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‘Token’ arrests frustrate Indian bishop

An Indian bishop has accused police of ‘tokenism’ after swiftly releasing on bail six suspects allegedly caught on camera vandalising a cathedral in central India on March 20.

“Such kind of tokenism from police [will] not help bring in confidence among beleaguered Christians,” said Bishop Gerald Almeida.

The men were released after only an hour following the incident in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh. The cathedral had been accused by a nationalist group, Hindu Dharma Sena, of converting 200 people to Christianity, although the group denied it was responsible for the vandalism.

Meanwhile, four men have been arrested on suspicion of attacking a church in New Panvel, near Mumbai, on March 21.

These incidents follow the release of a report highlighting a dramatic increase in anti-Christian violence and harassment in the 300 days since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s BJP came to power.

Sources: NDTV, UCA News, Times of India

Colombian priest dies after mugging

A Colombian priest has died of his injuries after being shot during a mugging on March 21 in the northern city of Sincelejo.

The funeral for Fernando Meza Luna, who led the Shrine of Our Lady of Fatima church, was held yesterday (March 24) in the city’s cathedral.

“I am deeply saddened by his death, and I hope it can be a source of greater unity among priests,” said the Bishop-emeritus of Sincelejo, Orlando Corrales. “Now that we are close to Easter, I invite everyone to raise their voices, asking for respect for life.”

Colombia is No. 35 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, which ranks the countries where Christians are most under pressure for their faith. Organized crime is one of the major ways in which Christians put targeted in Colombia and Latin America in general, according to the List.

Source: Fides

Asia Bibi made honorary Paris citizen

Asia Bibi, the first Christian woman to be sentenced to death under Pakistan's blasphemy laws, has been awarded an honorary citizenship of Paris by the city's mayor, Anne Hidalgo.

The mayor's statement said receiving the award is a 'rare distinction granted to the world’s most emblematic defenders of human rights. We must support Asia Bibi, because women in all regions of the world are the first victims of an order which theocrats, who twist the messages of all religions, try to impose'.

Asia Bibi was sentenced to death in 2010 for allegedly making derogatory comments about the Prophet Mohammed during an argument with a Muslim woman.

In Nov 2014, WWM reported that the judges who heard her appeal explained they had no choice but to uphold her sentence, based on a legal technicality. The court’s now asked law-makers to remedy this by rewriting the law.

Her fate now lies with her final appeal to Pakistan’s Supreme Court.


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