2. 'CORRUPTION IS THE ENEMY OF DEVELOPMENT AND GOOD GOVERNANCE': Rashtrapati Pratibha Patil flagged corruption as a major hurdle to good governance and called for a serious approach to increasing transparency in her address to the nation on Jan 25 evening. Her remarks come at a time when the government battles allegations of corruption that led to a complete washout of Parliament's winter session.
Speaking on the eve of Republic Day, Patil said, "Corruption is the enemy of development and of good governance.''
She said, "Instead of getting lost in this mire, it is necessary to rise above it and seriously look at bringing systemic changes to deal more effectively with corruption. Financial institutions, the corporate world and civil society -- all must uphold high standards of probity in their working. Only a genuine partnership between the government and its people can bring about a positive change to create a just society.''
Rashtrapatiji also underlined the significance of Parliament working and asked political parties to work out their differences.
3. BHARAT AGAINST CORRUPTION: On Martyrs’ Day, the death anniversary of the Father of the Nation Mahatma Gandhi, thousands of people from all age groups poured into Ramlila Maidan, Delhi to demand an anti-graft law, showing banners that proclaimed ‘Corruption: Enough is enough’ and ‘Common people are raped in government offices’. The protestors from there later marched to Jantar Mantar to register their protest. Former Indian Police Service officer Kiran Bedi, social activist Swami Agnivesh, noted lawyers Ram Jethmalani, Prashant Bhushan and his father Shanti Bhushan, Information Commissioner Shailesh Gandhi, Medha Patkar, Prabhat Kumar and NAC member Harsh Mander were joined by priests from the Chhattarpur temple, Muslim leaders, the Archbishop of Delhi, retired Army personnel, the sector 18 Noida traders union, students from Delhi University, Jawaharlal Nehru University and even a business college were part of the rally holding placards to register their protest. The march was part of the 'Bharat against Corruption' movement being build up by social organizations demanding passage of the Lokpal Bill in the budget session of Parliament with important amendments.
Guided by Magsaysay Award winner and RTI pioneer Arvind Kejariwal, thousands of protestors tore copies of the CVC Act, the Delhi Police Special Powers Act that governs CBI and the draft Lokpal bill proposed by the government. Kejariwal patiently explained to the crowd how the present laws flatter to deceive and, therefore, ought to be replaced. The entire exercise saw enthusiastic participation by various social and religious groups like the 'Art of Living' group of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, Swami Ramdev's Bharat Swabhiman Trust, organizations like Jagrut Nagrik Manch, Jago Party, Lok Satta, NGOs involved in RTI-related activities such as Parivartan, ABYSA and many other religious, social and human rights organizations also. Muslim leaders like Mahmood Madani, Mufti Shamoon Qasmi and Maulana Syed Kalbe Rizvi emphasized the need to deal strongly with the corrupt and joined the march.
4. BHARATIYA DIASPORA CELEBRATES R-DAY WITH FERVOUR, GAIETY: Unfurling of the national tricolour, cultural programmes and festivities marked the 61st Republic Day celebrations by the Bharatiya community all over the world with patriotic fervour and enthusiasm. The Bharatiya High Commission in the Pakistani capital celebrated the Republic Day on January 26, with High Commissioner Sharat Sabharwal hoisting the national tricolour at an official function. Sabharwal read out Rashtrapati Pratibha Patil's address to the nation.
In China, the Republic Day was celebrated at the Bharatiya Embassy in Beijing and the Consulate in Shanghai. Bharatiya Ambassador to China, S Jaishankar hoisted the national flag at the embassy premises in Beijing and read out Rashtrapati’s address to the nation. A number of Bharatiyas attended the ceremony.
In Singapore, students from Bharatiya schools joined the High Commissioner T C A Raghavan and the local Bharatiya community in celebrating the Republic Day. The students sang patriotic songs after Raghavan read out Rashtrapati's message to the country.
