The Candid Eye

April 30, 2010

Bible Vs. Quran: The Evolution Of Violence In Religion

Barbara Bradley Hagerty, National Public Radio’s religion correspondent, ruffled some feathers last week when she posed this question: is the Bible more violent than the Quran?

Religion scholar Phillip Jenkins was on hand to answer that question. No contest, he argues in his new book Jesus Wars>. Whereas the violence prescribed in the Quran is mostly defensive, Jenkins says, the Bible is packed with genocidal commands from God. That drew a sputtering response of incredulity from Andrew Bostom, a self-taught scholar of Islam whose writings are most about the malevolence of jihad. “This is just preposterous!” he exclaimed in the same broadcast.

Vatican & Christianity

Since most Americans have at most read selected passages of the Bible, I expect they will agree with Bostom. But here are some hard truths: Christianity and Islam are the world’s dominant religions because they have used every possible tactic, including large-scale violence and intimidation, to get that way. There are no clean hands in this quarrel.

Sure, Jenkins make a fine “mote and beam” argument. (In a certain well-known sermon, Jesus is recorded as saying, “Why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother’s eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye?”) But the even harder truth is this: it doesn’t much matter what the sacred texts say. Scriptures are magic mirrors. They reflect back the wishes of those who stare into them. If you’re rich, you find justification in them for your wealth. If you’re poor, you find hope that you’ll be rewarded for your suffering.

Harder still: religions are like living beings, and like all living things they are subject to natural selection. Far from being the fixed point in a turning world, every religion evolves and, if it persists long enough, speciates. You can see this at a glance in Christianity and Islam. Each has split into two major species: Catholic and Protestant on the one hand, Sunni and Shi’ite on the other. But even up close, you can observe evolution at work in religion. As often as not, religion evolves toward violence.

Case in point: Quakers. I attended a Friends school back in my youth in Philadelphia and as a young adult flirted with the idea of being a Quaker, but I could not in good conscience declare myself a pacifist. Not that I like war, but imagining myself in my parents’ generation, I could not see sitting out the fight against Nazism. Peace constitutes a defining Quaker value. To be a Quaker is to be a pacifist. So it was not for me. And yet, the president who not only waged but expanded the Vietnam War into Cambodia and Laos was none other than Richard Nixon, the nation’s only Quaker commander in chief.

Could Nixon have won the presidency as an outright pacifist? Probably not. Look at how he pasted the dovish George McGovern in 1972. Variation and selection bring about adaptation.

Of course, Quakers are not particularly doctrinal, and they have less respect for scripture than for inner reflection. Would it have made a difference if they were more, er, bookish? Not really. Let us not forget that the Ten Commandments, which theocrats are always trying to nail up in public schools, come in multiple versions, most of which include this: “Thou Shalt Not Kill.”

Pretty plain language, wouldn’t you say? And yet, a pro-death-penalty, war-loving preacher can slice and dice that commandment faster than Pitchman Vince on the Slap Chop. What’s more, even if you buy the argument that this commandment is simply a prohibition against murder, can you show any evidence that it has constrained the faithful? American jails are crammed with violent believers, including a disproportionately high number of Christians. Atheists, at less than half a percent of prisoners, are sadly underrepresented in proportion to their numbers in the real world.

Mecca & Islam

What of the reverse? Do commandments to do violence necessarily result in violence?

To be sure, there are suras in the Quran than can be read as highly aggressive. Take this choice morsel: “Then, when the sacred months have passed — that is, [at] the end of the period of deferment — slay the idolaters wherever you find them, be it during a lawful [period] or a sacred [one], and take them captive, and confine them, to castles and forts, until they have no choice except [being put to] death or [acceptance of] Islam; and lie in wait for them at every place of ambush, [at every] route that they use …” Of course, the passage ends with an offer of mercy if they convert to Islam, but still …

And yet, consider: Muslims believe the Quran to have been dictated, word by word, by Allah — that is, God. Taken literally, the above sura amounts to a command to go out and kill or convert nonbelievers every year. How many Muslims actually do that? Not even one in ten thousand, I daresay.

Only a minority of Muslims even laud the few who do practice jihadi violence, characterized by the suicide bombing. A 2007 poll of tens of thousands of Muslims in various Middle Eastern countries found support for violent extremism falling even among Palestinians. None of this is meant to dismiss the threat posed by Muslim extremism, which remains all too stark, nor to discount the humdrum violence and oppression that characterize all too much of the Islamic world. Nor do I mean to overlook the violence of Christian extremists such as Scott Roeder, who murdered Dr. Till in church last year.

