The UTKAL CHRISTIAN COUNCIL
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News from Chhattisgarh: Please find here below the People’s Manifesto on rebuilding Chhattisgarh prepared and presented by the Chhattisgarh Unity Convention of Secular – Democratic – Progressive forces.
We, the participants at the Chhattisgarh Unity Convention of Secular-Democratic- Progressive Forces held on 22nd & 23rd of January, 2015 at the Gondwana Bhawan, Raipur (Chhattisgarh) representing people’s organisations, political parties, social movements, trade unions, social and cultural action groups, NGOs and progressive intellectuals, who believe in the Vision of a Socialist-Secular-Democratic India and, in turn, work for the realization of such a Vision, reaffirm our faith in and commitment to the Constitution of India, which avowedly declares in its Preamble:
We express our deep concern that, for the first time in the electoral history of India, the religious fundamentalist forces (with a declared historical agenda for “Hindu Rashtra”) trying to gain political control over the State, thus, posing grave threats to the very core and content of the Constitution of India.
We had no doubt in our minds that the Narendra Modi-led NDA government with Bhartiya Janata Pary (BJP) in absolute majority would pursue and realize the vision of a Hindu Rashtra, as projected in the ideological documents of the Rashtriya Swamsewak Sangh (RSS), written by their founders. Historical reality has established beyond doubt that the BJP is fully under the control of the Rashtriya Swamsewak Sangh (RSS), (and its many allies and front organisations like the Vishwa Hindu Parishad, Bajrang Dal, etc.).
In this regard, the violent history of communal forces in India since Independence, more so the genocide in Gujarat under Sri Narendra Modi as its Chief Minsiter, has been revived under the autocratic control of State machinery by the BJP, as demonstrated in the subsequent events during the last 200 days of NDA Rule in India.
Presently almost all parliamentary democracy institutions and processes are being weakened through autocratic legal action, such as leading to the resignation by the Chairperson and members of the Censor Board, many journalists and media persons being sacked or shifted only because they are suspected of having left-orientation, and communalisation of education, leading to changing the vice-chancellors and heads of institutions, imposing strictures and violent attack on screening of films, etc.
We are also well aware of the hidden agenda behind the slogan of development of a New India, and “good times ahead” under the leadership of Sri Narendra Modi. It is crystal clear that the BJP-led NDA Government is pursuing the goals of globalization serving the interests of the Corporate World (domestic and multinational), by putting the vast natural and human resources of our country into their hands for profit-making. Policies of privatization and liberalization are being pursued at the cost of the vast majority of marginalized masses are who are systematically and ruthlessly pushed to the periphery. The autocratic leadership has scant regard for the human rights and democratic values enshrined in the Indian Constitution!
These are only a few indicators pointing towards the contours of the ‘Corporate- Communal-Security-State’ taking shape under the present autocratic regime. No doubt, the State Machinery is nakedly and un-ashamedly at the service of the rich and powerful, and ruthlessly and openly against the poor and marginalized.
While the national scenario is clearly moving towards the road-map of ‘Corporate- Communal-Security-State’, in Chhattisgarh, the plunder and loot by the Corporate World, and the sidelining of democratic processes have been already underway during the past tenure of the present regime. Now with the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre, the State Government is acting more bold and bloody in adopting authoritarian-rule-of-law to suppress all dissenting voices and democratic movements resisting globalization, combating communalism and defending democracy.
Therefore, the designs of the Corporate World in achieving their goals can be clearly seen on the one hand, diluting the pro-people provisions of the Land Acquisition Act and Forest Rights Act, and on the other hand, in diverting the basic purpose of the Gram Sabhas in protecting their natural and cultural resources from plunder and loot for profit, greed and endless pursuit of affluence at the cost of basic human rights of life and livelihood of the vast majority of the people, in this case the adivasis and dalits.
The Chhattisgarh situation is even more sensitive due to conflict between the Maoists and the State in a large area of the State. This has led the State to inject more stringent and draconian repressive laws (like the Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act, 2005) and machinery (heavy deployment of para-military forces in large areas inhabited with adivasis and dalits, affecting their lives, livelihood and culture, etc.) which, in turn, violates the human rights of citizens, especially in the conflict zone. This conflict-context would call for fresh reflection-action-reflection process to be initiated by the progressive parties and individuals in Chhattisgarh.
We are also conscious of the fact that other coalitions like the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) are committed to and also have been pursuing ruthlessly the goals of a Global-Corporate India, even if without the blatant aggression of the fascist forces.
We also express our concern that the primary thrust of the present regime is an aggressive onslaught on left-democratic forces, silencing the voices of dissent and constricting freedom of expression. This enables implementation of the corporate agenda with the rule of an iron hand, sidelining established institutions and discarding procedures laid down in the Constitution of India.
The political backdrop in India, more so in Chhattisgarh, has made it mandatory for the people’s organizations, social movements, progressive intellectuals, trade unions, social action groups and left parties to join forces to re-formulate strategies and agenda for future action for the realization of the VISION OF A SOCIALIST-SECULAR-DEMCORATIC INDIA.
