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Maharashtra Manthan 2018: Strengthening secularism

Report of Maharashtra Manthan 2018-19: Strengthening Secularism
NCCI , EFI, UM | 30th April – 2nd May 2018 | M.L.A. Hostel, Nagpur.

“Maharashtra Manthan : Strengthening Secularism”, a 3 days seminar organized by National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) and United Maharashtra (UM), was held at MLA Hostel, Nagpur from April 30 to May 2, 2018. More than 75 people which included youth and female participants from different cities of Maharashtra state participated in this seminar. There were 8 women participants and about 25 young people.

30th April 2018 (Day 1)

Maharashtra Manthan started at 12:45 pm with an opening prayer by Pastor Amit Manwatkar. The Coordinator of the Maharashtra Manthan was Rev. Devashish Dubey who introduced the concept of Maharashtra Manthan to the participants. He emphasized that the main objective of Maharashtra Manthan 2018 is to bring awareness about the contemporary contextual situation in the country among the participants and to guide the community and society in building new, sensitized and responsible leadership through the training.  Mr. Pradip Bansrior (NCCI Representative) presented the guidelines for the two and half day’s seminar to all participants.

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Prof. Dr. Z. C. Devadanam passes away.

Prof. Dr. Z. C. Devadanam who served as Treasurer of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) from 2004 to 2008, passed away on May 10, 2018.

He belonged to Samavesam of Telugu Baptist Churches, and served as Chairperson of the General Body of the Stanton Memorial Telugu Baptist Church. Dr. Devadanam was professor of Economics. He was passionate about Church work, and participated in many programs especially for the upliftment of the underprivileged. He was prominently present in efforts that sought justice for Dalits and Tribals.

The funeral is scheduled for May 12, 2018 at 2:00 pm in Kurnool. He is survived by his son, two daughters and five grand-children. We thank God for Dr. Devadanam’s life and many contributions, and we pray for God’s peace to be with the family. May his life continue to be an inspiration for faithful Christian witness and service.

NCCI NEWS

Tamil Christians protest against violence, harassment

Police are allegedly ignoring attacks on Christians committed by hard-line Hindu groups in southern India.

Christians protest in Coimbatore on April 17 as part of a state-wide protest demanding government action to end violence against Christians in Tamil Nadu. (Pic and article source: UCAN India)

Hyderabad

Thousands of Christians took to the streets during protests across the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu on April 17 to demand government action to stop what they call increasing harassment and violence against Christians.

Some 20,000 Christians from various denominations filled roads in at least 16 cities and towns shouting slogans against government inaction to check anti-Christian activities allegedly carried out by upper-caste Hindu groups.

The Synod of Pentecostal Churches in Tamil Nadu organized the protest as Christians have been subjected to at least 15 cases of violence in the first three months of this year.
Incidents include the mysterious death of a pastor who was found dead a week after he complained to police about harassment from hard-line Hindus.

“We are facing lot of persecution in our state,” synod general secretary K.B. Edison told ucanews.com.
“The peaceful protest was to get the attention of the state and federal government about the serious need for security and protection of the Christian minority.
“In the past four years we have faced many challenges. Our churches are being attacked, they are being burned, pastors’ lives are under threat. We are not able to bear these atrocities. They are even burning Bibles.

“We have approached the state government several times but disappointingly no action has been taken.”
Nehemiah Christie, the synod’s director of legislation and regulations, told ucanews.com that both Protestant and Catholic denominations joined the protest.

He said administrative bodies — including the police — have been apathetic to act against violence committed by Hindu groups because of the strong religious and caste biases in the state.
Catholic Father Gregory Rajan of the Infant Jesus Cathedral of Salem supported the protest. “Hindu extremist forces are behind the attacks,” said Father Rajan.

The priest said a lack of strong political leadership in the state remains a major issue. Tamil Nadu is not ruled by the pro-Hindu Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). But the local political party — named All India Anna Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam — which runs the government “is depending on the BJP for policy and advice on the affairs of the state. Naturally, the local Hindu forces feel emboldened to attack Christians,” he said.

