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124 Prisoners in Trinidad could have gone to Both Catholic and Hindu Pilgrimages

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

A Hindu Ritual, Kartik in Chaguaramas , Photo Courtesy Dr Kumar Mahabir

– 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.

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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.

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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) 

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Aadhaar Helpline Mystery: French Security Expert Tweets of doing a Full Disclosure Tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App

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Google, Facebook face greater scrutiny in Australia. Wikimedia Commons

Google’s admission that it had in 2014 inadvertently coded the 112 distress number and the UIDAI helpline number into its setup wizard for Android devices triggered another controversy on Saturday as India’s telecom regulator had only recommended the use of 112 as an emergency number in April 2015.

After a large section of smartphone users in India saw a toll-free helpline number of UIDAI saved in their phone-books by default, Google issued a statement, saying its “internal review revealed that in 2014, the then UIDAI helpline number and the 112 distress helpline number were inadvertently coded into the SetUp wizard of the Android release given to OEMs for use in India and has remained there since”.

Aadhaar Helpline Number Mystery: French security expert tweets of doing a full disclosure tomorrow about Code of the Google SetUP Wizard App, Image: Wikimedia Commons.

However, the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) recommended only in April 2015 that the number 112 be adopted as the single emergency number for the country.

According to Google, “since the numbers get listed on a user’s contact list, these get  transferred accordingly to the contacts on any new device”.

Google was yet to comment on the new development.

Meanwhile, French security expert that goes by the name of Elliot Alderson and has been at the core of the entire Aadhaar controversy, tweeted on Saturday: “I just found something interesting. I will probably do full disclosure tomorrow”.

“I’m digging into the code of the @Google SetupWizard app and I found that”.

“As far as I can see this object is not used in the current code, so there is no implications. This is just a poor coding practice in term of security,” he further tweeted.

On Friday, both the Unique Identification Authority of India (UIDAI) as well as the telecom operators washed their hand of the issue.

While the telecom industry denied any role in the strange incident, the UIDAI said that he strange incident, the UIDAI said that some vested interests were trying to create “unwarranted confusion” in the public and clarified that it had not asked any manufacturer or telecom service provider to provide any such facility.

Twitter was abuzz with the new development after a huge uproar due to Telecom Regulatory Authority of India (TRAI) Chairman R.S. Sharma’s open Aadhaar challenge to critics and hackers.

Ethical hackers exposed at least 14 personal details of the TRAI Chairman, including mobile numbers, home address, date of birth, PAN number and voter ID among others. (IANS)

Also Read: Why India Is Still Nowhere Near Securing Its Citizens’ Data?