5. RSS NATIONAL AWARENESS CAMPAIGN ON ADYODHYA, KASHMIR AND FALSELY IMPLICATING HINDUS ON TERROR: Is the government going to surrender to a handful of separatist elements from Valley under pressure of external powers? In the light of the judgement of Allahabad High Court on Ayodhya, should the government now act to fulfill the wishes of Hindus to see a grand Sri Ram Temple at the birth place of Bhagwan Sri Ram? Is the government trying to divert the attention of the people from these and other burning issues before the nation by selective leakage to media on some terrorism cases and also by maligning the Hindus by linking them to terrorist activities?
These are the questions that the RSS swayamsevaks are raising in a two month long nationwide house-to-house contact campaign. The campaign has already begun in January and will continue till February end. The planning of the campaign is being done by the prant units separately and is being conducted on different dates in all the Prants. It has already been completed in Vidarbha and Paschim Andhra Prants. It is going on in Gujarat. It began in Delhi on January 26 and will continue till February 13.
6. YOUTH FOR NATION: To encourage the youth of Delhi to work for the society and the country, Delhi chapter of Vivekanand Kendra, Kanyakumari held a ‘Vijay hi Vijay’ competition, among the students of IIT, Indraprastha University, Jawahar Lal Nehru University, and various colleges of Delhi University and chose 85 students out of the 700 competitors for a five-day Personality Development Shivir from 21st to 25th January, 2011. The shivirarthis were put in five ganas named after the five Bharatiya missiles Brahmos, Prithvi, Nag, Agni and Akash. The daily routine of the camp was devised to enhance the physical, mental and intellectual capabilities of the participants. Work among the slum-dwellers in the areas of sanitation, hygiene and literacy; games; quizzes; authentic information on various topics of interest to youth; and interaction with those working in defence, media, police etc. were the various activities. areas of work of the shivirarthis. The shivir concluded with addresses by Ajit Doval, Director of the Vivekananda International Foundation; Maninder Singh Bitta, Chairman of the All-India Anti-Terrorist Front (AIATF); and the renowned author Narendra Kohli.
7. NAV CHATANYA SHIVIR: A three day shivir of graduates, post graduates, engineering, medical, MBA, MCA, chartered accountancy, cost accountancy, company secretary students and young professionals was held in Merrut on 28, 29 and 30th January. The shivir attended by more than 2700 youth in the age group 20-35 attracted students from 440 colleges and 103 hostels of 85 places.The valedictory function was addressed by Sarsanghchalak Shri Mohan Bhagwat who appreciated the discipline in the camp comprising more than 50% first time swayamsevaks. Quoting the ancient story of Krishna, Arjun and Satyiki, he said that by playing down various allegations on RSS, the allegations are sure to die of their own.
8. US REMOVES ISRO, DRDO FROM EXPORT CONTROL LIST: The US has removed nine Bharatiya space and defense related companies including those from Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) from its export control ‘Entity List’ in an attempt to expand high technology trade and strategic cooperation with Bharat. The US decision meets a long pending Bharatiya demand and is the first step to implement the export control policy initiative announced by US President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on November 8 last year after their summit talks in New Delhi.
9. FIRST TIBETAN BHARATIYA SAYS THIS COUNTRY CAN PRESERVE HER CULTURE: Namgyal Dolkar was born in district Kangra in Himachal Pradesh. She grew up in Dharamshala and Dehradun and studied in Delhi University’s Kamala Nehru College. Born to Tibetan parents in 1986, Namgyal had been stateless till part of December 2010. She was always identified with a registration certificate that had to be renewed every year. But her determination and a strong desire to be known as a Bharatiya citizen led her to fight a legal battle for more than two years. On December 22, 2010, the Delhi high court acknowledged her as a Bharatiya citizen by birth, awarding her a status she always had but could never claim. The judgement also gave others in the community a hope that they might also cease to be stateless now.
Namgyal is one of few Tibetans aware of their right to be called a Bharatiya. As per the Citizenship (Amendment) Act 1986, anyone born in Bharat after January 26, 1950 and before July 1, 1987 is considered a citizen of Bharat by birth. Luckily for her, she was born on April 13, 1986. The Delhi HC, in its order, asked the regional passport office to process Namgyal’s application again and take a decision within eight weeks.
