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NEICC letter to the Ministry of Law and Justice with reference to report no. 267 of the Law Commission of India.

North East India Christian Council (NEICC), a regional council of the National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) has written a letter (see below) to Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Cabinet minister, Ministry of Law and Justice of the Government of India requesting not to bring amendments to the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC), 1973 as per proposal made by the Law Commission of India, namely, The Criminal Law (Amendment) Bill, 2017. This is with reference to Report no. 267 of the Law Commission of India dated March 2017.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary of NCCI appreciates NEICC for the initiatives they are taking. Since it is important to communicate and make known our concerns, he urges Churches and councils to write on specific issues and concerns to corresponding authority bodies. Read more

Meeting with Shri George Kurian, Vice-Chairperson, and National Commission for Minorities (NCM)

The National Council of Churches in India (NCCI) organized a meeting with Shri George Kurian , the new Vice Chairperson of the  National Commission for Minorities (NCM), on 20th June, 2017 at CNI Delhi Diocesan Office, New Delhi. Around 20 leaders from the Churches representing Orthodox and Protestant Traditions participated in this meeting. While welcoming him, the church leaders also raised concerns of the minority communities, particularly of Christians, such as religious discrimination, FCRA renewal, Dalit Christian issues, Education policy, etc. Shri George Kurian assured the leaders that NCM will protect the Constitutional and legal rights of the minorities. The meeting was moderated by Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad, General Secretary, NCCI and hosted by Rt. Rev.  Warris K. Masih, Bishop, CNI Delhi Diocese.


Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary,
Policy, Governance and Public Witness,
National Council of Churches in India.

India at UPR UN meet on May 4, 2017

Photo Credit: ndtv.com

Minority rights, NGO crackdown raised at UN meet, India says freedoms secure

Concept of torture alien to our culture: Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi


From complaints of eroding minority rights and religious intolerance to the crackdown against NGOs, women’s rights to LGBT rights, Kashmir to Afrophobia — India’s track record on human rights came under sharp scrutiny at the UN Human Rights Council on Thursday in Geneva.

Several countries expressed concerns on India’s FCRA laws, incidents of religious intolerance, women’s rights and even racism. The Kashmir issue was also raised by Pakistan during the hearing of the third “Universal Periodic Review.” India has undergone this voluntary review twice before, in 2008 and 2012.

Attorney General Mukul Rohatgi, who presented India’s position, strongly denied the allegations. “The right to fair trial and free legal aid up to the highest court are enshrined as fundamental rights in the Constitution of India and thus guaranteed to all individuals. So much so that as the Attorney General of India, I was summoned by the Supreme Court at 2 in the morning to hear a last-ditch petition, after several rounds of litigation, by a convict who was guilty of terrorism to escape punishment (a reference to the Yakub Memon case). This shows the importance attached to upholding of human rights by India,” he told the UNHRC.

Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka backed India on its human rights record. But a group of countries, including the US, Australia, Germany, Czech Republic, Norway and Ireland, asked India to look at its FCRA laws with US saying that there is “complete lack of transparency” in the implementation which affects NGOs in India.

Germany, Vatican, Kazakhstan, Kenya, UK, South Korea and the Netherlands expressed concern over the issues of rights of religious minorities and intolerance.

Pakistan called for a stop to the use of pellet guns. India countered saying the situation in Kashmir is due to Pakistan’s actions and there is zero tolerance to terrorism.

Haiti raised the issue of “Afrophobia” which was denied by an Indian delegate who called the country a “land of Buddha” which did not have a racist mindset and said that these incidents were a case of local crime.

While Japan, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan and Liechtenstein were among countries which raised concerns on women’s rights, Israel and Ireland raised the issue of equal rights for the LGBT community. Several countries asked India to ratify the convention against torture.

Leading the Indian delegation, Rohatgi said that India makes no distinction between caste, creed, colour or religion of a citizen. “India is a secular state with no state religion,” he said, adding that the Indian Constitution guarantees freedom of religion to every individual. He said the right to free speech and expression occupies its rightful place in the core of the Constitution.

“As the world’s largest multi-layered democracy, we fully recognise the importance of free speech and expression. Our people are conscious of their political freedoms and exercise their choices at every opportunity,” Rohatgi said. “We believe in peace, non-violence and upholding human dignity. As such, the concept of torture is completely alien to our culture and it has no place in the governance of the nation.”

