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Archives for : September2018

Political prisoners start hunger strike today in Yeravda Central Jail

    Today, on 13th September, the martyrdom day of the great revolutionary Jatin Das, who sacrificed his life while on hunger strike for the political rights of the prisoners, 6 political prisoners in Yerwada jail have gone on a one day token hunger strike.
Initially Jatin Das worked in the Congress Seva Dal along side Subhash Chandra Bose. However, later he joined the revolutionary organization Hindustan Socialist Republican Association. He had mastered the craft of making bombs.
The Bombs which were thrown at the assembly hall by Bhagat Singh and Batukeshwar Dutt, with a stand that an explosion was required to make the deaf hear, were prepared by Jatin Das. Thus say the history. The revolutionaries while in Jail went on a hunger strike demanding that revolutionary prisoners should be treated as political prisoners. Jatin Das, who too participated in the hunger strike exhibiting glorious determination, died on the 63rd day of the hunger strike on 13th sept 1929. He was only 25 at the time.
That 13th sept, the martyrdom day of Jatin Das be declared as “Political prisoners’ rights day”, draconian laws like ‘Unlawful Activities Prevention Act’ and Armed Forces special Power Act be abolished, capital punishment be abolished, and political prisoners be given humane treatment are the prime demands of the prisoners.
Those on hunger strike include Adv Surendra Gadling, writer-editor Sudhir Dhawale, Mahesh Raut, Rona Wilson, being tried under the UAPA and Arun Bhelake and K Muralidhar, accused in other cases.
We must understand that when these prisoners are held for certain political ideas and action based on those ideas, they must be recognized as political prisoners. In the pre independence india the revolutionary political prisoners raised a similar demand before the british regime, but it was not fulfilled, and it remains unfulfilled even after 71 years of independence.
Books are as much essential for a thinking political prisoner as food for a human being. Hence, books of Law and a study of Judgements by High court in various cases are necessary for Adv Surendra Gadhling to satisfy his intellectual quest. The administration has obstructed the provision of these books despite clear orders from the session court.
Sudhir Dhawale, who is a writer and an editor, needs books on economics, sociology and Ambedkarite dalit movement in particular.
Mahesh Raut holds a post graduate degree from TATA institute of social science and is a researcher of tribal and forest laws, relevant policies and movements. He needs books about his subject of study.
Intellectual activity is necessary for the human brain to remain active. If the political prisoners are deprived of the reading material they need, it means they are being consciously harrassed.
The jail administration has intentionally been harrassing an intellectual like Surendra Gadling since last 3 months. The administration has shifted him as many as 5 times withing the jail so far, which is clearly a part of the harrassment.
The Jail administration has even refused to provide them the warm clothes. The administration has in clear terms denied provision of anything whatsoever on humane grounds. They are being harassed under the disguise of Law. A similar situation prevails among most political prisoners in other Jails as well.
*◆Demands: ◆*
*●1. Abolish UAPA/AFSPA and all other Draconian laws*
*●2. Abolish Death Penalty*
*●3. Declare and Observe today’s day (13 September) as ‘Political Prisoners Rights Day’.*
*●4. Give humane treatment to all the inmates irrespective of crime allegedly committed and irrespective of caste, class, gender, religion, etc.*

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Girl child marriage rate highest among SC/ST: NCPCR Report



West Bengal has the highest rate of child marriage amongst SC girls, while in Arunachal Pradesh it is highest among Scheduled Tribes. In other castes, Maharashtra has the highest percentage of girl child marriage.

The prevalence of child marriage in India is the highest amongst Scheduled Tribe girls (15 per cent) followed by Scheduled Castes (13 per cent), according to a report released by the National Commission for Protection of Child Rights (NCPCR).

The report which was released on the NCPCR website on Wednesday, is based on a comparative analysis of data on child marriage in the 15-19 age group from the third and fourth rounds of the National Family Health Survey (NHFS) conducted in 2005-2006 and 2015-16. The report has been prepared by Young Lives India, a research centre, in collaboration with the NCPCR.

According to the report, this phenomenon is evident among the top 10 states with the highest prevalence of child marriage.

West Bengal has the highest rate of child marriage amongst SC girls, while in Arunachal Pradesh it is highest among Scheduled Tribes. In other castes, Maharashtra has the highest percentage of girl child marriage.

Furthermore, Bihar, Gujarat and Telangana report very high prevalence of child marriages amongst OBC girls below the age of 18.

However, according to the report, a comparative analysis of child marriage for 15-19 year old girls as reported in NFHS-3 (2005-06) and NFHS-4 (2015-16) reveals that the overall prevalence of child marriage has reduced to a large extent in the last 10 years in a large number of states.

Substantial reduction of child marriage (more than 20 percentage points) is observed in the states of Bihar, Jharkhand, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh in the age group of 15-19.

The findings also reveal that prevalence of girl child marriage in the age-group 15-19 years is significant in rural areas as well as certain states and UTs which have large pockets of child marriage within urban areas such as Haryana, Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra and Manipur.

According to the release, some factors like economic status and women’s educational level are associated with child marriage. It is observed that child marriage is more prevalent amongst women from bottom wealth tercile households.

In 13 states and one UT, more than 40 per cent of the child marriages took place amongst the bottom wealth tercile households.

The findings also show that completion rate of secondary schooling is considerably higher amongst unmarried girls aged 15-19 years in almost all states.

Source : NewsD, Sept 13, 2018

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Open letter to the PM Narendra Modi


Honourable Prime Minister of India Narendra Modiji,

Prime Minister’s Office,

South Block, Raisina Hill,

 New Delhi 110011.

Respected Prime Minister,

We have been given to understand that your good self would be present during an event in Indore organized by the High Priest of Dawoodi Bohra Community Syedna Muffadal Saifuddin Saheb.

