church, Laitumkhrah, Shillong presided over by his younger Brother, Bishop Emeritus Gregory Karotemprel, CMI of Rajkot.

Eucharistic celebrations are scheduled for the departed at Sacred Heart College 21st Monday – 6.00pm Mass presided over by his nephew Fr. Sebastian Karotemprel, Director of Vianny Home, Jhabua 22nd Tuesday – 5.00pm – Mass presided over by Most Rev. Thomas Menamparampil, Sdb, D.D., Archbishop Emeritus & Apostolic Administrator Jowai.

Author of several books and keynote speaker at national and international conferences, “Dr Karotemprel has left behind a legacy of theological authenticity, academic rigour and indefatigable labour,” says Salesian archbishop Dominic Jala of Shillong, after paying homage to his diseased confrere in the hospital.

Fr. George Malekal sdb, Provincial Superior of the Salesian Province of Silchar to which Fr Karotemprel belonged, says, “Fr Sebastian has left his own indelible mark on the Church and society.”

The national president of the Conference of Religious India (CRI) and the Salesian Provincial of Guwahati Fr V.M. Thomas Vattathara describes Fr Karotemprel, “a legend of our times, a loyal and committed Salesian, an erudite professor, an institution builder, and an active collaborator in the major missionary works in Northeast India.”

A member of the Salesian provinces of Guwahati and now of Shillong, Dr. Karotemprel was was closely associated with some of the major projects of the Salesians in Assam like the Don Bosco Institute Kharguli and the Assam Don Bosco University Guwahati.

Dr Sebastian Karotemprel was the first Dean of the Sacred Heart Theological College Shillong which was re-opened in 1976 and professor of Theology of Mission at the Pontifical Urban University, Rome, and served two terms as member of the International Theological Commission.

He was also member of the Theological-historical Commission for the Great Jubilee Year 2000.

In 2009, Dr Karotemprel’s former student professors at Sacred Heart Theological College published a 300-page book of essays in homage to the outstanding theologian entitled: Be my witnesses: essays in honour of Dr. Sebastian Karotemprel, SDB.”

Fr Karotemprel was also former President of Sacred Heart Theological College, Shillong where he taught for some 40 years. He was instrumental in building up the state of the art modern library at the college and was responsible for the infrastructure expansion of the college.

Besides setting up the seven storey Don Bosco anthropological museum in Mawlai Shillong show casing cultural artifacts of the seven states of northeast India, Dr Karotemprel was the founder editor of the first Indian Missiological Review which he started in 1978 and continues under the name “Mission Today”.

Retired Bishop Gregory Karotemprel of Rajkot is his younger brother and his only sister is Adoration Sister Maria Karotemprel, Provincial of SBAS, Ujjain Province.

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