The National Council of Churches in India, meeting as a General Body in Chennai on August 12, 2016, strongly condemned  the growing atrocities against dalits in India:

National Council of Churches in India expresses its grave concern over the vehement hate campaigns and brutal attacks on Dalits in different parts of India. We condemn the perpetrators, cow vigilante groups and the right wing fundamentalists who take the law in their hands and torment the Dalits in our country. Serious cognizance must be taken of the hate campaigns manifesting in their most recent forms such as the activities of ‘Cow-killers’ and restrictions sought to be imposed on ‘Cow-meat-eaters’. This is an extreme form of modern-day practice of untouchability and discrimination.

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Statement condemning atrocities against Dalits by cow vigilante groups in Una, Gujarat

Almost 24 dalits 800x480_IMAGE55723381have attempted to end their lives since July 11, 2016. Violent protests by Dalits have been taking place in Gujarat demanding stern action against the cow vigilante group members who publicly flogged a Dalit family and brutally beaten up seven Dalit men for allegedly skinning a dead cow in Una in Gir Somnath district of Saurashtra region on July 11, 2016. The victims’ contention was that they were just skinning a dead cow and had not killed it, whereas the accused alleged these dalits were involved in cow slaughter.
As many as 200 cow vigilante groups have sprung up Gujarat. They have become a law and order problem in Gujarat because of their aggression and the way they take law into their hands. With names such as Gau Raksha Samiti, Gau Raksha Ekta Samiti, they have percolated from taluka to even village level and the groups take law into their hands to deal with minorities and Dalits who run meat businesses.

NCCI XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly: Resolution on Public Issues

quadrennial assembly logo black (Small) (Custom)NCCI XXVIII Assembly Resolutions on Public Issues

We, the delegates of the 28th Quadrennial Assembly of the National Council of Churches in India held at Christ Church Girls’ Senior Secondary School, Jabalpur from April 27 to April 30, 2016, having solemnly reflected upon issues affecting India in particular and the world at large, hereby pass resolutions on the same.

1.        Affirming Secularism in Pluralistic Society:

The present Indian society is seriously affected by the phenomena of fundamentalism, communalism, saffronisation of education and cultures, restrictions on churches, christian institutions and their services, intolerance, shrinking space for freedom of speech and expression, attacks on religious minorities, criminalization in the name of God, Faith, Ideologies and Confessions.

We therefore resolve:

  • The government should adopt policies and undertake measures that affirm the secular spirit of the Indian Constitution which guarantees freedom to all its citizens to practice, preach and propagate their respective faiths.
  • The government should respect and protect the rights of religious minorities and their institutions.
  • The government should create mechanisms for promoting interfaith and inter-ideological harmony.
  • Churches should engage in responsible liberativeevangelism and mission expressing the positive values of the gospel and its relevance to our contemporary context.

2.        Affirming Human Rights in Indian Society:

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Statement condemning Brutal Murder of Adivasi Priest in Jharkhand

National Council of Churches in India, Commissions on Dalits and Tribals/ Adivasis are deeply shocked at the heinous crime of brutal murder of an Adivasi Priest, Rev. Abraham Biswas Surin from Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church in Chotanagpur (Jharkhand). His body was found lying in a drain under the Railway over bridge of Rourkela Railway Station by the CRPF in the morning hours of 6th May 2016. His body bore multiple injury marks including a deep gash on the throat. The GRP is investigating the matter. The killer/killers are not yet traced and identified.

Rev. Abraham Biswas Surin, S/O Late Mr. Mansidh Surin was born on 12.08.1955. He had his theological degree B.Th in Gossner Theological College, Ranchi and was ordained as a priest on 21.05.1978. He served as a priest in various congregations, parishes of GELC before being assigned the job of Manager KNH Hostesls.

The attacks of the Christian adivasis, many of whom have been Christians for generations, is increasing because of the divisive politics in the area being played out by the right-wing forces. The murder of Rev. Surin, a Lutheran minister in India’s tribal dominated Jharkhand state shows that Christians are now becoming a target for attacks. Unless this attack and others are fully investigated and the perpetrators brought to justice, Adivasi Christians will only become more vulnerable and the community will come under further attack. A mass protest procession in Khunti town in Jharkhand has been organised on 11thMay 2016 demanding expeditious investigation and bringing the culprits to book.

