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India Among Five Countries Where Religious Freedom at Risk, Says Report

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Paris: Religious freedom is under threat in one of every five nations around the globe, in part because of an increase in “aggressive ultranationalism”, a Catholic NGO said in a report Thursday.

Aid to the Church in Need found incidents of religious persecution in 21 countries in the two years to June 2018, including Niger, Myanmar, India and China.

Acts of discrimination were reported in 17 other countries such as Algeria, Turkey and Russia, it said.

It was the 14th edition of the aid group’s report covering all religions in 196 countries, carried out every two years with the assistance of independent journalists.

“We’ve observed a trivialisation of attacks on religious freedom,” said Marc Fromager, head of the NGO’s French chapter, at a press conference in Paris.

Of the 38 countries where freedom is threatened, he said the situation has worsened in 18 of them, “in particular in two of the most populous countries in the world, China and India.” “This hostility toward minorities has worsened to the point that we can qualify this as aggressive ultranationalism,” he said.

In China, for example, Fromager said churches have been destroyed and Uighur Muslims have been forbidden from observing the holy month of Ramadan, while Tibetan Buddhists continue to face persecution.

The report noted an easing of tensions in Syria and Iraq following the weakening of the Islamic State group, which has allowed some Christians to return to their homes


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PM Modi behaves like Tughlaq, Yogi Adityanath like Aurangzeb: Congress

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New Delhi: The Congress attacked Yogi Adityanath over his Hindu Yuva Vahini’s alleged announcement of Rs 1 crore bounty on Punjab minister Navjot Singh Sidhu’s head, alleging that the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister was behaving like “Aurangzeb”, and asked whether a “Talibani system” will prevail in the country.

The Hindu Yuva Vahini, an outfit founded by Yogi Adityanath, reportedly announced a reward of Rs 1 crore to anyone who beheads Sidhu.

Congress chief spokesperson Randeep Surjewala, responding to a question, said: “Is democracy left in this country, or he (Adityanath) has now become the biggest Aurangzeb. Modi ji behaves like Muhammad bin Tughlaq and Adityanath ji behaves like Aurangzeb.”

“So, will there be rule of law in this country, will the Constitution govern the country, or will there be open hooliganism, which we saw in Uttar Pradesh?” he said.

Slamming the BJP over the Bulandshahr mob violence, Surjewala said policeman Subodh Kumar Singh was shot in the head and BJP leaders have been named among the accused, but they are not bothered.

“Now, reward is kept for cutting off people’s head. The question is that will this Talibani system run in the country, which BJP wants to implement, or democracy,” he asked.

“Why was Adityanath ji enjoying ‘kabaddi’ matches as Subodh Kumar Singh was being shot dead. Why was he on a ‘chunavi bhraman’ (poll campaign trip) from one state to the other,” Surjewala asked.

He also slammed the Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister of summoning the policeman’s family to meet him instead of going to their house.

“In certain parts of our country, the family members do not leave the house till the final conclusion of the rituals which are considered pious in our religion…

Aditynath ji should have known that, he violated that also and summoned the family like Aurangzeb to his residence,” he said.

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Nobody can stop BJP from carrying out ‘rath yatras’ in Bengal: Shah

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New Delhi: A day after being denied permission to take out three “rath yatras” in West Bengal, BJP chief Amit Shah said that the Mamata Banerjee-led ruling TMC is scared of the saffron party’s growing popularity and accused Didi of “throttling” democracy in the state by denying permission for its road shows.

Declaring that the BJP is in no mood to change its plans, Mr Shah said, “We will definitely carry out all ‘yatras’, nobody can stop us. The BJP is committed to change in West Bengal. The ‘yatras’ have not been cancelled, just postponed.”

Hitting out at Ms Banerjee, Mr Shah said, “She knows these yatras will lay the foundation for change. That is why she is trying to stop them… The way Mamata Banerjee is using her government to trample upon democratic norms is very undemocratic and is throttling democracy.”

