Hindu News

Hindu News

Hindu News

Hindu News

Friday, January 31, 2014

Meeting to give update on £12 million Northampton Hindu temple plans

Hindu blessing ceremony. Hindus blessing land by Lings Way, Proposed sight for Hindu Temple.
News: Nick
People in Northampton are being invited to an ‘open forum’ next Friday where an update on plans to build a new £12 million Hindu temple in the town will be revealed.

The Indian Hindu Welfare Association (IHWO) were given planning permission to build a new temple on land off Lings Way in Lumbertubs in 2012, after plans were revealed in 2008.
The new facility, which will be known as the Northampton Kutumb Centre, will also provide room for sports, leisure, and educational activities.
An open forum will be held at Northampton College on Friday, February 7 at 7pm in the college’s drama theatre.
The event will reveal latest planning designs for the centre and provide details on the fund-raising strategy, construction plans and the build timeline.
A speech in support of the centre will be given by Northampton North MP, Michael Ellis and other guest speakers include Chairman of the Home Affairs Select Committee, Labour MP for Leicester East Keith Vaz and David Mackintosh, leader of Northampton Borough Council.
Mr Ellis said: “The Northampton Kutumb Centre will be a wonderful resource for our entire community in Northampton and I am very pleased to support this ambitious project. I have supported this endeavour for many years now and I look forward to seeing it become a reality.”
Neelam Aggarwal-Singh MBE , Chairperson of IHWO, said: “Once built, the Northampton Kutumb (or ‘wider family’) Centre will be an innovative and eco-friendly landmark complex. It will be open to people of all ages and backgrounds and will encompass state-of-the-art sports, leisure, educational and enterprise facilities, as well as a spectacular Hindu temple.”
The Northampton Kutumb Centre has been designed to use sustainable solar technology as well as geo-thermal pump technology, which will use the natural heat within the ground to heat up the centre.
There will be a rain water collection and recycling system, which will reduce the demand on public water supplies. The roof space will provide a “green” space made up of vegetation, which will encourage the habitation of local bird life. A large area of land will also be designated as ‘wild meadow’, which again will encourage the habitation of local wildlife.
The Hindu temple will be open to everyone and the IHWO hopes the temple will be a site of interest to people from all backgrounds and has plans to use it as an educational facility in partnership with local schools.

HC Acquits Muslim Youth Accused of Raping Hindu Girl

A Muslim youth, accused of raping a teenaged Hindu girl he married nine years ago after eloping, has got reprieve from the Delhi High Court which upheld his acquittal, observing that religion was the "biggest hurdle" in their matrimonial alliance.

Hasim, a hairdresser in southeast Delhi, and the 14-year- old schoolgirl were in love with each other and had twice ran away from home to be together.

In 2005, the couple apprehending trouble from their respective families, left for Moradabad after their 'nikah' (marriage) in Delhi and applying for registration under the Special Marriage Act.

The duo were traced to Moradabad by the police and brought back to Delhi where a kidnapping and rape case was slapped on Hasim and the girl was married off elsewhere.

A Delhi trial court acquitted Hasim following which police appealed against the verdict in the high court, saying the girl was a minor.

Upholding the acquittal, the high court said, "This is an unfortunate case where perhaps different religion of the boy and the girl was the biggest hurdle in their way to marry each other.

"They wanted to marry crossing this hurdle, hence firstly nikah was performed on February 11, 2005 and thereafter notice for intended marriage under the Special Marriage Act was also given. However, destiny had something else in store for them."

In its 16-page judgment, a bench of justices Pratibha Rani and Reva Khetrapal held that opposition to runaway marriages by parents is mostly on account of caste, religion or disparities in social status.

"With a view to breaking the matrimonial alliance, they (girl's parents) continue pressing the charge of kidnapping and rape on the boy," it said.

The court observed that "runaway marriages not only cause mental agony to the family of the couple but also compel the couple to run for shelter to protect their lives and escape honour killing".

The court also took note of the increasing number of petitions by parents for production of their wards who leave their parental house in runaway marriages.

"While parents of such girls suffer due to social stigma attached with such marriages, the family of the boy is harassed not only by the family of the girl but also by the police to pressurize them to disclose the whereabouts of the boy.

"If the police is able to recover the couple, the 'husband' is generally accused of kidnapping and rape. Most of the time, such girls turn out to be minor. In such circumstances, either the girl has to stay in Nari Niketan and wait for the release of the husband or to return to the parents and succumb to their wishes to marry the person of their choice and stand as a witness against the person with whom she is in love," the bench observed.

In this case, the girl was a consenting party and had left home on her own to join the company of the person with whom she was in love, the trial court had said while acquitting Hasim.

The bench rejected police argument that the girl was a minor according to the school records.

"In the absence of any material on the basis of which date of birth was recorded at the time of her admission in the said school and failure of the prosecution to get the ossification test conducted despite being advised so by the concerned doctor, we are of the view that benefit of doubt in case of proven consent must go to the Respondent (boy)," it said.

The bench said it was established beyond reasonable doubt that the girl was "in love with the respondent. As the girl was Hindu by religion and the boy was a Muslim, to provide legal status to their relationship she left home and performed nikah in 2005. She also initiated steps for getting their marriage registered under Special Marriage Act".

"Even at the time of her being found on April 3, 2006 by the police in the presence of her father as well as at the time of her medical examination by the doctor in the presence of her mother, she did not complain of being sexually assaulted by the boy under any threat or fear," it said.

"In fact, she had run away not once but twice but ultimately had to marry the person chosen by her family which speaks of the volume of influence exercised upon her after she was recovered second time by the police," the bench noted.
The father of the girl had lodged a missing report in Sangam Vihar police station in southeast Delhi. Later, he lodged an FIR and named Hasim as the person who had kidnapped her daughter.

In her statement to the magistrate after they were traced, the girl said that on February 23, Hasim's maternal uncle and aunt had forcibly taken her to Dingerpur and made her stay with him. She said the boy raped her during her stay there.

However, she said she did not want Hasim to be punished.

The high court noted that the girl and her father were not consistent in their deposition before the police and the trial court and that "their versions continued changing colour at every level".

The bench also borrowed from a 2006 judgement to say that "runaway marriages are manifestation of a generational change due to variety of factors, including increased interaction between the sexes, with young boys and girls attaining maturity rapidly".

"It is a complex problem with inter play of social, economic, religious, caste, educational factors, including sex education and vulnerability and backwardness of the weaker sex having its impact."


Thursday, January 30, 2014

Multicultural festival to celebrate Hindu deity

This Is Wiltshire: Members of the Swindon Puja Committee. 
  Members of the Swindon Puja Committee.
PEOPLE across Swindon will gather to honour the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom next week.
The Swindon Puja Committee has organised the second annual Hindu festival on Tuesday to celebrate Saraswati Puja, an event devoted to the goddess Saraswati, at The Platform in Faringdon Road.
More than 200 people attended the event last year, which was the first of its kind held in the town and organisers are hoping for an even bigger turn out this year.
The festival’s cultural secretary, Sujan Saha, 33, of Commercial Road, said: “Last year, we were pleased that 200 people attended.
“We arranged the multicultural event ourselves, providing homemade sweets, food and drinks.
This year we are celebrating for the second time and I would like to invite Swindon people so that they can come and enjoy a different culture.
“The festival will start at 10am and we will pray to our goddess Saraswati at 11am.
“The committee has also organised a multicultural programme in the evening.”
The event begins with various prayers throughout the day, followed by a cultural programme from 5pm including sari-tying workshops and henna art.
Music Performances from bass player Phil Spalding, Giorgio Mollo, and local artist Adam Hodges, and others. Call for more details on 07946506747.


Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Indian Consulate looking into ‘Vedic pandits’ disappearance

Consul General Ausaf Sayeed said none of the pandits had sought any assistance from the Consulate for their repatriation to India.

