Independence Day 2017 – Open letter to The Prime Minister of India

To,
Shri Narendra Modi,
The Prime Minister of India.

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings!

On Good Friday 14th April 2017 (The Day commemorating the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ, instigated by the communal minded right wing religious and political leaders of the time), I had written an open letter to you expressing my concern as an Indian citizen about the state of affairs in the country. Perhaps you were too busy to respond to that letter or you thought it unnecessary to respond to an ordinary Indian citizen’s mann ki baat (which I could not transmit on national communication systems).

This time I write to you as an Indian spiritual seeker of God’s reign of justice, love and peace in our beloved country India.  As all Indians go on to celebrate Independence day on 15th August 2017, and as we keep on hearing statements which stereotype Christians as being aliens or as being people whose patriotism is questioned, I would like to draw your attention to a very strong statement (with my added emphasis) made on “Church and State in Post-War India” by the National Council of Churches in India (an ecumenical body of Indian Protestant and Orthodox Tradition churches representing around 14 million Christians today) in its Council meeting in 1944[1]:

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Consultation cum Workshop on ‘Food and Migration’

World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance

National Council of Churches in India – Unity and Mission

Student Christian Movement of India (SCMI) and

Christian Service Agency

Consultation on “Food and Migration”

 and

Workshop to Develop Worship Resources for Churches’ Week of Action on Food

The week between 10 – 17 October is  an important week for the all the Global Ecumenical Movements, Community Based Organisations (CBOs) and Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) since they collectively involve and participate in a campaign for Food-Justice. The World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Advocacy Alliance has declared this week as “Churches’ Week of Action on Food”.  It is a global campaign tool to advocate Food-justice ‘OF’ all – Food Justice ‘FOR all. This is part of the WCC -EAA’s global Campaign on ‘Food for Life’.

This is an invitation to several thousand congregations around the globe to observe this week meaningfully. Hence, this week includes the ‘International Day for Disaster Reduction’ (13 October), ‘International Day for Rural Women (15 October), World Food Day (16 October) and International Day for Eradication of Poverty (17 October). In fact the UN’s FAO Committee on Food Security meets between 11 -16 October every year in its head quarters in Rome, Italy. The WCC – EAA invites churches to observe the Sunday falling during this week  as ‘Food for Life Sunday’.

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Black Day Observance in Delhi

 

Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims observe

10th August as a BLACK DAY

In Delhi, Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims observed Black Day on August 10th 2017 at Jantar Mantar. We  expressed our dissatisfaction over the discriminatory paragraph 3 of the Presidential Order of 1950 and demanded SC status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims. It was organised by National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) Delhi Office and Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) Office for SC/BC. Around 100 members participated in the protest. We  also submitted a memorandum to the President of India, Shri Ram Nath Kovind.

Samuel Jaykumar,

Executive Secretary, NCCI

 

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Observance of “Black Day” at NCCI Campus, Nagpur

The National Council of Churches in India with the initiative of the Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns observed  ‘Black Day’ on  10th August 2017, protesting against the continual negligence of the government to the cry for the rights of Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims in the country. On this day in solidarity with the people who are oppressed, 27 members gathered together on the lawn of NCCI wearing black badges and displaying posters. A black flag was hoisted by Rev. Caesar J. David – Executive Secretary of Communications. It was not only an emblem of mourning for the injustice inflicted upon Dalit Christians and Muslims, but also an urgent appeal to the authority to repeal the unconstitutional law that violates and suppresses the rights of many citizens.

Mr. Pradip Bansrior – Executive Secretary of the Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns shared a reflection on the significance of the protest against the infamous Presidential Order that was signed on 10th August 1950 by the then President of India which said, “No person who professes a religion other than Hinduism shall be deemed to be a member of the scheduled caste,” which was later amended to include Sikhs (1956) and Buddhists (1990) in the Scheduled Caste net. But this law continues to rule out  Dalit Muslims and Dalit Christians from the Scheduled Castes List until date. Mr Pradip Bansrior also suggested how concerned people should  respond in times like this: to be critical about not only the powers that be, but also about the way one lives, being a responsible citizen and a steward of God. The observance concluded with a prayer by Ms. Ushakiran Herold, remembering the plight and affliction of the people who are oppressed, and  beseeching God to intervene and to bring justice for the oppressed.