10. BHARATIYA-AMERICAN APPOINTED TO US NUCLEAR TRADE ADVISORY PANEL: Vijay Sazawal, a well-known atomic industry expert, has been appointed by US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke to the prestigious Civil Nuclear Trade Advisory Committee (CINTAC) to advise him on trade issues facing the key sector.
In the appointment letter to 64-year-old Srinagar-born Sazawal, Locke said that as a CINTAC member he will advise him "on trade issues facing the US civil nuclear industry for use by me and other Department of Commerce officials in our roles as members of the Civil Nuclear Trade Working Group of the Trade Promotion Coordinating Committee." Sazawal, currently Director of Government Programmes of US Enrichment Corporation (USEC) Inc, was involved in Track-2 discussions preceding the completion of the 123 Agreement between Bharat and the US.
11. BHARAT READIES TO MATCH PEOPLE’S LIBERATION ARMY (PLA) FIREPOWER: In an effort to meet the challenge of growing military might of China, the Government has given the nod to some key projects, including creation of a new artillery division, a special forces unit and purchase of three aircrafts for long-range reconnaissance.
The raising of a new artillery division (each division has more than 200 long-range guns) will be completed by the end of 2011 while the special forces unit, also to be raised and trained in the same time span, will aim to perform strategic role behind enemy lines in case of hostility. The three reconnaissance aircraft will be acquired, most probably from Israel, by the National Technical Research Organisation (NTRO).
The nod for these crucial steps came two weeks back, sources said, adding that the artillery division and the special forces unit will work alongside two mountain divisions which were created last year. Each division has 10,000 soldiers and they are specially trained for mountain warfare on the eastern front. The process of equipping them with state-of-the-art equipment was in progress, sources said, adding that the new artillery division would also be equipped with ultra-light howitzers.
12. GADKARI’S ORIENT EXPEDITION HELPS BRIDGE TRUST DEFICIT: Li Changchun, one of the top nine members of the all-powerful standing committee of political bureau of the Communist Party of China (CPC), during a meeting with visiting Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Nitin Gadkari, spoke at length about the 2,500-year-old civilisational links between China and Bharat. The BJP leader said that during his visit to China in 2003, former Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee had visited the historic monastery in Luoyang near Beijing and announced its restoration as a Buddhist temple by the Bharatiya Government. After the restoration was completed, Rashtrapati Pratibha Patil inaugurated it last year. Two Bharatiya monks — Kasyapa Matanga and Dharma Ratna — had travelled all the way from a monastery in Madhya Pradesh to this Buddhist temple in the 3rd century BC, carrying the message of Buddhism.
The Chinese leadership has evinced keen interest in the revival of the Nalanda University, an ancient seat of learning. Gadkari has assured them that the NDA Government in Bihar would certainly cooperate with the Chinese Government in this initiative
13. VHP TO LAUNCH ‘HINDU HELPLINE’: A ‘Hindu Helpline’ offering assistance to Hindus in distress will be launched by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) from April 4, the first day of the Hindu calendar year. Once a call is made to this Pune-based helpline number, volunteers in places concerned will be alerted. From protecting cows to helping Hindus, the helpline promises to reach help in as early as 10 minutes.
14. 60 CONVERT TO HINDUISM: Sixty people, mostly Dalit Christians and Muslims, including children, converted to Hinduism at a ceremony in Tirunelveli on January 23. The ceremony started with lighting of yagnam. The people, who converted to Hinduism were mostly from Palayamkottai, Kokkirakulam, Kurichi in Tirunelveli city and Sankarankoil area. People from Sathankulam and Thisayanvilai in Thoothukudi district also participated in the conversion ceremony, which was organised by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad. VHP state secretary P K Sampath Kumar said: “There was no compulsion, all of them voluntarily converted to Hinduism. The 63 persons, including 18 children, were from 27 families. Seven were Muslim Lebbai while the rest of them were Christians, mostly Dalits. They were second or third generation Christians and Muslims and below 50 years.”
