» 08/06/2012, 00.00
Risen Christ, hope for those suffering in Indian jails
Yesterday the Indian Church celebrated the day dedicated to the Pastoral Care of prisons. The testimony of an activist who spent five years in prison, an innocent man. The government’s tightening on pro human rights movements. Indian priest: a story of hope, reminiscent of "the daily challenge of Christ crucified."
Mumbai (AsiaNews) - Innocent of all charges he spent five years in prison
for his commitment to the marginalized and victims of violence. Because,
he explains, since September 2001, the Indian government has promoted a "security"
policy which also targeted social activism. His
indictment, false, is for having collaborated with and membership of the Maoist
Naxalite movement, but even amid violence and abuse in prison he never lost his
faith and hope, which enabled him to regain freedom. This is the story that
Arun Ferreira, Scripture Scholar and Seminary Professor and Parish Priest yesterday told the parish of St. Peter, in Bandra Mumbai
(Maharashtra), on the occasion of the day - Sunday, August 5 - that the Indian Church
dedicates to the prison ministry. "A story of hope"
for Fr. Errol
Fernandes, which reminds us of "the daily challenge of Christ
crucified" and resurrected.
Ferreira, 39, studied at St. Xavier
College in Mumbai and from a young age was
active in society. In
the period 1992-93 he helped the thousands of Muslim victims of violence at the
hands of Hindu extremists in Babri Masjid. He
later joined the student movement Vidyarthi Pragati Sanghatan, which proposed
to build a democratic and egalitarian Indian society.
the attack on the Twin
Towers on 11 September
2001 caused a radical change in government policies, which began to see popular
movements as a hostile enemy to be vanquished. "The
organizations were banned," said the man, "their ideas listed and
social organizations branded as terrorist." This
is why those who used to bring help to the oppressed in the tribal areas of
countryside were accused of "Maoism" and arrested.
the months before his arrest, many Dalit activists were arrested and
the climate - continued Arun Ferreira - I never thought I too would be targeted
by the government." In
May 2007 he was imprisoned, with general allegations of being a member of the
Naxalite movement. He
suffered violence and abuse, evidence was fabricated against him that led to
his sentencing, but this was not enough. In
September 2010 the court ordered the release of Nagpur, but in a short time he was re-arrested
by plainclothes agents, with generic allegations of violations of the prison
regime during his time behind bars.
January 4, 2012, his release on bail and return to full freedom. Arun
said, he was sustained during his years in prison by "the spiritual help of my parents during
their visits to prison" and "legal assistance" received from
Fernandes, researcher and university professor, told AsiaNews that his story is "a story of hope" for the
support received from family (a "enlarged" family, which includes
friends and colleagues at university). He
never lost the will to fight for justice and truth, earning a master's degree
during his years in prison. His
story, the priest continues, "invites us to go beyond the pain of the
moment, the injustices and errors." Like
Jesus, he teaches us how to carry the cross to earn the final resurrection and
testifies that "we can withstand any challenge or difficulty" because
of faith. (NC)
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