Published data shows violence against Christians has increased across India since the BJP came to power in New Delhi in 2014 in a landslide victory. Hindu groups took the BJP’s victory as a mandate to step up violence against religious minorities in their push to establish a nation ruled by a Hindu upper-caste hegemony. Attacks have been increasing in India, said Persecution Relief, an ecumenical forum that records Christian persecution in India. There were 736 reported attacks against Christians in 2017, up from 348 in 2016, the forum said.

Local Christian leaders say most of their new members come from the lower strata of the caste-ridden Tamil society. Higher-caste people oppose any Christian gatherings because they believe they pollute their area. Higher-caste people also believe those in economically and socially poor castes can be attacked and harassed with impunity, Christie said.

He said their protest program was supported by some mainstream political parties such as the Communist Party of India and some Buddhist and Muslim leaders in the state.
“It is an assurance that they will stand by us to ensure that the constitutional rights of minorities be protected,” Christie said. “Our demands are very simple. Growing violence against Christians and police complicity are matters of deep concern. We want the government to act to end all forms of fascist aggression against Christians and to uphold the rule of law.”

Christians are the largest minority in the state, forming 4.5 million or some 6 percent of its 72 million people. A majority of them — plus the state’s 4.2 million Muslims — come from castes considered low in the social hierarchy.

 

Source: Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN) India (india.ucanews.com)

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India | End Culture of Rape & Sexual Violence on Girls, Children & Women in India!

Date: 16th April 2018

To

Sri Narendra Modi,
Honourable Prime Minister in India,
South Block, Raisina Hill,
New Delhi -110011

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India
End Culture of Rape & Sexual Violence on Girls, Children & Women in India !

 

Honourable Prime Minister Sri Narendra Modi,

Greetings from the National Council of Churches in India.

National Council of Churches represents around 14 million Christians in India from Reformation and Syrian Christian Traditions.

We write this letter at the darkest hour of our country when our Government is failing to protect girls, women and children. We express our deep anguish and pain, regarding the barbaric and heinous act of gang rape and murder of the little eight year old girl in Kathua and the rape of young 20 year old girl from Unnao in Uttar Pradesh.

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Letter from WCC General Secretary | WCC’s 70th anniversary.

Please click on link  to see a letter from Rev. Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, General Secretary – WCC, updating you on the WCC’s 70th Anniversary and inviting you to participate actively in the celebrations.

Also see the link to the list of events planned so far.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary, NCCI.

 

Download –

  1. 18_1 Letter 70th anniversary
  2. 70th Anniversary_Letter to member Churches_Appendix

India Pre-conference of the World Mission Conference

World Council of Churches – Council for World Mission and Evangelism

Conference of the World Mission and Evangelism

India Pre-conference

24 -26 January, 2018 | CNI Bhavan, New Delhi.

The next Conference of the World Mission and Evangelism of the  World Council of Churches is meeting in Arusha, Tanzania from 08th to 13th March 2018 on the theme “Moving in the Spirit: Called to Transforming Discipleship”. The Conference is an opportunity for the global Church, the ecumenical and the mission movements to review and re-examine its present mission patterns in order to make the Gospel relevant by interpreting it in response to the signs of our times.

To facilitate this process of introspection and re-imagination, the National Council of Churches in India – Unity and Mission joining the Church of North India Synod and the WCC – Council for World Mission and Evangelism is organizing a ‘Pre-assembly’ to deliberate upon the need, relevance and engagement of the Indian churches, ecumenical mission organizations in our contemporary context on the theme “Transforming Discipleship: Mission of the Missions”.

This India Pre-Conference is hosted by the Church of North India Synod and facilitated by the NCCI – Unity and Mission. This conference is scheduled to be held in CNI Bhavan, # 16, Pandit Pant Marg, New Delhi from 24th to 26th  January 2018.

