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On-line petition to Shri Narendra Modi for passing EDPAL Bill in the Parliament

NCCI promotes justice and equality initiatives, and envisions a society that is free from discrimination and intolerance. NCCI supports the current initiative in the form of an online petition from its constituent member, The Leprosy Mission,  for Eliminating Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy. The following information has been received from The Leprosy Mission, India.

 As many of you know, recently the Law Commission of India submitted its report No: 256 to the Government of India on steps to be taken to end discrimination against people affected by leprosy, and empower them to be included in the development process. The Law Commission also submitted a draft Bill, titled ‘Eliminating Discrimination against Persons Affected by Leprosy’ (EDPAL) Bill, 2015, for repealing all the 14 laws discriminating people affected by leprosy.

 The Parliament of India needs to act on the recommendations of the Law Commission and pass EDPAL Bill and also, bring new legislation for rehabilitation of people affected by leprosy. For this, the Government of India has to start the parliamentary process.

 Sixteen national and international organisations working in the field of leprosy have come together as a collective, under the banner, ‘United4Change’, and petitioned the Prime Minister of India, Shri Narendra Modi, to get EDPAL Bill passed in the Parliament and bring new legislation for rehabilitation of people affected by leprosy.

Read more

NCCI congratulates the CMCH, Tamilnadu and wishes well for its ECP Therapy centre

The National Council of Churches in India congratulates the Christian Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) in Tamil Nadu on the opening of a new External Counter Pulsation (ECP) centre.

ECP will promote non-surgical procedures for heart ailments.  ECP therapy — a non-invasive procedure — helps stimulate the growth of new blood vessels in the heart and, in some cases, improves the flow of existing blood vessels. Often, ECP is used when physicians have exhausted other therapies.

The treatment provided at the centre is covered under the Chief Minister’s Comprehensive Medical Insurance Scheme and the revenue generated from the treatment will also help finance the hospital’s development, hospital authorities said.

The NCCI wishes the CMCH, Tamilnadu to be a blessing and a healer to the Indian society and the people at large.

Mr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh, MLA of Nongstoin Constituency in Meghalaya passes away

lyndohMr. Hopingstone Lyngdoh, MLA of Nongstoin Constituency in Meghalaya passed away in the early hours (12:45 AM) of September 26, 2015. He was 88.
He entered active politics in 1957 to stand for District Council elections of erstwhile United Khasi & Jaintia Autonomous District Council. Ever since, he had never lost an election. He entered the then composite Assam Legislative Assembly as an elected MLA in 1962. When Meghalaya State was created in 1972, he was elected as an MLA from Pariong Constituency. In 1977, he stood for Parliamentary Elections from Shillong and defeated Prof. G. G. Swell, former Lok Sabha Dy. Speaker, Mr. P.R. Kyndiah who later became Speaker of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly, Governor of Mizoram and Union Minister and, Prof. P. G. Marbaniang who later became Speaker of Meghalaya Legislative Assembly and MP. Mr. Lyngdoh was Executive Member of the UKJHADC, Chief Executive Member of Khasi Hills Autonomous District Council (KHADC) and Dy. Chief Minister of Meghalaya on different occasions.

PETITION TO THE PRIME MINISTER. From The Leprosy Mission Trust India

The Leprosy Mission Trust India has started an online petition to Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi asking him to take concrete steps to end discrimination against people affected by leprosy and take immediate action on Report 256 of the Law Commission of India.
This petition has already caught people’s imagination. Many have already signed the petition. Every day, more and more people sign to show their solidarity with people affected by leprosy!
The Leprosy Mission Trust India is aiming at getting 50,000 people to sign the petition. They need many more signatures to achieve this. The petition can be signed at the link given below:
Please share the above link on your Facebook timeline (if you have one) and forward the link to your colleagues, friends and family and request them to sign!
People affected by leprosy need our support to get EDPAL Bill passed in the Parliament and for the government to bring new legislation for their rehabilitation and development.Together, we can bring change in the lives of people affected by leprosy.
People affected by leprosy will be thankful to you for signing the petition which has the power to bring healing, inclusion and dignity in their lives.
The appeal of The Leprosy Mission Trust is thus recommended by NCCI (with its emphasis on compassion, healing, justice, inclusivity, dignity of life, and peace for all) for your strong support

Religious Extremism and Our Response

Fr. Cedric Prakash, SJ of Ahmedabad who runs Prashant has written an insightful and practical piece on the rise of religious extremism and the responses we need to make. We are grateful to Dr. John Dayal for sharing the same with us. This is important for all Christians, in particular church leaders, pastors and evangelists.

