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Primitive tribes families convert to Christianity in Jharkhand

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Ranchi: Driven by poverty, over 100 families of primitive tribes have converted to Christianity in Jharkhand’s Gumla district, prompting the VHP to demand a probe into the role of missionaries, sources said on Monday.

Over 100 families belonging to Ghaghra and Visunpur bocks were converted, but the local media put the number at more than 300, administrative sources said.

Asur, one of the nine primitive tribes of Jharkhand, is facing a population decline.

The converted villagers said they took the decision to ensure education for their children. The villages lack basic facilities — roads, electricity, school and health centres.

The Gumla authorities said they would probe the issue.

“Some conversions in the district have been reported last week and some cases of conversions are old. We will probe both; all the reported conversions to find out the truth,” Dinesh Chandra Mishra, deputy commissioner of Gumla district said over phone.

“People converted by their will or they have been allured will be ascertained only after probe,” he said.

Condemning the religious conversion of the primitive tribes people, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) sought a probe into the Christian missionaries’ role.

“The role of Christian missionaries should be probed. The primitive tribes whose population is declining in the state has been converted into christianity under a design,” Pramod Mishra, the VHP’s Bihar and Jharkhand Dharam Prsar head, said.

“Non-tribal people living in the same area. But why did they not convert on the same reason? The primitives tribes have been allured and converted. The funding of missionaries activities should also be probed,” he added.

(IANS)

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Pope Urges End to Carnage in Syria, Calls for Reconciliation in Middle East

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Pope Francis delivers the Urbi et Orbi (to the city and to the world) blessing at the end of the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter's Square at the Vatican, Apr. 1, 2018. VOA

In his Easter message, Pope Francis called for peace in a world marked by war and conflict. Addressing tens of thousands of pilgrims gathered in Saint Peter’s Square from the central balcony of the basilica, the pope called for an end to “carnage” in the long-suffering land of Syria and “reconciliation” in the Middle East.

Francis’ appeal for peace came in his Urbi et Orbi message after having celebrated Easter mass in Saint Peter’s Basilica. He said the message of the resurrection offers hope in a world “marked by so many acts of injustice and violence”.

The pope begged for peace for “the entire world, beginning with the beloved and long-suffering land of Syria, whose people are worn down by an apparently endless war.”

“This Easter,” the pope said, “may the light of the risen Christ illuminate the consciences of all political and military leaders, so that a swift end may be brought to the carnage”.

Francis demanded that aid be delivered to the needy in the war-torn country and called for “fitting conditions for the return of the displaced.”

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Pope Francis acknowledges pilgrims while delivering the Urbi et Orbi blessing at the end of the Easter Sunday Mass in St. Peter’s Square at the Vatican, April 1, 2018. VOA

The pope also urged reconciliation in Israel, a place “experiencing in these days the wounds of ongoing conflict that do not spare the defenseless.” His words followed the Friday deaths of 15 Palestinian protesters on the Israeli-Gaza border two days before Easter Sunday.

ALSO READ: Bangladesh gets its first Catholic Cardinal: Pope Francis names 17 Archbishops as new Cardinals

Turning his thoughts to Africa, the pope also called for peace in South Sudan and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

“Let us not forget the victims of that conflict”, the pope said, “especially the children! May there be no lack of solidarity with all those forced to abandon their native lands and lacking the bare essentials for living.”
The world’s first Latin American pope also urged international assistance for Venezuela, so that more people would not have to abandon their homeland because of the economic and political crisis.

Finally, Francis also expressed the hope that the “fruits of dialogue” would advance peace and harmony on the Korean peninsula, where the two sides are set to hold their first summit in more than a decade on April 27.

Easter is Christianity’s “moveable feast,” falling on a different date each year. Western Christian churches celebrate Easter on the first Sunday following the full moon after the vernal equinox.

This year, Eastern Orthodox Churches, which include Jewish Passover in their calculation of Easter dates, celebrate the holiday next Sunday, April 8. VOA