Please click the link for the concept note.02. CNI – NCCI – CWME Concept Note for WMC

To know more about the WCC – World Mission Conference, please visit <https://www.oikoumene.org/en/press-centre/events/conference-on-world-mission-and-evangelism-moving-in-the-spirit-called-to-transforming-discipleship>

For Details… Please contact

Rev. R. Christopher Rajkumar
Executive Secretary,
NCCI – Unity and Mission
<mission.ncci@gmail.com>, <mission@ncci1914.com>

“You can be one of the five daughters of Zelophehad or can support them…..” – Hungreiphy engages in Advocacy for Indigenous Women’s Rights to Inheritance of Ancestral Property on ‘Human Rights Day’

Hungreiphy ZAS Zimik Young Indigenous Baptist woman Theologian

As the world commemorates ‘Human Rights Day‘ on 10th December  ‘Hungreiphy ZAS Zimik a young Baptist indigenous theologian  shares her story  and efforts to promote ‘Women’s Rights are Human Rights and ‘Indigenous Women Right to Inheritance of  Ancestral Property’.  Zimik states “I am indigenous woman and belong to Tangkhul Naga Tribe  from Ukhrul District in  Hungpung Village in state of  Manipur in India. My immediate family consist of six members i.e. my mother, father, two brothers, me and my sister.  Tangkhul  indigenous society is a classless society and forbids any kind of unreasonable discrimination among the members of the tribe. However there are certain areas guided by indigenous customary laws where the principle of ‘Rights to Equality’ of men and women cannot be strictly applied.

Tangkhul  tribe women are not allowed to participate in the decision making process of the village till date. They are not given recognition as members of the Village Assembly. Tangkhul women are also prohibited to become Village Councillors even though Government of India and our constitution allows equality. No Tangkhul village has a woman Village Councillor till date. Thus, the general expression ‘Equality before Law’ has got no central place for women in my tribe.

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‘Blue-ing’ Our Churches & Communities : National Council of Churches invitation this Advent to End Child Abuse

‘Blue-ing’ Churches & Communities, 16 Days of Activism Campaign @NCCI ( Photo Source www.boston.archive )

On 28th November 2017, the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR) in India requested for valuable suggestions to end child abuse in the context of increasing abuse of violence on children in India. Stuti  Kacker Chairperson of NCPCR in her request letter of 28th November 2017 states: “Sexual crime against children is showing an alarming increase and there is urgent need to tackle this problem on a war footing. Parliament has already brought a comprehensive Act namely ‘The Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, 2012 to punish those who commit sexual offences against children. However, there is a pressing need to formulate a broad based strategy to prevent such crime from occurring, which is only possible if all stakeholders namely children themselves, their parents, school administration, law enforcement agencies, NGOs and civil society etc. as a whole, create awareness and highlight the moral repugnancy of such crimes.”

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From Chilli Powder to Rights & Justice Oriented Education- Vaccine of Gender Based & Sexual Violence- Jessica Borgoary Promote 16 Days Activism Campaign

Jessica Borgoary Promoting 16 Days Activism Campaign

When I was in school I watched a Hindi film know as ‘ Mirch Masala’ ( Chilli Powder) The film was directed by Ketan Mehta. It starred Naseruddin Shah and Smita Patil in the lead roles. The film is set in colonial in the early 1940s. The plot begins with an arrogant Indian local tax collector and with his henchmen exploiting villagers. The tax collector and his men were harassing women . The village headman who was not strong to oppose him even supplied him with women from the village for his pleasure. No one had courage to protest against such violence.

However the story takes a different turn when the tax collector boldly asks Sonbai a young woman from the village for sexual favours, and harassed  her. Enraged, Sonabai, in an act of defense,  slaps the tax collector. She then had to flee immediately with the soldiers and henchmen in hot pursuit.She takes refuge in a spice factory where red chillies are grounded into powder. The women of the village worked here. Sonabai and the women were supported by a watchman and male school teacher who strategize to end such violence.

Sonabai organized women in the factory and when the tax collector and his men raided the factory the women in factory mount a sudden and surprising defense. They attack the tax collector with freshly ground red chilli powder in teams of two. The film ends with the tax collector on his knees, screaming in pain as the chilli burns his face and eyes.

The situation of women and girls being ‘eve teased’, bullied, harassed and sexually abused has not changed in India. In fact such violence has increased. Now when women  are no longer confined within homes and are out in the world,  they face harassment and abuse schools, colleges and workplaces. 

