India has marked the New Year with subdued and somber celebrations in response to the rape crisis protesters say are sweeping the capital, New Delhi, while government institutions have canceled celebrations throughout the country and abroad.
Sonia Gandhi, president of the Indian National Congress, has said there would be no official party to mark the New Year's, while army divisions, the government of the major Punjab and Haryana provinces, and Indian embassies abroad have all canceled their annual parties, according to Bloomberg News.
The decisions are in response to the growing public anger at the rape crisis unfolding in New Delhi, where women are often targeted and receive little protection. The recent death of a 23-year-old woman who was raped in a violent attack on a Delhi bus has ignited tensions in the world's second most populous country, with protests erupting around the city trying to bring the spotlight on a problem that people say has not received enough attention. more >>
A young woman who was the victim of gang-rape in India died early Saturday. The 23-year-old's death has sparked protests in the country.
The woman, who was raped in a moving bus, has not been identified but protesters are calling her Damini.
She was in "extremely critical condition" when she was admitted to Mount Elizabeth Hospital in Singapore on Thursday after spending over a week at a local hospital.. more >>
The Indian government is starting in January a new cash transfer program to help its poorest citizens, with the hopes of reducing wide-scale corruption and making sure those who need the resources the most get them.
"Direct cash transfers, which are now becoming possible through the innovative use of technology and the spread of modern banking across the country, open the doors for eliminating waste, cutting down leakages and targeting beneficiaries better," said Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
The ambitious project is estimated to provide 40,000 rupees ($720 U.S. dollars) a year to poor households, which could make a big difference for a lot of people and help them get the food, animals and supplies they need to lift themselves out of poverty. The Wall Street Journal noted that the resources are expected to reach around 720 million people, and anyone who lives below or just above the national poverty line can qualify. more >>
A judge in India sentenced 12 people to six years imprisonment on Tuesday for their role in the mass violence against Christians in Orissa's Kandhamal district in 2008, in which dozens were killed.
Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a Christian organization working for religious freedom, sent a press release to The Christian Post that details the court's decision. Besides the prison sentence, the men will also have to pay 5,000 rupees (about $90,000 U.S. dollars) in connection with arson, rioting and the torching of houses in Jarkinaju village on Aug. 25, 2008. Ten other people accused in the case were acquitted, however, due to lack of evidence.
"Justice must be done, and must be seen to be done. The aggregate of justice in the fast-track courts in Kandhamal does not inspire a sense of confidence and closure among the victims. Many killers are roaming free, and a Member of the Legislative Assembly is at large after his conviction, because the courts seem to think he is too important to be incarcerated," said Dr. John Dayal, a Member of the Government's National Integration Council (NIC). more >>
On August 30, an Indian state High Court struck down a law requiring people who want to convert to Christianity to give a civil magistrate 30 days advance notice. Just how one provides advance notice of a future intent to convert is anyone's guess, and was doubtlessly one of the reasons the Indian court struck this crazy law down.
The law was one of two anti-conversion laws challenged in the state of Himachal Pradesh that drastically restricted the religious freedom of Christians and those of other religions considering converting to Christianity.
Alliance Defending Freedom attorneys and allies represented Evangelical Fellowship of India in the lawsuit that led to the law's invalidation. Having won the battle over this law, we knew the second law provided additional barriers to religious freedom and that the High Court had refused to strike it down. This second law essentially bans any successful evangelism under the pretense of protecting the weak-minded and the weak-willed. more >>
CHICAGO – It doesn't sound right: someone claiming to be both a follower of Jesus Christ while still identifying himself as a Hindu or Sikh. But some respected missiologists are defending the new communities in India called Yeshu Satsang as biblical.
Formed as a direct response to broken relationships that Hindus or Sikhs in India who convert to Christianity often must endure, members of Yeshu Satsangs seek to follow the Bible while still retaining their cultural identity as Hindu or Sikh, and thus retaining harmonious relationships with their family members and community. The communities are also a pushback against Western ways of worshipping Jesus that is seen as "other" and foreign to the community. A Yeshu Satsang can loosely be defined as a gathering of Jesus followers whose members are socially still identified as Hindus or Sikhs.
"Even though [they have] rejected the word and practices of church, they have retained a theological identity of church while seeking to retain their Hindu and Sikh socio-religious identity," explained Darren Duerksen, director and assistant professor of Intercultural Studies at Fresno Pacific University, at the recent North American Mission Leaders Conference in Chicago. more >>