Stop new Babri movement against churches

August 31, 2014, 5:18 AM IST SA Aiyar in Swaminomics | India, Politics | TOI
When the demolition of the Babri Masjid was threatened in 1991, Parliament en acted a law prohibiting the conversion of any place of worship of one religion into that of another, the only exception being the Babri Masjid itself. Back then, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad sought to demolish 3,000 mosques, claiming these were once temples.This threatened 3,000 more clashes of the Babri Masjid variety, stoking communal carnage and destroying Indian secularism. The Masjid was ultimately demolished, but the new law helped prevent the disease spreading to other places of worship.

The problem has returned in unexpected fashion in Aligarh. It must be tackled before it can grow.
In Aligarh, several dalits were once converted to Christianity by the Seventh Day Adventists. That organization then built a church for its new converts. However, 72 of these dalit Christians have been re-converted to Hinduism by the Dharam Jagran Vibhag (DJV), an RSS branch aiming to stop conversions of Hindus to other religions, and attempt re-conversion.

The DJV organized a “shuddhikaran” (cleansing ceremony) to wash away the Christian “taint” in Aligarh. A Shiv poster was put up in the church, but later removed. The alarmed Seventh Day Adventists locked up the church.

The danger is that the DJV and re-converts will seize the church and put up a temple there. “We have found a place near the chabootra (verandah). That is where we will set up the temple. I don’t have anything to say for the church. We have done the shuddhikaran in the building, whether they want to uproot the church or raze it to the ground is their headache. We will not let another church come up because there is no Christian left,” said DJV pramukh Rajeshwar Singh, who came from Uttarakhand for the re-conversion.

Khem Chandra, a local member of the DJV, added, “We will think about the church building. It belongs to the missionaries, but the ground on which it stands belongs to Hindustan. We will not compromise on our dharti (earth). We will meet the villagers and decide about the temple (coming up).”

Now, our Constitution and laws clearly permit the conversion and re-conversion of individuals from and to any religion. The use of financial and other inducements for conversion is illegal, but voluntary conversion is permitted freely. The Seventh Day Adventists and the DJV both have a right to convert people to their respective faiths. The RSS claims that foreign Christian money is being used to “buy” converts to Christianity. This has certainly happened in some countries, leading to the derisive term “rice Christians”. But the Christians point out that overseas Hindus pour enormous sums into Indian religious organizations. Besides, Indian temples and organizations have humungous wealth. If indeed faith can be bought, Hindu organizations have a distinct financial advantage in India, and can easily outbid Christian ones.

But this is just a distraction. Financial inducements for conversions are illegal. Only voluntary conversions are legal.
What is clearly illegal, however, is the destruction of a place of worship, or its conversion into a place of worship for another sect or religion. The 72 dalits in Aligarh can follow any religion they want, but cannot claim ownership of the church, which belongs to the Seventh Day Adventists.The mere fact that the 72 dalits worshipped in that church does not make it their personal property, to be disposed of as they like. They can build a temple on any other land, close or far from the church. But they cannot claim, as DJV leader Khem Chandra has done, that the church building may belong to the Christians, but the ground underneath belongs to Hindustan.

Hindustan does not mean the exclusive land of religious Hindus. Historically, Hindustan simply meant the land of the people of the Indus valley. The Constitution is very clear that India is a land of multiple religions where persons of all faiths are equal, and none can be discriminated against.

Let us hope good sense will prevail. There has been no violence so far, and the Seventh Day Adventists clearly want to avoid any clash. But their fear is palpable, and they wonder if threats to other churches will follow.

On Independence Day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for communal peace. He should follow up by formally declaring that a place of worship cannot change hands merely because local worshippers have converted. The UP Government should re-iterate that this is what the law says.But if all major parties remain silent, it can only encourage those wishing to take the law into their hands. This tumour must be cut out before it becomes a malignant cancer.

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Scholarships to Christian Minority Students

Dear Leaders!
I am here with giving all the details of different Scholarships to Christian Minority students. Please give wide publicity and announce in the Sunday Church services so that every eligible may benefit from these schemes.

The Government of India have issued notification for Pre-Matric, Post-Matric and Merit Cum Means based Scholarships for the year 2014-15 for all minority students including Christians.

1.Pre- Matric Scholarships of GOI, all Christian Students studying in 1st class to 10th class and whose parental annual income is less than 1.00 Lakh may apply in online portal . Last date for applying online is 10-09-2014. Online applications should submitted through portal.

2.Post- Matric Scholarships, Christian Students studying courses from Inter upto Ph.D, except Professional, Technical and Self Finance Courses, and whole Parental annual income is less than 2.00 Lakhs may apply online and the last date for applying online for fresh students is 30-09-2014 for renewal last date is10-10-2014 .

3.Merit Cum Means Based Scholarships, Christian Students studying in Professional, Technical, Self Finance Courses and Management Quota Candidates are also eligible, and the annual income of the parents should be less than 2.50 Lakhs. All the desirous candidates should apply online and the last date for applying for fresh students is 30-09-2014 and for Renewal students last date is 15-11-2014 .After filling the online applications, the applicants should submit all the hard copies along with all related documents in the O/o Executive Director, Minorities of concerned district. For GOI Pre Matric Scholarship students should apply website. For GOI Post Matric and Merit Cum Means Based Scholarship students should apply website. The link for the above websites is provided in the Christian Corporation . For more information the students may contact 040-23391068, 1800-425-1068. And Mail Id

4.Central sector Scheme Scholarship” by Ministry of Human Resource New Dehi.

