11/19/2011, 00.00
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Secular and Christians demand justice for the nun murdered by the Mafia Coal

by Nirmala Carvalho
All appeals denounce the "shameless" link between the powerful coal companies and the State. Fr. Cedric Prakash, director of the Center for Justice and Peace in Ahmedabad Prashant: "The Martyrdom of Sister Valsa is a challenge for the Church in India." Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC): "The government, led by Hindu extremists, is the real culprit."
Dhumka (AsiaNews) - It is a matter of "national shame" that the "profound link between the powerful coal companies and the state machine has cost the precious life of a woman who was working to ensure the basic rights of the marginalized." Secular and Christian associations condemn the murder of Sister Valsa John, 53, the nun of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary shot dead by a group of 40 men on the night of November 15. A native of Kerala, the nun for 20 years had dedicated her life to the Santal tribal region Dhumka (State of Jharkhand), fighting for their rights and against the expropriation of their land by powerful coal lobby.

"The lobby of the coal mines - said Fr Cedric Prakash, Jesuit director of the Center for Justice and Peace Prashant, Ahmedabad - have become increasingly powerful. Their relationship with police and politicians is shameless. No one has the courage to touch them. The Martyrdom of Sister Valsa is a wake-up call for the entire country and a challenge for the Church in India. Christianity, here, clearly must be lived alongside the poor, the marginalized, the oppressed and exploited. The Church must support them in a practical way in their struggle for a more equitable, just and humane society. Demonstrating a resolute courage, even at the cost of losing privileges. Jesus did just that. " The Jesuit then cites the encyclical of Benedict XVI Caritas in Veritate: "Love - caritas - is an extraordinary force which drives people to commit themselves with courage and generosity in the field of justice and peace. It is a force that has its origin in God, Eternal Love and Absolute Truth. "

Sajan K George, President of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), said: "The GCIC believes the State Government, led by Hindu radicals, is responsible for the brutal murder, and demand a CBI investigation into the murder of Sister Valsa John. "

The National Alliance of People's Movements (NAPM), the National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF) and the National Forum of Forest People and Forest Workers (Nffpfw) signed a joint communique in which they demand an investigation of the likely connections between the murder of Sister Valsa and death threats that she had received from the coal mafia.

"Sister Valsa - reads the statement - Sr. Valsa had been under constant threat from Panem Coal Ltd. and had voiced the same to friends and family. The Superintendent of Police has confirmed that she had filed an FIR three years ago where she reported that she was facing death threats. To defend their rights to the land and its resources, the Santal community has created the Pajad Rajmahal Bachao Andolan with the help of Sister Valsa. Despite the agreement signed in 2006, tensions in the area recently increased, culminating with the murder of the nun. Sister Valsa received constant intimidation from Panem Coal Ltd. The Superintendent of Police confirmed that three years ago, the religious filed a complaint against death threats. But the state never intervened, and has even tried to discredit her figure with the media. "

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