19 Notes & Comments

posted Mar 27, 2019, 10:10 PM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Mar 27, 2019, 10:11 PM ]

Groups unite for a clean election of Probity


Groups of Indians, including Christians, are on a campaign to popularise a "manifesto against hate" aiming to block political efforts to garner votes by dividing citizens on religious lines through hate speeches. Indians are set to elect members to their 543-seat National Parliament in a seven-phase election from April 11 to May 19.

"This election is not about a minority or majority. It is about ensuring the basic rights of every Indian, irrespective of religion," said Christian leader A.C. Michael, who has joined the campaign. "We need to ensure secular democratic rights, working beyond caste, creed and religion." Michael, a former member of the Delhi Minorities Commission, represented the United Christian Forum at a March 18 meeting of 100 civil rights leaders in New Delhi to discuss ways to popularise the manifesto against hate.

The manifesto was prepared by United Against Hate, a confederation of rights groups, formed in 2017 after a series of incidents of mob lynching and violence targeting religious minorities, tribal and Dalit people. The manifesto demands the revocation of certain laws that target and discriminate against religious minorities, such as Christians and Muslims. The new government should make a law to prevent violence targeting particular communities, it says.

Christian and Muslim leaders complain that the powers that be tacitly approve of groups targeting minorities and socially poor Dalit and tribal people. Fawaz Shaheen, a rights activist and Muslim leader, said his Quill Foundation has recorded 759 hate crimes in recent years.


Fasting and prayer to combat terrorism

Agenzia Fides

"We are called to build peace in the world and give our contribution in the fight against terrorism that leads to the death of innocent victims. We condemn any form of attack against religious minorities, those that took place in Pakistan, as well as in New Zealand that killed the lives of our Muslim brothers. We express our solidarity with the families who lost their loved ones in the Christchurch attack, where nine Pakistani citizens also died. We are close to them and pray for them. In this time of Lent, let us fast for peace, against all forms of terrorism," said Archbishop Joseph Arshad, bishop of Rawalpindi-Islamabad, during a prayer vigil for peace and to say "No" to terrorism in the cathedral of Rawalpindi, on the evening of Saturday, March 23.

Hundreds of faithful, priests and religious took part in the prayer vigil. Archbishop Joseph Arshad, who is also President of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of Pakistan, expressing firm condemnation for the attack in the country of the New Continent, remarked: "We are dismayed, and we are all called to do our part, in every nation of the world. The massacre of Muslims in New Zealand shows the growing wave of extremism and radicalization that is making headway all over the world. And it shows that terrorism has no religion or national boundaries. Terrorism profanes the name of God."