20 National News

posted Apr 25, 2018, 8:22 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Apr 25, 2018, 8:22 AM ]

New Delhi
Is death penalty a deterrent for child rape?

Two days after the Centre approved an ordinance that allows courts to award the death penalty to those convicted of raping children below 12 years of age, the Delhi High Court questioned the move on April 23, and asked the Centre if any scientific assessment was conducted, or the view of victims taken before the ordinance was approved.

The HC also sought to know if authorities concerned had considered the consequences of the ordinance on victims. "Have you (Centre) conducted any scientific assessment or study before passing of your ordinance," a bench of Acting Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice C Hari Shankar said, adding, "Is the death penalty a deterrent to rape now?"

The Ordinance was approved after outrage over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua, and allegations of rape against a BJP MLA in Unnao, Uttar Pradesh.


Thousands attend Nagpur archbishop's funeral

Some 5,000 people participated in the funeral service of Archbishop Abraham Viruthakulangara of Nagpur, who died suddenly of a massive heart attack on April 19. He died in Delhi while on a visit to the capital.

The funeral service and last rites of Archbishop Abraham were held at the St Francis de Sales Church compound, Mohan Nagar, April 24 afternoon.


Church restoration projects may be shelved

The ambitious project of the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation to restore and conserve two landmark heritage structures—the Christ Church and the Catholic Church— faces the threat of being shelved, as divisions surfaced in the Christian community over the management of the exhaustive work.

The Rs 15 crore restoration and conservation project to save the Catholic Church, located near the Army Training Command, and the Christ Church on The Ridge had been proposed. The restoration work of the 200-year-old churches was part of the second phase of the Asian Development Bank (ADB) project. The Tourism Department had roped in renowned conservation architects, structural engineers, stone conservation specialists and stained glass and pipe organ conservators to restore the original structure in these churches.

"A sum of Rs 7.50 crore had been approved for the restoration of the Christ Church on The Ridge, but at the time of signing the MoU for the execution of the work, two factions of the Christian community staked a claim that the management of the church was with them," revealed an official. With the threat of one of the two factions moving court looming large, the project is likely to be shelved.


Odisha's Easter day incidents: Probe team alleges conspiracy

A civil society fact-finding team that investigated attacks on churches and a Hindu temple in Odisha on Easter Sunday found evidence of a conspiracy to divide Christian and Hindu tribal communities in the eastern Indian state.

"The attacks were planned and purposefully executed. It was well planned to create fear and tension among Christians and others," the five-member team told a press conference on April 23 in Bhubaneswar, the state capital. The team released its findings on the incidents after visiting Rajgangpur, Kutra and Kuarmunda block of Sundargarh district on April 11.

The team first visited Kuarmunda block of Salangabahal Church where they saw the broken Marian statue at the main gate of a church. The glass frame of the grotto was also broken. The statue was thrown into a river 2.5 km away. The incident occurred on April 1, Easter Sunday, and a fisherman found the statue on the river bank two days later. He informed the police, and brought the statue back.

A woman in the neighbourhood told the team that the incident took place at 11:30 pm. She heard the sound of glass breaking, but did not dare go out of her house to check.

The team then visited a Hindu temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Laxmiposh of Rajgangpur block, where the head of a bull statue was crushed the same night. The team talked to Julia Minz, the woman priest of the temple, and Naveen Minz a member of the Temple Committee that later immersed the idol in the river.