15. HINDUS DEMAND ENQUIRY INTO KICKING OUT OF ROMA FROM POLAND RESTAURANTS: Hindus have demanded enquiry into the reported racist incidents in Poznan (western Poland) in which Roma (Gypsy) were reportedly banned entry into restaurants and pubs.
Hindu statesman Rajan Zed, in a statement in Nevada (USA), said on Jan 28 that it was 2011 and many Poland establishments still reportedly refused entry to Roma. Zed, who is President of Universal Society of Hinduism, stressed that about 15-million Roma were facing apartheid conditions in Europe. It was a sin to watch them suffer day after day since about ninth century CE and not do anything about it.
16. ISRO LAUNCHES NEW VERSION OF GIS, IMAGE PROCESSING SOFTWARE: The Space Application Centre, (SAC) part of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), on Jan 27 launched new version of its indigenous software IGIS for analysis of GIS and image processing data. The version 1.1 of IGIS (integrated GIS and image processing software) was launched by director of SAC, Dr R R Navalgund at a function in Ahemdabad.
"IGIS is a software which is indigenously developed catering to the needs of our own satellite data and is available at a low cost to academic institutions," Navalgund said.
17. QUIZ NIGHT IN NEW ZEALAND: About 40 high school and university students took part in the quiz night event organized by Hindu Youth New Zealand, Wellington chapter. It was a memorable night for all. There were six rounds comprising of Hindu Culture and Heritage, Geography and General Knowledge, Sports, Interactive session, Guess who and a True or False round. The answer ‘Proud’ of one of the questions ‘describe the Hindu culture in one adjective’ by a team of Sushant Balajee, Alex Joe and Kishan Patel won the first prize.
18. BJP FIRM ON JPC PROBE: SUSHMA: Opposition leader in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj on January 31 said that the BJP stood firm on its demand for a probe by a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) into the 2G Spectrum allocation even in the wake of the Shivraj V Patil committee submitting its report to the Government. Talking to mediapersons after a meeting of the Kerala BJP’s core committee in Kochi, she said, “The scenario does not change with the submission of the report. The demand remains.” Stating that NDA leaders would meet on Feb 1 to discuss the panel’s report, the Opposition leader said that the JPC must be constituted.
19. BHARATIYA-ORIGIN WOMAN ENTERS UK TOWN MAYOR RACE: Bharatiya-origin Rita Patel, who migrated to Britain in the 1970s and went on to hold several key positions in the voluntary sector, has entered the race to become Leicester's first elected mayor. Patel, 51, expects to be chosen as the official Labour Party candidate, reports from Leicester said.
20. RASHTRAPATI AWARDS CUSTOMS OFFICER WHO WORKED IN AFRICA: Debi Prasad Dash, an Indian Revenue Service officer who was a member of the UN's Security Council panel of experts to monitor arms embargo in Sudan from 2005, was on Jan 25 named for the Rashtrapati's Award for specially distinguished record of service on the eve of Republic Day.
Dash was appointed as a member of the UN's Security Council panel of experts on Sudan (Darfur) by the then secretary-general Kofi Annan to monitor arms embargo and other sanctions.
Dash visited many African countries including Sudan (Darfur) and Chad to meet various armed groups operating with links to Al Qaeda and other armed groups based in Ethiopia, Eritrea and Somalia, among the most volatile conflict zones of the world, and submitted reports to the UN.
He has also served as consultant of counter-terrorism in the Commonwealth Secretariat, London, and has drafted a counter-terrorism training manual for police officials, well-received by Interpol.
21. CHRISTELLE GOURDINE, a French national of Guadeloupean, a Caribbean island (and of Bharatiya origin), has been fascinated by her Bharatiya roots for many years. Christelle was born in France. Guadeloupe is a group of islands in the Caribbean and is an overseas territory of France. Christelle's parents were part of the 55,000-strong Bharatiya community in Guadeloupe just over 10 percent of the population till they moved to mainland France. Christelle, who works with a major French bank, is currently writing a book to explain the Bharatiya presence in Guadeloupe and to relate their links with Bharat. For her, it was the sound of the drums the dholaks and nagaras being played during festivities in Guadeloupe that triggered her interest and made her aware of her Bharatiya origin.