The Indian Consul General in Chicago has said that no complaints or information has been received from either the Iowa-based Maharishi Vedic City, or from any one of the 130 “Vedic pandits,” or religious scholars brought here from India for studies and training, who have said to have gone “missing” in the last seven months.
In an email to The Hindu Consul General Ausaf Sayeed said none of the pandits had sought any assistance from the Consulate for their repatriation to India, and “The Consulate has no information on the current whereabouts of the missing pandits and whether they are working elsewhere.”
Dr. Sayeed further clarified, “The Maharishi University has also not deposited any passport of their missing employees with the Consulate.”
Earlier, a Maharishi University official said that the missing pandits were “in violation of U.S. immigration law and it is therefore a federal matter, beyond the legal jurisdiction of local officials in Iowa or the Indian Consul General in Chicago,” however adding that, “The prior Consul General has visited the pandit campus in Iowa and expressed great pleasure at the program and facilities.”
Although Dr. Sayeed said that the Consulate General was in the process of ascertaining full facts of the case, what is evident is that unprecedented numbers of R-1 visa holders have been vanishing from the Maharishi Mahesh Yogi institutions since they began coming here for their training since 2006.
In messages sent to The Hindu earlier, William Goldstein, Dean of Global Development and General Counsel to the Maharishi University of Management, based in Fairfield, Iowa, said that the Global Country of World Peace (GCWP), the U.S. organisation sponsoring the pandits’ R-1 visas and their stay in this country, had not received any prior communication from the scholars before they went “AWOL” (Absence Without Leave).
Mr. Goldstein said that while they did not know for sure what they pandits were doing after their departure from the Vedic city, but suspected that many of them were “working simple jobs in restaurants as the ones who have returned or the few we have information on seem to have followed that pattern”.
He added that it could be that, “Someone is misinforming them about the financial opportunities and the legal implications, and their prime motive appears to be to generate more money for their families,” and there could be an “organised racket brokering the operation”.
Further, Mr. Goldstein said that few, if any, of the pandits spoke English at all, and allegations made by the Chicago-based Hi India newspaper that the pandits’ initial contract signed with the Maharishi institutions for travel to the U.S. had not been translated from English to Hindi were “untrue”.
Mr. Goldstein also said, “I am the attorney who spent many hours before and after the project launched working with the U.S. State Department and Indian passport officials setting up the visas for the project.”
The Hindu contacted the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) regarding this matter, but their office in Minneapolis, which is dealing with the case, was closed owing to extreme weather conditions.
An ICE official however noted that missing person reports were generally not filed with ICE, rather they had to be submitted to local law enforcement authorities and in the case of foreign nationals with the government concerned.


Only 5% Vedic Pandits Missing in US, Claims Vedic Univ

The Iowa-based institutions of Maharishi Mahesh Yogi have said about only five per cent of the 2,600 Vedic pandits, who were brought to the US from north Indian villages, have gone missing in recent years.

"Each of these cases the Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) have been informed about Vedic pandits leaving their United States Citizenship and Immigration Services and State Department approved programme at its Iowa campus," said William Goldstein, Dean of Global Development and General Counsel to the Maharishi University of Management.

"Only a small number of the over 2,600 pandits, about five per cent, who have come on this unprecedented Vedic programme to the US have gone AWOL (absent without leave)," Goldstein told PTI in an email.

"For the first four years of this programme, it was a very small number. In recent months this number has been unfortunately increasing," he said.

He alleged that they appear to have been induced by individuals providing false and bad information of high earnings, or by unscrupulous employers taking advantage of them.

He also denied allegations of mistreatment of the priests, including giving them low wages.

In an investigative report, Chicago-based ethnic weekly newspaper Hi India alleged that 163 Vedic pandits brought to the US lived in pathetic conditions and were paid less than 75 cents an hour.

Goldstein claimed that these pandits come to the US under R-1 visas and thus are not subject to the minimum wage rules.

"They are on R-1 visas. They are not in possession of a visa to be day labourers nor are they equipped to be such. Their visa only entitles them, and they are solely qualified to engage in, their spiritual vocation of meditation and Vedic performances," he said.

"They are not subject to minimum wage laws in this spiritual or ministerial vocation, like monks in a monastery," said the official from Maharishi University of Management. The Iowa campus has been specifically inspected and approved for this precise purpose by USCIS, for use as a site for R-1 pandits," he said.

Denying allegations that pandits brought to the US are underage, he said, "No pandit has ever come on the programme under 18 years of age."

He said that it has been agreed with the pandits that of the USD 200 per month base cash compensation, USD 150 will be transmitted to their families in India.

All the pandits, contrary to the allegations, reside in modern, fully heated and air-conditioned comfortable modular homes, with an indoor and outdoor athletic facility and a large organic vegetarian kitchen and cafeteria, along with their meditation halls, classrooms, and Vedic performance halls, he said.


Monday, January 27, 2014

5-year-old Hindu girl raped in Sibi

Rapist is said to be drug addict and is being interrogated, Sibi police says. PHOTO: FILE
QUETTA: A five-year-old Hindu girl was abducted and raped before she was left unconscious near the Railway Colony in Sibi district on Wednesday. The police traced the accused, with the help of sniffer dogs, and arrested him. The rapist is said to be drug addict and is being interrogated, said the Sibi police on Thursday.
“The girl went out at 7pm on Wednesday to buy candy from a nearby shop when she was abducted,” a relative of the victim told reporters. Three hours later some passers-by spotted the girl in an unconscious state in Railway Colony, where was lying in the dark and informed the police.  She was taken to hospital for treatment where doctors asked the relatives to move her to Quetta instead because of her critical wounds. She was constantly bleeding, said doctors.
“The culprit is identified as Sunny Masih. The Hindu community observed a shutter-down strike in Sibi on Thursday against the incident and held protest demonstrations, demanding the immediate arrest of the accused.
Protesters organised a procession and marched to Sibi city. “The police should protect the life and property of people. Criminals need to be severely punished for this brutality,” said one of the protesters.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 24th, 2014.


UGC suggests courses in spoken Sanskrit in varsities

The idea is to impart basic knowledge about the language

All universities in the country may soon have centres offering certificate courses in spoken Sanskrit, if the University Grants Commission (UGC) has its way.
The UGC has suggested this idea to impart basic knowledge about the language among students, teachers, and the public.
Shrinivasa Varakhedi, Dean, Karnataka Samskrit University, who has been appointed to a three-member committee headed by the Secretary, Ministry for Human Resources Development, said students were not showing interest to learn the language. Lack of awareness about the importance of Sanskrit was one of the main reasons for this, he said.
Mr. Varakhedi said the committee had been asked to take up 22 schemes under the grant-in-aid programme to help fund non-governmental organisations, universities and other institutions.
Lecturers and teachers engaged in teaching and training people in Sanskrit; and those who run Sanskrit patashalas, conduct conferences, workshops, and research institutes too would be offered help.
The UGC had sanctioned Rs.100 crore two years ago for the scheme and this had been increased to cover more institutions. The committee was entrusted with the responsibility of identifying them and sanctioning funds.
Even teachers and employees of universities and affiliated colleges would benefit from the programme.
Duration of the course would be 25 hours over a period of a month. No fee would be charged.
Student strength
The maximum student strength could be 40, while minimum could be 30. The UGC would provide Rs. 2 lakh a year to every centre and has already sanctioned Rs. 1 crore.
Mr. Varakhedi said Bharatiya Vidwat Parishat, a private e-mail group of 2,000 members comprising vice-chancellors, professors, scholars and students across the country, was providing information sought by the second Sanskrit Commission chaired by Jnanpith awardee Satyavrat Shastri.
The commission has 13 members, including P. Ramanujan, Associate Director (Indian Heritage and Language Computing), C-DAC, Bangalore.

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Hindu bodies blame Pak of discrimination

Various Hindu organisations have blamed Pakistan of discrimination against Hindu pilgrims aspiring to visit Pakistan on religious occasions and have urged the Indian government to take up the issue with the neighbouring country on priority.
“Pakistan High Commission had rejected visas to young Hindu boys during Katasraj pilgrimage in 2013,” said Sri Durgiana Temple Committee General Secretary Ramesh Sharma. He said not only were Hindus discriminated by Pakistani government but were also not given facilities during their visit. He said Indian government should take up the issue with Pakistan on priority.
Eight organisations from Indian Punjab and three each from Delhi and Haryana have a quota of only 200 pilgrims to visit Pakistan twice a year.
“This year Hindu jatha is going to Pakistan from February 25 to March 3 to celebrate Mahashivratri at Katasraj cluster of temples,” said Ramesh, president of Sanatan Dharam Pratinidhi Sabha, Delhi, Indermohan Goswami also blamed Pakistan High Commission officials of discouraging Hindu pilgrims.
“They simply don’t entertain our passports and deliberately make us wait for visas,” he said. The sabha has a quota of 60 pilgrims.
“Security of Hindu pilgrims is one of the major issues,” he said.
President of All India Hindu Rashtriya Sansthan Surinder Kumar Billa said, “Our demand is not only to increase quota of pilgrims but also development and preservation of Hindu religious sites in Pakistan”.