– General Secretary, NCCI

“WHAT THE FUTURE HOLDS…!!!”

-Fr. Cedric Prakash sj*

… Some “hot issues” in the context of the rise of religious extremism and what we are experiencing on the ground

This brief presentation is in two parts – their strategies and our possible responses:

THEIR STRATEGIES

Their strategies are multi-pronged, well thought of and with meticulous planning. They have been using some of these very effectively since their inception in the 1930s; these include:

  • to have well oiled propaganda

-effective, simple, mass, vicious

-tell a lie a thousand times (Goebblesian)

-fuel myths / rumours (they can easily take you for a ride)

-indulge in half-truths / selectivity, manipulate facts and data

  • to mobilise as many as possible

-all sections of society (particularly poor and unemployed) / also adivasis and dalits

-get them to do their “dirty tricks” with money, liquor, meat and false promises

-rope in middle class who can be lured by “achche din”

  • to divide and rule

-a time-tested strategy by dictators and those who want to control others

-‘they’ are the problem

-not ‘you’ but ‘them’

-to provide lollipops (sponsor “pilgrimages” to the Holy Land)

  • to co-opt

-invite for a “dialogue”

-those attacks are just ‘aberrations’; a law and order problem

-we know that but we cannot control them

-don’t worry if there is any problem, just come to me; I am “OK”; (so vote for me)

  • to make ‘victims’ the perpetrators

-you provoked first eg. conversion / beef eating etc

-we have proof that your boys were throwing stones

-you are the problem

  • to ‘hook’ us, make us reactionary

-we are sucked up into their agenda

-they set the terms and conditions

-we often play along

-we become defocused from our main work

  • to create panic and fear

-through attacks, burning, looting, raping

-vandalising / desecration

-scattering the flock

  • to run with the hare and hunt with the hound

-propagate the “development” model / “tolerance for all”

-permit hate speeches / attacks

-introduce anti-minority and draconian legislations

-we are not “responsible” for what they do

  • to infiltrate

-government and bureaucracy

-police and judiciary

-educational system / media

  • to woo the corporate sector, the rich and the powerful

-allow them to do what they want

-flout laws, by pass rules and regulations

-use their planes and other facilities (institutionalize corruption)

-help them to take over the media

OUR RESPONSE

Our response therefore, has to be multi-dimensional: a non-reactionary one, appropriate and focussed – and as a citizen of the country; these could include:

  • to be aware of their strategies (do not be ‘naive’)
  • to be united: work in tandem; complement one another; cooperation not
  • competition
  • to do a reality check: stop being fundamentalists ourselves
  • to find new ways and approaches in ‘evangelization’; being a witness
  • to speak truth to power (to be visible and vocal)
  • to propagate Constitutional and Universal Rights of ALL
  • to mainstream human rights and value education in our educational institution
  • to seek legal redress against injustices and draconian law
  • to develop a spirituality that is incarnational
  • to help in the contextual formation of laity, religious and priests / pastor
  • to foster an intellectual depth that is critical
  • to be inclusive; to collaborate with all men and women of goodwill
  • to take a stand that is prophetic

(cfr. PRASHANT document “WE ALWAYS NEED TO BE PREPARED!” Oct. 2014)

CONCLUSION

We can no longer remain silent.

“All that is necessary for the forces of evil to win in the world – is for the good people to do nothing” – Edmund Burke

We need to get our ACT TOGETHER NOW!

“WE ALWAYS NEED TO BE PREPARED!”

I PRAY

  • pray without ceasing
  • read, pray and meditate on Mt 25:1-13
  • organize special prayers in our parishes / institutions
  • keep our churches / chapels / prayer halls open for prayer
  • pray with our Christian brethren (also in their churches)
  • conduct / join meaningful inter-faith prayer (Sarva Dharma Prathna)
  • be sensitive (our prayers and other programmes need not be “jarring”/“blasting”/ a nuisance to others

DO NOT “FIRE CRACKERS” nor use high decibel speakers – specially

after 10.00 pm (remember that many of our neighbours are little children or elderly persons and perhaps even sick)

(cfr. the Supreme Court rulings on these matters)

what does Jesus say about “praying?”