This Convention declares on the basis of conclusions drawn through discussions that:
1. The principles of sovereignty, socialism, democracy, secularism as enshrined in the Constitution of India be widely proclaimed and strengthened;
2. Freedom of Expression to the followers of all religions, and to let them live freely without fear according to their religious beliefs;
3. Land Acquisition Ordinance 2014 be repealed, and the Land Acquisition Act 2013 be restored, with additional provisions in favour of the farmers;
4. Coal Ordinance be repealed, and following the directives given by the Hon’ble Supreme Court of India, auction of coal mines be held as per the real need and not for the benefit of the Corporate Sector; along with it the consent of the gram sabhas be made mandatory; impact on environment and forest be taken into consideration as per the provisions of the law before the allotment of mines;
5. Exploitation of natural resources and mineral wealth in favour of the industrialists be stopped forthwith;
6. Anti-labour amendments/provisions introduced in the Labour Laws benefitting the industrialists and employers be withdrawn forthwith, regularization of workers be made mandatory in public and private sector, and contract system be totally abolished;
7. Privatization of water, forest and land, privatisation of public sector, and disinvestment be stopped forthwith;
8. “Made In India” policy be introduced instead of “Make In India”, so as to increase employment opportunities, urban and rural unemployed be provided jobs on priority basis so as to increase their purchasing power;
9. Free quality education be provided from KG to Post Graduate; Health Services Rights Act be legislated, with provisions for free medical treatment for all;
10. Farmers be paid profitable price for their produce. Employment should be guaranteed throughout the year under MNREGA, with provision for, at least, 200 days in a year. Urban Employment Guarantee Scheme be also enacted on similar lines. Workers under MNREGA be paid on a regular basis;
11. MNREGA should not only be linked with agricultural/rural labourers, but also reviewed against the backdrop of agriculture and farming;
12. Those forest dwellers who are denied rights over the occupied land under the Forest Rights Act be provided with legal documents (pattas) forthwith;
13. Implementing the Food Rights Act, the public distribution system be made effective and inclusive;
14. Rising prices be controlled, and corruption be brought to an end;
15. “Religious conversion” and “ghar wapasi” should be brought under the provisions and principles enshrined in the Constitution; laws related to these be reviewed and repealed accordingly, so that religious freedom for all citizens is restored;
16. Legal action be taken against drugs, liquor and decadent culture, and social reforms movements be strengthened against such social ills;
17. Violence and atrocities against women, especially trafficking related crimes be strictly dealt with by the law enforcing machinery, and social struggles should continue against these;
18. The Governor should take appropriate legal action under the provisions of “PESA” and 5th & 6th Schedule, so that exploitation and repression in scheduled areas is stopped;
19. Repression and anti-constitutional laws must be repealed forthwith, such as AFPSA, Chhattisgarh Special Public Security Act 2005, Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, 2008, and colonial legal provisions like Sedition, etc. ;
20. In the name of combating Maoists, the deployment of para-military forces, and advocacy of direct military action by the NDA government should be opposed, and in order to establish peace in Chhattisgarh, issues such as social justice, people’s rights must be taken into consideration, so as to preserve and promote citizens constitutional rights to life and livelihood.
We are committed to internalize and implement this Manifesto and programmes into and through our organisations, and pledge ourselves to stand united and in solidarity through dialogue and struggles.
We the participants at the Chhattisgarh Unity Convention adopt it on 23.1.2015:
1. Communist Party of India; 2. Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha; 3. Akhil Bhartiy Adivasi Mahasabha; 4. Kheti-Bachao, Jeewan-Bachao Andolan; 5. People’s Union for Civil Liberties – Chhattisgarh; 6. Baiga Mahapanchayat – Chhattisgarh; 7. Chhattisgarh Mahila Jagriti Sangathan; 8. Pardhi Mahapanchayat – Chhattisgarh; 9. Chhattisgarh Bachao Andolan; 10. Chhattisgarh Mukti Morcha ( Mazdoor Karyakarta Samiti); 11. Chhattisgarh Mines Shramik Sangh; 12. Chhattisgarh Labour Institute; 13. Nadi Ghaati Morcha; 14. Chhattisgarh Christian Fellowship; 15. Akhil Bhartiy Krantikaari Kisaan Sabha; 16. Ekta Parishad- Kanker; 17.Chhattsigarh Christian Forum; 18. Bhartiy Muslim Mahila Andolan – Chhattisgarh; 19. Chhattisgarh Bal Shramik Sangathan; 20. Sabla Dal (Domestic Workers’ Union); 21. Communist Party of India (Liberation); 22. Muslim Baitulmaal Foundation; 23. All India Secular Forum – Chhattisgarh; 24. Indian Social Action Forum (INSAF); 25. Dalit Mukti Morcha; 26.All India Progressive Forum – Chhattigarh; 27. All India Peace & Solidarity Organisation –Chhattisgarh; 28. National Alliance of Women (NAWO); 29. Jan Sanskritik Manch; 30. All India Law Forum.
