A British nun who had been asked to leave India despite her remarkable service to leprosy patients was assured visa “without limit of time” in a rare gesture by the Indian government Tuesday.
India’s federal interior minister P. Chidambaram assured Jacqueline Jean McEwan could stay “as long as she likes,” saying the foreign department’s earlier notice asking her to leave the country by Monday was a technical mistake, Press Trust of India (PTI) reported Tuesday.
“It feels great to be with my well-wishers, my own kith and kin, mostly those inflicted with leprosy,” Sr. Jean, as the 63-year-old nun is popularly known in this southern city of Bangalore, told The Times of India. “I will strive for their welfare. There is no meaning in going back to the U.K. when my people are here.” more >>
A 63-year-old British nun caring for leprosy patients for three decades in India’s IT hub Bangalore was preparing to leave the country Monday after the Indian government refused to extend her resident permit without giving any reason.
“I’m leaving with a heavy heart. I feel it’s not my loss alone but a loss to thousands of patients inflicted by leprosy,” Jacqueline Jean McEwan, whom Leprosy patients call their “Mother Teresa,” told The Times of India Sunday.
From the Montfort Missionaries, a Catholic order, in Britain, Sr. Jean, as she was popularly known, wasn’t given any reason by the Ministry of Home Affairs but just asked to leave by Monday, the newspaper added. more >>
Several Christian, Muslim and secular groups came together Thursday in the Indian state of Karnataka to protest a recent move by the state government to teach Hindu scripture in state-run schools.
In the second such protest in three days in the capital city of Bangalore, protesters gathered at the Gandhi Statue asking the government to cancel the circular – a written policy statement – that made it mandatory for the state-run schools to teach Bhagavad Gita to all its students.
The state is ruled by the Hindu nationalist Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and officials have admitted that policy promoted by the state’s education department was prompted by Hindu priests who have been campaigning to teach the Hindu scripture among school children since 2006. more >>
Ghulam Nabi Azad, Health Minister of India, has today rebuked suggestions that he said homosexuality was a disease. Azad claims he was misquoted by media after reports emerged suggesting that he had said being gay was a disease.
Among Azad’s minced words were statements in Hindu about “men who have sex with men” and the word “unnatural”.
Azad has tried to clear up his blunders by claiming he was referring to HIV as a disease, not homosexuality. The topic of HIV in Azad’s speech came about as he addressed the issue of free trade negotiations that could prevent India from producing affordable generic drugs. more >>
NEW DELHI– A Catholic and two Hindu visitors with leprosy in Karnataka state were freed on bail on Tuesday (June 14), two days after they were beaten by suspected Hindu extremists and arrested on charges of forcible conversion.
Police arrested the Catholic, retired Indian Army Cpl. Henry Baptist Robey, and two guests from Tamil Nadu state, Ram Moorthy and another identified only as Mani, from Robey’s house on Hennur-Bellary Road in the state capital of Bangalore while they and others were celebrating Pentecost on Sunday (June 12).
“I was arrested under Section 295(A) of the Indian Penal Code after a few men lodged a complaint that I was converting leprosy patients,” Robey told Compass by phone. more >>
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev, known for twisting his body through a series of difficult yoga poses and having millions of followers, has drawn the church’s criticism for his ties with right-wing groups infamous for attacking Christians.
Delhi’s Catholic Archbishop, Vincent Concessao, condemned the yoga teacher’s ongoing mass campaign which seeks to curb corruption but is being supported and “hijacked” by Hindu radical groups, The Indian Express reported Wednesday.
Over 100,000 people joined Ramdev’s “fast-unto-death” against illegal money stashed in banks abroad by corrupt politicians and tax evaders June 4 in New Delhi. However, a police crackdown forced his followers to return in the night. Police also detained Ramdev, saying he had sought permission to hold a rally for yoga and not a protest. more >>