On the contrary, both Christianity and Islam owe their global success not so much to the magic words in their scriptures as to their effectiveness in practicing forced conversions. Oh, yes, we all know about the growth of the Islamic Empire, whose berobed foot-soldiers held a scimitar in one hand and the Quran in the other. But pull that beam out of your eye, dear Christian reader, and remember the Celts, the West Africans, the Indians of the Plains, the Hawaiians, and countless other peoples whose religions and languages were violently suppressed that they might know salvation through “our Lord Jesus Christ.”

There are no clean hands in this quarrel.

Source: Huffington Post

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April 12, 2010

I will arrest Pope Benedict XVI : Richard Dawkins

RICHARD DAWKINS, the atheist campaigner, is planning a legal ambush to have the Pope arrested during his state visit to Britain “for crimes against humanity”.

Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens, the atheist author, have asked human rights lawyers to produce a case for charging Pope Benedict XVI over his alleged cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic church.

Richard Dawkins : Image Courtesy - Times Online

The pair believe they can exploit the same legal principle used to arrest Augusto Pinochet, the late Chilean dictator, when he visited Britain in 1998.

The Pope was embroiled in new controversy this weekend over a letter he signed arguing that the “good of the universal church” should be considered against the defrocking of an American priest who committed sex offences against two boys. It was dated 1985, when he was in charge of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which deals with sex abuse cases.

Benedict will be in Britain between September 16 and 19, visiting London, Glasgow and Coventry, where he will beatify Cardinal John Henry Newman, the 19th-century theologian.

Dawkins and Hitchens believe the Pope would be unable to claim diplomatic immunity from arrest because, although his tour is categorised as a state visit, he is not the head of a state recognised by the United Nations.

Pope Benedict XVI

They have commissioned the barrister Geoffrey Robertson and Mark Stephens, a solicitor, to present a justification for legal action.The lawyers believe they can ask the Crown Prosecution Service to initiate criminal proceedings against the Pope, launch their own civil action against him or refer his case to the International Criminal Court.

Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, said: “This is a man whose first instinct when his priests are caught with their pants down is to cover up the scandal and damn the young victims to silence.”

Hitchens, author of God Is Not Great, said: “This man is not above or outside the law. The institutionalised concealment of child rape is a crime under any law and demands not private ceremonies of repentance or church-funded payoffs, but justice and punishment.”

Last year pro-Palestinian activists persuaded a British judge to issue an arrest warrant for Tzipi Livni, the Israeli politician, for offences allegedly committed during the 2008-09 conflict in Gaza. The warrant was withdrawn after Livni cancelled her planned trip to the UK.

“There is every possibility of legal action against the Pope occurring,” said Stephens. “Geoffrey and I have both come to the view that the Vatican is not actually a state in international law. It is not recognised by the UN, it does not have borders that are policed and its relations are not of a full diplomatic nature.”

Source: Times Online

March 30, 2010

Missionaries: the good, the bad, and the ugly

An excellent article by Professor and Hindu Monk Ramdas Lamb.

Q: Is there a problem with proselytism overseas by U.S. religious groups? Isn’t sharing one’s faith part of religious freedom? When does it cross the line into manipulation and coercion?

Missionary proselytization has been an integral part of the two main prophetic religions, Christianity and Islam, since early on in the formation of each. It is precisely the reason they are the two largest religions in the world. It is also one of the darkest and most sinister aspects of religion and one of the main reasons so many people have a negative view of anything to do with religion. The basis and justification for proselytization is an extremely narrow minded and arrogant assumption: “My religion is the only right one, I have the only truth, all other religions are wrong, and it is my duty to get others to think and believe like me.” This belief has been used by Christians and Muslims for more than a millennium to justify the seduction, coercion, torture, and even murder of countless individuals in trying to get them to convert.

This does not mean that missionaries as a group have not done many good things for people over the millennia, and some continue to have positive impacts in the lives of the poor and needy. Examples of this can be seen currently in both Haiti and Chile. However, the negative actions of those who focus is proselytization far outweigh the positive.

Monk Ramdas Lamb : Image Courtesy - http://newsweek.washingtonpost.com/

Religion is simultaneously one of the best as well as one of the most destructive of human creations. Religions have inspired people like Mother Teresa, Mahatma Gandhi, and Martin Luther King to selflessly serve others and work to make the world a better place. Religions have also given rise to an ideology of hatred and have provided justification for the kinds of evils perpetuated by the likes of Aurangzeb, Hitler, and bin Laden.

