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India’s Catholics vs human traffickers

When Meenu (not her real name) was just 13-years-old, she was taken by her mother to a local agent in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh who was asked to help the young girl find a job to tide-over the poverty-stricken family.
 
She was the eldest of six children and their alcoholic father was no longer employed.
 
The agent paid some money to the family in advance and then took her to the capital, New Delhi.
 








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Tougher penalties for cow-vigilante killings welcomed

BHOPAL (UCAN): Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, capital of Madhya Pradesh, India, applauded the state government’s plans for new punishments against vigilante-style violence, carried out to protect cows that are considered sacred by orthodox Hindus.
 
So-called cow protection groups have conducted a wave of lynchings across India in recent years mainly against religious minorities. The mainly Hindu nationalist mobs attack Muslims and others whom they suspect of storing beef or transporting cows for slaughter, a crime in most Indian states.

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Help and hope in India for sufferers of Hansen’s Disease

Bhopal (UCAN): At 66, Brunda Mohanty vividly remembers the painful situation when he left home as a 14-year-old boy. His mother had died early in his childhood and people in his ancestral village of Nirakarpur, in Puri district of India’s Odisha state, loved him so much.
 
But that was until some patches appeared on his body. “Soon my loved ones began to treat me as an outcast,” he said in a soft, forgiving voice. Slowly, he realised he had contracted Hansen’s Disease, or leprosy, a disease Indians consider a curse.








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Archbishop calls for action against rampant cow vigilantes

BHOPAL (UCAN): “This kind of brutality is not acceptable in a civilised society,” Archbishop Leo Cornelio of Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh, India, said in reaction to new attacks by so-called cow vigilantes.
 
Police in the district of Seoni detained five people on May 25 for assaulting three people—a Muslim man and woman and their Hindu driver—on May 22. The three were allegedly transporting 140 kilogrammes of beef. 
 

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India’s minorities uneasy following recent elections

NEW DEHLI (UCAN): “India wins again,” Narendra Modi, declared during a victory speech at the  headquarters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the capital, New Delhi, in which he pledged to build “a new India” touting growth and prosperity for all.
 
Modi and the BJP were returned for a second five-year term on May 23 in an election fought largely on the plank of Hindu nationalism.
 

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More than a million spared from deadly cyclone

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Cyclone Fani, which ripped through eastern India and sideswiped Bangladesh, left a trail of destruction and left more than 30 people dead.
 
The immense storm killed at least 29 people in India—mostly in Odisha (Orissa), while at least five were reported dead in neighbouring Bangladesh.
 
Authorities said the evacuation of 1.2 million people from more than 10,000 villages prior to the category 5 storm making landfall on May 3 prevented a larger death toll and minimised injuries.
 

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India’s Christians want better security at churches

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Christian leaders in India have intensified their call to make churches safer after police arrested 28-year-old Riyaz Aboobacker, also known as Abu Dujanan, at his house in Kerala on April 29 as part of their investigation into the presence of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group in the southern state, local reports said.
 

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Sri Lanka attacks heighten security fears in Goa

PANJIM (UCAN): The Easter Sunday terror attacks in Sri Lanka have spurred the state of Goa, India, to provide security for its ancient Christian buildings, but Church leaders say much more is needed.
 
“Goa needs to take extra precautions,” Pramod Sawant, Goa’s chief minister told media on April 22.
 

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Human chain in India honours Sri Lankan blast victims

NEW DELHI (UCAN): About a hundred people, including Muslims, joined hands to form a human chain in front of New Delhi’s Sacred Heart Cathedral on April 23 to pay homage to the victims of suicide bomb attacks in Sri Lanka that killed 359 people, mostly Christians.
 
Leaders from Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Sikh faiths came together to express solidarity with the families of victims of the Easter Sunday blasts.
 

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Protests after murder by Indian cow vigilantes

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Christian and Muslim advocates joined together in New Delhi to protest violence against minorities five days after a mob of Hindus beat a Catholic man to death for suspected cow slaughter in India’s Jharkhand state.
 
Prakash Lakra and three others were attacked by a mob on April 10 on the suspicion that they had slaughtered a cow in Jhurmu village in the district of Gumla. Lakra died from his injuries hours after the attack, Church sources said.
 

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