II DIALOGUE

  • keep avenues of dialogue always open with all
  • do not get co-opted or provide legitimacy in any way to fascists/ fundamentalists
  • do not be naïve…dialogue is always in the context of respect, equity and dignity.
  • participate in Festivals/Prayers of others and invite them to ours
  • strengthen areas that unite/connect (search for commonalities/ connectors)
  • take a stand against divisiveness/biases/prejudices
  • network and collaborate with other secular/like-minded individuals / groups

III STUDY – DOCUMENT – WRITE

  • study and analyze the situation
  • study the ideology of fascists; learn how they operate (“divide and rule”)
  • study the Constitution of India; existing laws
  • do not limit yourself to issues involving Christians only; get involved in ALL
  • Human Rights issues, sp. in the defense of dalits, tribals, women, children, differently-abled persons, other minority/vulnerable groups
  • collect “Patrikas” and other relevant literature (sp. derogatory ones)
  • document Newspaper / Journal articles on topical / sensitive, relevant issues
  • video / audio record inflammatory speeches / proceedings
  • write articles / letters to the Editor in national / local / vernacular newspapers /
  • journals on crucial issues
  • use “The Right to Information” Act to get information from / of the Government (Govt.officials/spending)

IV STAND UP FOR TRUTH, HUMAN RIGHTS, JUSTICE AND PEACE

“Peace in society cannot be understood as pacification or the mere absence of violence resulting from the domination of one part of society over others. Nor does true peace act as a pretext for justifying a social structure which silences or appeases the poor, so that the more affluent can placidly support their lifestyle while others have to make do as they can. Demands involving the distribution of wealth, concern for the poor and human rights cannot be suppressed under the guise of creating a consensus on paper or a transient peace for a contented minority. The dignity of the human person and the common good rank higher than the comfort of those who refuse to renounce their privileges. When these values are threatened, a prophetic voice must be raised.” (Pope Francis in ‘Evangelii Gaudium’ # 218)

  • fear ONLY God and no one else; stand up ALWAYS for Truth and Justice.
  • join/support other initiatives like the PUCL, INSAF, MSD, CJP, ANHAD, etc. (contact us for details)
  • participate also in the activities / initiatives / programmes of other like minded individuals / NGOs / groups
  • publicize secular efforts / initiatives in our churches / institutions
  • screen films on social issues like “Parzania”, “Final Solution”, “Dharm”, “Well Done, Abba!”, “Mr. & Mrs. Iyer”
  • be visible on important issues:speak out; participate in campaigns/dharnas/rallies; sign online petitions
  • keep at a distance ALL vested interests. Do not let them compromise you.
  • beware of getting involved in issues/ politics which make us sectarian /fundamentalist/exclusive
  • denounce Communalism, Corruption, Casteism, Consumerism, Criminalisation of society/politics
  • organize programmes/seminars/workshops on human rights/relevant issues/legal literacy/topical issues
  • constitute village/mohalla/Parish Justice and Peace Committees (JPCs)
  • initiate Constitutional Values/Peace Education/Human Rights Education in your Schools/Institutions
  • use value education books from KHOJ RESOURCES (www.khojedu.net ) and/or the “YES WE CAN” series (by RATNA SAGAR www.ratnasagar.com )
  • celebrate UN/special days like Women’s Day (March 8th), Day for Elimination of Racial Discrimination (March 21st), Oscar Romero Day (March 24th), Ambedkar Jayanti (April 14th), Environment Day (June 5th), Indigenous People’s Day (August 9th), Day of Non-Violence (October 2nd), Human Rights Day (December 10th)
  • identify trouble makers/peace breakers/ rumour mongers/divisive persons
  • stop rumours/gossip (always try to authenticate things)
  • propagate the Right to Information (RTI), the Right to Education (RTE) and the Right to Food (RTF)
  • protect, promote, propagate Constitutional Rights/Freedoms & the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

