20 National News

posted Apr 19, 2018, 8:59 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 19, 2018, 9:00 AM ]

Bishops condemn increasing rape cases in India

Catholic bishops in India have expressed deep pain and anguish at the increasing incidents of crimes against women in the country.

"We condemn strongly these dastardly incidents or elements that have committed or supported such acts which have brought great shame on our nation," says a press release issued by the Catholic Bishops Conference of India (CBCI) on April 15 amid nationwide protests against the crimes. The bishops offered the Indian Church's solidarity with the victims of what he termed was horrific crime committed in the nation.

The statement signed by CBCI secretary general Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas was issued a day after a court in Lucknow sent a legislator to a seven-day judicial custody. He was arrested April 13 by the Central Bureau of Investigation for allegedly raping a 17-year-old girl in Unnao district in the northern Indian state.

"We are not a soulless nation. If we were, then the outpouring of anger as we have seen it across the nation would not have been manifest," Bishop Mascarenhas said commenting on the nationwide protests against the crimes, especially the rape and murder of Asifa, an 8-year-old girl in Jammu and Kashmir.

"Our nation has a soul, a heart and a mind. A soul to respond to these unspeakable crimes committed against women, a heart that reaches out in empathy and solidarity and a mind that does not fall for hate games played by those who wish to pollute the sacred secular fiber of the nation," he added.


All three rites come together

A Catholic parish in New Delhi created history when it brought together all three ritual Churches in the country to celebrate its annual feast. "The feast is rightly termed historical since it witnessed the active participation of the three independent Catholic Churches in India," Father Mathew Kizhakechira, parish priest of the Holy Family Syro-Malabar Church, told Matters India on April 16.

The church at Neb Sarai, a South Delhi suburb, belongs to the diocese of Faridabad. It sits close to the headquarters of the Gurgaon Syro-Malankara diocese.

The two Oriental groups along with the Latin rite make up the Catholic Church in India. Inter-rite rivalries and differences of opinion often marked their interaction with each other.

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Fire destroys Rohingya refugee camps

Rohingya refugees in the national capital lost all their possessions for the past five years on April 15 when a fire gutted 44 huts in Kalindi Kunj area of South Delhi.

Two people suffered minor burn injuries, but the shelters were reduced to ashes.

The fire which started in the early hours also consumed a makeshift mosque and a madrasa.

"The fire started at 3 am in the morning when everyone was asleep," says Shabir Alam, 37 a Rohingya. He says that the fire started near the toilets close to the makeshift mosque. "That time everyone was running to save their lives. I took my 5 children to safety and when I returned everything was on fire," he told TwoCircles.net. The shanties were made of bamboo and polythene. "It is the reason why everything caught fire so quickly. The fire brigade arrived half an hour later. By then everything was turned into ashes," he adds.

Fayaz Ahmed, 31 lost everything to the fire. He had saved 80,000 rupees in last five years after toiling hard by collecting scrap. "I have lost everything. My house, money, utensils. I don't even have clothes to wear. I had to ask NGO people to buy one shirt for me," Fayaz said.

The fire has affected 230 people, who mainly work as hawkers, laborers, rickshaw pullers.

According to Fayazul Kalam, a rickshaw puller, it will take him years to rebuild back what he has lost in the fire. "For five years, I worked day and night and built a house, bought utensils, clothes for my two kids and wife, but today I lost everything. This was my second home along with the one in Burma," he said.

Various Non-Government organizations provide food and clothes to the fire affected families. The members of Jamiat Ulema-e-Hind are also camping at the spot and surveying the families who need help. "We will make fireproof tents for them and provide them with utensils, clothes, and fans. The work will start in a day or two. As of now, we are surveying what else can be done for them," Ghayur Ahmad, Jamiat member who is accessing the situation at Kalindi Kunj, told TwoCirlces.net.


Honouring Women

Nearly 200 women participated in International Women's Day celebrations, organised by the Don Bosco Development Society (DBDS), Pune at Anna Bhau Sathe Hall, Yeshwant Nagar (Yerwada) on April 7.

The event was held under the the aegis of 'Women Empowerment Project' supported by Manos Unidas, Spain. Celebrations began with eminent guests, Dr. Asha Gurjar, retired professor and social activist, Kalpana Bagul, businesswoman, Uma Dhotre, principal- KMJGV, Pune, Mangal PSI-Vishrantwadi Police Station and Father Vincent Rasquinha, incharge - DBDS, Pune, being present at the lamp lighting ceremony.

Nagsen Chavan, coordinator – DBDS, welcomed the guests, participants and spoke about the work of DBDS in making a positive impact on the lives of slum women. Mangal then spoke about the importance of women's safety and security, and also informed about the measures taken by the police in this regard. She reiterated that police are friends of people and citizens should approach them whenever they are victims of any crime.