We would urge you to reconsider your participation in the event on the following grounds:

1)      India is a secular country and the Prime Minister of the country should refrain from participation in any religious programme of a sectarian group, particularly when the High Priest in question is authoritarian and encroaches on the democratic rights of the members of the community guaranteed by the Constitution of India. Using the threat of social boycott (termed as Baraat within the community), the High Priest dictates what the members of the community must not read, must not express, occupation they must not pursue and issues edicts as to whom they should vote for. Those who do not follow his diktats are socially ostracised. Your presence Mr. Prime Minister would encourage the High Priest, make him appear more powerful. It will convey a wrong message that the Prime Minister supports such practices.

2)      The High Priest forcibly administers oath of allegiance to him called Misaaq when member of the community is 12 or 13 years old. This oath of allegiance is charter of slavery and worst through which the follower pledges that the High Priest is the owner of the all the properties, body, mind and soul of every Bohra. The member giving the oath pledges that s/he would physically attack and loot the property of any person whom he is commanded to by the High Priest. The practice of social boycott and the text of the oath of allegiance are well documented in the Nathwani Commission Report. We are attaching a copy of the report for your kind perusal. Your presence in the programme will convey that you support such charters of slavery which are against the Constitutional morality.

3)      The High Priest asks male members of the community to treat their women family members as their chattels. He discourages educating women in the family and from earning their livelihood. He has issued instructions that all girl children in the community should undergo Female Genital Mutilation when they are seven years old, a practice strongly discouraged by UN and international bodies and at times even harmful to the mental and physical health of the female child. All these practices go against your Governments programme of “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”. Your presence alongside the High Priest will convey contrary signals to “Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao”.

4)      There is a dispute between two claimants for the post of High Priest after the sad demise of the 52nd incumbent who occupied the post – Syedna Mohammad Burhanuddin. Besides Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, the other claimant is Syedna Taher Fakhruddin. The matter is sub-judice and pending before the Bombay High Court. Your participation in the High Priests’ event would covey a wrong signal that the Prime Minister of the Country indirectly recognizes one claimant for the post over the other. The state should keep its distance from both the claimants to the post.

5)      The High Priest, it is well known, is a school dropout. He has been made Chancellor of Aligarh Muslim University. One fails to understand on what qualification, criteria and basis a school dropout can be appointed as Chancellor of such an eminent Central University.

On consideration of all the above grounds, we urge you not to participate in any event organized by the High Priest of Dawoodi Bohra Community.

Yours sincerely,


Irfan Engineer

Central Board of Dawoodi Bohra Community

Call:  +91-22-26149668  | Fax: +91-22-6100712

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Suspend agreements with India until Human Rights activists are released: MEP to European Commission


Nine Members of the European Parliament sent today the attached letter to the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Ms. Federica MOGHERINI, regarding the raids on homes and arbitrary arrest of nine human and democratic rights activists across India on August 28 (2018).

With this letter MEPs Lídia Senra, Ángela Vallina, Paloma López, Merja Killonen, Ana Gomes, Clara Aguilera, Ciprian Tănăsescu, Claude Moraes and Julie Ward urge for the cancellation of all the agreements with the Indian government until the human rights activists are released and the hunt against the Adivasi peoples, Dalits, religious minorities population and Kashmir, Manipuri people is stopped.

They also demand the immediate release of Prof. GN Saibaba, Susan Abraham, Varavara Rao, Father Stan Swamy, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Advocate Surendra Gadling, Prof Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawle, Rona Wilson, Mahesh Raut and all human rights defenders in India.

MEP Letter to European Commission

High Representative of the European Union for Foreing Affairs and Security Policy

We, the undersigned Members of the European Parliament, condemn the raids on homes and arbitrary arrest of nine human and democratic rights activists across India, on August 28, 2018.

Amongst the people raided are Anand Teltumbde, Stan Swamy, Kranti Teluka and Prof K Satyanarayana. But the raids also included Arun Ferreira, Sudha Bharadwaj, Varavara Rao, Gautam Navlakha and Vernon Gonsalves, all five are now under arrest charged under one of the most draconian law: the UAPA, Unlawful Activity Prevention Act.

This is one of the most barbaric laws, copied from the colonial law book, which allows an indefinite detention (arrest) of any citizen the Government suspects of having an intent to commit a crime against the State.

These raids and arrests are the follow up of the arbitrary arrests, a few months ago, of Sudhir Dhawale, Adv Surendra Gadling, Prof Shoma Sen, Mahesh Raut and Rona Wilson. These five are lawyers, journalists and human rights activists who have been implicated in totally fabricated charges of organizing the violence in Bhima Koregaon at the beginning of this year.

The Indian Government adds these most recent raids and arrests to the continuous and relentless repression on the democratic voice and aspirations of the Indian. This amounts to a very serious attack on the already crumbling state of democracy in India. Regarding the words of Aakar Patel, Executive Director Amnesty International India: ʹThese arrests are a matter of grave concern. Surendra Gadling, Rona Wilson, Sudhir Dhawale, Shoma Sen and Mahesh Raut have a history of working to protect the rights of some of Indiaʹs most marginalized people.

Their arrests raise disturbing questions about whether they are being targeted for their activism. Anyone arrested for legitimately exercising their right to freedom of expression must be released immediately and unconditionally.ʹ During the current European Parliament term, two written questions have been addressed to the European Commission regarding one of the most painful cases: the situation of the Indian teacher GN Saibaba. He has a 90% physical disability, aggravated in recent months with acute pancreatitis, and it was recommended the removal of his gallbladder.