We condemn the atrocities against the tribals/adivasis and urge the state Government to render justice to the victim’s family and demand the Central Government to ensure safety and security to Christians and take all measures to stop all discriminatory practices against Adivasis.

Pradip Bansrior

Executive Secretary

Dalit and Tribal/ Adivasi Concerns

National Council of Churches in India

Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad

General Secretary

National Council of Churches in India

NCCI XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly: Message of the Assembly

quadrennial assembly logo black (Small) (Custom)Message of NCCI XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly

We, the delegates from 30 Member Churches, 17 Regional Christian Councils, 17 All India Christian Organizations, 7 Related Agencies and 3 autonomous bodies gathered for the XXVIII Quadrennial Assembly of the National Council of Churches in India that met in Jabalpur, Madhya Pradesh India. It was hosted by Jabalpur Diocese of Church of North India from 27-30 April 2016, deliberating on the theme “Towards Just and Inclusive Communities”.

The cry for Justice and Inclusivity arises from the context of socio-political, economic, cultural and other challenges in the country. Lack of social protection undermines the spirit of inclusive society. A vast majority of people in our society have no ability to raise voices to express their opinion on how the societies they live in, should run.  One gets the impression that the present Government of India has the agenda of making the whole country a Hindu nation in which the adherents of minority religions are marginalized. It is a great threat to the democratic values of our country. Unfortunately, this traditionally peace-loving country is plagued by communal problems. Even food culture has been violated in the name of religion. Exclusive marginalisation continues on an increasing scale; various sectors in the society keep on being victimized because of such marginalization. It is a negative impact which hinders growth. In the cries and struggles of the marginalized for justice, there is hope for the realization of inclusive communities within the Church and society.

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Challenging times for Christians in South Asia

The National Council of Churches in India strongly condemns the acts of violence perpetrated on Christians and similar religious minorities in the South Asian region.
We deeply regret that fanatic fascist religious forces are taking the law in their hands and determining who should live in the regions and who should be subjugated and even exterminated.
The governments of the countries in the region feign surprise and shock at the incidence of such attacks on minorities. Loud but hollow speeches are made that terrorists will not be spared. The opposition parties blame their respective governments for such occurrences and tend to get political mileage for themselves rather than addressing the problem.
The army and the police are to stand for secular values and principles as well as ensure justice and protection for the vulnerable. However even soldiers and police personnel belong to different religious communities. They could also be influenced by different communal ideologies. They may even be forced to submit to the diktats of their commanding officers. They may also be inadequately equipped to face the the onslaught of communal militant forces.
In the globalized world of our times even religion is commercialized and used by economic, political and religious leaders for their own selfish ends. Human beings do not seem to have any value in the context of the allurement of power and pleasure. Hence large numbers of people are killed; their deaths are considered as being unavoidable for the sake of the attractive end in view. Even religious killing and martyrdom is glorified.
Unless the secular minded people of the lands speak out, this carnage will continue!
Unless the religious leaders emphasize the important of mutual love and community togetherness, this phenomenon of communal hatred will continue to breed and spread!
Unless communities resolve that they will not allow hate-mongers to infiltrate their neighborhoods, this evil will not be stopped!
Having just celebrated Good Friday and Easter, let us as Christians prayerfully and affirmatively stand for what is ‘responsible’ and ‘liberating’ in South Asia.
We are well aware that the scourge of religious extremism is also rampant in the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere. May we be inspired and empowered by the crucified-resurrected Jesus Christ to be channels of justice and peace!
Rev. Dr. Roger Gaikwad,
General Secretary, NCCI

Strong demand for SC Status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims.

Press Release

The Constitution enshrines the equal treatment of all religious communities, along with freedom of religion and conscience (Article 25). Granting Scheduled Caste status to Sikhs and Buddhist of Scheduled Caste origin has not weakened Hindu religion or encouraged conversions to those religions. How can Honorable Thawar Chand Gehlot, the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, come to the conclusion that granting SC Status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims would weaken Hinduism and encourage conversions?