V KEEP OUR HOUSE IN ORDER

  • maintain and update ALL official documents (land records, building permissions, registrations, licenses) and personal identity cards (Sp. Elector’s Photo Identity Card – EPIC)
  • keep copies of these always at hand/filed/laminated / secured – with your ORIGINALS in a Safe Deposit
  • adhere to strict accounting/accountability procedures
  • ALWAYS BE Open and Transparent
  • never indulge in any corrupt practice for whatever reasons (taking/giving bribes etc)
  • ensure timely payment of all taxes (income, building, land etc)
  • know and adhere to requisites of the Govt./Charity Commissioner/Registrar of Societies/FCRA etc.
  • register Medical Personnel with the Medical/Nursing Council
  • provide the requisite bio-medical waste treatment/disposal facilities in hospitals/dispensaries
  • refrain from physical and/or other types of abuse on any one
  • pay just wages; have service conditions, give appointment letters (cfr. Labour laws)

(THEY HIT US WHERE WE ARE VULNERABLE )

VI PRE-EMPT TROUBLE

  • provide prior and authentic information/meet your JPC
  • contact / alert your focal / nodal point immediately, if you sense trouble
  • contact the authorities, wherever possible (preferably in writing) – with a proof of submission
  • inform the police (know your local police / station); request protection (ONLY if desperately needed)
  • remember “providing security” is also an official way of them keeping tabs on us! (Don’t be NAÏVE)
  • never panic / DO NOT give in to fear
  • check if your phones are tapped
  • never give your email passwords to others / change them frequently

VII ADDRESS THE “REALITY”

  • do not get provoked (whatever the reason)….be calm and cool!
  • seek the support of others (like-minded individuals / groups)
  • protect / provide shelter for the weak (old / women / children / infirm)
  • inform the police / authorities (always be courteous / polite to them)
  • be careful on how and what information you provide about others photograph / video/audio record the trouble/trouble makers douse out flames
  • do not destroy/alter/change/remove the evidence
  • do not underplay/exaggerate the reality
  • if a situation arises, start writing/computerizing the complete details as soon as possible
  • file an FIR/complaint(name people/be accurate). You can write your complaint in English / Hindi / Gujarati (or your regional language) and have it attached to the FIR
  • approach a higher authority (with full details) if you have problems with your local police
  • in case the police have written the FIR /recorded your statement, you MUST read it carefully before you sign it with the date and time clearly mentioned
  • ensure that the copy is signed with the appropriate seal affixed by the concerned police official/station
  • request a copy of the FIR/complaint for yourself (you MUST get it)

VIII BE VIGILANT

“Eternal vigilance is the price of liberty ! – Wendell Phillips

Remember that police/official interrogations in a police station and/ or our institution, must normally take place only during working hours, on working days. Police/Government officials should normally·NOT visit officially any institutions which house women between 1800 hrs to 0900 hrs.

  • DO NOT GIVE ANY INFORMATION to people who approach you, who do not have an official identity and a written authorization (signed and sealed) or if it is NOT within their PURVIEW
  • check who the APPROPRIATE AUTHORITY is…..some officials demand information even when it does not come under their purview
  • study carefully the official/actual RULE/ACT/LAW
  • request full particulars of the person concerned (name, designation, address, email id, telephone/mobile nos)
  • LISTEN to what is being asked – NEVER be in a hurry to ANSWER ORALLY
  • request that the questions are written and a signed copy is provided to you
  • in normal circumstances, DO NOT PROVIDE any official information IMMEDIATELY
  • tell the person concerned that you MAY provide the information after some days
  • no one has the right to inspect any of our registers/documents/records/premises unless there is a written warrant from a Magistrate / Court to do so
  • meanwhile, contact a higher authority/ nodal agency for further steps and before providing any information
  • remember that very often, those who seek information come to you on the dictate of individuals/groups who are hostile/inimical to us and our institutions
  • a community/institution must have only ONE spokesperson(preferably someone conversant in the vernacular)
  • study the law/be legally literate
  • take legal counsel/be in touch with human rights lawyers. Buy legal booklets published by the Indian Social Institute, 10 Institutional Area, Lodi Road, New Delhi – 110 003. These booklets have been translated into Gujarati by Ashadeep, Vallabh Vidyanagar, Anand Dt. 388 120
  • contact a JESA institution in your area if you need some help. JESA Gujarat groups are: HDRC (Ahmedabad), SXSSS (Ahmedabad), Sangath (Modasa), LAHRC (Songadh), RSSS (Rajpipla), Navsarjan (Surat), Ashadeep (Vidyanagar), Nyay Darshan (Vadodara)
  • circulate/popularize relevant books/documents/films by other agencies (there is no need to re-invent the wheel)

