New scheme launched for 1000 poor villages


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At present the scheme is being implemented in Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

Indian villagersNew Delhi, December 5, 2012: The federal government yesterday announced a special welfare scheme for poor villages of tribal and low caste people, but a Church official is skeptical about its successful implementation. The scheme is “a welcome step though I am afraid it might only be on paper,” said Fr Stanislaus Tirkey, secretary of Indian Catholic bishops’ office for tribal people.

The government launched ‘Pradhan Mantri Adarsh Garm Yojana’ (prime minster’s village program) for integrated development of 1000 villages that have more than 50 percent people belonging to Scheduled Caste or Scheduled tribe. The scheme aims to ensure the integrated development of these villages primarily, through convergent implementation of existing Central and State Schemes.

The government also plans to spend 2 million rupees per village on an average, with states expected to provide a matching contribution to help develop these villages. At present the scheme is being implemented in Assam, Bihar, Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Tamil Nadu.

The targets under the Scheme are expected to be achieved within three years, P. Balram Naik, Minister of State for Social Justice and Empowerment said in parliament according to an official press release.

“The government has always been high on rhetoric and low on implementation, the Jesuit priest said.

Mukti Prakash Tirkey, editor of a weekly on tribal affairs published in New Delhi, said “though it is too late, any step toward tribal development was welcome.” Some of these groups are on the “verge of extinction” and the government will have to take immediate remedial steps, he said.

Laws are there but for lack of political will, these don’t see the light of the day, regretted Shanti Beck, a tribal women leader. She said tribals prefer to remain in their habitats, amenities like health centers, free ration and the like should be provided there.

Fr Tirkey also agreed that the tribals socio-economic securities should be ensured first. “They should not be sacrificed in the name of common good.”

Nagaland’s first Christian online radio launched

The radio is a joint venture of Highland Dawn Media Nagaland and Chennai Christian Radio.

The launching of NCR at Ozone cafe KohimaNagaland, December 5, 2012: The first online Christian radio station in Nagaland was launched to provide a platform to Naga musicians. Chotisuh Sazo, parliamentary secretary for social welfare, child and women development, launched the Nagaland Christian Radio (NCR) Monday in the state capital Kohima. The radio is a joint venture of Highland Dawn Media (HDM) Nagaland and Chennai Christian Radio (CCR).

“The program should reach to those who do not have access to it otherwise. It would be a blessing to local Christian community as well,” said Sazo. He said the radio should set an example for other non-Christian states and countries.

Bob Swaggerty, the founder of CCR, said when he landed it in India five years ago, he felt the need for Christian radio and had a vision to start an FM radio station. Swaggerty is a radio-broadcast engineer with 15 years experience from the United States of America. He started CCR in 2010 that currently has an average of about 700 listeners per day and about 60,000 tune in’s per month from 22,000 unique listeners. Bob said he planned to start radio channel in Nagaland as he saw passion for music among young Nagas.

“This first online NCR would play the best Christian music from across the globe as well as from local artistes and Church youth groups,” he added. Swaggerty expressed hope that NCR would attract listeners locally and Nagas living abroad and would be accessible from iPhone, Android, Blackberry and Nokia devices in near future.

- nagalandpost

Maharashtra: Malvan believers attacked again. The CSF takes it up

Malvan believers attacked

Maharashtra, December 4, 2012: Malvan, a peace haven in the Sindhudurg district of Maharashtra, once know for its tranquility has recently been targeted with Hindutva forces creating mayhem in the place. The Sunday worship was attacked on 2nd December, 2012 by a mob of over 200 fundamentalists. The believers who had gathered for the prayer meeting in the evening were illegally confined to the house of Pastor Mathias for almost four hours, as the religious extremists locked the door, surrounded the bungalow and hurled abuses. The Hindutva forces have grouped under the banner of Hindu Dharma Jagran Samiti and have made life miserable for the Christians after an earlier attack on 26th October 2012.

Malvan believers attackedThe CSF memorandum to the chief minister, home minister, Director General of Police and concerned authorities states that the police and district authorities have been approached repeatedly, but inaction is resulting in the religious fundamentalists growing stronger and bolder by the day. They are spreading communal venom even among the children and hence, this menace has to be nipped in the bud to prevent the damage to the social fabric. The CSF has called for the culprits to be booked and stringent action as a deterrent to prevent future attacks.

In the face of the angry mob, Pastor Anand Chowgule sensing that the volatile situation would get out of hand and fearing for the lives of the believers, called the police who came and dispersed the mob. It was only about a month back that the Christians were attacked, and thereafter the police reportedly took the issue lightly. The attackers who were released on bail were even publicly felicitated, by the Hindutva villagers and encouraged to continue attacking the Christians. A social boycott was out in place, with the believers being told that the villagers would refuse to buy or sell fish and have dealings with the Christian converts.

Malvan believers attackedAgain on Sunday night, the wife of Pastor Mathias noticed that the miscreants returned and were trying to set fire to their Scorpio jeep, which is also used for ministry purposes. She raised an alarm and the goons fled. There is no police protection and officials are ineffective and even appearing to shelter the religious fundamentalists. Joseph Dias, The CSF general secretary, who had earlier sent complaints to the authorities, including the SP and Collector, said ” the lack of enforcing rule of law and not taking strong action against the culprits has emboldened the Hindutva forces in the region, who are striking terror “.

According to Joseph Dias, who met some of the pastors – ” The Malwan police appear to take sides, resulting in the religious extremists operating freely with repeated attacks. Believers were targeted just over a month ago and now again. The Hindu Dharma Jagran Sameeti has been responsible for persecuting the Christians, making false complaints against them, abusing and destroying their property / assets, socially boycotting them, preventing them from exercising their Constitutional right to freedom of religion, etc.  The pastors and believers are afraid for their life and the lives of those believers or others who only want to freely attend worship prayer meetings and are at risk “.

- The CSF

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