It is not the Indian Constitution, but it is the Presidential Order 1950, paragraph 3 that discriminates against the Christians and Muslims of Scheduled Caste origin. We urge the Minister to speak an inclusive language. His remarks are a smack of divisive language which divides the Dalit community on the basis of religion.
The Honorable Prime Minister Modi should not just give verbal assurances and empty promises, but act concretely on the norms of the Constitution. Prime Minister rightly said in the Parliament ‘India first’ is the only religion and Constitution the only ‘holy book’ for his government, according to which he should be committed to working for all sections of people irrespective of religious affiliations. He must guarantee equality to all citizens; he must see that the majority does not force its will on minority communities to exclude and marginalize them which will impede the development of the nation.
To protest against the undemocratic and exclusive language of the Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment and to demand SC Status for Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims, a Public protest meeting was held on 10th March 2016 at Jantar Mantar from 9 a.m to 4 p.m. Five thousand people from all over India participated. Students from AICUF performed traditional drum dance. Participants from different states sung awareness songs in different languages.
His Eminence Baselios Cardinal Cleemis – the President of the CBCI, Bishop Philipose Mar Chrysostom Mar Thoma Valiya Metropolitan, Most Rev. Dyvasirvadam, Moderator Church of South India, Mrs. Ramani Ramya Krupa, Chairperson, Commission on Dalit, NCCI, Rev. Dr. D.R. Sadanada, General Secretary, CSI, Most. Rev. P.K. Samantaory, Moderator Church of North India (CNI), Rt. Rev. P. C. Singh, Deputy Moderator CNI, Bishop Geevarghese Mor Coorlios, Chair person SCMI, Bishop Subodh C. Mondal, President North West India Council of Churches, Rt. Rev. Edwin Jaykumar, TELC, Most Rev.Bp.Neethinathan – the Chairman of CBCI Office for SC/BC, Mr. A. Dana -, President, National Council of Dalit Christians, Fr. AXJ. Bosco, S.J. – National Advisor, NCDC, Mr. Alwan Masih – General Secretary, NCCI, Hon. Ali Anwar Ansari – MP, Hon. JD Seelam MP many Bishops, Priests, Nuns, Pastors, Maulanas, Christian and Muslim leaders and Political leaders from all over India participated in the Protest Rally and Public Meeting.
A memorandum was given to the Prime Minister to grant Scheduled Caste Status to Dalit Christians and Dalit Muslims.
Reported by

Memorandum submitted to Honourable Prime Minister

memorandum scanned 2 (2)
memorandum scanned 1 (2)

Condemning Thawar Chand Gehlot, Minister for Social Justice and Empowerment, and demanding Honourable Prime Minister Modi to act and grant SC status to Dalit Christians and Muslims

Reports in various news agencies,_muslims_demand_quotas_in_india_/1214432

Chattisgarh Christian Council condemns vandalism and assault on church members in Kachana, India.

IMG-20160309-WA0005Chhattisgarh Christian Council (CCC), regional Christian Council of the National Council of Churches in India,  strongly Condemns the Vandalisation of Church and assault on Believers Chhattisgarh Church and subsequent assault on the church members in Kachana near Raipur city. The attack happened around 11 am on March 6, 2016 allegedly by members of Bajrang Dal. The Pastor Ankush Bareyekar approached the Vidhan Sabha thana where the police after a long delay registered the FIR.

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An Open Letter to the Prime Minister of India on the occasion of 107th International Women’s Day, 8 March 2016

download (1)Dear Hon’ble Prime Minister,

We, the undersigned women’s organizations and other concerned groups, convey our greetings on the occasion of 8th March, Women’s Day. This day has been celebrated for more than a hundred years to commemorate the women’s movement’s struggles for equality, justice and peace across almost all countries of the world.
On this memorable occasion, we are aware that you and your colleagues will be making speeches and statements to indicate how much this nation values the contribution of its women to the country’s progress. We expect that many will praise women as mothers, caring family members and hard workers; we hope some will acknowledge the diverse struggles of women everywhere in securing freedom from violence and ensuring peace.

We appreciate your earlier efforts to promote the value of daughters and encourage education for the girl child. We therefore look forward to more announcements from you this year that will indicate just how much this nation, and your government, shows appreciation for the women of this country. We would especially like to draw your attention to women’s work that produces food, goods, services, and care for the household as well as children who will be the future workforce of India; yet women’s care work continues to remain invisible, unsupported and unshared. You must have noticed how everywhere women work simultaneously in fields, forests, water bodies, and at home; providing water, fuel, fodder, cooking, cleaning, caring of children, sick, elderly, yet they are often unpaid and sometimes get much lesser wages than men on farms, work sites, factories, and markets. In fact unpaid care and household work by women, even though it is ten times as much as men, remains unrecognized and unaccounted for in the System of National Accounts (SNA).