Mathingmi Hongchui
Intern – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
National Council of Churches in India

NCCI letter to Prime Minister of India

August 3, 2017

To,

Shri Narendra Modi,
Honourable Prime Minster of India.

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings to you from the National Council of Churches in India!

Your good self and indeed all the citizens of the country are well aware of the phenomenon of minority targeted violence in the country. In the long list of such occurrences, we mention just a few recent incidents:

  • Ainul Ansari attacked in Jharkhand on suspicion that he was taking beef to an Iftaar gathering in June 2017.
  • Junaid Khan stabbed to death by a mob in a train on the eve of Id in Ballagarh in June, 2017.
  • Alimuddin Ansari lynched in Jharkhand on suspicion of carrying beef in June 2017.
  • Sultan Masih, a Christian pastor was killed in Punjab on 15th July, 2017 and the culprits have not yet been arrested.
  • In Goa, incidents of desecration of Holy Crosses and Graves are happening very frequently in places such as Curtoriam, Chandor, Gudi- Paroda and Churchorem in South Goa. The atmosphere in Goa is communalized and the Christian and Muslim communities are facing serious discrimination and threat.

We are deeply disturbed about the various expressions of vigilantism in different parts of our Country. We strongly condemn incidents of lynching and mob violence, particularly against Muslims and Dalits. In fact minority communities are experiencing horrendous forms of Symbolic, Structural and Physical violence. Such occurrences not only corrode the secular ethos of   our Country but also tarnish the name of India in the international sphere.  On the one hand while we are boasting about our technological and economic development, our record in human relational secular development is not so laudable.

What makes us feel so exasperated is that the State and Central Governments are not taking severe action against the different expressions of vigilantism. Mere words of condemnation are not enough. We are horrified that various states are bringing severe anti cow slaughter acts where as there is so much reluctance to bring in anti lynching / mob violence acts and to implement them. Unfortunately, because of the link of vigilantes with political parties and cultural originations, state mechanisms are afraid to take action against them.  Some of our national leaders keeping asserting that “law and order” is a state subject; nevertheless the Centre needs to pressurize the states to act. Since governance of the country in our times revolves around you, we strongly urge you to bring in a new act to address the present situation or execute severe action against perpetrators of violence using the existing laws.

At the same time the churches are deeply pained about the killing of 7 Amarnath Yatra Pilgims by terrorists. We urge you to provide more security to the pilgrims and bring the culprits to the law.

Therefore we call upon you to take effective positive steps for the inclusive multi-dimensional development of all the communities in our beloved country, India.

We also assure you the Christian community continues to pray for the country and to contribute to its all round development.

Yours sincerely,

SD/-

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,

General Secretary, NCCI.

Letter to Prime Minister of India | August 3, 2017 | Page 1 of 2

 

Letter to Prime Minister of India | August 3, 2017 | Page 2 of 2

 

NCCI Letter to President of India

August3, 2017

 

To,

Shri Ram Nath Kovind,
Honourable President of India.

Your Excellency,

Greetings to you from the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI)!

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) represents 14 million Protestant and Orthodox Christians in the country. On behalf of the Council, we congratulate you for being elected as the 14th President of India. We pray that the God will grant you wisdom and health to lead our great country, India.

As a guardian of the Constitution, we expect and request you to safeguard the democratic secular republic character and ethos of the Constitution of India. We are glad that you have affirmed the diversity of our country in your inaugural address. At the same time, we urge you to ensure justice to, and the dignity and development of, marginalized communities in our country. As the President of India we also are hopeful that you will ensure that constitutional rights of minority communities are upheld and protected.