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“Violence on Women & Girls Betrays the Teachings of Jesus”- Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI Promoting White Ribbon Campaign

Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad – General secretary NCCI promoting White Ribbon Campaign

Men and Boys should take action to end men’s gender based violence on women and girls” states Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad – General Secretary of National Council of Churches in India” ‘Towards Just and Inclusive Communities’ is NCC India’s Quadrennial Theme 2016-2020. Rev Dr Gaikwad states “We cannot build just and inclusive communities unless we seriously address the issue of violence on women and girls in India.”

Gender based violence and sexual violence has become pandemic in India. India 4th dangerous country in the world for women to live and girl child to survive. 53 percent of children in India face sexual abuse. Times of India reports every 20 minutes a woman or girl is raped in India. India witnesses one of the highest female infanticide incidents in the world as revealed in a first ever global study on female infanticide by Asian Centre for Human Rights, a Delhi-based NGO in 2016. The BBC reports about once every five minutes an incident of domestic violence is reported in India, under its legal definition of ‘cruelty by husband or his relatives.’

Gaikwad further states that “The sign of hope is some of our member churches and church leaders are engaging in various forms of ministry to end violence on women and girls. However we need to understand empowerment of women and girls alone is not solution to this problem. Men and boys can play crucial role to end gender based and sexual violence. Gender justice, gender equality and gender equity is not ‘women’s issue’ alone. We need to empower men and boys also regarding gender justice so that they understand the scale of the problem, and become part of the solution, alongside women. If women are empowered alone and not men violence on women will increase more”

Restrictive gender roles and stereotyped gender norms harm men as well as women, boys as well as girls though girls are more vulnerable. . Men and boys have a crucial role to play in creating a culture where male violence, abuse and harassment against women and girls are simply seen as unacceptable. Men also need to support survivors of gender based violence take a stand against gender violence in their workplaces, schools, communities and families.

In 2015 during Quadrennial Assembly of ‘All India Council of Christian Women’ (at present known as Women’s Concern Ministry of NCCI ) Rev Dr Gaikwad promoted ‘White Ribbon Campaign’. He invited men church heads and leaders to take action against violence on women and girls in their own home, church or society.

Church Heads Promoting White Ribbon Campaign during Women’s Assembly in Kerala 2015

The White Ribbon Campaign (WRC) is a global movement of men and boys working to end male violence against women and girls. It was formed by a group men in Canada in November 1991 as a response to the École Polytechnique massacre of female students who was shot dead by Marc Lépine . The campaign was intended to raise awareness about the prevalence of male violence against women. White Ribbon symbolizing “the idea of men giving up their arms and violence.” This campaign is active in many counties in the world. ‘White Ribbon Campaign’ is a the movement that seeks to promote healthy relationships, gender equity, and a compassionate vision of masculinity

Rev Dr Gaikwad opines “Discrimination and violence on women, girls and children betrays the teaching of Jesus. Jesus broke the silence regarding culture of gender based in his society . Jesus showed the world compassion to women and girls through positive masculinity as opposed to patriarchal masculinity. Hence it is prophetic duty of the church to promote such positive masculinity and empower men and boys to end violence on women and girls .”

In 2015 National Council of Churches launched ‘365 Zero Tolerance to Gender Based Violence: Make it Happen Now Campaign: Make it Happen Now !’ NCCI also conducts various Capacity Enhancement and Human Rights Training in partnership with member churches and ecumenical partners to promote gender mainstreaming. ‘Certificate Course for Gender Justice’ is one such initiative of Women’s Concerns Ministry is to train pastors and lay leader ,youth ,community leaders both male and female.

As we commemorate ‘16 Days of Activism Against Violence on Women and Girls Rev Dr Roger Gaikwad invites churches, congregations and individuals “TAKE ACTION NOW. DO NOT REMAIN SILENT REGARDING GENDER BASED VIOLENCE ,SEXUAL ABUSE OF WOMEN , GIRLS AND CHILDREN .”

#16 Days Activism @ NCCI

Reported by Moumita Biswas – Executive Secretary – Women Concerns Ministry – National Council of Churches in India