Vedic Pandits go 'missing' in US: report

A Kashmiri pandit (Hindu) devotee lights oil lamps during the annual Hindu festival at the Kheer Bhawani temple in Ganderbal. (Representational pic)

Chicago:  In a shocking revelation, as many as 163 Indians, most of them brought to the US as teenagers from villages in northern India to be trained into Vedic Pandits by two institutions set up by Maharishi Mahesh Yogi of transcendental meditation fame, appear to have gone missing over the last 12 months.

Of the 1,050 young Indians brought to the Maharishi Vedic City and the Maharishi University of Management in Fairfield, Iowa, 163 - some of them just 19 years old - have gone missing in the last one year, Hi India, a Chicago-based weekly newspaper for the Indian community, reported in its latest issue.

Both the Vedic city and the university are owned by the late Maharishi Mahesh Yogi's family. According to the report, the management running these places did not even care to trace the missing people.

Even the Global Country of World Peace (GCWP), one of the many teaching centres set up by the India-born spiritual guru, does not know about the plight or flight of these Vedic scholars called 'world peace professionals'.

"They have jumped the fence for immigration purposes or for chasing their American Dream," the newspaper quoted the varsity bosses as saying.

The GCWP runs a Vedic Pandit programme claiming to "bring about peace on earth where there will be no war".

Under the project to recruit Maharishi Vedic Pandits, publicity literature is distributed in Indian villages, mostly in Hindi speaking areas, among people living under the poverty line.

Children are enrolled with the permission of their parents, who are promised that their wards would be given education up to 12th standard, after which they would be turned into Pandits or masters of the art of Hindu religious rites and services.

After some 10 to 15 years, the qualified Pandits are supposed to have a choice to either remain with the organisation and make a living, or leave the centre and work outside on their own.

Investigations by Hi India have found that the kids of the programme, enrolled at the tender age of five years, were rarely provided education beyond fifth standard. After investigation by the newspaper, it came to light that these Vedic Pandits were brought to the US from India and were kept in makeshift trailer homes to be guarded by round-the-clock guards.

When contacted, most officials of the Maharishi's Fairfield complex refused to comment. Only one of them suggested that these students might have "run away for immigration purposes".

According to one Pandit, before the visa application at the US embassy in India, a contract is prepared and signed by the organization and the concerned Pandit for rules, regulations and compensation. The Pandits are initially sent to the US for two years, and thereafter, either their visa is extended for six more months or they are sent back and recalled for two more years.

According to the report, a contract is drafted in English but the copy is neither given to Pandits nor is it translated or explained to the fifth-grader emigrants who do not even understand English. The contract states that they will be given $50 compensation while in the US and another $150 in India. This $150 is not given on a monthly basis to the families of the Pandits but, rather, is considered as bond money.

"If the Pandit 'behaves well', his so-called compensation for two years is given to him or his family on his return from the US. The contract is prepared in a way to obtain visa," the report said.

According to the newspaper, if the management of the Vedic City finds out that some Pandits are desperate to leave the US, a mock travel plan is chalked out and the Pandits are taken in a van to Chicago's O'Hare airport and dropped at the entry gate. After asking them to wait till the aircraft arrives while the van driver goes around and comes back in a short while.

According to one Pandit who was about to flee, "some of the strong-willed Pandits run away from the airport for better prospects and the rest of them are picked up by the driver and taken back to the Vedic City".

According to sources in the Indian consulate in Chicago, in a situation where an Indian passport holder is considered or presumed gone missing and his passport is left behind, it has to be returned immediately to the nearest Indian mission which has to also be informed about the circumstances in which the Indian citizen went missing.

The Chicago consulate, however, says the GCWP has never returned or deposited any passport and neither has it shared any missing person information. According the sheriff's department and police department of Fairfield, Iowa, no missing person report has ever been filed by the GCWP.
source : ndtv.com

Guard shot-dead outside Hindu temple in Peshawar

Unidentified motorcycle-borne gunmen fatally shot-dead a constable guarding a Hindu temple in Jhanda Bazar area in Peshawar on Sunday morning.
Local police told The Hindu over the phone that the constable's name was Ghulam Mohammed and the incident took place after 8 a.m. However, even the first information report (FIR) did not name the Hindu temple and merely referred to it as the one in the Jhanda Bazar area, police said.
There are two temples — Nandi and Valmiki — in Peshawar, which has a small Hindu population. 


Magh Mela in Allahabad

  • Hindu devotees take holy dips at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges and Yamuna river, during the annual month-long Hindu religious fair of Magh Mela in Allahabad. (AP Photo)
  • Hindus serve blessed sweets during the annual month-long Hindu religious fair of Magh Mela at the Sangam. (AP Photo)
  • A man serves food to Sadhus, or Hindu holy men, at a community feast during the annual month-long Hindu religious fair of Magh Mela. (AP Photo)
  • A Sadhu, or Hindu holy man, attends the annual month-long Hindu religious fair of Magh Mela. (AP Photo)
  • A Sadhu smokes marijuana at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati rivers, during the annual traditional fair of "Magh Mela" in Allahabad
  • Hindu devotees gather around bonfire at the Sangam, the confluence of the Ganges, Yamuna and mythical Saraswati river. (AP Photo)
  • Hindu priests wait for devotees at Sangam, the confluence of the Hindu holy rivers of Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati, during the annual traditional fair called "Magh Mela" in Allahabad. (AP Photo) 

Tough Times: Reds Cite Vedas to Win Hearts

Its mythology over ideology for the Communist party of India as a survival strategy. Left staring at a rapidly shrinking support base, and unable to attract the new generation of voters, the Communist Party of India (CPI) is turning to the power of Hinduism to stay relevant.
Today, a three-day seminar begins in one of the last red bastions in the country which will focus on the “power of the past”. The Kannur meet—aptly called Bharateeyam—will have stalwarts studying the past to seek answers for the future.
For the first time in the history of any Left party,  sessions will be held on traditional Indian knowledge systems, Indian philosophy and culture. Also on the agenda are detailed discussions on Vedic and pre-Vedic periods and the Upanishads.
The seminar, which will be attended by academics and Vedic experts from across the country, will have separate sessions on Vedanta, Indian Philosophy and Thoughts, Relevance and Significance of Upanishadic Literature and Indian Knowledge Systems.
“Vedic literature forms a wonderful monument of literary wealth handed over to us by our ancestors…” begins the brochure for the seminar. And the stated objective of the meet is to “popularise ancient authors and their thoughts to the new generation without any prejudice.”
While one may, out of habit, associate these topics with right-wing politics and ideology, one need not anymore if one goes by the CPI argument.
“Vedas and Upanishads are part of our collective past. Why should we let the RSS hijack it? We all have lessons to learn from these ancient texts,” said a CPI leader when asked about the apparent incongruity in the topic of the seminar and the tenets of Leftist ideology. Organised on behalf of a trust named after late CPI leader N E Balram, the seminar is being attended by politicians and academics from across the country.
“Other Communist parties may agree or disagree, but it is a fact that no Left party can survive in India without acknowledging India’s collective past and traditions,” the CPI leader added for good measure.
Going a step further, the brochure proudly declares that CPI leaders like Veliyam Bhargavan and K Damodaran are “scholars of Vedic literature and classic Sanskrit.”
Interestingly, the seminar is being held at a time political parties are still recovering from the after effects of the AAP phenomenon in Delhi and elsewhere. CPI in particular has reasons to worry as its senior leader and National Council member Kamal Mitra Chenoy recently joined AAP. While quitting CPI he said: “Either we can say people are stupid or we are behind times.”
However, CPI leaders insisted the seminar had nothing to do with AAP.