IX COMMUNICATE

  • learn to be communicative
  • share with others what is happening/ has happened
  • develop good Public Relations / Perception Management skills
  • join and use social networks like facebook, twitter, whatsapp, email groups
  • have your OWN blog with a social content
  • befriend the media: give them your point of view; let them highlight the good works done by/through your institution. Keep a data bank of media personnel (with mobile numbers, email ids etc)
  • contact immediately (phone/fax/email) any focal point that could take up your problem
  • send to an appropriate authority/us COMPLETE and AUTHENTIC
  • DETAILS (FIR copies, press clippings, photos, audio/video tapes)
  • QUICKLY (pay someone to carry them…. hire a vehicle) BUT DO NOT DELAY!
  • send a written complaint by Registered Post/Courier /Fax /email to the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) at:

National Human Rights Commission,

Manav Adhikar Bhawan, 

Block-C, GPO Complex, INA, New Delhi – 110023

Tel. No. (011) 24651330 Fax No.(011) 24651329 email: covdnhrc@nic.in / ionhrc@nic.in

Website: www.nhrc.nic.in

Telegraphic address: HUMANRIGHTS

and / or to the

National Commission for Minorities (NCM) at :

National Commission for Minorities,

5th Floor, Lok Nayak Bhavan,

Khan Market, New Delhi 110 003

Tel. No. (011) 24615583

Fax No. (011) 24693302, 24642645, 24698410

(Toll free Number 1800-110-088)

email: ro-ncm@nic.in <www.ncm.nic.in>

  •  depending upon the issue / the victims, you can also send your complaint to one of the other appropriate National Commissions like Women / Tribal / SC / Children, etc

Christian Leaders meet Shri Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, Government of India, New Delhi

arun-jaitley n churchA delegation consisting of Catholic, Protestant and Evangelical Church leaders had a meeting with the Finance Minister of the Country, Shri Arun Jaitley on 23rd May, 2014 at his residence and it is lasted for one and half hours. The finance minister apprised the leaders about the various steps taken by the Government for the safety and protection of the Christian Community. He stated that neither the BJP nor its government support attacks against the Christian community.
 The Christian leaders also raised the following concerns of the community with Mr. Arun Jaitely: The status of the SIT probe on Church attacks in Delhi as well as different parts of the country, irresponsible and provocative statements made by leaders of BJP, fringe elements and Sangh Parivar, the issue of anti-conversion laws, Government stand on granting Schedule Caste status to Dalit Christians, proposal to have a Christian Memorial in Delhi and unwarranted interference of Government through Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on Christian Orphanages.
The meeting was a confidence building measure by the Government with Christian community. He also promised to designate a nodal point within the cabinet to address the concerns of the Community.  The discussion was cordial and positive. We hope that Government will pursue the measures it has promised.
Samuel Jayakumar
Executive Secretary,
Commission on Policy, Governance and Public Witness, NCCI

Appeal for upholding secular and pluralistic credentials of India. PCI Memorandum

On Wednesday April 22, 2015 a group of Church Leaders (Presbyterian Church of India, Catholics & a few others) met Mr. Amit Shah, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) National President, and submitted their respective memoranda.

The PCI memorandum contained three points, viz. (1) for PM Modi to state in Parliament what he stated at the Syro-Malabar Church meeting; (2) for the Government not to enact a law banning religious conversion; (3) for not bringing a law to ban cow slaughter.

Please see below the Presbyterian Church of India (PCI) memorandum submitted to Mr. Amit Shah, National President of Bharatiya Janata Party.


PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH OF INDIA
SHILLONG ::: MEGHALAYA

 
22 April, 2015.

Mr. Amit Shah,
National President,
Bharatiya Janata Party,
Camp: Shillong.

Subject: Request for upholding secular and pluralistic credentials of India.

Sir,

Welcome to North East India! Welcome to Shillong!
First of all, thank you for this opportunity to meet you on your maiden visit to the North East and to Shillong, the Scotland of the East which is also the national headquarters of the Presbyterian Church of India which population is 1.4 million and established 174 years ago with the first congregation being Nongsawlia Presbyterian Church at Sohra (Cherrapunjee), the famed tourist destination of Meghalaya with its cascading waterfalls, world renowned caves and from where one can have a panoramic view of the plains of Bangladesh.

