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Jharkhand Church and Civil Society Leaders condemn Advertisement of Government

12th August 2017, Saturday

Press Statement

Issued by Jharkhand Solidarity Forum, Religious Organisations and Civil Society Organisations

We the members of Jharkhand Solidarity Forum, Religious Organisations, and Civil Society Organisations, protest and condemn the advertisement issued by the Information and Public Relations department of the Jharkhand government, published on 11th August 2017, on the front pages of Prabhat Khabar, Hindustan, Dainik Bhaskar and other newspapers.

This advertisement is an attempt to disrupt and damage the religious harmony and brotherhood between various communities and the Adivasi community by accusing the Christian community of conversions and using the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi, without understanding the context.

Mahatma Gandhi, the father of our nation, believed in all religions and was strictly against dividing people on the basis of religion. Using his name to divide people is an insult of the father of the nation, Mahatma Gandhi. Along with this, it is also a conspiracy by the state government to divide the people on the basis of religion. Together, we warn the state government that we will not let any such attempt by the state, to be successful.

We are against forcible conversions and we believe that the state government should not indulge in the politics of dividing people using forcible conversions as an excuse. We believe that religion is a matter of a person’s individual faith and belief and that the state should not unnecessarily intervene into that domain. Secondly, we also believe that all citizens have the right to profess, practice and propagate their religion according to their conscience as provided by the constitution.

This is a first incident of its kind where a state government is dividing people on the basis of religion especially Christians and minorities. Whereas it is the duty of the state to unite people, this government is misusing government machinery and public money to divide people. We strongly protest and condemn this step taken by the government, which is a hindrance in obtaining a peaceful and democratic society.

Released in Public Interest by Jharkhand Solidarity Forum, Religious Organisations and other Civil Society Organisations.

 

Kendriya Sarna Samiti Jamiatul Ulema e Hind Jharkhand Alternative Development Forum
All Churches Committee Jharkhand Nagrik Prayas Adivasi Mahasabha
Jharkhand Solidarity Forum Sikh Fedration Jharkhand Dahar Womens Front
Sajha Kadam Sajha Manch Youth Revolution Ulgulan
Adivasi Youth organisation Lok Seva Samiti United Mili Forum
Farmers Struggle Front Aadivasi Intellectual Forum Sarv Dharm Samanvay Parishad, Ramgarh
Association for Protection of Civil Rights and other religious and social organizations

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

 

Statement on Martial law in Mindanao (Philippines)

Coming from the Meeting of the Ecumenical Indigenous Peoples’ Network Reference Group (May 31, 2017 | Manila, Philippines)

We condemn the declaration of a state of martial law in the whole of Mindanao by the Philippine President Rodrigo Duterte’s in response to the alleged terrorist attacks by the Islamic State-linked Maute Group and Abu Sayyaf in Marawi City. Current reports show that state security forces are intensifying its military operations in the whole island of Mindanao especially in Marawi City through indiscriminate aerial bombings, ground confrontations and clearing operations.

We equally express alarm that Martial Law in Mindanao further heightens current military abuses and excesses against the Indigenous Peoples there who aredefending their lands against extractives, energy projects and plantations, and militarization of their communities.

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Open letter to The Prime Minister of India.

To

Shri Narendra Modi,
The Prime Minister of India

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings!

Though a Christian pastor, and serving the National Council of Churches in India as its General Secretary, I am writing this open letter to you as an Indian citizen, joining all Indian citizens who are concerned about the state of affairs in our country, India

You have been giving the country very impressive slogans about its future, be it “Achhe Din!” or “New India!” Harping on “Development” you have been advocating and initiating schemes such as “Make in India”, “Skill India”, “Start-up India”, “Digital India”, “Smart Cities”, etc.

The question which many would like to ask: Achhe Din for whom? New India for whom? The Preamble to the Constitution of India gives us a vision for all citizens:

We the People of India, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a Sovereign Socialist Secular Democratic Republic, and to secure to all its citizens:

JUSTICE, social, economic and political;
LIBERTY of thought, expression, belief, faith and worship;
EQUALITY of status and of opportunity;
and to promote among them all
FRATERNITY assuring the dignity of the individual and the unity and integrity of the Nation

However many people who belong to your government, party, and other likeminded bodies give us a different picture of Achhe Din and of New India where the values of Justice, Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity are stifled. “Vigilantism” has become a popular methodology of such persons and bodies.

Cow Vigilantism: Cow reverence and cow protection has become a very serious concern among such people. They claim that the cow represents their religion and culture. I appreciate the cow symbol as it represents love, compassion, service, sacrifice, and non-violent living. People, when they become politically emotional about this symbol, tend to give expression to hatred, cruelty, harm, murder, and violent life-styles. I wonder whether the cow would approve of such things done in her name. Read more

Easter Message from General Secretary of NCCI – “Who will roll away the Stone? Any Easter Hope?”

The crucifixion and burial of Jesus in the tomb was not merely an individual tragedy. It symbolized something much deeper. His death and entombment marked the end of the hope of the Jews of his time to be delivered out of the Roman bondage and of the vision of Messianic rule.