Presidium: 1. Chittaranjan Bakshi (94252-02641); 2. Janak Lal Thakur (94241-07557); 3. C L Patel (98266-41016); 4. Nand Kumar Kashyap (94062-13116); 5. Sudha Bhardwaj (99266-03877); 6. Lakhan Singh (77730-60946); 7. Anand Mishra ((98933-54482)):
Treasurers: Ganesh Ram Chaudhry (99932-33527); A P Josy (94255-43304)
Steering Committee: Rajendra K Sail (98268-04519); Sudha Bhardwaj (99266-03877); Alok Shukla (94076-04811;Gautam Bandopadhyay (98261-71304); Sheikh Ansar (99932-33537); Tej Ram Vidrohi (89596-66036)
Shashi Krishi Farm, Village & Post, Tumgaon, Dist. Mahasamund :Pin-code: 493445: Chhattisgarh: India. E-mail: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
“Guns of Darkness! Why would I not curse you?
You turned love-filled homes into broken debris” (Pashto Couplet from Book ‘I am Malala’)
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit” (Psalm 34:18)
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
My Dear bereaved Mothers, Sisters and Brothers in Pakistan,
We cannot wipe away your tears but we want to let you know that we weep with you and feel your pain.
We are shocked and pained to know about the murder of 132 innocent students and nine staff members who were killed on 16th December 2014 Tuesday by Taliban terrorists who entered a school in Peshawar. We are horrified to know that teachers were believed to be burnt alive while students were forced to watch as Taliban gunmen stormed the school in Pakistan. We can only imagine what trauma these innocent children might have gone through and what trauma you all and your country is going through now.
Kottayam: As part of Centenary celebration programs of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) in various regions around the country, Kerala Council of Churches (KCC) hosted a three-day long (September 26th to 28th, 2014) program in Kottayam and Tiruvalla.
The Kerala bound celebration was inaugurated by Prof P J Kuriam, the Deputy Chairman of Rajya Sabha, on the 26th of September at the CSI Retreat Centre in Kottayam. Rt Rev Thomas K Oommen, the Deputy Moderator of the Church of South India, chaired the meeting in which Rt. Rev. Taranath S. Sagar (NCCI President) delivered the Centenary Message. The former president of NCCI H.G. Geevarghese Mar Coorilos (Mumbai), Archbishop Kuriakose Mar Severius (Knanaya), H. G. Dr. Kuriakose Mar Theophilus (Jacobite), H. G. Awgin Mar Kuriakose, Mr. M. M. Philip (WCC Central Committee Member), Ms Pearly Jose (NCCI Vice President) gave their felicitations. Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad conveyed the greetings of NCCI and handed over mementos to the Church of South India and KCC. The delegation from NCCI and the Executive Committee members of KCC were present in the event. Fr. Dr. M. P. George sung the Prayer Song in Sanskrit and the choirs of Sruti, FFRRC and CSI Youth presented melodious songs. Rev. Joby Joy extended the vote of thanks.
CASA has released INR 21, 75, 500 (US$37,188) towards organizing distribution of dry ration kit and NFIs to 1170 families in Kulgam and Sri Nagar districts in Kashmir. CASA along with its local partner organizations and Mountain Forum Himalayas have been one of the first respondents to the disaster in Kashmir.
It gives me immense pleasure to introduce September issue of e-Stree. This issue of e-Stree had tried to depict a journey of All India Council for Christian Women (AICCW) and landmarks achieved by it. This issue also contains a self-development article ‘”Harness the power of words”
Please click the download link below to read the September 2014 issue of e-Stree.
(To download the .pdf to your computer, right-click on the link and select “save link as…”)
Greetings from National Council of Churches in India.
Human rights activists are campaigning to have nation-wide observation of “Kandhamal Day” to ensure justice to the victims of the sectarian violence that took place six years ago. The communal violence that started on Aug. 25, 2008 lasted for almost three months and killed hundreds of people, mostly Christians. There have been more than 3,300 complaints, but only 820 odd FIRs were registered. The rest of the complaints were not even registered. Of these complaints, only 518 cases were charge sheeted. The remaining cases were treated as false reports. And out of these 518 cases, 247 cases were disposed off.
The rest of the cases are pending before the sessions and magistrate’s courts.(source: ucanindia.in/news)
The Utkal Christian Council of the National Council of Churches in India, has proposed observing August 16, 2014 as prayer day related to the Kandhamal persecution of Christians. The Council has been closely accompanying the victims of Kandhamal in their struggle for justice. On August 16, 2014 the Utkal Christian Council is inviting all leaders of Churches and organizations to a mega prayer summit at Happy Valley Home, Badenaju, Gudayagiri – 762100 to be held from 9:00 AM to 3:00 PM along with believers in the Kandhamal area.
We have the following updates from the Salvation Army India –
The colonels took the charge of the The Salvation Army National Office on 1st of June 2014. Lieut-Colonel Daniel Raju Dasari is the new National Secretary effective from on 1st June 2014.
Lieut-Colonels Davidson Varghese and Mariamma Varghese who previously served in India National Secretariat have moved from Kolkata to Aizawl, Lieut-Colonel Davidson Varghese is the Chief Secretary and Lieut-Colonel Mariamma Varghese is the Territorial Secretary for Women’s Ministries of India Eastern Territory, Mizoram.