On the Armed Forces Special Powers Act, Rohatgi said the Act is applied only to disturbed areas — few and in proximity to some international borders. Several countries, including the US, raised the issue of AFSPA. “Whether this Act should be repealed or not is a matter of on-going vibrant political debate in my country,” he said.

On transgenders, Rohatgi said that India has been at the forefront of recognising their equal rights. The Supreme Court gave a landmark judgement in 2014 directing the government to declare trans-genders a “third gender” and included them as an “Other Backward Class” entitled to affirmative action benefits.

The apex court also reinforced that trans-genders should have all rights under law, including marriage, adoption, divorce, succession and inheritance, Rohatgi added.

Rohatgi said India seeks to ensure inclusive development and the protection of rights of vulnerable groups and it has enacted a range of laws to address sexual assault and other gender-based crimes.

“We have overhauled the legal framework for dealing with child sexual assault,” he said, adding that India remains deeply committed towards reinforcing and accelerating efforts towards combating human trafficking.

Source: Indian Express (http://indianexpress.com/article/india/minority-rights-ngo-crackdown-raised-at-un-meet-india-says-freedoms-secure-4641197/) Written by Shubhajit Roy | New Delhi | Published:May 5, 2017 5:17 am

 

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National Level Church Leaders Consultation in Delhi

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The National United Christian Forum (NUCF) composed of National Council of Churches in India (NCCI), Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) & Evangelical Fellowship of India Council of Churches (EFICC) held a ‘National Level Church Leaders Consultation’ on 15th March 2017, at Bible Bhavan, Delhi.

Around 40 leaders from various Churches attended this meeting, which was arranged by Rev. Dr. Richard Howell.

Discussions were held on three important topics which the Christian communities are currently facing, that is, the Uniform Civil Code, the National Education Policy & the Juvenile Justice Act.

Prof. T.K. Oommen, Adv. M.P. Raju & Adv. Oommen Thomas made presentations on these concerns.

The Church leaders were apprehensive about the Governments move regarding  the Uniform Civil Code & the National Education Policy. They also raised concerns on some provisions in the Juvenile Justice Act which are affecting the Church-run Institutions. It was decided to make a joint response  about these concerns to the Government.

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad anchored the meeting.

The Most Rev. Dr. Joseph Mar Thoma, His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis, Bishop Dr. PC Singh, President of NCCI along with leaders from Orthodox, Catholic & Protestant Churches were part of the consultation.

 

Samuel Jayakumar

Executive Secretary

Policy, Governance & Public Witness, NCCI

NWICC discussion on Ecumenical Transparency, Accountability & Responsibility’

The North West India Council of Churches (NWICC) in collaboration with National Council Churches in India (NCCI) organised a seminar on 25th February 2017 themed upon ‘National Ecumenical Campaign for Transparency, Accountability & Responsibility’. Bishop Collin C. Theodore, Secretary, NWICC was hosting the seminar.

The two resource persons for the seminar Rev. Arvind Peter & Ms. Nirmala Fenn reflected upon the topic discussing the biblical nature of corruption in this modern world and deliberated on how to ‘be JUST’ IMG_20170225_145509

Open Letter to Prime Minister of India from the General Secretary of NCCI

Dear Prime Minister,

Greetings!

Kindly lend me your ears as I share my mann ki baat with you.

You are a very good orator, who can rouse the masses. You are a very powerful executive, who can control all actions of the government. You are an IT savvy person, who can make clever use of all forms of media to your development schemes. You are an astute business entrepreneur, who can maneuver the globalization system to serve your vision of development. You are indeed a model for many 21st century persons who aspire to fame, position and power.

However while all seems grand and beautiful with your leadership, there are serious concerns that many Indian citizens would like to draw to your notice. They know that you are not unaware of these serious concerns, but are distressed that you are not taking actions which the situations demand. Let me highlight these concerns by drawing your attention to the Preamble of the Indian Constitution.

The Preamble of the Indian Constitution describes five cardinal features of the Indian state:

(1) India is a Sovereign State:
As a sovereign independent state, India is free both internally and externally to take her own decisions and implement these for her people and territories.

However don’t you think that our sovereignty is under threat at the hands of certain powers within and outside the country? For instance, as you are well aware, economic globalization limits the capacity of our country to determine our own policy outcomes in three main ways: through trade and economic integration; financial markets; and the competition for employment. So also our state sovereignty is weakened by fundamentalist, casteist, communal and commercial forces within the country.

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