» 04/10/2014, 00.00
Archbishop of Orissa: Today's vote "worries Christians. But we believe in democracy"
In 2008, the area was hit by violent anti-Christian pogroms carried out by radical Hindus. Archbishop John Barwa of Cuttack -Bhubaneshwar, tells AsiaNews: "We hope that the new government will give justice to the victims of the carnage". Today sees the third phase of the general elections, one of the most important.
Mumbai (AsiaNews) -
"Christians in Kandhamal are concerned about who will win this election,
but they believe in democracy and the power of the vote", Msgr. John Barwa,
Archbishop of Cuttack -Bhubaneshwar, Kandhamal district (Orissa) tells AsiaNews.
Today, more than 13 million people will go to vote in 10 districts of Orissa,
in the third stage - nine in total - of the 2014general elections.
Today's round of voting is
considered crucial because it affects 91 constituencies spread out among 14
states. Among them, some of the country's most important Uttar Pradesh ,
Kerala, Maharashtra, Orissa and Delhi, the capital. Uttar Pradesh has the
greatest number of members in the Lok Sabha ("House of the People"),
the lower house of parliament. The Lok Sabha can have a maximum of 552
members; of these, 530 represent the population of the States, 20 the
population of the Territories of the Union, 2 may be appointed by the President
of the country on behalf of the Anglo-Indian community. Each elected member
represents a single geographic constituency.
For 11 years (1998-2009)
Orissa was ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), in alliance with Biju Janata Dal (BJD). It
was under this leadership, that the
most violent anti-Christian pogroms ever to take place in India
occurred in 2008, at the hands of Hindu fundamentalist groups close to the BJP.
"This community - Msgr.
Barwa tells AsiaNews - want a peaceful life, a life of equality and
harmonious coexistence, without anyone disturbing their daily life, work, or
religious practice". For this reason, "we hope that the new
government to give justice to the victims of the carnage of 2008. Justice is
the right of every individual. For the betterment of the state and peoples and
for the progress and development of all peoples, where all people enjoy the
same rights and privileges and freedom and dignity irrespective of majority or
minority community or Faith".
Brother KJ Markose who is also a lawyer
told AsiaNews: "The BJP
will not get any seat in Kandhamal, because the Christian communities appear to
Sajan George, president of the Global Council
of Indian Christians (GCIC ), reveals AsiaNews that "GCIC
prays that the administration will ensure the safety and protection of the Kandhamal people as
they go to cast their ballots today. GCIC prays for an election candidate who
upholds the Constitution of India and Promises to ensure religious freedom for
the vulnerable minority Christian community, our Kandhamal Christian has
suffered inhuman violence, and the
elected representative should ensure and guarantee that this carnage is never
GCIC is seriously concerned about Gender Violence especially for our
vulnerable Christian Dalit and Tribal women of our community. Christians have been particular targets. In
the 2007-2008 attacks, women and girls were targeted for sexual violence,
humiliation, brutal physical assaults and threats.
Hindu nationalists: if we win the elections, we will dialogue with the Christians
The Bharatiya Janata Party pledges that it wants to institute "a permanent inter-faith consultative mechanism" for discussions with Christians, including "the issue of religious conversions." The secretary of the Indian bishops' conference: "I pray they mean what they say."
Raghuvanshi: BJP manipulates Christian candidate for president
PA Sangma, tribal Catholic of Congress Party, states there is"no evidence" to say that the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP, Hindu radical party) is responsible for the anti-Christian pogrom in Kandhamal. According to Lenin Raghuvanshi, human rights activist, the BJP is exploiting the politician to get the tribal votes.
Elections in Kerala: collapse of the Marxists
Congress wins in a stronghold of the left. Fr. Paul Thelakat, spokesman for the Syro-Malabar Church: it’s a vote against those seeking to divide society along class lines. Bjp and Marxists represent the same fundamentalist ideology “contrary to a secular democracy”.
50,000 quit BJP to protest discrimination against minorities
A clear protest against the "ignorance and insults" leveled at minorities by leaders of the nationalist party, the largest in the country.
Signs of peace between Hindus and Christians in Kandhamal thanks to Church
In the village of Bodimunda, Hindu merchants and taxi drivers would refuse Christian customers for fear of penalties. Now Christians are no longer ostracised. In Dodobali, five Christian families were able to rebuild their homes and are now represented on the village council.
Pope Francis tells young people that “genuine love” is not a “soap opera”, but Christians’ real identity card
In his homily for the Jubilee of Teens, Pope Francis asked questions and gave answers to the 70,000 present. Stressing the great ideal of love as giving oneself “without being possessive”, he noted that freedom is “being able to choose the good”. He warned young people “who dare not dream,” telling them that “If you do not dream at your age, you are already ready for retirement”. He also received funds raised for the Ukraine, and appealed for the release of bishops and the priests held in Syria.
Odd alliance between the US and Iranian fundamentalists
Washington is still preventing the use of US dollars in transactions with Iranian banks, preventing business with the outside world in spite of the nuclear deal. This way, the US is helping Khamenei and the Revolutionary Guards, who want to torpedo the agreement in order to maintain their hold on power. Meanwhile, most Iranians hold down two or three jobs just to make ends meet. An unstable and bellicose Iran is a boon for arms sales. A report follows.
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