Proselytizers are fundamentalists whose ideology divides the world into “believers” and “non-believers.” The latter comprise all those who are different, those perceived as the “other.” One of the biggest difficulties that we face in this world is our distrust of others, a feeling that leads to fear, hate, and violence. In his 1991 documentary entitled “Beyond Hate,” Bill Moyers addresses concepts such as “insider and outsider,” “us and other,” etc. and the pivotal role this bifurcated view plays in justifying hatred and violence. Proselytizers thrive on these distinctions, these divisions, drawing sharp lines between their own beliefs and those of everyone else. Non-believers are seen as lesser, sometimes even as evil, and clearly in need to either being changed or, in the extreme, annihilated.

More wars have been fought because of narrow religious doctrine and beliefs than for any other reason, and Christians and Muslims have been at the forefront. Both their histories are punctuated with wars against people of other religions, and the paths they have followed are riddled with the bodies of millions of innocent victims. One of the more extreme examples is the case of Timur, the 14th-century Muslim conqueror. In December, 1398, he overthrow the reigning Muslim ruler in Delhi. His justification was that the ruling dynasty was too tolerant of Hindus and did not convert them. Timur happily recounts in his memoirs that in the process of taking over, his army slaughtered 100,000 Hindus in a single day.

Forced conversions continue, as is evident by events in countries like Pakistan, Bangladesh, Indonesia, and Egypt. Even in the Gaza strip, two western newsman were recently forced to convert at gunpoint. Just last week, two young Sikh men were kidnapped and beheaded by members of the Taliban in Pakistan for refusing to convert to Islam. While such actions clearly do not represent the vast majority of Muslims, they have been condoned and even justified by fundamentalist Muslim leaders, and very few Muslims speak out in opposition, often out of fear. A recent and welcome exception is Dr. Tahir ul-Qadri, an influential Pakistani Muslim scholar, who just released a 600-page fatwa (religious edict) condemning Muslim terrorism and suicide bombings. Although it is a powerful and needed statement, it is a rarity, and Dr. ul-Qadri has unfortunately put his own life in danger in the process. Fundamentalists, irrespective of their chosen ideology, find disagreement difficult to allow, and violence has increasingly become a common reaction.

Christian missionaries in the past were not much better. In addition to the violence in the name of Christianity that was perpetuated during the Crusades and the Inquisitions, a look at the early proselytization efforts in India, the Americas, and the Pacific makes it clear that many missionaries found relatively easy justification for the torture and execution of those who refused to become Christian or who challenged their beliefs. Although nowadays most Christian proselytizers have renounced such violence, groups like the Manmasi National Christian Army in Assam, India, continue to use threats to force conversion.

Most European and American Christian missionaries during the last two centuries in Asia have found offers of food, work, education, and health care to be better methods for gaining converts. In the late 1700s, missionaries followed on the heels of the British East India Company and began a concerted effort to take over the Indian soul. Once the British government took control the country, proselytizers had a relatively free reign to pursue their objectives. Again, some missionaries did good works, but those focused on proselytization showed little actual concern for the well being of those they sought to convert.

Many Hindus had hoped that Indian Independence would help curtail the more underhanded activities of the missionaries, but this did not happen. Less than a decade after Independence, a government study conducted in central India known as the Niyogi Report brought to light many of the underhanded and cynical methods that Christian missionaries were continuing to use. The Indian government did little about it, and as a consequence, many of the same tactics remain prevalent.

Currently, Americans donate millions of dollars annually to Christian organizations that advertise charity work they do around the world. While it is true that some organizations do help many people, the assistance of many such groups comes with a price for the people being helped. That is because the real focus of most missionaries is on their proselytization efforts, for which a significant portion of the money is used. Far too often, their activities have absolutely nothing to do with spirituality or real charity, and everything to do with getting names and numbers of converts, so the missionaries can go back to their funding agencies and supporters and ask for continued finances for their claimed “successes.”

In India, missionaries tell their supporters in the U.S. that they provide free or inexpensive services to the needy. However, once initial assistance is given, then conditions are often added for subsequent help. If free education is provided, conversion may then be a requirement for its continuance past a certain point. If aid is in the form of health care, then the quality of care or type of medicine and treatment available may be determined by one’s willingness to convert. This becomes a serious and difficult issue for parents who bring a sick or injured child to a missionary hospital. They may be told that the necessary care is only given to Christians, or that the required medicines “will only work” on Christians. For those who do convert in order to receive needed care, they may well be pressured to then convert other family members or else lose whatever aid they are receiving. I have seen families torn apart by such missionary activities in Central India where I conduct research. Again, this is not what all missionaries do, but these are fairly common occurrences.