Saturday, January 25, 2014

Dharma school students on Buddhist path to knowledge

Children meditate at the Daylesford Bhuddist Dharma School which is the only one of its kind in Australia.
Calming the mind: Students at Daylesford's Dharma School begin their day with 15 minutes of meditation. Photo: Angela Wylie
The dawn of a new day at the Daylesford Dharma School begins not with the bark of an automated bell, nor with a loudspeaker, but with gentle reverberations of a Tibetan singing bowl.
For the past five years, this traditional harmonic gong has acted as the sign for children to line up outside, to quiet themselves, before entering Australia's first (and only) mainstream Buddhist school.
The prep through grade 5 students - 40 of them begin term one this week, up from 15 when the school opened in 2009 - then file into the meditation room and find a comfy cushion on the floor.
''They know that it's a time of respect,'' said principal Joel Hines. ''There's a bit of reverence for the space. The kids sit in front of the altar - eyes closed, legs crossed, hands in lap - and take a few deep breaths.''
There, under the watchful eye of the golden Buddha and the Buddha of compassionate action, a small bell chimes, signalling the start of morning meditation.
''They may be asked to imagine their family or friends in front of them,'' Mr Hines said. ''Or to visualise a ball of light in their hands - to feel it rise up and then send that positive energy or golden light out to other beings - insects and animals and people in the world.''
After 15 minutes comes the weekly themed ''awareness program'', which could include anything from teachers role-playing an act of generosity, to kids telling stories about kindness.
Then comes literacy and numeracy. This is a primary school, after all. They stick to the national curriculum and consistently post above-average results in NAPLAN data.
Lisa Brock of Hepburn Springs couldn't be happier with the education Holly, 10, Anika, 8, and Mischa, 7, have received since they came here in prep and began developing ''their own innate wisdom''.
Ms Brock considered schools in Daylesford, Hepburn Springs, Yandoit, Drummond and Bullarto, but ultimately wanted intellectual rigour with ''a more gentle beginning''.
''We wanted a place where we knew they would be nurtured like they would at home,'' Ms Brock said. ''They encourage them to speak their own truth.''
Dr Zane Ma Rhea of Monash University spent 18 months researching the early days of the school, supporting the staff and exploring how a mostly non-religious cohort of teachers could conduct classes in a ''Buddhistic sort of way'' without turning it into a religious school with monks for tutors.
Dave Edmunds has been teaching at the school for 18 months. A former Xavier College boy raised Catholic in Brighton, Mr Edmunds said the Dharma school doesn't push religion, but rather embeds a philosophy.
''You receive Buddhism almost by osmosis,'' said Mr Edmunds, 40, a typical spa country tree-changer who has been everything from inner-city rocker and cycle messenger to barista and youth worker. ''Everything revolves around our five precepts - deep listening and loving speech, generosity, body responsibility, mindful consumption, and reverence for all life. There's a lot of cause and effect.''
Mindfulness is one of the new buzzwords in early years education, but there are subtle extensions here including the ''conflict resolution circle'' and the more intimate ''peace table'', where children discuss the facts of any incident or act of aggression.
From fights to cliquishness, they talk through how it made both parties feel, and how problems can be avoided. Kids in the older grades recently started sitting down without staff, unprompted, running their own dialogue.
The school is small, but specialist teachers come for Chinese classes, violin and guitar lessons, and to supervise sport. Competition is not discouraged. ''Our kids are incredibly physically active,'' said school founder and former principal Andrea Furness. ''Losing with grace and honour is something we teach.''
The school charges $2800 a year for full-fee-paying students, which helps pay for the long-term lease on the quirky premises: the school is housed inside the local tennis club social rooms. They have two portable classrooms on site, courtesy of BER funding, and they mean to expand.
A fund-raiser this month at the Quang Minh Temple in Braybrook saw 350 people raise $15,000 towards the purchase of idyllic forested land in nearby Musk.
Melbourne has taken notice of the model, too, with Vietnamese, Thai and Sir Lankan communities planning two more Dharma schools in Braybrook and Springvale. In Daylesford, there are plans for a high school.
In the meantime, they have a perfectly sound home with the town's best view of Wombat Hill. The vegie patch is burgeoning out back, and there is a big Buddha out front, resting under a weeping cherry tree.
It would be natural to fear that these children may get eaten alive at high school, where ''unpacking your own reality'' is not exactly part of the pre-teen lexicon. But, anecdotally at least, the transition has been fine.
''There's always this idea that you're putting kids in a bubble,'' Ms Furness said. ''But we hold them accountable to everything they do. They know that kids can be nasty, and they have the language to deal with that. We're actually smashing the bubble wide open.''
Twitter: @KonradMarshall
source: theage.com.au

Whole town invited to join Hindu celebrations at Swindon Puja

This Is Wiltshire: Members of the Saraswati Puja festival committee. Back, from left  Rita Dey, Kakoli Saha, Suzana Saha, Noyon Sarkar, Labony Roy,Front, from left, Priyonti Dey, Pollob Dey
Members of the Saraswati Puja festival committee. Back, from left Rita Dey, Kakoli Saha, Suzana Saha, Noyon Sarkar, Labony Roy,Front, from left, Priyonti Dey, Pollob Dey  
PEOPLE from across the town will come together to honour the Hindu goddess of knowledge and wisdom next month.
The Swindon Puja Committee has organised the second annual Hindu festival on February 4 to celebrate Saraswati Puja, an event devoted to the goddess Saraswati, at The Platform in Faringdon Road.
More than 200 people attended the event last year, which was the first of its kind held in the town and organisers are hoping for an even bigger turn out this year.
The festival’s cultural secretary, Sujan Saha, 33, of Commercial Road, said: “Last year, we were really pleased that 200 people came to our festival.
“We arranged the multi-cultural event ourselves to provide free homemade sweets, food and drinks.
This year we are celebrating for the second time and on behalf of the committee, I would like to invite our Swindon people so that they can come and enjoy a different culture.
“Our Puja committee’s main aim is to celebrate Bengali social, culture and religious events throughout the year so that our next generation will learn and remember about our rich, colourful heritage.
“The festival will start at 10am and we will pray to our goddess Saraswati at 11am.
“The committee has also organised a multi-cultural programme in the evening.”
The event begins with various prayers throughout the day, followed by a cultural programme from 5pm where there will be sari tying facilities for women, henna art work for children and a photo shoot with the goddess.
Music and dance will continue into the evening, with performances from bass player Phil Spalding, Giorgio Mollo, and local artist Adam Hodges, and others.
South Swindon MP Robert Buckland, and Mayor Nick Martin will also be at the celebration.
Last year, a statue of Saraswati was shipped over from Calcutta and installed in pride of place in the venue. The community raised £6,000 to stage the event in 2013, but this year it is more likely to be in the region of £7,000. Call for more details 07946506747.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Hindu leaders meet with police after temple armed robbery attempt

Temple thefts

Leaders from about a dozen Hindu temples met in Scarborough recently not to discuss spirituality, but safety and security.
Last Sunday night, a man and a woman burst into the Sri Varasiththi Vinayagar Hindu Temple at Kennedy Road and McNicoll Avenue and attempted to rob worshippers at gunpoint.
“It’s terrible what happened in temple because it’s a worship place. We go there to pray,” said Jeya Rajah of the temple. “Those people who do this, they don’t believe in God.”
The community leaders met with police, concerned about recent violations of their sacred places.
It's the fourth time Rajah’s temple has been targeted by thieves. Last summer worshippers at other temples were victims of "snatch and grab" type robberies.
“But there’s nothing in the temple,” he said. “We have decoration pieces but they are not gold. I don’t know what they came for.”
The incidents prompted a police info blitz, but they don’t think any community is being singled out.
“I don’t like to use the term they are targeting any specific culture or community,” said Staff Sgt. Dave Rydzik. “Whether it’s in the Tamil community or Chinese community, if they’re wearing lots of jewelry or carrying lots of money, criminals will target you.”
The Toronto Police Hold Up Squad arrested two people in connection with Sunday's attempted armed robbery, but are still looking for a third suspect.

source:www dot cbc dot ca

Kota Tinggi BN Youth Lodge Police Report Over Facebook Posting Insulting Hindus

KOTA TINGGI, Jan 24 (Bernama) -- Kota Tinggi Barisan Nasional (BN) Youth today lodged a police report over Facebook postings that insulted Hindus celebrating the Thaipusam festival.

The postings were uploaded by Facebook users using the names of Man Namblast and Mohamed Hidayat.

Kota Tinggi Umno Youth head Muhammad Fadzli Hassan, speaking to reporters after lodging the report on behalf Kota Tinggi BN Youth, said Kota Tinggi Umno also strongly condemned such insensitive postings.

"Malaysia being a multi-racial country, we must all respect each other's sensitivities. This is also important to preserve the multi-racial harmony that we have built all this while," he said.