"I was deeply disappointed when I could not find any links to my ancestors in Bharat despite travelling to so many places. Finally, I went to Varanasi to do a last ritual for my ancestors. But when I took a dip in the Ganga, I had an intensely emotional moment. It changed the way I felt. I decided to write a book about my ancestry, my search and the story about Bharatiyas in Guadeloupe. It is a story that deserves to be written so that we know about our heritage," Christelle says.
(After slavery was abolished in French territories in 1848, the French planters in Guadeloupe decided to import workers from Bharat after the good results they had seen in Reunion Island, the French territory in the Indian Ocean. From 1,854 to 1,889, 42,326 Bharatiya workers were taken in 93 ships to Guadeloupe. Return from Guadeloupe was practically impossible. The French authorities felt it was too expensive to ship the workers back and so used various means to prevent their return. Bharatiyas were forced to give up their culture, tradition, language as well as their religion. Many resisted and tried to maintain their rituals and traditions in secret.) – From a report by IANS and The New Indian Express, January 21, 2011.
SHRI VISHWA NIKETAN: Pravas: Dr. Shankar Tatwawadi, samyojak Vishwa Vibhag will be in Bharat on Feb 15 from UK and will visit Nepal from Feb 18-20.
Visitors: Ramlal ji & others from Myanmar.
FOOD FOR THOUGHT: How long a Shakha has been functioning in a certain village of extension is definitely of importance; but a far more important consideration is the extent to which the presence of the Shakha has constributed to the promotion of social cohesion, cooperation, self-reliance and overall harmony in society. This indeed is the measure of the success of its functioning. Society should be able to see and feel the transformation resulting from the motivation and samskars imparted to individuals by the Sangh Shakha. – Yadavarao Joshi, First Saha-Sarkaryavah and first Ahikhl Bharatiya Seva Pramukh, R.S.S.
JAI SHREE RAM
THE STATE AND THE NATIONJammu & Kashmir is strategically located on the border of Pakistan. One-third of the state's territory is under Pakistani occupation. Kashmir is part of Pakistan's unfinished agenda since the partition of Bharat. Pakistan, after initially snatching away a part of our territory, has consistently attempted to internationalise the issue. Its initial strategy of conventional war to occupy larger territory has failed. Bharat's military strength was superior. For two decades Pakistan resorted to proxy war through cross-border terrorism. The world started frowning upon terror tactics. Bharat gained strength both in intelligence and security operations to crush terror. Pakistan's strategy did not work beyond a point. Through separatists in Kashmir it is now resorting to a strategy of stone-pelting while arguing that it is a peaceful protest. Violence has always been the separatists' strategy. It invites police and security action. In clashes that follow, many innocents suffer. This results in curfews, hartals and disruption of normal life. Homes are searched and human dignity is compromised. Separatists feel, by adopting this strategy, they can create a wedge between the people and the Bharatiya state. In a peaceful Kashmir, separatist leaders are reduced to becoming Friday speakers. In a stormy Kashmir they become mass leaders. Violence and disruption of life suits them, not the Bharatiya state.
How did we reach this stage? Three historical mistakes were committed by our government immediately after independence. Firstly, when a natural migration after the partition was taking place, the then government did not allow resettlement of any refugee in J&K. Refugees who migrated from the PoK region have not been accorded the status of state subject till today. Secondly, Nehru's insistence on ascertaining the wishes of the people - a principle not adopted anywhere else in the country - resulted in the plebiscite resolution, the UN's resolution and the internationalisation of the issue. Thirdly, grant of special status prevented J&K's economic development. It created a psychological barrier between the state and the rest of Bharat. The state's political merger was complete with the signing of the instrument of accession. Accession to Bharatiya law, however, was incomplete because of Article 370. The six-decade journey of separate status has not been towards fuller integration but towards separatism. Separate status created a faint hope of azadi in the minds of some. It prevented investments in the state. Even with its huge human resource potential and natural beauty, the state could never realise its economic potential. It did not gain from economic development in the last two decades. Pakistan has aided separatists and terrorists. Violence, terrorism coupled with security actions harassed the Bharatiya state and the people of J&K. The faint hope of azadi at times culminated in a realisable reality in the minds of separatists. None amongst Kashmir's people has considered whether azadi is realistically possible. Azadi's political content and the prospect of an 'azad' state's survival have never been seriously analysed. It was an idea of protest against Bharat.