In early 2009, Pope Benedict XVI met the Chief Rabbinate of Israel and agreed to stop all conversion attempts directed at Jews. A month later, Cardinal Jean-Louis Pierre Tauran, president of Vatican’s Pontifical Council for Inter-religious Dialogue, visited India and was asked while there if he would offer Hindus the same respect. He refused. There is a degree to narrow mindedness in every religious tradition, but when that is coupled with fundamentalist arrogance and powerful backing, nothing good can come from it.

In his “Seeds of Contemplation,” the late Catholic Trappist monk and mystic Thomas Merton warns about those with spiritual pride who think of themselves as having the truth and humility while others do not, who think they are suffering for God’s sake but deep inside are becoming full of pride in their supposed sanctity, who think that everyone else must adhere to their truth. Merton writes that when such an individual thinks that “he is messenger of God or a man with a mission to reform the world. . . He is capable of destroying religion and making the name of God odious to men.”

I am a strong supporter of freedom of religion. Most proselytizers are not. They want the freedom to coerce vulnerable and gullible individuals into converting, and they can justify many nefarious methods to accomplish their goal. No matter how well intentioned, any attempts to push a religious belief or denomination on someone ultimately benefits no one and demeans the religion in the process. If missionaries actually have something of genuine worth and value, why do they need to seduce, coerce, or threaten people to get them to accept it? Maybe their methods suggest that what they have to offer is not that worthwhile.

March 29, 2010

Lord Ram temple demolished by Secular Christians!!

It was very shocking when I read this news on this site. When Churches in Karnataka were attacked, all news channels were busy 24×7 broadcasting the news saying BJP led Karnataka government let loose all the culprits who were responsible for this act.The anti-Hindu campaign has been so much so that even in the recently held BBMP election campaigns, this was blown out of proportion by the Congress party to hoodwink people of Karnataka just to get the votes to loot further.

Where are these secular media and newspapers and English speaking  elitists? None of the English channels have given any hint on this most criminal offence.When the media is very busy in  highlighting  “Advani celebrated when Babri came down”.”Modi deserved this treatment.”, they simply ignored this piece of information just because the perpetrators belong to Sonia Gandhi’s religion.

English Media in India has lost all its credibility among the common man.When Churches and Mosques are protected by our government, temples are not.When Christians and Muslims are protected by Law, Hindus and their place worships are not.Hindus are required to pay their taxes to send the Muslims and Christians to Mecca and Jerusalem.The poor Hindus will be kicked out if they ask even a temporary shelter in Amarnath.

Please note that though the FIR is submitted, NO ACTION has been taken so far.Compare this with the hue and cry this peace loving church and Christians would make if similar incident happen to them.

Excerpts start here

Sources: 1) Andhra Jyothy, March 18, 2010

http://www.andhrajyothy.com/tabloids/2010/mar/18/wgd/wgd%20page05.pdf

2) FIR submitted by a villager

——– Translation of the Newspaper article ———————–

Temple demolished in MangalaGunta Palem Narasapuram rural: March 17: A few people (Christians) belonging to the Managalagunta palem have demolished a temple. It has been found that the incident happened on Tuesday night. This temple has a 100 year history. According to some villagers the demolition is part of a conspiracy. The Tehsildhar of the village Jawaharlal Nehru visited the place after he came to know about the incident. Police have taken precautionary measures to prevent disturbances. Tehsildhar mentioned that inquiry is going on to identify the culprits and the underlying reasons.

——- Translation of the FIR submitted to police (no action was taken so far ——-

To

The Superintendent of police, West Godavari Dist,

The report submitted by

Bandela RamaChandra Rao, Narasapuram, West Godavari Dist on 17-March-2010

Sir,

We belong to Mangala Gunta Palem Village in Kustubada Panchayati. There is a 100 year old Ramalayam (Rama’s temple) in the Harijan (Dalit) area in our village. In this temple, for the last 100 years festivals such as Nandi puja, Sri Rama Navami etc were celebrated grandly.

For sometime Christians belonging to our village have been trying to demolish this temple and create communal disturbances. During many such attempts earlier, we protected Hindus and this Sri Rama temple from these militants.