May your term as President of India be blessed by God so that your office could be a blessing to all citizens of the country!

Yours sincerely,

SD/-

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary, National Council of Churches in India.

 

Letter to President of India | August 3, 2017

 

Interfaith Round Table on Disability

Interfaith Round Table on Disability

National Council of Churches in India

Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment

Interfaith Round Table on Disability

August 7 – 9, 2017, Pallottine Animation Centre, Nagpur, Maharashtra

Press Note

The NCCI – Indian Disability Ecumenical Accompaniment (IDEA) is organizing an ‘Interfaith Round Table on Disability from 7 – 9 August 2017 at Pallottine Animation Centre, Nagpur.  It is jointly organised by the World Council of Churches – Ecumenical Disability Advocates Network, Spalding Trust, World Vision India and Christian Service Agency. The theme for the Round Table is “Faith Journey Together Towards ‘Inclusive Communities’”

It is a first event of its kind. There would be around 60 participants including clerics, theologians and academicians from  major faiths including Baha’i, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Islam, Indigenous Traditions, Jainism, and Sikhism  from all over India.

This Round Table aims to…

  • invite different faith communities, to engage in conversing on ‘disability’ from their own faith and theological perspectives and experiences;
  • suggest and facilitate ‘faith-alliance building’ among the faith communities at leadership and religious adherents’ levels to serve PWDs and strengthen advocacy and policy development initiatives.

Features of this Round Table are …

  • Listening to Scriptures: “ What do our ‘Holy Books’ say about Disability?”
  • Exploring our Religious Traditions: “How do our faith traditions treat PWDs?
  • Examining whether our ‘holy shrines’ are accessible and inclusive.
  • Getting to know the policies and programmes of Governments that ensure inclusion and how faith communities could join together to make those policies accessible to the PWDs and Public.
  • Formulating Common and Collective Faith Based Action Plans.

The inauguration of the Round Table is scheduled on 7th August 2017 at 10:30 am. Honorable Prof. Dr. Siddharthavinayaka P. Kane, the Vice Chancellor of the Rashtrasant Tukadoji Maharaj Nagpur University, Nagpur, and the Most Rev. Dr. Michael G. Jackson, the Arch Bishop of Dublin, Church of Ireland, have consented to be guests of honor at this inauguration. The Rt. Rev. Dr. P. C. Singh – President of NCCI, Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad – General Secretary of NCCI, Rt. Rev. Paul Dupare –  Bishop of Nagpur Diocese, CNI,  Mr. Thomas Cherian –  World Vision of India, Ms. Rachna Singh, Member, Executive Committee – NCCI and Rev. Dr. Joshva Raja – Church of England  have also consented to jointly inaugurate the round table along with Ven. Bhante Dhammashree Sarathi, Mr. Santosh H. Chahande, Mr. Ankit Bhuptani, Janab. Ahammad Kutty, Prof. Dr. Amrit Kaur Basera , Swami  Kedar Joshi Ji and Shri. Hamant Lodha and other faith representatives.  As a mark of  celebrating  unity,  these interfaith leaders  will join the other participants in planting a tree symbolically at 10.30 am in the Pallottine Campus. The Round Table will  conclude on 9th Aug 2017.

The participants will collectively engage in ‘dialogical conversations’ through input sessions, panel discussions, talk-shows, group discussions, practical talks, story-telling and interfaith worship.

For more details please see the Concept Note (.pdf | 371 kb).

Yours,

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
President – IDEA  &
General Secretary NCCI
Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar
Director – IDEA &
Executive Secretary
NCCI – Unity & Mission
Mrs. Cynthia Shinde
Co-ordinator – IDEA
<idea@ncci1914.com>

NCCI Congratulates Church of South India for its Endeavors to Formulate Gender Justice Policy to Build Just Inclusive Communities

 

Consultative Group of Church of South India  Gender Justice  Policy

The Consultative Group for Church of South India (CSI)  Gender Justice  Policy met at CSI Centre under the leadership of Rev. Dr. D.Rathnakara Sadananda, General Secretary, CSI and Rev. Asir Ebenezer, Director, CSI-SEVA on 26th July 2017 to deliberate on the formulation of a Gender Policy for CSI.   11 core group members attended this important meeting. NCCI accompanied CSI in this process through  the representation of Ms Moumita Biswas – Executive Secretary of Women’s Concerns Ministry, being part of the Consultative Group .