Also present was Kota Tinggi MIC Youth head B. Subramaniam who said police should take stern action against the perpetrators.

A Bernama search on the social media found both accounts closed.


Thursday, January 23, 2014

Two Bills Passed Amid Opposition Protest

Amid strong protest of Left members and a walkout, the Assembly passed The Travancore-Cochin Hindu Religious Institutions (Amendment) Bill, 2013 and The Madras Hindu Religious And Charitable Endowments (Amendment) Bill, 2013, envisaging a new pattern for the number of members for the Travancore Devaswom Board and Malabar Devaswom Board, doing away with the changes effected by the former LDF Government.
Tearing off copies of the Bill while leaving the House, Opposition members alleged that the changes were against women, SC/STs and youth.
Doing away with women representation in the boards of Travancore and Kochi Devaswom Boards, bringing down the strength of members in the two boards from four to three, election of two members by the Hindu members in the Cabinet and an SC/ST member by Hindu MLAs in the Assembly, scrapping of standing committees, a provision making it mandatory to avail prior sanction of the government to frame rules, shelving a clause to entrust employee appointments in the Board with the PSC citing that a Uniform Board for Devaswom staff appointments is in the offing, extending the tenure of members from two to three years and bringing down the age limit from 50 to 45 years to become a member were the amendments in Bill, 2013.
Though Devaswom Minister V S Sivakumar maintained that the Law Department had given its legal opinion, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan (CPM) and Mathew T Thomas (JDS) raised objections and pointed out that the government had promulgated an Ordinance earlier at a time when the matter was referred to the Assembly subject committee.
The Opposition members also asked to table the legal opinion in the House.
Though Speaker G Karthikeyan reminded the Opposition that the legal opinion need to be tabled only just before the end of the session, the latter remained adamant.
In the Malabar Devaswom Board, after the adoption of amended Bill, there will be nine members, including a woman and SC/ST member.

Caste Hindu Wife Abducted by Parents: Dalit PhD Scholar

A Dalit PhD scholar from Thoothukudi has sought the help of an NGO here to rescue his Caste Hindu wife, who he claimed, was abducted by her parents and detained in their house in Silambinathanpetti of Cuddalore district.
R Solaischamy (29), who sought the help of Evidence, a Madurai based NGO on Wednesday, said that he fell in love with Sandhya (name changed) while he was doing post-graduation in Physics at the Tranquebar Bishop Manickam Lutheran College in Porayar in 2009, where the girl too was pursuing her post graduation in Zoology.
When her parents came to know about their relationship, they started making arrangements to get her married to a person from their community. However, the couple tied the knot on January 4, 2014 in the presence of their friends at the Register Office in Vanur.
Solaichamy said: “On January 19, after we returned to my house, my wife’s family members came and forcibly took her away.”
Alleging that Sandhya’s life was in danger, Solaichamy said that his wife called him on the phone and told him that she had been locked up in the house.  “She also told me that her parents had lodged a false complaint in the All Women Police Station that I had abducted her and married. Hence, I have decided to file a habeas corpus petition in the Madurai Bench of the HC,” he said.
A Kathir, executive director of Evidence, said that the police should  take appropriate action to rescue Solaichamy’s wife and ensure the security of the couple. “Besides, action must be initiated against the parents of the girl under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes Act, 1989,” he said.
When Express contacted Inspector Revathi of the All Women Police Station in Panruti, she claimed that the girl came along with her parents and lodged a complaint claiming that Solaichamy had married her without her consent.
source: newindianexpress.com

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Britain’s first state-funded Hindu school plans large-scale expansion

Posted: Tue, 21 Jan 2014 16:42
Britain’s first state-funded Hindu school plans large-scale expansion
Britain's only state-funded Hindu school, located in Harrow Middlesex, is planning a large-scale expansion which will make it one of the largest "faith schools" in the country.
Avanti House School announced on Monday 20 January 2014 that it has identified Whitchurch Playing Fields under Harrow Borough Council as the site where the secondary section of the school will eventually be shifted.
It is within miles of the school's current home, which includes a primary and secondary school set up.
The school is based on a "Hindu ethos" but claims to be open to the community at large. It specialises in maths and performing arts.
The new site, located in the heart of an area with a large population of Indian-origin, would accommodate 1,260 students after reaching full capacity.
Councillor Susan Hall told the school's proponents that a feasibility study will be carried out by the Education Funding Agency. If this is favourable it could lead to the school being opened at its new site in January 2016.
Hall said: "There is a pressing need for more school places in Harrow and a lack of suitable land for development. We have worked closely with the Avanti Schools Trust who already have a strong and indeed unique track record in Harrow serving our significant Hindu community.
"Harrow Council was of course a key partner in delivering the Krishna Avanti Primary School in 2008".
Stephen Evans, the NSS campaigns manager, told The Times: "Our objections to this school are really the same as for any other faith school. In a society already seeing rising tensions over race and religion, it is dangerously misguided to separate children on the grounds of their parents' religion at such a formative time in their lives. Minority faith schools further separate religious minorities from mainstream communities, creating self-imposed segregation. The only fair way forward is to ensure that no religion is allowed control of publicly-funded schools".

Monday, January 20, 2014

Control of temples

The article, “Freeing temples from state control” (Jan. 20), presented a true reflection of the anxiety that prevails in the minds of thousands of devotees about the maladministration of many Hindu temples by the government. For that matter, it is difficult to understand why only Hindu temples are sought to be brought under state control. There are disputes over non-Hindu religious institutions as well; why does not the secular government show any interest or courage to demand control over such properties too?
The government should govern, not run, religious bodies. It is shocking to learn that a mere Rs. 36 crore is earned from 4.7 lakh acres of agricultural land and 2.6 crore square feet of urban temple sites. These buildings and lands must be liberated from the hands of politicians’ kith and kin.
N.R. Ramachandran,
While I concur with Subramanian Swamy on his broad opinion on the maladministration of religious institutions by the state, the “obvious question” he points out is perhaps misleading. Dr. Swamy, with his legal acumen, knows more than anyone that Article 26 grants the fundamental right to every religious denomination to administer such property in accordance with law. Therefore, government interference is a function of lawful management and need not connote prejudice against any particular religious disposition. However, the rank insensitivity of government officials towards our priceless heritage, as alleged by Dr. Swamy, if true, is indeed appalling.
Shijoy Varughese,
The freedom to practise one’s religion is a non-discriminatory and non-discretional constitutional provision which applies universally. This religious freedom extends to the right to administer one’s place of worship. True secularism means requires the government to view all religions with equal dispassion.
T.K.S. Thathachari

source: the hindu dot com

Modesto Hindu temple promotes health

Maniben Ratanji gets her blood pressure checked while Sushila Gandi awaits the results with her as members of the Hindu community held their first health faire Sunday (01-19-14) afternoon at the Hindu Temple in Modesto. ELIAS FUNEZ — efunez@modbee.com

Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/01/19/3449923/hindu-temple-promotes-health.html#storylink=cpy

The Hindu Temple of Modesto held a health fair Sunday that provided basic screening for the area’s Indian and Fijian communities.
People turning out at the Tully Road temple were checked for weight, body mass index, blood pressure, pulse and blood sugar. Those found to have high blood sugar received a glucose meter and other free supplies.
What began as a potluck during Sunday services evolved into a health food contest.
The fair featured a competition for recipes that were easy to make, tasty, high in protein and low in carbohydrates, fat and calories. Each entrant brought a dish large enough for 20 people to taste.
The San Joaquin Valley has a large number of people from India and Fiji, the latter a small Pacific Island that is home to many Indians.

source:mercedsunstar dot com 

Read more here: http://www.mercedsunstar.com/2014/01/19/3449923/hindu-temple-promotes-health.html#storylink=cpy

PM Hasina Warns Bangladeshis Against Attacking Hindus

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina today warned Bangladeshis against attacking the minority Hindu community, saying such assaults could have repercussions in neighbouring India.

"Don’t forget that Muslims are the minority in India. So, if you attack Hindus here (Bangladesh), minority Muslims may be attacked in India," she told a rally in south-western Satkhira district.

"People of all religious faiths would continue to enjoy equal rights in Bangladesh...I want to warn you not to break the peace of the people, otherwise you have to pay for it."

Satkhira witnessed widespread violence, with minority Hindus being major victims, ahead of the controversial January 5 polls that were swept by Hasina's Awami League after the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) boycotted the general election.