If separate status gave birth to this faint hope of azadi, mainstream parties, by advocating autonomy, pre-1953 status, self-rule and dual currency, aided and abetted this. Under our constitutional scheme, J&K enjoys more executive and legislative powers than any other state in Bharat. The Centre's jurisdiction is confined to security, defence, currency, foreign affairs, telecommunication and the jurisdiction of the Supreme Court and Election Commission. None of the above-mentioned jurisdictions can ever be transferred to the state. J&K's current problems are due to the environment being created by separatists, terrorists and our western neighbour. The problems may be economic, employment-centric or those of regional imbalances. None has anything to do with inadequacy of power being vested in the state legislature or state government. The whole object of some political parties is to weaken the political and constitutional relationship between the state and the nation. Special status already started this, with a relationship of modest strength. Autonomy, self-rule and azadi are all intended to weaken this relationship even more. It is for this reason symbols of Bharat's national identity are objected to by the votaries of separatism. There was an objection to the army's presence in the state. Army cantonments are objected to. If yatris visit the Amarnath shrine, grant of land for basic toilet or lodging amenities was objected to. If a national political party endeavours to fly the national flag at a prominent market place in the state capital, it is considered provocative. The tragedy of J&K is that the Nehruvian policy of this loose political and constitutional relationship between the state and the Centre was flawed. Votaries of this policy never accepted its disastrous consequences. They wish to further pursue it to loosen the relationship. Hence the present dichotomy. If somebody advocates segregation of the state from the Bharatiya nation, it is free speech; if you fly the national flag, you will be arrested for breach of peace. It is time governments and policy makers realise the consequences of what they have pursued for over six decades. Unquestionably to eliminate separatism we need to have the people of J&K on our side. Our policy has to be people-friendly, but not separatist-friendly. The state needs peace, prosperity, jobs and security. It does not need moves which strengthen the separatist psyche. Regrettably, the move to consider the unfurling of the national flag by the BJP youth wing representatives in the Valley as a possible breach of peace was psychological surrender to the psyche of the separatists. --The writer is a BJP MP and leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha. – Times of India January 31, 2011.
A SHOCKING REVISIONThe Supreme Court should have issued notice to all parties involved in the Graham Staines case before excising portions from its verdict dealing with conversion.
The Supreme Court shocked the Hindu community when on January 25 it succumbed to pressure from Christian activists and modified its January 21 judgement in the Graham Staines murder case, without the filing of a curative petition by any party to the case; without notice to the lawyers of convicted Rabindra Kumar Pal (alias Dara Singh) and Mahendra Hembram; and without reference to representatives of the Hindu community which is the target and victim of Christian conversions in Bharat.
The burning to death of missionary Graham Staines and his two minor sons while they were asleep in their vehicle at Manoharpur village in Odisha’s Keonjhar district on January 22, 1999, was a grim response to missionary provocation in the State. It was a unique crime in modern Bharat, matched only by the burning alive of Malegaon additional district collector Yashwant Sonawane by the oil mafia on January 25.
The Justice DP Wadhwa Commission of Inquiry, which submitted its report on June 21, 1999, found evidence of the sustained missionary activity of Graham Staines in the form of his despatches to the Australian missionary magazine, Tidings, reports of his colleagues, evidence of his wife, and others.
The police arrested anti-cow slaughter activist Dara Singh from Mayurbhanj forest in January 2000 for instigating and planning the crime; he and Mahendra Hembram were found guilty during the trial. Dara Singh’s death penalty was commuted to life imprisonment by the Orissa High Court in May 2005, because he was convicted on circumstantial evidence as none of the eye-witness accounts established his involvement in the crime.
