18 National News

posted Aug 29, 2018, 9:48 AM by Neil D'Souza   [ updated Aug 29, 2018, 9:48 AM ]

Ten years after Kandhamal

Bishops, priests, religious and lay faithful gathered together in large numbers on August 25, 2018, in St Joseph's School Compound, Bhubaneswar to celebrate a solemn Eucharist to commemorate the tenth anniversary of the terrible and painful tragedy which Kandhamal went through ten years ago. In the last week of August 2008, following the killing of Swami Lakshmanananda Saraswati and four of his disciples, hate-filled mobs targeted and attacked Christians. What was heartbreaking was that the massacre of the innocents continued unabated for months. The attackers snuffed out human lives, destroyed and demolished churches, homes, schools, hospitals, dispensaries, offices, and centres working for the uplift and development of the poor and marginalised people especially the tribals, dalits, OBCs and others. Women and young girls were gang-raped, and thousands had to flee to the jungles in fear and despair.


Fishermen turn heroes

Fishermen in India's Kerala state are being hailed as heroes for using their traditional wooden boats to rescue men, women and children from swirling floodwaters.

"You are like our God," a woman with folded hands told fishermen who saved her, along with another female villager and 30 youngsters trapped in a children's home in Alappuzha district, an area laced with waterways.

The fishermen, mostly Catholics and Muslims on the Arabian Sea coast, formed their own voluntary rescue service during flash flooding from Aug. 15-18.

While some people were just temporarily isolated by deluges, the lives of others were in serious peril as rising flood waters submerged homes.

A team led by Raju Thomas from Trivandrum Archdiocese, some 200 kilometres away, carried their boats on lorries to the disaster area in central Kerala.

"We could not see the children's home," he said. "We found them after we heard the children screaming."

Raju's team was one of several organised by the local archdiocese. Fishermen from coastal Cochin, Quilon and Aleppey and Trivandrum were among some 1,500 fishermen who joined rescue operations.

On many occasions, they were able to skillfully maneuver their small traditional boats into places when helicopters were unavailable or unable to reach victims because of overhanging trees.

And there was an insufficient number of naval vessels to deal with the scope of the calamity.


New Delhi
Four million Indians fear loss of citizenship, deportation

The recent updating of a list of Indian citizens in the northeastern state of Assam, known for its tea plantations, pilgrimage sites and silk bazaars, has stirred up a hornet's nest, as protestors decry the move.

Published on July 30, the second draft of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) has effectively hacked into the population and excludes four million residents.

The census was carried out by Hindu nationalists from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which governs a number of states, including Assam and New Delhi. The BJP had promised to stem the influx of illegal immigrants, swollen by members of the "Bengali" linguistic minority and Muslims from neighbouring Bangladesh.


Properties of Christian trust vandalised

Miscreants have vandalised properties of a Christian missionary at Kangeyam in the district.

Jesus Comforts You Trust, a Christian missionary trust, had bought an acre of land at Varadhappapalayam to establish an orphanage, said Freeth John Knox, a pastor associated with the Trust. "We did not set up the facility, but constructed a building to use for official purposes," he said.

"For many years, the trust had held its annual day celebration on the property. This year, the celebrations were held on August 11 and 12. On the first day, Kangeyam police personnel stopped it, and took away a music player, saying that we conducted the celebrations without getting permission from the police. They said we were playing songs exceeding the decibel limit," said M Saminathan, another pastor.