Christians in Madhya Pradesh have recently been passing through a very difficult period. Besides the arrest and harassment of innocent Christmas Carol singing Priests and seminarians in Satna just before Christmas, fundamentalist forces had set their eyes on St. Mary’s P.G. College, Vidisha. For the past few weeks, the ABVP, the Sanathan dharma and other like minded organizations have been threatening to forcibly perform “The Aarti of Bharat Mata” in the college Premises. On 30-12-2017, a violent mob of 60-70 persons jumped over the walls despite the presence of some 20 policemen and attempted to forcibly perform ‘Bharat Mata ki Aarti’. They threatened the Director Fr. Shaiju Devassy that they would return on 4th January and perform the Aarti at all costs and that should Father refuse to do it, they would put a garland of shoes around his neck and make him perform it. Meanwhile, the SDM of the area had already denied these groups permission to perform the Aarti. Despite this order, on 4-1-2018, true to the threats, a larger and virulent mob of over 700 persons from outside the college again attempted to forcibly enter the college premises and perform the Aarti. The Staff of three institutions in the campus which provide education for over 9,500 students unanimously agreed with the Director that the action of aarti is neither needed nor permissible in the campus. Bowing to mobs would endanger the running of the institutions and was not good for our democratic way of life, they felt. The Union Home Ministry, the Madhya Pradesh State Government and the State as well as the local Police acted effectively, efficaciously and provided full protection to the College, its staff and students.
While we participate in the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity (January 18-25) and focus on the theme, “Your Right Hand, O Lord, Glorious In Power” (Ex. 15:6), reminding ourselves of God’s engagement to liberate people from the bondage of political, social and economic oppression, it is but apt that churches also observe important days in the life of our country . As citizens of India, on Republic Day, let us affirm the Nazareth Manifesto (Luke 4:18-19) of Jesus Christ, standing for justice, liberation and holistic well being of all, and as disciples of the Crucified Jesus Christ be reminded of the cost of discipleship on Martyrs Day, as we move on in the resurrection hope of a new just peaceful eco-integrated world of love!
The following appeal has been drafted for your deliberation and action.
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary, NCCI.
A Call to Churches to be Committed to a Campaign
To DEFEND Democracy
(REMEMBERING AMBEDKAR & GANDHI)
26th to 30th January, 2018
Threats looming large over the Indian Democracy have become more real today than ever before; and the country is witnessing an escalation in the violent attacks on minorities, dalits, adivasis, intellectuals, workers, writers, journalists, artists, students and community leaders who raise their voices honestly and express dissent and disagreement. Proclamations by the fascist and corporate forces to alter the Indian Constitution is part-and-parcel of a grand design to establish autocracy, especially with regard to removing “Socialism” and “Secularism” from the Preamble, and are also definitely designed to change the basic character of the Indian Constitution & Sovereignty of the State and, in turn, pave the way for establishing the ‘Hindu Rashtra’ in its place.
Israeli demolition of entire Palestinian villages continues with no end in sight.
Stories keep pouring in of Israel demolishing Palestinian villages; many of the buildings destroyed were donated by EU organizations; schools have been razed; residents are often required to pay tens of thousands of dollars for the destruction of their own homes; nearly 160,000 Bedouins live in “unrecognized” villages built before 1948 that Israel has designated “illegal” and threatens with demolition.
Here is the link to three reports, followed by videos and documentaries about previous demolitions:
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