Because of this, this life imprisonment sentence is actually a death sentence for this professor, who has done nothing but defend the rights of the Adivasis and Dalits people with words, as well as denounce the counterinsurgency strategy ʹOpera on Green Huntʹ. On June 26, United Nations human rights experts urged the government of India to release the teacher for health reasons and to ensure immediate access to medical care, including appropriate treatment and rehabilitation: ʹWe would like to remind India that any denial of reasonable accommodation for people with disabilities in detention is not only discriminatory but may well amount to ill-treatment or even torture. In particular, solitary confinement should be prohibited when the conditions of prisoners with disabilities would be made worse by this measure.ʹ

The answers given by you on behalf of the European Commission were the following:
ʹThe EU has been closely following cases of human rights defenders arrested in India, including the cases of professor Saibaba, accused of having links with Naxal militants, and of Ms. Arundathi Roy, accused of contempt of court for her article defending the cause of Professor Saibaba.
The EU Delegation in New Delhi has made appeals on humanitarian grounds with the National Human Rights Commission. The EU attaches great importance to the issues at stake, most importantly to the freedom of expression, the right to a fair trial and the rights of human rights defenders. These issues are also addressed at the EU-India human rights dialogue.ʹ ʹThe EU continues to follow the case of professor Saibaba convicted by sessions court in Gadchiroli district of Maharashtra in March 2017. As Professor Saibaba lodged an appeal against the verdict with the Nagpur High Court, the case is still sub judice. The EU has been raising the case on humanitarian grounds with the Indian authorities.ʹ How can the European Commission have contacts and agreements with a Government that defends that there are first and second class humans, indiscriminately kills the Adivasis, Dalits and religious minoritiesʹ population and imprisons human rights activists? We urge for the cancellation of all the agreements with the Indian government until the human rights activists are released and the hunt against the Adivasi peoples, Dalits, religious minorities population and Kashmir, Manipuri people is stopped.

We also demand the immediate release of Prof. GN Saibaba, Susan Abraham, Varavara Rao, Father Stan Swamy, Anand Teltumbde, Gautam Navlakha, Vernon Gonsalves, Arun Ferreira and Advocate Surendra Gadling, Prof Shoma Sen, Sudhir Dhawle, Rona Wilson Mahesh Raut and all human rights defenders in India.

Sincerely yours,
MEP María Lídia Senra
MEP Ángela Vallina
MEP Paloma López
MEP Julie Ward
MEP Merja Killonen
MEP Ana Gomes
MEP Clara Aguilera
MEP Ciprian Tănăsescu
MEP Claude Moraes

Keywords : Federica MOGHERINI, European Parliament, Human Activists, Arrests, Varavararao, Pune Police
(2018-09-13 02:45:54)

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India – The first lynching- Mohammad Akhlaq

Three years after the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq, there is no remorse in his village. There is a sense of menace.

Mohammad Akhlaq, Dadri lynching, cow violence, Mohammad Akhlaq death, nationalism, cow slaughter, India news, Bisara cow slaughter, Indian Express

Three years after the murder of Mohammad Akhlaq, there is no remorse in his village. There is a sense of menace. (Illustration: CR Sasikumar)Last week, I went to the village of Bishada. On September 28, it will be three years since Mohammad Akhlaq was lynched here by cow vigilantes. My reason for going to Bishada was to see if there was remorse, regret or sadness about what happened. The lynching forced out of the village its only Muslim family. It had been their home for more than 70 years. The road to Bishada is paved and goes past the sprawling compound of the state-owned NTPC power company.

Bishada is so urbanised that it is almost a small town. As soon as I entered the village, I started asking where I could find the house of Mohammad Akhlaq. I asked shopkeepers and passersby and whoever I asked responded with hostile silence or pretended they had no idea who I was talking about. Finally, I met a man who told me that I should drive to the other end of the village and ask there. Was he in the village on the night that Akhlaq was dragged out of his home and beaten to death? “Yes. But, this is a big village and what happened was very far from my house so I didn’t see anything.”

Before I could ask more questions, he scuttled off. I drove through the village then got out of my car and wandered about cramped, smelly streets for several minutes before finding a group of men sitting on rope beds in a doorway that led to a large courtyard. They greeted me politely, until I mentioned Akhlaq’s name. Then, a sullen silence descended before one of them said the family had gone away so there was no need to come here to ask about them. I asked if people were sad that the only Muslim family in the village had been driven away. After another sullen silence, someone said, “Too much was made of what happened because there was an anti-Hindu Samajwadi Partygovernment and because the media made such a drama about it.”

A man was dragged out of his home late at night and beaten to death, I said, and his young son beaten very badly, so to ignore what happened was not easy. At this point, a man who said his name was Rishipal said, “Look it was my father who brought the family here 70 years ago and gave them land to settle here because we needed an ironsmith. But, as the only Muslim family, they should have respected Hindu sentiments and Akhlaq should not have killed that calf.”

Did anyone see him do it, I asked, and a chorus of voices rose to declare that “the children” had seen him trying to dispose of the calf’s head and this had incensed them. One of the men in the group said one of these “children” was his brother’s son and he had spent two years in jail along with 18 other youths from the village. “It was very wrong what happened to them because there was a mob of 2,000 people that night so nobody knows who killed him. My nephew was not even there.”

If there had not been an anti-Hindu government in Uttar Pradesh, they said, then these youths would not have gone to jail at all. Besides, did I not think it was wrong for Akhlaq to have killed the calf? I said that I had no proof that he had and this caused a minor uproar in the gathering. “What are you saying? They found 10 kilos of meat in his fridge. Is that not proof?” I said it was hard to imagine that much meat fitting even into a very large fridge and this made them very angry.

Rishipal intervened to calm tempers and explained why there was no remorse for what happened to Akhlaq. “He had become an Islamic fanatic,” he said, “do you know that he has an aunt (masi) in Pakistan and that it was after he started visiting her that he began to change. He started talking like a jihadi. He would not answer us when we greeted him with Ram, Ram. He used to talk about Islam all the time and forgot that it hurts Hindu sentiments when cows are killed.”

So, he was killed because he killed a cow? This question made them suspicious and a chorus of denials went up. Nobody was saying that anyone from the village killed him, they said, nobody knew who killed him because the mob was so large. In any case, he did not die in the village he died in hospital some days later. No, the next day. “If the and the f. SP government had not made such a big thing out of it there would have been no problem. Why do you people keep asking about him? He has gone. And his family doesn’t live here any more.”

