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India expels 86-year-old Spanish nun

NEW DELHI (UCAN): The Indian government has refused to renew the visa of the 86-year-old Sister Enedina, from the Daughters of Charity, who has worked for the country’s poor for five decades.
 
The Spanish nun’s visa renewal was refused on August 11 and she was given only 10 days to leave the country. She flew out from New Delhi on August 20 on a flight to Spain.
Sister Enedina, who is a medical doctor, had been helping poor people in the country’s east since the mid-1960s. 
 

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Indian pilgrims attacked on the way to Marian shrine

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Indian police arrested six suspected members of Hindu Munnani, a hardline Hindu group, for attacking 40 Catholics taking part in a 450-kilometre pilgrimage to a Marian shrine in Velankanni, in Tamil Nadu state.
 
Santhalingam, an inspector at Natrampalli police station in Vellore district, explained that the attackers were accused of blocking the pilgrims on a public road on August 18, beating them up and verbally abusing them. The six suspects have been remanded in custody as police investigate the case. 
 

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Bishop upset with India lynching case acquittals

NEW DELHI (UCAN): “The verdict is shocking and it pained me greatly,” Bishop Pius Thomas D’Souza of Ajmer in western India, said in reaction to the decision by a  court in Alwar district of Rajasthan on August 14 to acquit six people accused of beating a 55-year-old Muslim man, Pehlu Khan, to death two years ago in a cow protection case

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Churches in Mumbai open doors to flood victims

NEW DELHI (UCAN): Catholic dioceses in flood-hit Mumbai, India, have opened their churches and institutions to accommodate thousands of people stranded in the city by heavy rain and flooded streets.
 
Oswald Cardinal Gracias of Bombay (Mumbai), and Bishop Thomas Elavanal of Kalyan, asked their parish priests on August 5 to help stranded and homeless people as heavy rain continued in western India.
 

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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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