India: Catholics say BJP doctored letter to garner votes ahead of Karnataka elections

India: Catholics say BJP doctored letter to garner votes ahead of Karnataka elections
The Catholic Church in India has deplored a “fake” letter widely circulated in social and mainstream media alleging a Catholic conspiracy ahead of tomorrow’s elections in southern Karnataka state. “This is totally unacceptable. This is a blatant attempt to spread lies,” Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, secretary general of the Catholic Bishops’ . . . Read More

Report: UN weakness on religious freedom undercuts its authority on human rights

Dressed in the saffron colour, groups such these are promoting the nationalist cause for India to be a Hindu-nation. (Photo: World Watch Monitor)
The UN cannot strengthen, promote and protect human rights if it does not prioritise religious freedom, a report published by the Washington-based human rights alliance, ADF International has argued. The 73-page report, titled “Anti-Conversion Laws and the International Response”, claims that “some UN entities, especially special rapporteurs, have highlighted the . . . Read More

Court orders extra payment to Christian widows of 14 who died in India riots

Christian women who have been rendered widows in recent anti-Christian violence in Orissa sing their traditional song at a Christmas celebration in Bangalore on December 8 in Bangalore.

The Global Council of Indian Christians based in Bangalore brought two dozen Orissa riot widows to Bangalore from the refugee camps in Kandhamal for conducting medical checks on them and to draw attention to their plight. Though Orissa government has declared compensation of 200 000 rupees ($4000) for those killed, only two of the two dozen widows have got the compensation as police insist on documentary proof for the murders and even recovery of the body some of which have been thrown in rivers and
dumped in jungles.

Photo by Anto Akkara
Following a long-fought campaign, the High Court of Odisha state in eastern India has ensured the disbursal of extra compensation awarded two years ago to dependants of 14 Christians killed in the widespread anti-Christian violence that engulfed Kandhamal district in 2008. In addition, the court has forced the Odisha government . . . Read More

India: Uttarakhand becomes 7th state to pass ‘anti-conversion law’

India: Uttarakhand becomes 7th state to pass ‘anti-conversion law’
The northern state of Uttarakhand has become the seventh state in India to adopt a so-called “anti-conversion law”. State Governor Krishna Kant Paul signed the ‘Freedom of Religion Bill’ into law on 18 April, just over a month after the bill was approved by the state assembly and allowed to . . . Read More

Christian missionaries a ‘threat’ to India’s unity, says MP

Houses were vandalised during an attack on four Christian families in Katholi village, Chhattisgarh state, while members of the ruling Hindu nationalist party seek to "sow discord among religious communities". (Photo: World Watch Monitor, 2016)
Christian missionaries are a threat to India’s unity, a Hindu-nationalist parliamentarian told reporters on Saturday (21 April). “Christian missionaries control the Congress,” said Bharat Singh, an MP for the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). “Sonia Gandhi, the mother of Congress president Rahul Gandhi, works on the directions of these missionaries. . . . Read More

Ongoing religious freedom challenges in the Commonwealth

Britain’s Prime Minister Theresa May welcomed Heads of State of the Commonwealth member states at Windsor Castle, west of London, on 20 April 2018. (Photo: JACK TAYLOR/AFP/Getty Images)
A new report on religious freedom in Commonwealth member states says minorities in India, Malaysia and Nigeria have the least freedom to practise their faith. Using data from the Pew Global Religious Futures Project, the new report by the Council of Christians and Jews noted that Christianity is the largest . . . Read More