The court noted, “There is absolutely no evidence on record that due to individual act of Dara Singh alone the three deceased persons or any of them died.” It added: “The eye-witnesses never attributed any particular fatal injury, for which Dara Singh can be individually held responsible for the death of the three deceased persons or for the death of any of them.” The High Court upheld life imprisonment for Hembram and acquitted 11 others for lack of evidence. This verdict was upheld by the Supreme Court.
In its original verdict, the Supreme Court had observed, “The intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity. All these aspects have been correctly appreciated by the High Court, which modified the sentence of death into life imprisonment with which we concur.” This was modified as, “More than 12 years have elapsed since the act was committed, we are of the opinion that the life sentence awarded by the High Court need not be enhanced in view of the factual position discussed in the earlier paras.”
Second, the sentence, “It is undisputed that there is no justification for interfering in someone’s belief by way of use of force, provocation, conversion, incitement or upon a flawed premise that one religion is better than the other” (the meaning of the constitutional principle of equality of faiths and non-discrimination in matters of religion) was replaced by: “There is no justification for interfering in someone’s religious belief by any means.”
The Supreme Court’s original assertions came as a balm to the Hindu community that has long been battered by jihad and crusade simultaneously; but were bitterly attacked by Christian activists. In a flurry of denunciations in the secular media, Fr Dominic Emmanuel, chief spokesman of the New Delhi Roman Catholic Archdiocese, said the bench’s statement that “the intention was to teach a lesson to Graham Staines about his religious activities, namely, converting poor tribals to Christianity…” and “…flawed premise that one religion is better than the other” came as “a shock to all those who believe in Bharat’s secular spirit and Constitution”
Former journalist BG Verghese said attenuation of the punishment because of Graham Staines’ converting poor tribals to Christianity was an “appalling statement and should be expunged or reversed by a larger bench”. He condemned anti-conversion laws in some States.
Cardinal Oswald Gracias, president of Bishops Conference of India, Mumbai, said the judgement “seems to justify inter-religious and anti-Christian violence.” The All-India Christian Council, Global Council of Indian Christians and ‘civil society’ activists joined the fray. The latter said, “The Supreme Court ruling may in fact send the wrong signals to courts trying cases of religious violence in Kandhamal, for instance … It also tends to pre-empt possible challenges to the black laws enacted by many States in the guise of Freedom of Religion Bills … We expect the government to ask the Supreme Court to expunge the unnecessary, uncalled for and un-constitutional remarks.”
Perhaps the Union Government did ‘lean on’ the Supreme Court and ensured prompt redressal of Christian ‘grievances’, even at the cost of compromising basic principles of the Constitution and the Fundamental Rights of Bharat’s beleaguered native community, particularly weaker sections like tribals who are continuously preyed upon by the gargantuan international soul-harvesting industry.
Since the plea to enhance Dara Singh’s life sentence to death penalty was made by the Central Bureau of Investigation, it would have been appropriate for the Supreme Court to have issued notices to all parties before amending its own judgement and invited a larger national debate on its ruling that, “Our concept of secularism is that the state will have no religion. The state shall treat all religions and religious groups equally and with equal respect, without, in any manner, interfering in their individual right of religion, faith and worship.”
Today, the Supreme Court has given weightage to a trans-national imperial religion with a history of genocide and forced conversions, leaving no trace of original faith and culture in lands it now dominates. Its inhuman crimes against adherent-victims, manifesting as clergy-related sex abuse scandals in dioceses across the West, leave no fig leaf that its mission is social service, no matter on what pretext it enters vulnerable societies with its soul-gathering agenda.
Conversions always produce social strife and disharmony. Graham Staines’ writings home reflect his awareness of the deep unhappiness he had stirred in the region. The brutal murder of Swami Laxmanananda at Kandhamal in 2008 shows how unsafe Hindu leaders are when fighting conversions; the verdict in this case now worries the Church. Sadly, the Supreme Court has compromised its courage at a very critical hour. –The Pioneer, February 01, 2011.