As stated above, the Christian mission came here way back in the earlier part of the 19th Century bringing with it, holistic development to the indigenous peoples through education which includes giving scripts for written language and you might be pleasantly surprised to learn that the first missionary, viz. (L) Rev. Thomas Jones I, from Wales is honoured and acknowledged as the father of the Khasi alphabet as well, health service through setting up of hospitals, rural health centres and mobile dispensaries. Alongside, they tried to inculcate a sense of industriousness in the people through farming, horticulture, cottage industries including smelting of iron which are still in vogue today near Shillong, mining, etc.

It can be mentioned that the indigenous peoples of the North East are what they are today, in terms of progress and development are due to the efforts of the erstwhile Christian missionaries from the West who spared no effort to empower the peoples though infrequently, they had faced opposition from the British rulers but which fact, has been conveniently brushed under the carpet.
In an independent and free India with democratic governance and enshrining the principles of fraternity, equality and justice in the Constitution as also stating in its Preamble that India is a secular nation with respect to all adherents of varied religious persuasions and provided with a number of Articles in the Constitution, as Christians, we have been feeling safe and secure to practice and follow the precepts and tenets of our faith-teachings though we are a microscopic minority in the whole of India.
We have also been responding to issues of national needs and solidarity in times of crises, viz. wars, famine, natural calamities and even take up the issue of peace making when conflicts arise between communities and ethnic groups in the region.
As our Christian teachings and conscience dictate, we are still continuing with our mission to the have-nots, the marginalized, the vulnerable so that they will have equal space and opportunity with human dignity as well enjoy sustainable development and sustainable livelihood. Unfortunately, such endeavours have been misconstrued and misinterpreted with a lot of misinformation and disinformation. The negative outcome of such misdemeanour, the whole of India has heard, seen and witnessed through attacks on churches and their institutions, intimidating Christian priests and nuns to change nomenclature of their designations as per their respective religious order, rape and so called ‘ghar wapsi’ events.
It is not necessary for us to relate to you all such matters for you would know better than us and we are fortunate that such unwanted events have not taken place in the North East though racial profiling of the people from the region was quite prevalent in the National Capital Region (NCR) and in Bengaluru.
Through you Sir, we would like for the Union Government to take the following initiatives and proactive action.
1. For Honourable Prime Minister to make Statement in Parliament on upholding and maintaining secular credentials and religious plurality to co-exist as usual without threat and curtailment:
That what the Honourable Prime Minister had stated at the meeting of the Syro-Malabar Church in February, 2015, should be stated in Parliament which has reconvened on 20 April, 2015. Then only would we be assured that the present Government upholds secular credentials of the nation and that religious minorities and their institutions and personnel will not be intimidated, threatened, coerced including putting a stop to malicious misinformation and disinformation campaigns against them.
2. That Government should not contemplate bringing an anti-conversion law:
It is learned that the Union Government is contemplated bringing a law to ban conversion or change of one’s faith/religion to another. We hope that this is only a rumour. However, should the matter is on the anvil, then we would urge upon the government to bring such into law in the country for it very much goes against the basic rights for one to follow and adhere to a religious of his/her choice without any force, intimidation and threat, even to change.
Religious faith is a personal matter and cannot be based on generational legacy through birth alone. One has the freedom to take another path opposite from that trailed by his/her parents and earlier generations, based on his convictions and understanding of truth, even to the extent of not accepting the fact that God exists.
If such a law is enacted then it implies that one is not allowed to be released from the confines of his/her caste and other oppressive structures as per dictates of his/her religious teaching.
It also contradicts with the changes taking place, viz. (a) one changes his/her political affiliation and ideology to what he/she thinks is more service oriented and people centric, etc., (b) does not necessarily vote for the same candidate and/party in each and every election and, (c) seeks up gradation of his/her social and economic status.
When these are allowed and encouraged, what is the logic in banning one from changing his/her religious belief?
3. That Government should not bring a national law to ban killing and export of cattle:
We do not want to enter into a debate on the pros and cons on banning of cow slaughter enforced in Haryana and Maharashtra though plenty of analysis have been done on its economic fallout. However, such unilateral banning is an encroachment on the rights of those whose religious belief does not dictate non-eating of beef or pork or any other meats. People have every right to make their own choice on what they eat and what they do not want to eat either from religious or health perspective as also from one’s personal choice.
Such actions by States and possible action by the Centre is taking a religious majoritarian approach and defeats the very spirit of the Constitution enshrined in the Freedom Rights under Arts. 19, 21, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30. Instead, if killing of cows, etc. is offensive to persons adhering to one particular religious persuasion, there must be designated places for such acts, and specific markets for commercial transactions.
We hope that you, the BJP National President, the Honourable Prime Minister and the whole Government will consider these fervent requests placed before you this evening for and behalf of upholding the secular credentials of our nation, India.
Thank you for your time and patience.
Yours sincerely,
 