To reduce tensions I changed the subject and asked if the village was happy with the Yogi government. This evoked a flood of accolades. The village now had electricity for 20 hours a day, even in the rainy season, and every home had a gas cylinder and a water tank was being built so that every home would get water supplied to it directly. And Yogi had done a remarkable thing by killing more than 4,000 criminals.

It was only after talking for a while about the “parivartan” and “vikas” that had come, they said, only because Narendra Modi was prime minister and Yogi chief minister did I raise the subject of Akhlaq again. I asked if someone could direct me to his house. I was directed to a narrow alley in which two brightly coloured metal doors led to homes that belonged to Akhlaq and his brother. The doors looked as if they had not been opened in a very long while.

Human rights groups estimate that more than 97 per cent of killings by cow vigilantes have happened since 2014. Senior leaders of the BJP boast about how there have been no major riots since Modi became prime minister. Maybe not. But, the lynchings have made too many ordinary Hindus believe that it is open season on Muslims and have created in ordinary Muslims a sense of being second-class citizens in their own country. A peculiar menace hangs in the air

The first lynching

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India – A September of Protests

Ushering in a winter of protests

 NEW DELHI: In the words of M.K. Gandhi, “Silence becomes cowardice when the occasion demands speaking out the whole truth and acting accordingly.” During the past week India has seen several protests in Delhi which have challenged the central government’s coercive policies and actions. The growing protests demonstrate anger, dissatisfaction among working-peasantry class, women, political cadres and rights activists.

Th economy took over on September 10 with the Congress, Left and other Opposition parties calling for a Bharat Bandh against rising fuel prices and devaluation of the Indian rupee in the international market. The bandh had an impact across the country, including the northeast with Itanagar and other state capitals reporting the closure of commercial establishments, schools and other institutions.

Many political parties like the Janata Dal (Secular), the Samajwadi Party, the Dravida Munnetra Kazhagam, the Rashtriya Janata Dal and the Maharashtra Navanirman Sena backed the nationwide bandh. The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP), Trinamool Congress (TMC) and the Biju Janta Dal (BJD) extended support.

The TMC said it supported raising the issues that had led the opposition parties to call the Bharat Bandh on September 10, but that the West Bengal government would take all measures to maintain public utility services on Monday as it opposed a shutdown. The BJD said that although it was against the fuel price hike, it would not support the bandh. AAP took a similar stand in Delhi.

In a separate statement the Left parties – the Communist Party of India (Marxist), the Communist Party of India, the Communist Party of India (Marxist-Leninist)-Liberation, the Socialist Unity Centre of India (Communist) and the Revolutionary Socialist Party – hit out against crony capitalism and the failure of government to control price rise.

Delhi was home to huge protests, each registering mass participation from states across India. Thousands of women from at least 23 states marched in Delhi on September 5 to the slogan, “Haat me kaam do, kaam ka pura dam do” (Give us work now, and pay for it in full). This was followed by a march by almost one lakh workers and farmers on Parliament Street, in the heart of the national capital.


CPI(M) leader from Tripura Sankar Prasad Dutta told The Citizen that this was just the beginning. “We are going to organise more intensive protests and make people aware about shortcomings and wrong doings of Modi government,” he said.

Rachit Seth, a social media activist contributing independently to the online campaign of the Congress party was categorical. The bandh, he said, will be organising “more intensive protests especially in the BJP governed states of Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh and Madhya Pradesh. Our major demands would be to bring the petroleum prices under the ambit of GST and reduce the price by Rs10 to 15.”


(Image: AIDWA online)

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Delhi HC discovers #Aadhaar is not a proof of identity, recognises threat to individual and national security

HC shaken by Aadhaar tests leading to thefts

Abhinav Garg | TNN |

NEW DELHI: A “major loophole” that allowed misuse of Aadhaar authentication system to access LIC policies has been identified by Delhi high court as a cause of grave concern.

On Wednesday, a bench of Chief Justice Rajendra Menon and Justice V K Rao started a PIL on the issue, seeking the stand of the Centre, Delhi Police’s Cyber Cell, UIDAI, and others to swiftly plug the loophole.
The bench decided to go ahead with the PIL after a single judge first flagged the breach, where unsuspecting mobile customers were lured into giving their thumb impression on bio-metric machine repeatedly to generate fresh SIM cards. The mobile connections were then used to allegedly siphon off money from LIC policies.

Last week, Justice Sanjeev Sachdeva had referred the matter to be treated as one of public importance while noting that “this loophole can not only have disastrous consequences for the said individual, but also raises serious law and order issues.”
Justice Sachdeva came across the misuse of Aadhaar authentication while hearing a bail plea of a shopkeeper selling mobile phones and SIM cards. He had managed to distribute several connections on a single Aadhaar verification of customers. As per the police, accused Manish Bansal, also did Aadhaar verification and linkage with the SIM cards where the customer had to submit his documents and get the bio-metric scan done. On the pretext that the scan was not satisfactory, he would ask the customer to undergo second round of scan. This time, he would use his details to issue fresh connection, but distribute it to others for fraudulent purposes.

An alarmed court noted that “the modus operandi that has surfaced in this case highlights a major loophole in the system, where fresh mobile connections could be issued in the name of an unwary customer, without his knowledge and consent.”
The single judge decided to highlight the issue to the Chief Justice after the police informed him that there have been other similar cases of Aadhaar bio-metric misuse and lodged a case in Vasant Kunj police station last year.

The judge underlined that “this issue needs to be examined by the home ministry, ministry of electronics and information technology, Unique Identification Authority of India, Cyber Cell under the supervision of the special commissioner of police and the telecom companies.”