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Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices” held from 4-6 July 2017 at Durgapur.

National Council of Churches in India – Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns
in partnership with EMW-Germany, Christian Service Agency and Diocese of Durgapur-CNI

Consultation on “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices”
Date:  4th  – 6th  July 2017
Venue: Diocesan Bhavan, Aldrin Path, Bidhan Nagar, Durgapur (W/B)

The Church has been in solidarity with the oppressed and the marginalized, but the time has come when solidarity in spirit alone is insufficient to resurrect failing courage, and hopelessness, in the wake of injustice and atrocities perpetrated on vulnerable sections of society, particularly on Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis, setting their life and livelihood at risk, affecting them physically, mentally and spiritually, and destroying the collective will of survival. The time has come to recognize that the engagement of the Church is the need of the hour, as it stands for values of the Reign of God and ‘just-peace’ for all. The Church has to be sensitive to the struggles of Dalits, Tribals and Adivasis and cannot remain a mute spectator to atrocities inflicted on them in terms of marginalization, loss of identity, dehumanization, trafficking and displacement caused by lop-sided development. It has to redefine the meaning of “Justice” in the context of globalization that seeks to exploit natural resources without considering its impact on the indigenous people, and ensure a life of dignity, peace and security for Dalits. It has to be inclusive, acknowledging Jesus as the dynamic ideal and model for ensuring justice.

In order to make the Church leaders of member churches and regional councils, who are involved in working with Dalits and Tribals/ Adivasis, well acquainted with the new developing forms of oppression and resistance, NCCI-Dalit and Tribal/Adivasi Concerns, in partnership with Evangelisches Missionswerk in Deutschland  (EMW, Germany), Christian Service Agency and Diocese of Durgapur – Church of North India (CNI) organized a three days consultation for Central and Northern region of India on the theme “Prophetic Role of Church Leaders in the midst of Injustices” from 4th – 6th July 2017 at Diocesan Bhavan, Aldrin Path, Bidhan Nagar, Durgapur. A total of 37 Church Leaders from member churches and regional councils of central and northern regions of India participated. The goal of the consultation was to highlight the Prophetic role of Church leadership in the context of oppression. It also endeavored to explore on how, under ever changing discriminative circumstances, the ministers of the church can render service that builds up the oppressed. The consultation started with a creative worship service led by Mr. Pradip Bansrior, Executive Secretary- Dalit and Tribal Concerns-NCCI along with a team, during which a reflection was given by Rev. Vijay Kumar, Vice- President of Diocese of Amritsar and a member of North West Frontier Council of Churches. Following the inaugural worship, Mr. Pradip Bansrior welcomed the delegates and resource persons and shared the purpose of the consultation and also extended his sincere thanks and gratitude to Rt. Rev. Dr. Probal Kanto Dutta, Bishop of Diocese of Durgapur for hosting the consultation in the Diocese of Durgapur, CNI.

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NCCI Interns’ orientation 2017

A two-day orientation programme for the interns of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) was held on 15th -16th June 2017. Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, along with the Executive Secretaries and the interns attended the programme. Six sessions were conducted all together where the Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad took up the first session. The second session was taken up by all  the Executive Secretaries together, third session by Rev. Caesar David, fourth session by Rev. Christopher Rajkumar, fifth session by Mr. Ashish Mane, Finance Officer-NCCI and Mr. Vijayan Pillai, Programme Coordinator-ESHA Inclusive, and the last session was an interactive session moderated by the General Secretary.

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