Hasina, who visited Satkhira during her first tour outside Dhaka since the re-election of the Awami League, said operations by paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh and police will continue in the region to track down those responsible for violence.

"The culprits involved in killing people and destroying their homes and business establishments will be tracked down wherever they take shelter," she said, accusing the BNP’s main ally, the fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami, of spearheading the attacks.

Security forces were deployed in Satkhira, a Jamaat stronghold, on December 15.

The High Court had on January 15 directed the government to take adequate steps for the security of Hindus. It asked authorities to submit a report on damage caused by recent attacks on the minority community.

The Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council (HBCUC), a major forum of minority communities, welcomed the order and acknowledged that the new government had given "due importance" to the issue, but reiterated its demand that perpetrators of violence should be tried by special fast track courts.

A report by HBCUC said since the election schedule was announced on November 25, a total of 495 Hindu homes were damaged, 585 shops were attacked or looted and 169 temples were damaged.

"During this period, nearly 2,500 Hindu families were affected," HNCUC leader Rana Dasgupta told PTI.

A police report stated that losses of Hindu property and resources during January 5-12 were worth Taka 28 lakh.

According to the 2012 census, Hindus make up 8.4 per cent of Bangladesh's population of 150 million.

source:news dot outlookindia dot com

Minor Hindu Girl Raped And Killed in Pakistani Punjab

A nine-year-old Hindu girl was raped and killed in Punjab province of Pakistan, officials said today.
Basti Kata, a resident of Mauza Ghunia in Rahim Yar Khan district, located 400 km from provincial capital Lahore, said his daughter went missing while playing outside his home on Thursday.
Kata informed police and registered a missing person's report. The girl's parents and other relatives made frantic efforts to find her but to no avail.
Yesterday, some of Kata's relatives found the girl's body in an open field. Police took the body to a state-run hospital in Khanpur, where the doctor on duty refused to perform an autopsy.
The aggrieved family staged a protest outside the hospital. Following the intervention of the local administration, the doctor conducted an autopsy that confirmed rape.
"It appears the girl died while being raped," the doctor said. Police have registered a case against unidentified persons.
Hindus are the largest minority in Pakistan but make up only about two per cent of the population of 180 million.
Most Hindus live in southern Sindh province, where there have been several instances of alleged abduction and forced conversion of women from the minority community.
In Balochistan, which has a sizeable Hindu population, the community has been targeted by militants and criminal gangs in recent years.

source:news dot outlookindia dot com

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Hindu activists protest outside Kejriwal home

Ghaziabad, Jan 19 (IANS) Around 100 activists of the Hindu Raksha Dal staged a protest outside Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal's house here demanding withdrawal of police cases against them.
A member of the Hindu group said its members had been arrested over the Jan 8 attack on the Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) office here because of a police complaint filed by the AAP.
The protesters demanded the immediate withdrawal of the case.
"Certain charges levelled against us are false," a spokesman for the group said.
The activists gathered outside Kejriwal's residence around 9 a.m. and said they wanted to meet him. But security personnel did not let them in.
Meanwhile, Kejriwal, who came out of the apartment complex in his car to go to Delhi, was intercepted by the demonstrators shouting slogans against the AAP. Police used force to let Kejriwal proceed.

source: in dot news dot yahoo dot  com

2 charged after armed robbery at Hindu temple

Police believe the minivan pictured belongs to a suspect in a hold-up at a Hindu temple in Scarborough on Jan. 12, 2014. HANDOUT/Toronto Police Service

Police released a security video still of a man wanted for a hold-up at a Hindu temple in Scarborough on Jan. 12, 2014. HANDOUT/Toronto Police Service

Two people have been charged in connection with an armed robbery at a Hindu temple in Scarborough, and a third suspect is still at large.
Police said the man and woman targeted the temple, near Kennedy Road and McNicoll Avenue, around 9 p.m. last Sunday.
The woman allegedly pointed a gun at a worshipper and tried to restrain him with zip ties and duct tape. The other suspect, who was also armed, rounded up more victims, but one escaped and called 911.
Both suspects fled before police arrived.
Detectives said the pair had robbed a cellphone store near Sheppard and Bayview last November, and the man had broken in to the same temple on Jan. 7.
Jermaine Copeland, 28, and Kaitlynn Dutton, 19, have been charged with 28 offences, including forcible confinement, assault, and possession of counterfeit money.
Police are looking for another man known as Kumar, who is associated with Copeland and Dutton. They’ve released a security video still of a light-coloured, older-model minivan they believe belongs to him (see above). It was seen leaving the temple on the night of the robbery.

source:citynews dot ca

Hindu Temple Attacked in Bangladesh

Idols of Hindu goddesses were destroyed when unidentified persons attacked a temple in southwestern Bangladesh today, police said.

The attackers ripped off the heads of the idols and threw them in the courtyard of the temple in Pirojpur district, Bdnews24 reported.

The idols were found smashed and destroyed this morning, a devotee was quoted as saying by the media.

A probe to find those responsible for the attack is already underway, said police official A Khalek.

"The attackers will be found and punished," Mrinal Kanti Dey, chief executive of Nazirpur sub-district, told Bdnews24.

The attack on the temple was the latest in a string of incidents against the Hindu minority.

Suspected opposition activists attacked Hindus in several districts during and after the January 5 polls, accusing them of backing the Awami League which swept the polls following a boycott by the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

source:news. dot outlookindia dot com

Sunday, January 12, 2014

Hindu Farmer Murdered in Bangladesh, Houses Burnt

Published: 12th January 2014 04:43 PM
Last Updated: 12th January 2014 04:44 PM
A Hindu farmer was stabbed to death while his wife and relative were injured Sunday by a masked assailant in Natore district of Bangladesh.
In a separate incident, the rioters Saturday tried to burn two Hindu houses in Jhalokathi's Nolchiti area. The fire damaged a temple in one of the houses, reported bdnews24.com.
Police said Haripad Mondol, 50, and his wife Bishaka Rani, 45, were attacked in their house in Bagdome Mondolparha area.
Mondol died on his way to a hospital while Rani was admitted to the hospital.
The assailant also stabbed Mita Rani, Mondol's niece.
Md Ibrahim, officer-in-charge of Barhaigram police station, said police were trying to ascertain the motive behind the murder.
Meanwhile, Dilip Shil of Abhoynil village said he saw the temple's terrace on fire in Jhalokathi's Nolchiti area.
A.F.M. Anwar Hossain, district assistant Superintendent of police, told bdnews24.com that Abhoynil and Fulhori villages were also attacked Saturday in separate incidents.
Meanwhile, families of two Hindu women in Jessore, who were reportedly raped during the riots after the parliamentary elections Jan 5 in the country, have fled their village after filing a case with police.
On Jan 7, rioters attacked the Hindus at Hajrail village in the district. A family member of one of the women said that the rioters broke their door and asked if they participated in the polls.

courtesy:newindianexpress dot com

Muslims in Bihar Better Off than Dalits, Finds Survey

Published: 12th January 2014 02:42 PM
Last Updated: 12th January 2014 02:42 PM
The socio-economic condition of Muslims in the state of Bihar is better than that of the state's Dalit Hindus, but worse that upper caste Hindus and Other Backward Castes (OBCs), a survey has found.

"Muslims are better placed in comparison to Dalits in 31 of 37 districts of Bihar, but Muslims are at the bottom at the national level," Abusaleh Shariff, chairperson of the New Delhi-based Centre for Research and Debates in Development Policy said on the basis of a survey conducted by his centre in collaboration with the US-India Policy Institute based in Washington DC.

The report is based on the 2011 census, when the total population in Bihar stood at 10.5 crore, of which 16.5 percent were Muslims.

Twelve development indicators, including health, education and employment have been focused upon in the report to assess the condition of Muslims in Bihar.

Abusaleh, who was also associated with the much-publicised Sachar Committee report on the status of Indian Muslims published in 2006, said that like Kerala, socio-economic condition of Muslims in Bihar had improved fast, thanks to the money-order economy.

"A large proportion of Muslim migrants went outside Bihar and abroad in search of livelihood, and they send remittance that mainly have contributed to improve socio-economic condition of their families," Abusaleh said.

Abusaleh, a noted economist, said the development taking place in Bihar in the last few years also helped to improve the condition of Muslims. "But still, there is need to do more for the development of the Muslims of Bihar," he said.

