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Pakistani lawmaker asks pope to help end conflict with India

LAHORE (UCAN): Pope Francis was asked by Sunila Ruth, a Christian member National Assembly of Pakistan’s ruling Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf party, to “actively support and call upon the Indian government” to join dialogue efforts to help end the conflict between the nuclear-armed nations.
 

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An innocent sister in jail

Bishop Theodore Mascarenhas, February 13
 
 
Last week, I returned from an emotional, heartbreaking visit to jail. I paid a long overdue visit to Sister Concelia Baxla from Mother Teresa’s Missionaries of Charity, who, along with Anima Indwar, an employee of the Nirmal Hriday Home, was arrested 222 days ago on charges of child trafficking. 
 

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Rohingya exodus from India to Bangladesh

DHAKA (UCAN): At least 1,000 Rohingya Muslims have crossed into Bangladesh from India since December to escape alleged harassment and imminent deportation, according to Bangladeshi officials.
 

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Priest attacked by Hindu hardliners

NEW DEHLI (UCAN): Father Vineet Vincent Pereira of Varanasi in India’s Uttar Pradesh state, was been arrested on false charges after being beaten up by a hardline youth group, Hindu Yuva Vahini (youth force), on November 15.
 
Father Pereira said that members of the group came to his ashram (retreat venue) in Gohana town in Mau district, and attacked some of the elderly people living there with him.
 

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Amnesty India says raid aimed at silencing government critics

BENGALURU (SE): The bank accounts of human rights watchdog, Amnesty International, in India have been frozen, effectively stopping its work, after the government’s financial crime investigating agency, the Enforcement Directorate, carried out a 10-hour raid at the group’s Bengaluru office on October 25, Vatican News reported on October 26.
 

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Hardline beef with assisting flood victims

New Delhi (UCAN): Swami Chakrapani Maharaj, leader of the All India Hindu Assembly, a hardline Hindu organisation, said it would be a “major sin to give any relief and support to those flood sufferers in Kerala who are beef eaters.” He appealed to the Indian government and Hindus in general not to provide relief to flood-hit victims in Kerala who eat beef, as the cow is a revered animal in Hinduism.
 

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Floods of biblical proportions inundate Kerala

The monsoon rains… they write prose and poetry through the vast agricultural land of Kerala.  For over 15 per cent of the over 34 million population living outside their homeland, the monsoon evokes the most nostalgic ruminations. 
 
A little more than Taiwan in geographical area, the land is garlanded with 44 rivers and the uplands beaded with 42 dams. This wealth of resources were the very ones that threatened to wipe the whole province away from the map of India in mid-August.

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Condemnation of India lynchings too late say critics

NEW DEHLI (UCAN): “I want to make it clear that mob lynching is a crime, no matter the motive. No person can, under any circumstances, take the law into his or her own hands and commit violence,” said India’s prime minister, Narendra Modi, In an August 11 interview with Times of India, just four days ahead of the country’s Independence Day.
 

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Floods and landslides inundate Kerala

KOCHI (UCAN): Monsoon rain, pouring down since August 7, triggered flash floods and landslides in India’s Kerala state claiming at least 23 lives, and washing away homes, as government agencies and voluntary groups rushed aid to the area.
 
Army, navy and air force personnel were called in to help police and residents manage the disaster in the worst-affected six districts in the central and northern hilly areas of the southern Indian state.
 

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Speaking out against India’s divisive politics

New Delhi (UCAN): “Some people are trying to divide the country in the name of religion, caste and creed. But we can’t sit here as mute spectators,” Mamta Banerjee, chief of Trinamool (grassroots) Congress party, told a gathering of 1,000 people in New Delhi, India, on July 31.
 
The assembly was organised on the theme, Love your neighbour, by the Indian Catholic Bishops’ Conference, and called on the country’s to stop being divisive and using religion as a way of attracting votes.
 

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