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State Government in India Removes Christianity and Islam from School Curriculum



India – According to Asia News, the state government of Karnataka, led by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), has proposed to drop chapters regarding Islam and Christianity from the social science textbooks for grades 1 to 10.

State authorities cut the 2020-21 syllabus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. These cuts included chapters on India’s Constitution, Islam, and Christianity, various media outlets reported.

Historically, students studied these topics in grade 9. However, reports noted that grade 9 teachers were asked to avoid these topics since they already studied in grade 6.

“To do away with lessons on Islam and Christianity from the school syllabus may keep students ignorant of the positive values of these religions,” Archbishop Peter Machado of Bangalore told AsiaNews. “But also infuse them with feelings of indifference, distrust, and hostility.”

“I hope the syllabus committee will undo the damage and restore the lessons on Islam and Christianity in the school standards as before, for a complete holistic education of the child.” Archbishop Machado added.

After complaints, Suresh Kumar, Minister of the State’s Department of Public Instruction, released a statement on Thursday, July 30, saying, “The decision to drop certain chapters has been put on hold. A review will be done following which the deleted chapters will be uploaded to the website.”


Fr. Stan Swamy was jailed for 100 days



Jailed human rights activist Stan Swamy wrote to his acquaintances, expressing gratitude for the solidarity shown by people, to mark 100 days of him being in custody. “At times, news of such solidarity has given me immense strength and courage, especially when the only thing certain in prison is uncertainty,” he wrote in a letter. “Life here is on a day-to-day basis.”

Swamy, 83, sent the letter on January 22 to a few of his friends, supporters and the non-government body National Confederation of Human Rights Organisations, according to The Telegraph. The content of the letter was shared on the Twitter handle of Social Justice and Ecology Secretariat.

The activist, who was arrested on October 8, in connection to the Bhima Koregaon case, further wrote that the other accused in the matter were not allowed to meet, despite being lodged in the same prison.

“…We 16 co-accused have not been able to meet each other, despite being in the same jail,” he said. “But we will still sing in chorus. A caged bird can still sing.”

In November too, Swamy had written a letter, describing his life in jail. Back then, he had said that he was allowed to meet other activists Varavara Rao, Vernon Gonsalves and Arun Ferreira, who were also in custody at the Taloja Central Jail near Mumbai.

The National Investigation Agency arrested Swamy last year and alleged that he was a member of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist), and was involved in a conspiracy to instigate caste violence in the Bhima Koregaon village near Pune in 2018. He has been in judicial custody since October 9.

In November, people outraged after it emerged that the NIA had told a court that it would not be able to provide a sipper and straw to Swamy, which he needed to drink water as he suffered from Parkinson’s disease. The NIA later provided him with the sipper and straw and refused that they had denied it.

Last month, the NIA opposed Swamy’s bail plea, submitting to the court that it had sufficient evidence to prove that he was involved in “deep-rooted conspiracy” to fuel the Bhima Koregaon incident. It alleged that Swamy was also directly involved in the Maoists’ movement.

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Pastor in India Arrested Over Inflammatory Video from 2013



India – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), police in India’s Andhra Pradesh state have arrested a Christian pastor of allegedly making derogatory videos about Hindu deities.

On January 12, Pastor Preveen Chakravarthy was arrested for his alleged involvement in a video where he admitted he had kicked images of Hindu gods. Local Christians claim the arrest is part of a larger plan to spread hatred against Christians in the state.

“There are some fanatic groups who are trying to create hatred among different faiths by dividing people in the name of caste, creed, and religion and trying to push their propaganda,” Pastor Joseph Benjamin Gootam to UCAN. “There is a trend in the state where vested interest people are even targeting the chief minister, accusing him of favoring minority groups, especially Christians since he is himself a Christian.”

“I’m very surprised about the arrest of Pastor Chakravarthy as the case is very old,” Pastor Gootam continued. “We are sure that some people may have complained to the police recently. We have full faith in the judiciary and hope the pastor will come clean in the investigation.”

According to local pastors, the video over which Pastor Chakravarthy was arrested is from 2013. Pastor Chakravarthy has admitted the voice on the video is his.

Police claim the Pastor’s statement in the video violated Section 153-A of the Penal Code. Section 153-A criminalizes vilifications or attacks on the religion, race, place of birth, residence, and language of any particular group.

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ഗ്രീന്‍ കാര്‍ഡിനുള്ള കാത്തിരിപ്പ് കുറയും, പ്രതീക്ഷയോടെ ഇന്ത്യക്കാര്‍

വാഷിങ്ടന്‍ ഡിസി: കുടിയേറ്റ വ്യവസ്ഥകള്‍ കാലോചിതമായി പരിഷ്കരിക്കാനുള്ള തീരുമാനങ്ങളുമായി പ്രസിഡന്റ് ജോ ബൈഡന്‍. യുഎസില്‍ സ്ഥിരതാമസത്തിനുള്ള ഗ്രീന്‍ കാര്‍ഡിനു വേണ്ടി കാത്തിരിപ്പുകാലം കുറയ്ക്കാന്‍ നിര്‍ദേശങ്ങള്‍ ബില്ലിലുണ്ട്. ഗ്രീന്‍...