Eligibility: to the students who Pass with 80% in 10+2, will be given monthly Rs.1000/- for degree course & PG 2 years Rs.2000/- to the poor students.

Income Criteria:the income ceiling is Rs. 4.5 lakhs (revised to Rs. 6 lakhs) per annum. A fresh income certificate each year will not be called for provided the scholarship fulfils all other terms and conditions stipulated for the renewal. Scholarship will be paid only to those students whose parent’s/guardian’s income from all sources does not exceed Rs. 4.5 lakh (revised to Rs. 6 lakhs) per annum, for all categories under the scheme.
for more details and online application please copy & paste below given link.

5.“Maulana Azad National Scholarship Scheme.”
Objective of the scheme
To recognize, promote and assist meritorious Girl students belonging to national Minorities who can not continue their education without financial support.
Application can be downloaded from the web Photo copy of the application form can be used freely. No fee/any other amount is to be paid for application.
Application form can be sent by the student directly to the Foundation by post or delivered by hand in the office of the Foundation.
No charges/fee is to be paid to any one for any services.
Sanction letter/cheque for scholarship will sent by Regd. Post directly to the address of successful candidate on completion of prescribed papers/formalities.
For any query/information, only Secretary, MAEF should be contacted directly on the office phone no. mentioned below.
MAULANA AZAD EDUCATION FOUNDATION (Ministry of Minority Affairs, Govt. of India) Social Justice Service Centre, Chelmsford Road New Delhi–110055, Ph.: 011 – 23583788, 23583789 Fax No. 011–23561945, Web Site :

Eligibility criterion / who can apply
Only Girl Students belonging to National Minorities, (i.e. Muslims, Christians, Buddhists, Sikhs) can apply :
Should have secured not less than 55% marks (in aggregate) in the secondary school certificate examination, conducted by any recognized Centre/State Board of Secondary Education. The List of 33 recognized Boards/Councils is given in Annexure-III. This is only qualifying percentage for applying and does not guarantee grant of scholarship which is given to the top eligible applicant based on the quota fixed for the concerned state from amongst the eligible application received from the state.

Family income of the student from all sources should be less than Rs. 1,00,000/- (Rupees one lakh only) in the preceding financial year:
In case of salaried class, the student must indicate the designation, pay-scale, basic pay and other allowances along with total gross & take home emoluments of the parent/guardian. A mere statement saying “Service” will not be acceptable. The student must attach a Salary Certificate or Pension Certificate (in case of retired persons), duly authenticated by controlling authority, of her parent/guardian along with the application.

In case of agriculture/horticulture etc., the students has to mention total land holding with details of irrigated and non-irrigated and other landed property owned by her family along with total income of the family. These details will also be mentioned in the affidavit of the parent/guardian (Annexure-II) as well as in the certificate from Revenue authority.

In case of business class, the student must categorically state the name & type of the business along with the total turn over and the total income of family. The same details will also be stated in the Affidavit (Annexure-II) from her parent/guardian.
Income form all other sources must also be mentioned, specially if mother is also employed.
It must be noted that all income certificate and statements made by the students in the application is subject to further verification of Maulana Azad Education Foundation. In case of any deliberate discrepancy/concealment of facts, the MAEF may cancel/recover the scholarship granted/released as well as initiate necessary action as per law.

The income certificate/affidavit (Annexure-II) must be from the parents/guardian’s side and should have been issued from the respective home station. The income certificate issued or affidavit made from the place where the student is studying, as against the home station, will NOT be acceptable (in case of photocopy, it should be attested by Gazetted Officer or Head of Institution).

Should have Confirmed admission in class-XI. Admission Slip issued by the college/school where the student is presently studying and verification of the principal (Annexure-I), in the prescribed pro forma must be sent with the application.
The University/College/Institute offering admission should be recognized by the Government at the Central or State level or any other competent authority.

It is one time scholarship, and no claim as permanent beneficiary will be entertained. Student once selected for scholarship can not avail the same again.
A student getting a scholarship from any other source would not be eligible for the Scholarship.
The last date for receipt of application in the office of the Maulana Azad Education Foundation is 30th Septemberevery year, which must be adhered to. The application of the scholarship received after30th September, will not be entertained under any circumstances. MAEF will not be responsible for postal delay in the matter.

An amount of Rs. 12,000/- (Rupees twelve thousand only) would be given to an student in the ratio 50:50 i.e. Rs. 6000/- (Rupees Six Thousand only) for class XIth and Rs. 6000/-(Rupees Six Thousand only) class XII.
The second installment of Rs. 6000/- (Rupees Six Thousand ) for class XIIth would be released after submission of Mark sheet of XIth exam and verification certificate, both attested/verified by the Principal of the school/College where student is studying in XIIth . It should be submitted by the student directly to the office of the Foundation by 30th September of the year of passing XIth Exam. The student must secure minimum of 55% in the XIIth Exam to be eligible to received 2nd installment of Rs. 6000/-
The scholarship is given to student passing Xth exam and taking admission in XIth in the year when result of Xth exam is declared. Applications received in subsequent years will not be entertained.

Franklin Sudhaker,
General – Secretary
All India Christian Council., AP.

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Listen to the sigh from Kandhamal

By Abdul Nasar Maudany, 16 August, 2014,

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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Orissa day
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:

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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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