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Pope Francis Summons World’s Bishops to Meet on Sexual Abuse

Pope Francis at his weekly general audience at St. Peter’s Square on Wednesday.CreditCreditAlessandra Tarantino/Associated Press

By Jason Horowitz and Laurie Goodstein

VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis summoned bishops from around the world to Rome for an unprecedented meeting focused on protecting minors. The order on Wednesday comes as the pope wrestles with a global clerical sexual abuse crisis and explosive accusations of a cover-up that have shaken his papacy and the entire Roman Catholic Church.

The extraordinary meeting marks the first time that presidents of bishops’ conferences worldwide have been summoned for a meeting on a specific topic — more than 100 will be there — and the choice of topic was telling. Just last month, the Vatican’s former ambassador in the United States accused the pope of willfully ignoring a history of sexual misconduct by an American cardinal.

After three decades of denial, the Vatican is being forced to treat the sex abuse problem as a global crisis, and not the failing of a particular country or culture.

News of the pope’s summons came as a study commissioned by the church in Germany revealed the abuse of thousands of children by more than a thousand clergymen there for decades. The study was due to be published later this month, but was leaked.

“We are aware of the extent of the sexual abuse that is supported by the results of the study,” said Stephan Ackermann, the bishop of Trier. “It is depressing and shameful.”

When the scandal first surfaced in the United States in the mid-1980s, Vatican officials called it an American phenomenon, church historians say. When it spread to Canada, Ireland, England and Australia, they framed it as a problem of the church in the English-speaking countries.

Then, when the scandal erupted in Germany, Belgium, France and Austria around 2010 during the papacy of Benedict XVI, the Vatican termed it a problem of the developed world, born of sexual libertinism.

Now, with cases of priests sexually abusing children emerging in Chile and the Philippines, the Vatican may finally be adopting an international approach.

“The subject has to be tackled globally,” said Marie Collins, an Irish survivor of abuse who resigned in frustration in 2017 from a Vatican commission on protecting minors created by Francis. “There are bishops in parts of the world who don’t even accept that abuse could happen in their dioceses.”

Ms. Collins said she welcomed news of a global meeting of bishops, but only if it produces concrete actions, and not just more talk.

The pope called on the bishops’ conference presidents to gather from Feb. 21 to Feb. 24, the Vatican said.

“It’s a crucial decision by the pope because the conferences play a crucial role in implementing all the prevention measures to protect against sexual abuse in the church,” said Prof. Ernesto Caffo, a member of the pope’s Commission for the Protection of Minors.

Professor Caffo said the conference would focus on training bishops to spot abuse, hold one another accountable and to intervene. They will also be taught to listen to victims.

The guidelines, he said, would be aimed at protecting not just children but also vulnerable adults, including the handicapped and seminarians.

The conference, Professor Caffo said, would also include “a plan of action that is common in Asia or in the United States or Europe.”

For now, the church in the United States has some of the strictest standards, adopted in 2002 after the Boston scandal. They include mandatory reporting of sexual abuse allegations to civil authorities and a “zero tolerance” policy that is supposed to remove abusive priests permanently from ministry.


The Vatican commission on child sex abuse produced guidelines for safeguarding children, Ms. Collins said. B ut the Vatican’s doctrinal office — the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith — refused to disseminate it to bishops’ conferences around the world.

The pope’s summons, which caught many here by surprise, was part of a flurry of activity around the crisis. On Thursday, the pope is to meet at the Vatican with a group of leading bishops from the United States who are seeking an investigation into why one of their most prominent colleagues was allowed to ascend to a top position in the American church, despite allegations that he had sexually abused seminarians.

Reports of misconduct by that prelate, Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, D.C., led to his resignation as cardinal.

The pope’s summons to the bishops to gather was part of a flurry of activity around the church’s sexual abuse crisis.CreditTiziana Fabi/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

His successor in Washington, Cardinal Donald Wuerl, revealed on Tuesday that he planned to talk in Rome with Francis “in the very near future” about the possibility of the pope accepting the resignation that he tendered three years ago, as required, upon turning 75. Cardinal Wuerl, formerly the archbishop of Pittsburgh, has faced withering criticism since the release last month of a grand jury report saying that more than 1,000 children had been victimized over decades in Pennsylvania, and that church leaders had covered it up.

The McCarrick case continues to shake the church. In August, a bombshell letter by the former Vatican ambassador to the United States, Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, accused Francis of lifting sanctions against then-Cardinal McCarrick that had been put in place by Francis’ predecessor, Benedict.

Since Archbishop Viganò published his letter and called for Francis’ resignation, reports have cast doubt on whether Benedict formally penalized Cardinal McCarrick, and have suggested that the Vatican had known about the American’s practice of inviting seminarians into his bed since 2000.

Neither Francis nor Benedict, who is retired, have responded to the letter, which has opened up an ideological war inside the Vatican.

But on Tuesday, Francis suggested in an homily during his morning Mass that the accusations against him and others in the Viganò letters were the devil’s work.

“In these times, it seems like the ‘Great Accuser’ has been unchained and has it in for bishops,” he said. “True, we are all sinners, we bishops. He tries to uncover the sins, so they are visible in order to scandalize the people.”

Among the American church leaders scheduled to meet the pope on Thursday to discuss the matter are Cardinal Daniel N. DiNardo and Archbishop Jose Gomez, the president and vice president of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops; and Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston, Francis’ leading adviser on the sexual abuse issue.

Professor Caffo said that the Protection of Minors Commission and Cardinal O’Malley, its leader, had agreed upon the need for the conference and that Cardinal O’Malley had proposed it on Tuesday, telling them the Holy See needed “to give more energy to this process.”

“Cardinal O’Malley is very happy about this,” Professor Caffo said.

Many survivors of abuse, and people who campaign on their behalf, have lamented that the letters and the power struggles they have uncorked in the Vatican have eclipsed the central issue of protecting children from abuse within the church. The meetings Francis has called for February are intended to put the issue front and center again.

For decades, abuse festered in the church.