A shoot shall come out from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots. The spirit of the Lord shall rest on him, the spirit of wisdom and understanding, the spirit of counsel and might, the spirit of knowledge and the fear of the Lord. His delight shall be in the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge by what his eyes see, or decide by what his ears hear; but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth (Isa.11:1-4).

The travellers on the road to Emmaus express this utter disappointment when they lamented, “But we had hoped that he was the one to redeem Israel. Yes, and besides all this, it is now the third day since this happened.”(Lk.24:21) The tomb-stone had dashed the hopes of the people for the coming of the reign of God. Even today people in India have been waiting expectantly for “Achhe Din!” Listen to a report from Abhinav Rajput and Prawesh Lama in Hindustan Times, updated on February 6, 2017:

Rocking the youngest of his five children in his arms, street vendor Daata Ram watches his wife tend to two sick cows whose milk once supplemented their meagre income. The 66-year-old’s family of seven survives on what he now makes by selling small quantities of puffed rice in Pandra Sikanpur, a one-street, hardscrabble town of 5,000 in Uttar Pradesh. “I took a loan of Rs 30,000 to buy those cows but I think they are no good now,” says Ram, who uses a fourth of his monthly earnings of Rs5000-6000 to repay the local moneylender.

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Consultation of Church Heads – March 15, 2017 | ACTION PLAN

To

The Constituent Members
National Council of Churches in India.

 

Dear Ecumenical Leaders,

Kindly find attached a copy of the Action Plan which is the result of the Consultation of Church Heads which was held on 15th March 2017 in Delhi.

The Action  Plan addresses three major concerns : Uniform Civil Code, National Education Policy and Juvenile Justice Act. There is also a fourth section which refers to other concerns, particularly the growing control of the Government on our Medical Institutions in Vellore and Ludhiana.

I request you to kindly address the concerns in the Action Plan in whatever appropriate effective manner you deem fit.  It is high time that churches and Christian organizations start speaking up on issues that threaten the democratic, secular structure of the country. Please keep us informed on the actions taken by your Church/Christian Organization/Council in addressing the issues mentioned in the Action Plan.

Thanking you in anticipation,

Yours sincerely,

 

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad
General Secretary

 

Click on link to download Action Plan –

 Action Plan .doc  

 Action Plan  .pdf 

Spirituality behind the bar: Indonesian peasant struggle for agrarian justice

NCCI received this email letter (as reproduced below) from Rev. Josef Purnama Widyatmadja with an article on “Spirituality behind Bar” which is an interview of Rev. Sugianto, a local Pastor in Indonesia who is engaged in the defence of people whose lands have been grabbed by a big corporation.

Messages of Solidarity have been sent from around the world. Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI has also written a message of solidarity which is appended to the other messages listed below the interview.


Email from Rev. Josef Purnama Widyatmadja

QUOTE

Dear friends

Hope you are fine

By the way ,  enclosed I send you an article on ” Spirituality behind Bar “. This is an interview between Rev Sugianto and Ms. Henriette Johana Niuewenhuis , wife of Rev Karel Barus  a local pastor in Tulang Bawang Lampung South Sumatera Indonesia. I spent one week from 8 t0 13 Febuary 2017 in Lampung to visit detainees peasants and Rev. Sugianto, a local pastor who defended the  people whose their lands have been grabbed by BNIL a big corporation. I went to Lampung to be a witness and  to give my testimony in tribunal trial. I gave my testimony on  The scope of Church mission and the vocation of ordained pastor. In my testimony I confess that the mission of Christian mission is not limited within the wall of church building. Christian mission and vocation of pastors must respond to also the cry of poor . Proclaim the good news to the poor and oppressed are the obligation of christian mission throughout history. I cited also ths story of Toyohiko kagawa, Martin Luther King Jr,  Desmond Tutu, Van Lith and local pastors from Indonesia such as in Mangkid North Sulawesi, Asahan in North Sumtera and Kedungombo in Boyolali..

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Manipur Situation: Appeal letters to Prime Minister and National Commission for Minorities, India.


 

Manipur situation appeal from NCCI_Page_1

Manipur situation appeal from NCCI_Page_2

Manipur situation appeal from NCCI_Page_3


TEXT OF APPEAL LETTERS TO

  • SHRI NARENDRA MODI, PRIME MINISTER OF INDIA; and
  • SHRI NASEEM AHMAD, CHAIRPERSON, NATIONAL COMMISSION FOR MINORITIES, INDIA.

 

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Christmas message from NCCI General Secretary: “LOVE CAME DOWN AT CHRISTMAS!”

We live in a loveless world

We live in a loveless world. Our systems and structures are unjust: the caste system oppresses scheduled castes (dalits) and backward classes;  globalization favours the rich at the cost of the poor; development programmes displace the tribals and adivasis from their homelands; ceaseless wars and terrorist activities exterminate hundreds of innocent lives and render several thousand as refugees; expressions of fundamentalism suppress minorities;  the patriarchal system victimizes women and children; a competitive world frustrates several struggling  youth; our busy life leaves no time for families to care for one another ; consumerism depletes the earth’s resources and pollute nature; … indeed the list is unending.

 A lyric, entitled “A World without Love,” expresses utter disappointment with such a world:

Please lock me away, And don’t allow the day,
Here inside where I hide, With my loneliness
I don’t care what they say, I won’t stay  In a world without love

 Love given to a loveless world

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