Shah’s attack on the TMC came soon after the Calcutta high court on Friday rapped the state government for not responding to BJP letters seeking permission for its rallies.

The division bench of the high court also directed top state officials to take a decision on the BJP’s “rath yatras” by December 14.

“Mamata didi’s attempts to deny the BJP its legitimate right to undertake political campaign in the state to expose TMC’s misgovernance has been thwarted by the court, which has asked Bengal administration to cooperate. Big win for democracy! BJP will soon set out on its ‘Gantantra Bachao Yatra’,” tweeted Mr Shah.

The BJP had to postpone three “rath yatras” in the state due to the Mamata Banerjee government refusing permission on grounds that it anticipated “communal tension” and a single bench of the high court on Thursday rejecting the saffron party’s challenge to the state government’s decision. Mr Shah was scheduled to flag off the “rath yatra” Coochbehar on Friday but changed his plan after the setback and moved the division bench of the high court against the single judge’s decision.

Addressing a press conference in Delhi, Mr Shah said on Friday that his party will follow the judicial process to get permission for “rath yatras”, said Mr Shah, announcing his plans to visit the state on Saturday.

Rejecting the state government’s claim that BJP’s events will lead to communal tension, Mr Shah said he visited the state 23 times as the party president and there had never been any communal flare-up and instead accused the ruling party and the state administration of playing appeasement politics in every sector.

Asserting that the people in the state are ready for change, Mr Shah said that the BJP will win a majority of seats in the Lok Sabha polls in the state. He claimed that his party’s expansion in West Bengal and win in over 7,000 seats in panchayat polls has rattled the TMC chief.

Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the BJP had planned to take out three “yatras” in the state where it has been trying hard to increase its support base and vote share. As per the earlier schedule, the first “yatra” was to be flagged off from Coochbehar on Friday, second Kakdwip in South 24 Parganas district on December 9 and the last on December 14 from Tarapith temple in Birbhum district.

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Days after Bulandshahr violence, UP govt transfers top cop

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New Delhi : Days after an Inspector was killed in violence that broke out in Bulandshahr over allegations of cows slaughter, the Uttar Pradesh government Saturday made a string of administrative changes. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Krishna Bahadur Singh was transferred to the DG headquarters in Lucknow and Superintendent of Police (SP) of Sitapur Prabhakar Chawdhry was brought in to replace him.

The government transferred two other police officers; Syana Circle Officer DSP Satya Prakash Sharma was sent to Police Training College in Moradabad and Chingravathi police station in-charge Suresh Kumar was transferred to Lalitpur.

The development comes a day after ADG (Intelligence) S B Shiradkar, who was asked to probe the violence over allegations of cows being killed, submitted his report to Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath.

Adityanath said the incident was an “accident” and that the death of Inspector Subodh Kumar Singh was not a case of “mob lynching”. He added that the law was taking its course and the culprits would not be spared.

“Uttar Pradesh mein mob lynching ki koi ghatna nahi hai, ek. Bulandshahr ki ghatna ek durghatna hai, aur isme kanoon apna karya kar raha hai. Koi bhi doshi baksha nahi jayega. Illegal slaughtering, keval cow
hatya hi nahi, illegal slaughtering poore UP mein ban hai and DM, SP uske prati poore jawabdeyi honge,” Adityanath said, while speaking at the Jagran Forum in Delhi.
(There is no mob lynching in UP. The Bulandshahr incident was an accident, and the law is taking its course. No culprit will be spared. Illegal slaughtering, and not just cow slaughter, is banned in the entire state and the DM and SP will be answerable).”

Also read : Bulandshahr police: Will first probe carcass, then killing of Inspector

So far, four people have been arrested in the cow-slaughter case under sections of the UP Prevention of Cow Slaughter Act 1955. Separately, nine people have been arrested in connection with the death of the Inspector and another civilian, Sumit.

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