According to the survey report, in comparison to 12.2 percent upper castes, 13.5 percent rural Muslims have jobs, and against 19 percent urban upper castes, 17.3 percent urban Muslims get job opportunities.

Saibal Gupta, head of the Patna-based Asian Development Research Institute (ADRI), said that the condition of Muslims in Bihar improved in recent years but more needs to be done for their development.

About nine years ago, a survey was conducted by ADRI and sponsored by the Bihar State Minorities Commission, on the socio-economic condition of Muslims in Bihar, showed that Muslims were the poorest community in the state.

That survey report said that about 49.5 percent of rural Muslim families and 44.8 percent of the urban Muslim households fall below the poverty line, 19.9 percent among them are acutely poor, and 28.04 percent Muslims in rural areas are landless labourers.
courtesy:newindianexpress dot com

String of Attacks Rattles Bangladesh's Hindus

Bangladesh's Hindus have been rattled by a string of attacks linked to the recent controversial general election, with leaders of the minority community saying such violence can be stopped only if the government takes stern action against perpetrators.

Activists of the Bangladesh Nationalist Party and fundamentalist Jamaat-e-Islami were blamed for attacks on the Hindus, who were accused of backing the Awami League which won the January 5 polls despite a boycott by the opposition.

The activists torched, vandalised and looted homes, shops and businesses establishments of Hindus in the northwestern districts of Dinajpur, Lalmonirhat and Thakurgaon and at Noapara in western Jessore district, which was the worst affected area.

According to statistics from the Hindu-Buddhist-Christian Unity Council (HBCUC), 485 households and 578 shops owned by Hindus in 32 districts were vandalised since the election schedule was announced on November 25. During this period, 152 temples were also damaged.

"It appeared that the state has failed to take adequate steps to protect the minority community," said Mizanur Rahman Khan, chairman of the statutory Bangladesh Human Rights Commission.

Hindu community leaders have cautiously welcomed government actions to prevent attacks on minorities, including a decision last week to set up special tribunals under an anti-terror law to punish those responsible for violence.

"We see the situation is improving with no major attacks or intimidation if Hindus in the past two days thanks to growing social resistance and government action," Kajal Debnath, presidium member of the HBCUC, told PTI.

But the community leaders feared the improvement could be a short-lived phenomenon if culprits were not brought to justice quickly and given stern punishment like life sentence.

"The most important deterrent could be making a provision under which lawmakers of a (violence-affected) constituency will be held liable along with ensuring the accountability of the local administration and police for any attacks or intimidation," Debnath said.

Information Minister Hassanul Haq Inu reiterated the government’s "zero tolerance" policy for communal intimidation as announced by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina.

He told PTI that steps were being taken for "stern punitive actions" against culprits.
"But first of all, let me tell you this is not any communal violence. The attacks were carried out with a political motive to create instability and affect our relations with regional nations," Inu said.

He said dozens of culprits had been detained as part of a massive clampdown and the situation would improve further after the new Awami League government assumes office.

Lawmakers would go their respective areas and oversee an anti-communal campaign after the government is installed.

The HBCUC staged a nationwide black flag protest over the attacks yesterday, with the main protest held in Dhaka, where activists demanded the enactment of tougher laws to prosecute culprits in fast tracks courts and compensate victims.

Hundreds of youths carrying banners of the Ganojagaran Mancha or "mass upsurge movement" joined a march towards Jessore, where Hindus were the worst victims of violence.

Government officials said the attacks on Hindus would be categorised as acts of "terrorism".

Shafique Ahmed, the Prime Minister's law affairs adviser, said a process has been initiated to try the culprits under the Terrorism Prevention Act.

The Law Ministry has already taken the initiative of forming tribunals in consultation with the Supreme Court.

Home Secretary C Q Moshtaque said the paramilitary Border Guard Bangladesh was kept in place despite the end of their election duties to asked to prevent fresh attacks on Hindus.

Action had also been taken against several deputy commissioners and police superintendents for their failure to prevent attacks, he said.

Government-sponsored social committees had been revived to protect minorities and the districts administrations were asked to reach out to Hindus to give them moral support.

The mass circulation Prothom Alo reported that one Hindu died in panic of a heart attack after some persons set on fire hay stashed in his backyard in northwestern Joypurhat.

Premier Sheikh Hasina blamed her arch-rival BNP chief Khaleda Zia for the violence. She promised strict action against the culprits, saying: "Everyone responsible for attacks on the minority community will face stern punishment."

In many places, opposition activists attacked both Hindus and supporters of the AL for defying an opposition call to boycott the polls which the BNP described as "farcical".

But the BNP said in a statement that attacks on Hindus were being carried out at the government's instigation to divert people's attention from massive criticism of the polls.

BNP acting secretary general Mirza Fakhrul Islam Alamgir, who issued the statement, asked opposition leaders and activists to take effective steps to protect minorities.

Minorities account for 9.7 per cent of Bangladesh's population of 150 million and, according to the last census, Hindus make up about 8.4 per cent of the populace.

courtesy:news dot outlookindia dot com

Saturday, January 11, 2014

B’desh EC Asks Authorities to Prevent Attacks on Hindus

Bangladesh's Election Commission today directed law enforcement agencies to tighten security across the country to prevent attacks on minorities, specially Hindus.
"We have asked the law enforcement agencies to specially resist attacks on minority communities in different parts of the country in the wake of the January 5 parliamentary election," said Chief Election Commissioner Kazi Rakibuddin Ahmad.
Ahmad issued the order during a meeting with security agencies on maintaining law and order during re-polling in eight constituencies on January 16.
The law enforcers were well prepared to prevent such attacks, he was quoted as saying by The Daily Star newspaper.
Members of the minority community were attacked by workers of the main opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) and its right-wing ally Jamaat-e-Islami in Rajshahi, Dinajpur, Thakurgaon, Panchagarh and Jessore districts both before and after the polls.
Reports said Hindus were targeted by opposition activists for backing the Awami League which swept the polls following a boycott by the BNP-led opposition alliance.
The opposition activists torched, vandalised and looted homes, businesses establishments and shops of Hindus.
On Tuesday, unidentified men raped two Hindu women at gun point in front of their relatives for casting their votes in Jessore, The Daily Star reported.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina has promised stern action against those responsible for attacks on minorities. She yesterday blamed her arch-rival BNP chief Khaleda Zia for the violence against Hindus.
The government decided this week to set up special tribunals under an anti-terror law to punish the perpetrators of violence against Hindus.

Courtesy:news dot outlookindia dot com

Friday, January 10, 2014

Widespread attacks on Hindus in Bangladesh on polling day

Dhaka:  In the wake of widespread attacks on Hindus in the country, Bangladesh has decided to set up special tribunals to punish perpetrators of violence against the minority community. Culprits may be tried under the Terrorism Prevention Act - the Law Ministry has consulted the Supreme Court on the matter.

Not a single Hindu died on or around polling day, but houses were allegedly torched, vandalised and looted allegedly by activists of the Jamaat-e-Islami and opposition party Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) that boycotted the polls.

In one of the worst-affected Hindu villages - Malopara in the Abhaynagar area of Jessore district -houses were vandalised and looted on Sunday and many swam across a nearby river to save their lives during a vicious attack by Jamaat men, angry that the Hindus had dared to vote despite their warnings.

A young woman with a child in her arms said, "They came with stones and started throwing them at us. We hid in boats and went up and down the river all day and night."

Another woman said, "We can't stay in our houses at night. If there is some police, then we can risk it."

House_vandalised_Bangladesh_360_10Jan14.jpgThe police set up camp soon after and tried to restore some kind of normalcy.

"Jamaat-Shibir men won't dare create trouble in Jessore anymore. Not just in Malopara, anywhere. Even then people are traumatised, terrorised. That is true," said Joydeb Bhadra, Superintendent of Police, Jessore district.

But the situation remains tense in Jessore, Dinajpur and Thakurgaon districts. No minority life was lost - except one man who reportedly died of a heart attack when Jamaat activists set fire to his house in Joypurhat - but the Bangladesh government will have to work very hard to restore confidence in the Hindu community.

Courtesy:ndtv dot com

BJP Questions Govt's Silence on Attack on Hindus in B'desh

The BJP today questioned the "silence" of the Centre as well as the Assam government over attacks on Hindus during recent elections in Bangladesh and said giving Indian citizenship to Hindu migrants should be considered favourably.