For and on behalf of members of the Presbyterian Church of India,
Rev. W. C. Khongwir
Treasurer 
Rev. D. T. Lhouvum
Sr. Administrative Secretary

Rev. V. L. Luaia Hranleh
Administrative Secretary

Rev. G. S. Lyttan
Administrative Secretary

Rev. D. S. Sohkhlet
Member, Working Committee and
Sr. Executive Secretary, KJP Synod Sepngi

Rev. H. L. Marsing
Member, Working Committee and
Sr. Executive Secretary, Ri Bhoi P. Synod

Rev. C. Syiem
Member, Working Committee and
Sr. Executive Secretary, KJP Synod Mihngi

Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit
Member, Peace & Justice Committee

 

(Source: Sent in by Rev. Dr. P. B. M. Basaiawmoit)

North West India Council of Churches elects its new leadership

DSC_0184 (Small)To promote grass-roots ecumenism, the Regional Christian Councils need to be strengthened locally. A vibrant Christian Council is the need of the hour for Church unity in India.  North West India Council of Churches (NWICC), in the last six months had various meeting to revitalize the regional council.  The adhoc -committee called for the ordinary Council meeting, which was held on 15th April, 2015 at Mar Thoma Centre, New Delhi.
The Council was well represented by the member Churches, Christian Institutions and ecumenical bodies. The devotion was led by Bishop Collin Theodore on “Mystery of Resurrection” and stressed that Resurrection should be experienced every day by believing in the ‘Risen God’.

Diaconal Church in a Radically Changing India.

Chennai Affirmation

We, the participants of the National Consultation on ‘Diakonal Church in the Radically Changing India’, held at Chennai on the 23rd and 24th February 2015 jointly organized by the Church of South India Synod and Christian Institute for the Study of Religion and Society hereby declare that…

The ‘Diakonal Church’ is the one that is sensitive to the concerns of poor, oppressed and socially, traditionally and historically excluded communities.  It is to prepare a Table for ‘all’ to join the ‘koinonia‘ of the resurrected Christ’s community without any discrimination by affirming everyone’s dignity, respect, identities and  differences.

The motto of ‘Diaconal Church’ is to serve but not to be served (Mark 10: 45). It facilitates the Christian faith communities to embark on a journey to serve the earth communities leaving the comfort zone to take up a ‘kenotic’ and servant leadership. It is to bear a public witness politically in the presence of resurrected Christ and to re-embark on a journey of accompaniment with the struggling communities for fullness of life and livelihood.

This ‘diakonia‘ demands not only the ‘service’ but also preparation of the space to create communities of equals and dignity as described in Nazareth manifesto (Luke 4: 61-21). It is to explain the vision of God and symbolize the ‘reign of god’ with the values of Love, Justice and Peace by prophetically healing, restoring and reconciling the societies of conflicts and disparities towards fullness of all lives.

Context

We realize that, the ‘mantra’ of Economic Globalization and Developmental paradigm of the States change the whole world to be  ‘flat’ through communicating and consolidating the capital accumulations of wealth through trans-national corporatism, extractive industrialization and ecological exploitation and victimization of the earth communities by uprooting of habitats from their traditionally living and culturally rooted environments.

These ‘flattening’ policies and principals of the ‘Economic Globalization’ are creating the tailor-made ‘flat’ societies and communities by  inculcating the values such as ‘consumerism’, ‘privatization’ , ‘individualism’, ‘competition’ and ‘inequality’.

We observe that,  in the context of radically changing Indian contexts, the  ‘majoritarianism’, rise of  ‘right-wing ideological fundamentalism’ and hate campaigns are creating panic and insecurity among the ‘minority communities’, ‘economically poor’ and ‘religiously and culturally excluded’, such as Dalits, Adivasis, Tribals, Women and Children. They turn the communities to be against one another with hate and hostility.

