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An Indian Christian Evangelist denied Refugee Status in New Zealand, likely to be Deported

Hindu and Christian leaders in Auckland’s Indian community, however, labelled BD’s religious claims a “baseless” excuse to remain in the country

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Representational Image, Protesters in front of the U.S. Supreme Court in Washington, D.C. ahead of landmark hearing on immigration, April 18, 2016. (E. Cherneff / VOA )
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Wellington, November 24, 2016: An Indian Christian evangelist in New Zealand will be deported despite his claims that “Hindu extremists” in India have threatened to kill him, media reported on Thursday.

The man, identified only as BD, was detained and jailed in 2012 for overstaying his visa. Since then, the Indian Christian evangelist has been fighting the deportation order on humanitarian grounds, Stuff.co.nz reported.

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The Immigration and Protection Tribunal turned down his first claim for refugee status in 2015. He made another claim saying that his stay in jail had strengthened his Christian faith so much, that the preaching he would be compelled to do when back in India would put his life in danger.

However, in a decision this week, Auckland High Court’s Justice Peters rejected the claim, reported the website.

The Indian Christian evangelist’s lawyer urged the High Court to reconsider his client’s entitlement to refugee status by saying that his return to the country might land him in deep trouble, according to the media report.

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Hindu and Christian leaders in Auckland’s Indian community, however, labelled BD’s religious claims a “baseless” excuse to remain in the country. Veer Khar, a Hindu and the president of the Indian Central Association, said all faiths were tolerated in India.

Justice Peters noted “whether or not (the man’s) faith has intensified” did not increase his risk of attack, because he was already a well-known evangeliser.

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BD had claimed that his brother in India had received several threatening telephone calls, but Justice Peters dismissed those claims.

Ilamgo Krishna Moorthy, the president of the New Zealand Hindu Temple Association, said “a lot of evangelists” visited India regularly and the man would not be stopped. (IANS)

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After Being Stranded, 145 Pilot Whales Die In New Zealand

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand's coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year

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Pilot whales
Pilot whales. Flickr

About 145 pilot whales died in New Zealand after being stranded during the weekend on Stewart Island in the extreme south of the country, officials said on Monday.

A hiker alerted authorities on Saturday night about the situation of the whales, who were stranded in Mason Bay in two separate groups about two kilometers apart, a Department of Conservation of New Zealand release said.

Pilot whales
Almost 150 whales die in mass stranding. BBC

Half of the whales were dead when rescuers arrived and the condition of the rest, by the time they were found, was so bad it was decided to euthanise them, said Ren Leppens, operations manager at Rakiura.

“Sadly, the likelihood of being able to successfully re-float the remaining whales was extremely low. The remote location, lack of nearby personnel and the whales’ deteriorating condition meant the most humane thing to do was to euthanise,” said Leppens.

Pilot whales
A volunteer looks after a whale, part of a pod of stranded pilot whales.

Pilot whales, also called long-finned pilot whale, are a specimen with a bulging forehead and a robust body that can reach between six and seven meters in length, Xinhua news agency reported.

Also Read: The Ocean And Its Climate Crisis

Marine mammals are frequently stranded on New Zealand’s coasts and the average number of operations carried out by environmental officials is about 85 per year, most of them to save these animals individually.

The reasons why whales and dolphins can become stranded have not been clarified, although it is attributed to diseases, navigation errors, sudden changes in tides, being chased by predators or extreme weather conditions. (IANS)