It was not until 2002 that the sexual abuse crisis came into open view, and the Vatican was forced to acknowledge a problem that has threatened its credibility around the world. Under Pope John Paul II, Benedict served as the prefect for the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith and personally read many of the files about clerical abuse. As pope, he cracked down on hundreds of priests.

There were high hopes after the election of Francis in 2013 that he would tackle the abuse problem systemically, and hold accountable bishops who covered it up. And at first, abuse survivors were encouraged when Francis appeared to act on a proposal by his special commission on sexual abuse to create a tribunal to discipline bishops who covered it up. But when it met resistance in the Vatican, the pope dispensed with it.

The pope later issued an edict, titled “As a Loving Mother,” saying that the Vatican already had all the offices necessary to investigate and discipline negligent bishops, and that it would do so. This enraged abuse survivors on the commission.

Last month, on a flight from Dublin to Rome, Francis addressed the criticism over his lack of a universal response — or special tribunal — for bishops.

“We saw this wasn’t practical and it also wasn’t convenient for the different cultures of the bishops that had to be judged,” he said. For now, he said, “a bishop is judged by a tribunal, but it isn’t always the same tribunal, as it is not possible.”

Professor Caffo stressed that it was critical to get the endorsement of the bishops’ conferences on how to prevent abuse. A single approach can have far different consequences in different countries. In some, reporting allegations to the civil authorities may be a death sentence for priests.

“Every country and area has a very different situation,” Professor Caffo said.

Professor Caffo said he was optimistic that the conference would be a critical step in transforming talk into “concrete action.”

Another member of the Vatican’s child-protection commission, the Rev. Hans Zollner, president of the Center for Child Protection of the Pontifical Gregorian University, said that in the last two years, he had heard far fewer bishops dismissing sexual abuse as an American or European problem.

Father Zollner said that when he spoke about the issue on Wednesday to about 120 new bishops from Africa, Asia and Latin America, one asked him what to do when a fellow bishop does not cooperate with civil authorities, or is not following church law.

Father Zollner said he hoped the global meeting in February would address this very question.

Some remained skeptical.

Peter Isely, an abuse survivor from Milwaukee and a founding member of the group Ending Clerical Abuse, said there seemed to be “two Francises,” one who expresses deep sorrow and urgency about the issue, and the one who does nothing, or worse. He said that the years of delay on the issue had to end.

“They better deliver in February,” Mr. Isely said.

Follow Jason Horowitz on Twitter: @jasondhorowitz.

Jason Horowitz reported from Vatican City, and Laurie Goodstein from New York. Melissa Eddy contributed reporting from Berlin.

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Invitation- Samvidhan Samman Yatra , Oct 2- Dec 10, 2018 , 26 states from Dandi to Delhi

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM)
(In solidarity with groups and struggles across the country)

Samvidhan Samman Yatra

For Democracy, Secularism, Diversity, Equity and Justice

Against Hate, Inequality, Violence and Loot of Resources

Nation-wide Yatra from Dandi to Delhi | 2nd October – 10th December 2018

National Call to Join & Lend Solidarity


People of any democracy are called upon to assert themselves once in a while. That assertion has to be more active than mere voting at elections. It has to ensure that the core values that we all cherish, those that the generations that fought for our freedom gave us through our Constitution are protected and nurtured to make the various pillars of democracy accountable to We The People. Over the past 72 years, our democracy, based on our Constitution, has survived numerous elections as well as social, economic and political upheavals and has managed to sustain to this day, despite being besieged with umpteen challenges. However, the last four years of political journey and churning in this country has in numerous and fundamental ways shaken the ethos and fabric, which many of us probably took for granted as secure.

In order to invisiblize its draconian, corporate-friendly, anti-people economic and political policy and to drown out popular awareness, questioning and resistance to the burning issues, the present Government and its ‘Parivar’ have used slogans, statements, diversion, obfuscation, brute force, troll armies, lynch-mobs etc. to misguide, dis-empower, attack, arrest, loot and even kill people, in particular muslims and dalits, repress farmers, workers, women, students and other sections, silence & jail (also shoot) academia, activists, writers, thinkers and anyone who dares question. All this, even as multi-crore scams kept surfacing, multi-millionaires keep fleecing and fleeing the country under the nose of the Govt and thousands of crores of loans waived off for large corporates. Every Day Has Thus Been and Become an Undeclared Emergency ! The blood and bruises of our people in Mandsaur, Toothukoodi and elsewhere is fresh in our minds ! It is indeed a time of alarming fascist onslaught with lawlessness and impunity!

The agricultural distress and suffering of working classes is so over-whelming, the injustice against dalits and adivasis so gruesome, violence and mob-lynchings of muslims so ubiquitous, the crackdown from primary education to universities and students so brazen, privatization of health, education, assault on reason and dissent and complete neglect and sell out of social sector, the persecution of women and transgender persons so atrocious, the big promises about jobs and black money so hollow, the supposedly big-bang attempts such as demonetisation and GST so upstartish and the attempts at destroying the pillars of democracy, our Constitution, our basic values and social fabric so systematic that, in spite of a pliant, sold out media and pressurised judiciary, the tide had to turn, and it has already started turning. The Vibrant Gujarat Model has Utterly Failed. It is now increasingly becoming clear that neither bribe nor bullet nor bullet train can silence people for too long or prevent the harsh reality from expressing itself. The challenge before all sane and sensible people and groups of this country is to be able to cohesively forge a spirit of coming together, fight for alternatives in a concerted manner to the destructive, divisive and distorted regime ruling us, ruining us.