"In the recent polls, Hindus were attacked in Bangladesh. Why Manmohan Singh, Sonia Gandhi, Rahul Gandhi and Tarun Gogoi are silent? Why no step is taken to protect the lives of Hindus there?" BJP's deputy leader in Rajya Sabha Ravi Shankar Prasad told reporters here.

Suspected opposition activists attacked Hindus at several places in Bangladesh during and after the polls, accusing the minority community of backing the Awami League which swept the elections following a boycott by the Bangladesh Nationalist Party.

In the wake of widespread attacks on Hindus in the country, Bangladesh had yesterday decided to set up special tribunals under an anti-terror law to punish the perpetrators of violence aimed at the minority community.

Talking about illegal migration from the neighbouring country to Assam, Prasad said "Lots of Hindus have come to Assam. They come due to various reasons, including religious compulsions. There should be a favourable consideration regarding giving Indian citizenship to them."

He, however, alleged the Congress-led governments at the Centre and Assam of supporting the illegal Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh for "vote bank politics".

"In the recent step of the Assam government in asking the migrants to register, BJP senses a sinister move. It is an attempt to influence the voter list. We condemn the step," he added.

Prasad said the UPA government had promised in 2005 to update the National Register of Citizens within a year, but did not complete the process.

On the controversial land swapping agreement with Bangladesh, Prasad said it would require a constitutional amendment and BJP wouldn't allow the Bill to pass in the Parliament.

When asked what would be the BJP's policy regarding deportation of illegal immigrants if it came to power at the Centre, he said "The most important thing is proper detection by a tribunal."

He also alleged that functioning of the erstwhile Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act was very slow and no infrastructure support was given to it.

Courtesy:news dot outlookindia dot com

Bangladesh Parties Join Hands to Protect Hindus

Published: 10th January 2014 05:07 PM
Last Updated: 10th January 2014 05:07 PM
Leaders of the ruling Awami League and the opposition Bangladesh Nationalist Party (BNP) have come together to protect the minority Hindu community in Gaibandha district.

Houses of Hindus were attacked, torched and ransacked in various places of the country after the Jan 5 general elections.

Several homes and business establishments of Hindus were targeted in Kuptala, bdnews24.com reported Friday.

The BNP and Awami League leaders of the area agreed to jointly provide security to the Hindu community, the report said.

Hindus in the district's Sundargang, Sadullyapur, Palashbari and Govindaganj areas are now reportedly living in fear.

The joint meeting of the Awami League and BNP was presided by a local leader, Mojibor Rahman.

"The leaders of the two parties have agreed to live peacefully, shunning all sorts of violence," bdnews24.com quoted Rahman as saying.

Awami League's Zeyad Ali said: "Leaders and activists of both parties have agreed to work together to maintain communal harmony."

Faizar Rahman, BNP chief of the area, said: "We want to assure the minorities that such incidents will not recur."

The National Human Rights Commission Wednesday said the Bangladesh government has failed to prevent attacks on Hindus after the elections

Courtesy:newindianexpress dot com

Mason Assaulted by Caste Hindu Duo

Published: 10th January 2014 10:41 AM
Last Updated: 10th January 2014 10:41 AM
Two caste Hindus were arrested for allegedly attacking a Dalit mason with liquor bottles at Prakasapuram near Nazareth on Wednesday.
Sources said that Chinnadurai(27), son of Narayanan, a mason of Prakasapuram, on Wednesday evening was returning home. While  he was crossing a shop in Nazareth,  four persons on two bikes, who passed through the stretch, insulted him by calling his caste name.
When Chinnadurai questioned them, they stopped their bike and started abusing him. Suddenly two persons, Esakimuthu(27) from Nazareth, and Krishnakumar(28)from Mookuperi, of the four-member group started hurling blows on Chinnadurai.
Police said, both Esakimuthu and Krishnakumar were in an inebriated condition and attacked the Dalit mason with beer bottles. Chinnadurai sustained injuries and was rushed to the Sathankulam GH. The duo were arrested on Wednesday and remanded to custody on Thursday.

source : newindianexpress dot com

Thursday, January 9, 2014

No fun fair on temple grounds

THE Batu Caves Thaipusam task force, a coalition comprising Hindu Temples and Hindu-based NGOs, has banned any form of entertainment during the Thaipusam festival on Jan 17.
The playing of non-religious music and the setting up of a fun fair on temple grounds are also not allowed.
The ban includes the carrying of kavadis that are disrespectful and mock the religious festival.
At a press conference held at the Malaysian Hindu Sangam office, its president Datuk Mogan Shan warned that devotees carrying fancy kavadis, such as those bearing logos of soccer clubs, company logos or other images deemed inappropriate, will not be allowed inside the premises.
This includes kavadi bearers with durians, chillies and apples stuck to their bodies. Items such as swords, tridents, knives, whips, poles, cigar, liquor bottles are also prohibited.
Mohan said leaflets with information on the significance of Thaipusam would be distributed to the public, listing the do’s and don’ts.
“The guidelines are applicable nationwide,” he said.
Meanwhile, Selayang Municipal Council (MPS) councillor G. Gunaraj, who was representing MPS, said the police and about 200 volunteers would be recruited to help ensure that the guidelines are observed.
“The volunteers will be wearing a special T-shirt and cap and stationed in strategic areas to monitor activities,’’ he said.
On the fun fair, Gunaraj said MPS had already issued a notice to the temple that it was not allowed for safety reasons.
“Due to space constraints, it is not conducive to have the fun fair during the festival, so the council will not allow this,’’ he said.
In previous years, the Batu Caves Temple committee leased out space in the temple’s compound to a local operator to set up the fun fair during Thaipusam.
Those interested in volunteering can call 010-298 5002 or visit the task force Facebook page at facebook.com/thaipusam2014

Courtesy:thestar dot com dot my

Avoid wastage when fulfilling vows, devotees told

Published: Friday January 10, 2014 MYT 12:00:00 AM
Updated: Friday January 10, 2014 MYT 7:46:16 AM

Overloaded: Visitors throwing rubbish in front of the temple last year . -filepic
Overloaded: Visitors throwing rubbish in front of the temple last year . -filepic

Malaysian Hindu Sangam former president Datuk A. Vaithilingam has called on Hindus performing prayers and fullfilling vows to curb wastage during the Thaipusam festival.
Vaithilingam said while rituals and personal practices of devotees were a positive thing, some were no longer practical or conducive.
He cited as example the ritual of breaking coconuts.
“This act symbolises the surrendering of one’s ego and in the past, the broken coconuts were then collected and consumed.
“However, these days the coconuts are disposed of and end up in the landfill, adding to tonnes of waste.
“In view of this, if you wow to break coconuts, then just break one as a symbolic gesture,’’ he said, adding that it would defeat the purpose when one vowed to break thousands of coconuts but employed others to do it,’’ he added.
Vaithilingam also urged devotees who wish to provide free food and drinks to the masses during the Thaipusam festival, to co-ordinate with the NGOs and companies who will also be doing so.
Hindu priest Shiva Sri A.P. Muthukumara Sivachariar agreed with Vaithilingam, saying that the breaking of coconuts no longer seemed like an act of devotion.
He also advised devotees to reduce the number of coconuts they planned to break and donate the money to charity instead.
“On the distribution of free food and drinks, it is my view that there are too many people doing so and that is unnecessary. All the food and coconuts are ending up in DBKL dustbins and should be stopped,’’ he said.
Meanwhile, the Environmental Protection Society of Malaysia (EPSM) said it was happy with the Selayang Municipal Council’s green initiative this year.
It said private companies and NGOs distributing free food and drinks during Thaipusam should follow the rules and be environment-conscious.
EPSM president Nithi Nesadurai said that it was not going to be easy for NGOs, as polystyrene foam cups and packaging were the most convenient way to serve food.
“But it can be done and devotees and visitors can help by bringing along their own utensils,’’ he said.
“It is a shame that such an iconic event is associated with waste and litter everywhere in Batu Caves,’’ he said.
T.M. Ramachandran of the Hindu Seva Sangam (HSS), said the organisers were currently trying to work with a private company to distribute free food using eco-packs.
“It is costlier but much friendlier to the environment,’’ Ramachandran said.
“I also advise people to bring along their own cups and plates,’’ he added.
Malaysian Indian Progressive Association founder and president Rajaretinam Armuggan agreed with Ramachandran and Nithi, and urged the public to bring their cups and plates.

Courtesy:thestar. dot com dot my