We have been planning and making arrangements to celebrate Sri Rama Navami from 24-March-2010 5:00 PM onwards. After looking at these arrangements, the Christian anti social elements decided to stop the same at any cost. On 16-March-2010 7:30 PM the following Christians named

1. Gorinkala Vijaya Prasad S/O Adam

2. Bandela Venkataratnam S/O Gnana Rao

3. Gorinkala Sharmila W/O VijayaPrasad

4. Kollabothula Appa Rao S/O Yesu Dasu

5. Kona Ratnam Raju S/O Satyanarayana

6. Kollabothula Sundara Rao S/O Vanamayya

demolished the Sri Rama Temple and destroyed the idols of Sri Rama etc. This is an anti-Hindu extremist activity.

As soon as the news of the attack to came to the notice of the villagers, members belonging to the Harijan (Dalit) Ramalaya protection committee and temple protection committee visited the place. The following members of the committee were attacked by the Christian extremists.

1. Vangala Jagannadha Krishna Kishore

2. Desetti Satyanarayana

3. Boosim Sankar

4. Koppada Harinath

5. Boodida Venkateswara Rao

6. Sangani Venkateswara Rao

Excerpts end here

March 28, 2010

Devil is in the Vatican!!

Sex abuse scandals in the Roman Catholic Church are proof that that “the Devil is at work inside the Vatican”, according to the Holy See’s chief exorcist.

Father Gabriele Amorth, 85, who has been the Vatican’s chief exorcist for 25 years and says he has dealt with 70,000 cases of demonic possession, said that the consequences of satanic infiltration included power struggles at the Vatican as well as “cardinals who do not believe in Jesus, and bishops who are linked to the Demon”.

Don Gabriele Amorth is the chief exorcist at the Vatican : Image courtesy - http://www.timesonline.co.uk/

He added: “When one speaks of ‘the smoke of Satan’ [a phrase coined by Pope Paul VI in 1972] in the holy rooms, it is all true – including these latest stories of violence and paedophilia.”

He claimed that another example of satanic behaviour was the Vatican “cover-up” over the deaths in 1998 of Alois Estermann, the then commander of the Swiss Guard, his wife and Corporal Cedric Tornay, a Swiss Guard, who were all found shot dead. “They covered up everything immediately,” he said. “Here one sees the rot”.

A remarkably swift Vatican investigation concluded that Corporal Tornay had shot the commander and his wife and then turned his gun on himself after being passed over for a medal. However Tornay’s relatives have challenged this. There have been unconfirmed reports of a homosexual background to the tragedy and the involvement of a fourth person who was never identified.

Father Amorth, who has just published Memoirs of an Exorcist, a series of interviews with the Vatican journalist Marco Tosatti, said that the attempt on the life of Pope John Paul II in 1981 had been the work of the Devil, as had an incident last Christmas when a mentally disturbed woman threw herself at Pope Benedict XVI at the start of Midnight Mass, pulling him to the ground.

Father José Antonio Fortea Cucurull, a Rome-based exorcist, said that Father Amorth had “gone well beyond the evidence” in claiming that Satan had infiltrated the Vatican corridors.

“Cardinals might be better or worse, but all have upright intentions and seek the glory of God,” he said. Some Vatican officials were more pious than others, “but from there to affirm that some cardinals are members of satanic sects is an unacceptable distance.”

Father Amorth told La Repubblica that the devil was “pure spirit, invisible. But he manifests himself with blasphemies and afflictions in the person he possesses. He can remain hidden, or speak in different languages, transform himself or appear to be agreeable. At times he makes fun of me.”

Devil making fun of Father Gabriele Amorth

He said it sometimes took six or seven of his assistants to to hold down a possessed person. Those possessed often yelled and screamed and spat out nails or pieces of glass, which he kept in a bag. “Anything can come out of their mouths – finger-length pieces of iron, but also rose petals.”

He said that hoped every diocese would eventually have a resident exorcist. Under Church Canon Law any priest can perform exorcisms, but in practice they are carried out by a chosen few trained in the rites.

Father Amorth was ordained in 1954 and became an official exorcist in 1986. In the past he has suggested that Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin were possessed by the Devil. He was among Vatican officials who warned that J. K. Rowling’s Harry Potter novels made a “false distinction between black and white magic”.

He approves, however, of the 1973 film The Exorcist, which although “exaggerated” offered a “substantially exact” picture of possession.

In 2001 he objected to the introduction of a new version of the exorcism rite, complaining that it dropped centuries-old prayers and was “a blunt sword” about which exorcists themselves had not been consulted. The Vatican said later that he and other exorcists could continue to use the old ritual.