We have been witness to foul politics at play, bending democratic electoral processes and violation of constitutional norms in states of Uttarakhand, Manipur, Meghalaya, Delhi and Goa; subversion and hijacking of judicial processes, misuse of the investigating agencies and systematically eroding the credibility and legitimacy of every autonomous institutions in the country, even as every institution, every space is sought to be communalized. The once reliable public banking system is no more bankable, they have been looted of crores of rupees by white collar criminals who are now safely out of the country and are leading a life of luxury in foreign countries. The textbooks, syllabus and the plural history is being re-written to build a vicious Hindutva narrative and the seeds of lies, disbelief, disdain and enmity are being sowed. The progressive and people-oriented laws, enacted after decades of struggles by people’s movements whether on land, forests, environment, labour, right to information, anti-corruption, etc. are being amended in a concerted manner to facilitate corporate loot, plunder of community resources and promote crony capitalism. The government is becoming the biggest violator of the parliamentary and constitutional democracy today and usurping the power, space of local governance bodies as well as smaller parties.

We are standing at crossroads and passing through a critical juncture in India’s history and have a historical responsibility to save and salvage the ethos of this country, to fulfil the dreams of social, economic and political justice that Dr. Baba Saheb Ambedkar envisioned. There is an overwhelming urgency to come together, beyond diversity of perspectives, to safeguard the constitutional values and principles of humanity, based on social justice, liberty, equality, fraternity, scientific and rational thinking in the social psyche to deal with all these political, economic, social, cultural challenges. The need of the hour is to create understanding and tolerance in society, by peaceful, democratic and constitutional means. It is equally vital to aim for economic equity, social parity, environmental protection, sustainable development, establishment of people’s rights over access of resources and annihilation of caste and patriarchy.

It is with this urgency and spirit that National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM) has, after numerous discussions, planned to embark on a Samvidhan Samman Yatra – a nationwide tour to restore and protect the core values of our Constitution and democracy, at a time when there is an all-out attack on the Constitution, people’s rights, livelihoods, environment and the spirit of diversity in the country, even as massive scams, resource loot and dilution of laws are taking place and farmers, workers, students, employees, women, dalits, adivasis, muslims all are on the streets asserting their rights, spaces and freedoms.

The Yatra shall commence on 2nd October, 2018 from Dandi, Gujarat the place where Gandhi led his famous salt march in 1930. It will travel through various States in the country holding meetings, discussions, public events, supporting struggles, sharing grief of victims of the violence and hate and spreading message of plurality, love, peace and social justice. The Yatra shall culminate by a Jan Sansad in Delhi on 10th December, 2018, the International Human Rights Day. Representatives of peoples’ movements, prominent activists, thinkers, academics, cultural activists, students and others will participate in the Yatra. We invite other comrades, sathis, movements, institutions, organisations and forums to come along with us and endorse the yatra. Everybody who subscribes to the core values of the Yatra are welcome to participate either for the full period of the Yatra as well partially. The Full Yatra route is enclosed.

The Yatra would be undertaken in the following phases:

· Phase-I: From 2nd October to 15th October 2018 – Gujarat, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Vidarbha – Gadchiroli & Chhattisgarh

· Phase-II: 20th October to 5th November, 2018 – Maharashtra, Goa, Karnataka, Kerala, Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh & Telangana

· Phase-III: 11th November to 10th December 2018 – Jharkhand, Odisha, West Bengal, North Eastern states, Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Uttarakhand, Himachal Pradesh, Punjab, Haryana & Delhi.

Kashmir Phase: Proposed to be undertaken between Phase-I and Phase-II

We urge you to join the Yatra and contribute your utmost towards this effort, whether in terms of your time, skills, energy, resources, contacts etc and be a part of the Yatra-related preparations and the Yatra over the next few months.

You can help in one or more of the following ways:

Endorsing the yatra on behalf of your organization / network.
Reaching out to other groups etc and spreading the message.
Joining the yatra partly or fully and volunteering during yatra.
Offering to organise programmes in your area.
Volunteer to help in planning, coordination and logistical support.
Volunteer in dissemination of materials and publicizing the yatra.
Sending us notes, photos etc. of the struggles in your area, so that we can include it our state-wise notes.
Raising resources and providing financial contributions for the yatra. Get in touch with us to know how you can extend support. See contact details at the end.
Assisting with basic research, compilation and documentation on a cross-section of issues, making posters, banners, typing and translation, media and communication, using multiple forms of new and creative media to convey powerfully the spirit of the Constitution in simple yet catchy ways.

Please do let us know at the earliest if you would like to be part of the Yatra and its preparations and can volunteer with us.

It would be great if you could mention the time that you could give and in what form/s would you like to contribute. Come, let’s work together to save the letter and spirit of our Constitution




National Alliance of People’s Movements

(in solidarity with groups and struggles across the country)


Samvidhan Samman Yatra

For Democracy, Secularism, Diversity, Equity and Justice


Against Hate, Inequality, Violence and Loot of Resources


Nation-wide Yatra from Dandi to Delhi | 2nd October  – 10th December, 2018


Tentative Yatra Schedule / Route

Phase I – 02nd October – 15th October, 2018 – 14 days

From To State / Place No. of Days






Dandi, Bharuch, Vadodara
Dholera, Bhavnagar, Mithi Virdi
Sanand, Ahmedabad…






…Jaipur, Alwar
Ajmer, Bhilwara
Udaipur, Pratapgarh…






Madhya Pradesh  



Mandsaur, Ratlam,Badnavar, Dhar, Kukshi,  Badwani,
Century Mills, Pithampur, Mhow, Bijalpur, Indore
Jabalpur, Chtuka, Seoni, Chaurai, Dhanora
12-10-2018 12-10-2018 Nagpur – Gadchiroli – Vidarbh Region 1
Nagpur / Gadchiroli









…Rajnandgaon [Big public meeting], Dalli-Rajhara,
Bhilai [Programme in Evening], Raipur [Hall sabha and PC],


Tentative: Separate Team for Jammu and Kashmir between Phase I and Phase II.