In this context of crisis, the churches as called and committed faith communities are to be prophetic and mandated to work ‘on’ equality and ‘for’ equality. The 2010 Edinburgh declaration calls the churches of our times to re-look and review our vision, theologies and ministries from the growing influence of ‘prosperity theologies’, ‘individualistic eschatology’, upholding caste and patriarchy, and becoming the mammon worshipers.

We affirm that…

  • The Diakonal Church as a prophetic community, is called to ensure respect, dignity and life of the earth communities including the human communities through the appropriate interventions and encounters with the oppressive attitudes of the  ‘Powerful, Dominant Empires and States’ by engaging in ‘diakonia’.

  • The Diakonal Church is a conscious servant ‘of’ and ‘to’  all by prophetically engaging and encountering conformity with the Powers
  • The Diakonal Church is called to promote and prorogate the liberative and transformative Gospel values of Love, Justice and Peace in combating the exclusivism,  fundamentalism and economy based prosperity gospel and theology

We Confess that…

  • the ‘diakonia’ today is mainly dependent on funded projects and serving from comfortable zones
  •      the Indian Church today is panicked and suffocated  by the ‘minority phobia’ with  exclusive demands of ‘minority Rights rather than working towards promoting, defending and affirming the fundamental rights of every individual
  • the churches today are mostly crawling with the exclusive and prosperity theologies rather than having faiths on ‘theology of fullness of life and Economy of Life’.

   the diakonal expressions were initially founded to serve the poor and the excluded communities but now it meets the expectations of the elites and rich involving in commercialization and comodifaction of knowledge  through our Institutions

  • the Churches today are strategically made silent by the law enforcement of States while it is supposed to be prophetically accompany the journeys with the victims.

We are committed to…

  • charting a discourse on vision, mission and diakonal expressions of the churches today in  terms of Kerigma,  Metanoia  and Koinonia as embedded in the Scripture.

    envisioning a world with fuller humanity and fullness of life by enabling truth and  reconciliation with the entire earth communities towards Just-peace

    ensure the ‘transparency, accountability and responsibility in all our structures and institutions and launch a campaign for ‘transparent India’

  • listening stories of the ‘diakonia’ of neighbors of other faiths  to encompass the diakonia ‘of’ all and diakonia ‘for’ all

We call upon all the churches and ecumenical movements:

  • to draw  a creative and relevant, radical and prophetic ‘diakonia’ for today
  • to strategically plan and execute ‘prophetic ‘diakonia’ by facilitating the local congregations  for public witness

    to be united in combating the hate campaigns such as ‘Ghar Wapsi’ constitutionally and politically.

Proposed Activities

  • Net-working with the churches, Christian Institutions and Ecumenical Movements to         promote a relevant ‘diakonal Church’

      Initiate the process of organizing conversation with the church leaders and ecumenical   bodies at the regional level enhancing the capacities of the laity and clergy engage in the  ‘prophetic-dia’konia’ towards transformative mission in the Socio Economic and Political   Context of  India

  • Initiating process to develop, articulate and promote a new context specific and relevant ‘diakonia’ for all
  • Facilitating the theological fraternities and local congregations to move from the prosperity theology to ‘economy of life’ and to move from charity to solidarity and accompaniment

  • Promoting the holistic vision of theology of life as a pilgrimage of justice and peace

An appeal from CCBI: Uphold Rule of Law, Peace and Harmony

The Conference of Catholic Bishops in India (CCBI), during their 27th Plenary session in Bangalore from February 3 – 9, 2015, represented by 140 Bishops from around the country, expressed their anguish and concern over the attacks on Christians, Churches and Christian institutions.

Here is their appeal to uphold the rule of law, peace and harmony.

We, the 140 Bishops from across the country attending the 27th Plenary Assembly of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of India (CCBI) during February 3–9 in Bangalore, hereby express our deep anguish and concern over increasing threats to peace and communal harmony in the wake of various untoward incidents affecting the Christian community in different parts of the country.

Hardly a day has passed off in recent months without reports of attacks on Christians, Churches and Christian institutions from across the nation. Churches have been torched even in the national capital while reports of ‘Ghar Waspsi’ and blatant threats to hold mass reconversions are causing anxiety to the Christians scattered in the far corners of the nation.

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