Never miss a story

Get subscribed to our newsletter


– by Kumar Mahabir

Nov 15, 2016: It was reported in the mainstream media on Sunday that 124 inmates from seven prisons in Trinidad attended a Roman Catholic church service in Port of Spain.

The event was intended as a pilgrimage for the prisoners to walk through The Mercy Door at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception.

Were the inmates exclusively Catholics? If so, why the preference for Catholic prisoners to be let out of prison?

On that same Sunday, as well as the next day, Hindus were also engaged in a pilgrimage to the sea in observance of Kartik. During this ceremony, devotees worship mainly Ganga Ma who is believed to preside over sanctified, clean rivers and oceans. Bathing, or merely touching the holy water, symbolises the removal of sins and the purification of the body and soul.

Kartik in Chaguaramas, Photo by Dr Kumar Mahavir
Kartik in Chaguaramas, Photo by Dr Kumar Mahavir

The prisoners could have also been taken to this pilgrimage but isolated from the mass of devotees for security and other reasons. This multi-faith event would have required a religious paradigm shift that would have been historic as well as liberating. But would the Commissioner of Prisons and the Minister of National Security have granted permission?

The response is embedded in the question: What is the relationship between the State and Religion, particularly non-Christian faiths. Clearly, the State is partial to Christianity, particularly Roman Catholicism.

NewsGram brings to you top news around the world today.

Discrimination against non-Christian religions by the State is exhibited every year. At the ceremonial opening of each law term, services are held in the Holy Trinity Cathedral rather than rotated in a mandir or mosque.

Kartik in Chaguaramas, Photo by Dr Kumar Mahabir
Kartik in Chaguaramas, Photo by Dr Kumar Mahabir

The Prison Service has set a precedence by allowing inmates to attend mass at the Cathedral in Port of Spain.

Check out NewsGram for latest international news updates.

Now Hindus and Muslim priests can demand that prisoners be released to attend religious services in their respective places of worship. Imams, for example, can demand that inmates be taken to perform itikaaf in a mosque during Ramadan. Itikaafis a form of meditation intended to beg for forgiveness from Allah.

(Dr. Kumar Mahabir is the chairman of Indo-Caribbean Cultural Centre in Trinidad and Tobago)



The Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) be repealed in Nagaland

Special Powers For The Armed Forces Act Of 1958 is an act to allow personnel of the armed forces in the states of *[Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, and Tripura] to be granted certain special powers in troubled regions.

In protest, Nagaland has decided to put the Hornbill Festival on hold. Furthermore, the SIT investigating the event has been given a month to finish its inquiry.

Keep Reading Show less

Lee, the de facto leader of the country's biggest conglomerate, Samsung Group, has hinted at making a sizable change to the company to "create a better Samsung."

Samsung Electronics on Tuesday replaced all three CEOs in a surprise move that, the company said, was intended to enhance competitiveness and promote future growth.

Han Jong-hee was promoted to vice chairman and CEO and will be in charge of the newly created SET division, which merged the consumer electronics and IT and mobile communications divisions, previously led by Kim Hyun-suk and Koh Dong-jin, respectively.

Keep Reading Show less

The two leaders expressed satisfaction at the sustained progress in the 'Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership' between both countries despite the challenges posed by the Covid pandemic.

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia's President Vladimir Putin met in New Delhi on Monday and discussed regional and global developments, including the post-pandemic global economic recovery, and the situation in Afghanistan.

Accompanied by a high-level delegation, Putin visited New Delhi for the 21st India-Russia annual summit. He extended an invitation to Modi to visit Russia for the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit in 2022.

Keep reading... Show less