Phase II – 20st October to 05th November, 2018 – 17 days

From To State / Place No. of Days












Starting from either August Kranti Maidan or Diksha Bhumi
…[Palghar, Thane, Mahad] Mumbai, Raigarh,
Pune, Satara,
Kolhapur, Sawantwadi… / Konkan
23-10-2018 23-10-2018 Goa

Western Ghats, mining and other issues



24-10-2018 26-10-2018 Karnataka  




…Dharwad/  Bijapur
Coastal belt of Karnataka / Mangalore /Uttara Kannada – communalism and developmental concerns
Haveri, Davangere – dalit struggles, workers and livelihood issues..
Chellakere (Chitradurga dist)  – science city and nuclear plant
Raichur (farmers issues)










Mehboobnagar (workers issues), Rangareddy (Green Pharma city struggle)

Vemulaghat (Siddipet) – Mallannasagar and Kaleshwaram Project affected issues.

Visit to bastis (Musi) in Hyd;

Public Meet / Hearing at Somajiguda

Brief Halt at Suryapet

Khammam: Adivasis Issues  / Aswaraopeta











Andhra Pradesh  




Chintalapudi Lift Irrigation and Polavaram Displacement, R&R, FRA issues , Garagaparru

Tundurru: Aqua park struggle Vijayawada

Paderu (Vishakapatnam): Adivasi Issues and North Andhra Issues
Amaravati Capital City and Displacement
Guntur – Express Way Project issues
Nellore – Fisherfolk, Yanadi adivas isssues
Tirupati – press  meet / agri workers meet




Tamil Nadu and Puducherry  



Urban struggle and Chennai, coastal, fisheries issues
Selam  (Green Corridors),

Coimbatore / Madurai

Thoothukudi and Koodankulam









Trissur Ernakulum, Palakad…
 Kannur, Calicut, waynad, Kasargod


Phase III – 11th November to 10thDecember, 2018 – 30 days


From To State / Place No. of Days






Dhanbad, [Bokaro, Ramgarh, / Giridih, Hazaribagh, Ramgarh]
Ranchi, Gumla, Simlega… [Stay at Rourkela in night]






…Rourkela, Niyamgiri, Jharsuguda,
Sambalpur, Anugul, Dhenkanal,
Cuttack, Baleshwar…




West Bengal  


…Kolkata, Islampur, Chai Bagaan areas

Bhangar, Sundarban, Siliguri…








North East Region



…Assam, Manipur, Nagaland, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh (need to work out route, distances in consultation with local groups )
23-11-2018 23-11-2018 Break (Siliguri /Bihar) 1




…Araria, Supaul, Bhagalpur,  


Muzaffarpur, Patna, Champaran,




Uttar Pradesh  


Baliya, Beltara, Azamgarh (night stay)
Varanasi, Lanka (Rally), Rajatalab       (night stay)
30-11-2018 30-12-2018 Delhi 1
Solidarity with Kisan Kooch






Khudai Khidmadgar area, Gurgaon-Haryana Workers Struggle, Jan Sangharsh Manch (Kurukshetra)






…Chandigarh, Farmers struggle area, Dalit struggle..




Himachal Pradesh                                  


Palampur / Shimla / Himachal Van Adhikar Manch Kangra / Save Lahaul Spiti struggle






…Dehradun, Jaunsar,
Delapur… (Pancheshwar )  




Uttar Pradesh  


Saharanpur : …AIUFWP Forest Dwellers Area and & Bhim Army Muzaffar Nagar…Shamli






Sanvidhan Samman Divas: Human Rights Day.…Rally with Big Public Programme…(including people from various bastis & groups of Delhi as well as various networks across India )  




**While the state-wise dates are final, many of the locations within each state are proposed / under discussion and shall be finalized in due course, based on consultation with local groups.


For more information and participation details contact:

National Alliance of People’s Movements

National Office – 6/6, Jangpura B, Mathura Road, New Delhi 110014

Mobile : 9867348307 | 9971058735 |

E-mail: |

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Nun Rape Case- Jalandhar bishop should step down, says Cardinal Oswald Gracias


An official from the office of the Archbishop of Bombay said the Vatican could initiate an enquiry and take a decision on the matter.

Cardinal Oswald Gracias

 Cardinal Oswald Gracias

Mumbai: The office of the Archbishop of Bombay, Cardinal Oswald Gracias, on Wednesday expressed that Fr. Franco Mulakkal, the bishop of the diocese of Jalandhar, should step down and let an inquiry against him unfold.

The Archbishop of Bombay says that the reputation of the church, not just in Kerala but all over the country, is at stake and stepping down would be the right thing to do, and if the bishop isn’t guilty, then he can very well get back to his position.

Cardinal Gracias, Archbishop of Bombay and president, Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI), said in a statement on social media, “The Archdiocese of Bombay cannot stay silent, while our brothers and sisters are going through harrowing times in Kerala.”

An official from the office of the Archbishop of Bombay said the Vatican could initiate an enquiry and take a decision on the matter.

A source from the office of the Archbishop of Bombay said that there should be an unbiased inquiry into the authenticity of the claims of both parties, and if the bishop is found guilty, it’s a matter of a criminal act, and the court should take cognisance and act accordingly.

In June, a Kerala nun had filed a case against the bishop, accusing him of raping her at least 13 times. Since then, the police intervened and have been investigating the case. However, the nun has also written to the Vatican alleging that the bishop is using his power and money to silence her and other nuns who had also come forward accusing him of inappropriate behaviour.

Normally, the inquiry is initiated by the Vatican, which appoints a senior bishop to conduct the investigation. An inquiry team is constituted which would comprise persons from various fields such as legal experts, a retired police commissioner-level officer and experts on church law. There would also be people who are sensitive to women, in general, to ask the right kind of questions with the right kind of disposition so that the victim does not suffer more humiliation.

Cardinal Gracias is one of the nine cardinal advisers appointed by the Pope and so is currently in the Vatican. The Vatican is currently pondering over the accusations made by Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, the former chief Vatican diplomat in the United States who has accused the Pope of covering up sexual abuse and giving comfort to a “homosexual current” in the Vatican.

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