The McKinsey report (The Power of Parity, 2015) points out how the gender gap in employment is exacerbated by unfair conditions for working women who become pregnant. In India 95% women workers are in the informal and unorganized sector and do not receive any wage compensation during pregnancy and after childbirth, although we expect them to rest, gain weight, improve their own health and then provide the baby with exclusive breastfeeding for six months. The Economic Survey of India 2016 (Ministry of Finance, Government of India) points out that ‘42.2% Indian women begin pregnancy too thin and do not gain enough weight during pregnancy’ and recommends that ‘some of the highest economic returns to public investment in human capital in India lie in maternal and early life health and nutrition interventions.’

Sir, on the occasion of Women’s Day we would earnestly request you to announce some substantial entitlements for women that would show very tangibly how much this country values women’s contribution to society and their families: as workers, as mothers and as valuable members of communities.
I.  At the very least, we expect your leadership in immediate implementation of the National Food Security Act 2013, within which:
a.    The Central Scheme for Maternity Entitlements should immediately be up-scaled from its pilot phase into at least 200 high-priority districts especially including those with a larger proportion of tribal (ST) population. The universal guarantee of at least Rs. 6000/- is only to be read as a beginning, and it should subsequently be rationalised as wage compensation.

b.    Maternity entitlements in all sectors must be universal and unconditional, and not linked to the number of children or age of the woman, as that is fundamentally discriminatory to both women and children.
c.    Supplementary nutrition through locally prepared foods – preferably hot cooked meals to be supplied to all pregnant and lactating women at the local Angawadi centre. The money invested for such a meal is highly inadequate currently under the ICDS program, leading to poor quality and quantity of the supplementary nutrition,
d.    The public distribution system must provide universal access to 10 kgs of cereals, I kg of pulses and 1 kg of oil rations under the NFSA.

II. We also hope within a short time to see:
a.    The progressive realization of nine months of maternity leave (three months before childbirth to six months after) with full compensation of wages for all women, calculated at least according to minimum wages at prevalent rates. This revision of the Maternity Benefits Act (1961) should recognize women’s work in all spheres, markets, domestic, for care and reproduction and subsistence; and guarantee maternity entitlements to all pregnant women, adoptive parent(s), surrogate mothers etc without discrimination.

b.    Large scale campaigns that call upon men to increase their contribution to care work and domestic chores, and reduce the burden on women.

c.    Creche and breastfeeding facilities at every work place and community (through Anganwadi-cum-creches) to be made mandatory to ensure women can continue to work and care for the infant.

d.    Financial resources for maternity entitlements and crèches should come from all economic activities in the country  as a state obligation to ensure entitlements and services, since reproduction is a social function which benefits the family, society and the nation.

Sir, on the occasion of Women’s Day, while paying compliments and appreciating the role of women, we are sure the government would want to change the embarrassingly inadequate allocation of 400 crores for Maternity Entitlements against the requirement of 15000 crore annually.  We urge you to translate rhetoric into action by allocating resources for social security in maternity, and acknowledging unpaid reproductive work done by women in this country, even as you greet them on this Women’s Day.

Letter prepared by:

National Alliance For Maternal Health And Human Rights (NAMHHR), the ECD Alliance, the Working Group for Children Under Six and the Right to Food Campaign, India  

endorsed by :

All India Council of Christian Women

click here for the Open Letter to church leaders and to the Prime Minister of In

Planet 50-50 by 2030: Step it up for Gender Equality- International Women’s Day 2016

mb-iwd2016March is a very special month for women around the world.  In the month of March, ‘World Day of Prayer’ is observed and ‘International Women’s Day’ is commemorated.  During this period churches, women’s fellowships and organizations in India like every year engage in various advocacy activities to promote Women’s ‘Human Rights’, end gender-based violence, and celebrate the power of women as agents of transformation.  IWD helps us to recognize the role of women as salt and leaven and weavers justice and peace.
We invite your churches, women’s fellowships, organizations and even your own families to commemorate ‘Women’s Day’.  Various prayers, liturgies are found in different websites.  We are also sharing with you an intecessory prayer and women’s creed and some reflections.
All India Council of Christian Women
Women’s Wing of National Council of Churches in India
Posted by
Moumita Biswas
Executive Secretary, AICCW