20 National News

posted Feb 28, 2019, 10:10 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 10:10 AM ]

Bishops slam 'cowardly' bombing of Indian troops

Diplomatic ties between the nuclear-armed neighbours has hit a new low, after a suicide bomber killed 44 Indian soldiers on February 14 in Kashmir's southern Pulwama area by targeting a cavalcade. Then on Feb. 18, four soldiers, three militants and a civilian were killed in a gunfight between militants and army troops in the same state.

Bishop Ivan Pereira of Jammu-Srinagar described the two attacks as "cowardly." He called on Catholics to "pray for the departed souls and also for the return of peace in the state." His diocese covers Kashmir. He also appealed for calm and religious tolerance, amid reports that Kashmiri people in other parts of India may be at risk, as the public seeks revenge."We should stand together, and must not allow anyone to divide us on the basis of religion or creed. This is the time when we have to foil the nefarious designs of criminals," Bishop Pereira said.


January records more attacks against Christians

Attacks on Christians have been on the rise, and last year reported an average of 20 incidents a month. But this year, January alone recorded 29 incidents, 50 per cent increase more than last year's monthly average, shows the data collected by Alliance Defending Freedom-India (ADF-India), a rights group based in New Delhi.

"It is worrying to see these things still continuing even after a slew of directions to the government from the Supreme Court," to check mob attacks, said Tehmina Arora, Director of ADF-India. The rights group leader wanted "special laws" to "instill a sense of fear for law amongst those who involve themselves in mob violence." A report from ADF-India said 13 of 29 Indian states witnessed incidents of violence against Christians, with Uttar Pradesh leading with nine cases.

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Christian beheaded for refusing to renounce his faith

The body of 40-year-old Anant Ram Gand, father of four girls and a boy, was on Feb. 11 found on a road in Bhenas village of Nabarangapur district. Family members and many others believe it was an anti-Christian attack. They dismiss a police claim that he was killed by politically motivated Maoist rebels. Pastor Jani said the victim's throat was cut, and his head had been crushed by a heavy object. "He seemed to have died unmoved from the spot of attack," said the evangelical pastor, who helped the widow to bury Anant's body. He said news of the killing took more than a week to become widely known, because the area where the murder took place is extremely isolated.


Symposium on Evangelization in South Asia

A symposium on Evangelization in South Asia was held at Morning Star College, Barrackpore, Kolkata, from February 14-16, 2019. As desired by Pope Francis, the theme of the symposium was 'Baptised and Sent: The Church of Christ on Mission in the World.'

This symposium was part of a worldwide preparation of the Catholic Church to celebrate the centenary of the historic encyclical Maximum Illud of Pope Benedict XV, issued on November 30, 1919, which laid down, as we have today, the modern vision of the Church's missionary activity. To commemorate this event, Pope Francis has declared October 2019 as an "Extraordinary Missionary Month" with the aim of fostering awareness of the Church's evangelising mission in our time.


Archdiocese marks 'Kandhamal Day'

More than 1000 people including bishops, priests, religious and lay people attended the 'Kandhamal Day' celebration, reconnecting with Christian faith in Bengaluru, on Feb 22 at the Good Shepherd Auditorium. Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore and the Karnataka Region Catholic Bishops' Council jointly organised the 'Kandhamal Day' with the purpose to help clergy, religious and Catholics to listen to the testimony of Kandhamal violence survivors and re-dedicate their life to the service of humanity.