He is the president of honour of the Association of Exorcists.

Source: Times Online

February 18, 2010

‘Pilgrimage is a journey into oneself ‘- Sri Sri Ravishankar Tells Priests

Filed under: Art of Living,Christianity,Hinduism — Abhay @ 6:00 AM
Tags: , , , ,

‘Pilgrimage is a journey into oneself ‘- Sri Sri Ravishankar Tells Priests

by Adolf Washington

VELANKANNI, Tamil Nadu, Feb 12: “It’s a joy to talk to the lovers of God,” said Sri Sri Ravishankar, founder of the Art of Living organisation, at the Indian Priests Congress held at Velankanni, one of world’s most popular Christian pilgrim centres, February 9.

Ravishankar who received a State VIP escort to the Shrine was Addressing over 900 priests from across India.  He said: “It is time to look deep within and connect the mind with the inner self and rekindle the faith. Mind is vascilliting between the past and the future we got to bring it to the present.” To a question from the audience as to what was Sri Ravishankar’s concept of a pilgrimage, he said “To me, pilgrimage is an inward journey.  It is a journey into oneself.  It is a search for a communiion between God and oneself”


Ravishankar told the priests: “We are made up of the substance called love. We are God’s image, God is love, but then why hatred, jealousy among people? How to handle them is a huge challenge. Spiritual wisdom helps to overcome them. Breathing exercises helps to remove all negative emotions.”
There are so many things common between Hindus and Christians like the rosary, the prayer bell, which is unique to Christianity and not inherited from Judaism.

Answering queries posed by priests such as why Christians are attacked by the Hindu groups, Ravishankar said, “It is because some Pentecostal people indulge in asking people to throw Hindu pictures out from their homes, which causes misunderstanding. People also don’t know the difference between sects. People need education to broaden their vision.”

Responding to Journalist Anto Akara’s question “Why have you so far not openly condemned hindu fundamentalist groups that indulge in attacks on the Church”, Ravishankar said “I have openly denounced any form of violence from any quarter.  Your Churches were attacked, temples to were attacked.  I have denounced any kind of religious violence”.  To another question from the audience “Why have you not spoken openly against the caste system?”, the Guruji replied “I have certainly denounced any kind of injustice or discrimination.  I have said many times and in many places that we are all children of one God.  We are all in Him and He is in all”

“I dont discard religion.Religions are essential because they gives us the connectivity to God. Religion is an external aspect, whereas spirituality is interiorisation,” he concluded.

Cardinal Claudio Cardinal Hummes, Prefect, Congregation for Clergy, Vatican, Archbishops,and Bishops were among those present for the talk.

February 17, 2010

Pastor held for detaining three Manipuri kids

Pastor Albert Karunagaran of Purasaiwalkam was arrested by the CB-CID on Wednesday for helping Immanuel — from whose unregistered NGO, Reach Home Children Foundation, the police rescued 16 Manipuri children on January 21 — keep three Manipuri children in hiding for more than 10 days.

When the police rescued the 16 children, three were reportedly hidden in a cupboard in the house. Later, the three were shifted to different houses, including Karunagaran’s, before they were produced before the Child Welfare Committee (CWC) on February 4, the police said.

Child Trafficking

Karunagaran had also helped Immanuel shift the children to other houses in Pammal. Two other pastors, Sam Yesudoss and Paul, are said have assisted Immanuel, who had been operating from his hideout and made a bid to send back the three children to Manipur clandestinely through Esther, a former warden of his home.

According to Esther, who now works as a receptionist at a hotel in Lucknow, Immanuel called her over the phone on January 22. He asked her to rush to Chennai and take back the three children she had brought with her in 2008.

Child Trafficking

When she reached the city on January 26, a representative of Immanuel received her and took her to a house, where she saw the three malnourished children, Esther said. Immanuel told her that he was in trouble, gave her Rs 15,000 and asked her to take the children to Manipur secretly. “At that time, I was not aware of the earlier developments,” she said.

Esther had worked as a warden at the children’s home in 2006 for a year before returning to Manipur. She got a call from Immanuel in 2008, who told her that he had received more funds and could help some more children pursue their education. So she brought the three children to the NGO.

In 2006, he had been running another home in Madavaram with 60 children, which he closed down subsequently, she said.A senior officer from the CB-CID said Immanuel has links with several pastors in Andhra Pradesh, Bangalore and Tirunelveli.

Source: Express Buzz

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