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Kerala Dalit group under scanner: police October 5, 2009

Posted by reader111 in Hindu Rights Register, Kerala.
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Indo-Asian News Service
Kochi, September 29, 2009

The Kerala police are looking into the activities of a Dalit organisation after two of its key leaders were arrested in a murder case, an official said in Kochi on Monday.

Speaking about the Dalit Human Rights Movement (DHRM), Director General of Police Jacob Punnoose told reporters in Kochi, “We know of this organization but we have to probe whether they have any terror links.” Meanwhile, Leader of Opposition Oommen Chandy criticised the police for not doing enough to curb the activities of DHRM.

He was speaking to reporters in Thiruvananthapuram after visiting the house of Sivaprasad, a resident of Varkala who was brutally murdered allegedly by a DHRM activist last Wednesday.

DHRM has a strong base in Varkala, especially among the numerous colonies where Dalits live.

“It is unfortunate that the Kerala home department failed to find out the activities of the DHRM. Even though there have been increased reports of DHRM taking to violence, the police failed to act. At the same time, one should not brand all Dalits in this manner,” said Chandy.

Two activists of the DHRM arrested on Sunday were remanded in judicial custody on Monday. Those arrested include Ashokan, an advocate, and Das – both key leaders of DHRM.

Meanwhile, Sasi, a resident of one of the colonies where DHRM has a strong presence, told reporters that while his close relatives had joined the DHRM, he had not.

“Since I refused to join them, I was badly beaten up by my own brother, though we never had any enmity before,” said Sasi, who ekes out a living doing odd jobs. Another person from the same place said the activities of DHRM are quite strange.

“The members of this group, even if they belong to the same family, address each other in a different manner. Their ideology too sounded strange and was not acceptable to me and I stayed away,” said the person.

Kumari was in tears as she recounted to reporters how her son was brutally beaten up by members of DHRM after he refused to join them.



Symbols akin to Indus valley culture discovered in Kerala October 5, 2009

Posted by reader111 in hinduism, History, Kerala.
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PTI 29 September 2009, 10:26am IST

KOZHIKODE (KERALA): A rock engraving indicating clear remnants of Harappan culture, has been found in the Edakkal caves in neighbouring Wayanad 
district, linking the Indus Valley civilisation with South India.

“There had been indications of remnants akin to the Indus Valley civilisation in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, but these new findings give credence to the fact that the Harappan civilisation had its presence in the region too and could trace the history of Kerala even beyond the Iron Age,” said historian M R Raghava Varier.

The unique symbols integral to the Indus Valley culture traced in Harappa and Mohanjedaro region that stretched up to Pakistan were found inside the caves during recent excavations by the State Archaeological Department.

Of the identified 429 signs, “a man with jar cup, a symbol unique to the Indus civilisation and other compound letters testified to remnants of the Harappan culture, spanning from 2300 BC to 1700 BC, in South India,” said Varier, who led the excavation at the caves.

The “man-with-the-jar” symbol, an integral remnant commonly traced in parts where the Indus Valley civilisation existed, has even more similarities than those traced in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, he added.


Indus Valley symbols found in Kerala October 5, 2009

Posted by reader111 in History, India, Kerala.
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Ramesh Babu, Hindustan Times
Thiruvananthapuram, September 29, 2009

A rock engraving similar to the unique sign of the Indus Valley civilization — a man with a jar — has been found in Kerala for the first time.

The engraving provides a significant southern link with the 600-year-old Indus Valley civilization that flourished in the northwestern part of the Indian sub-continent between 2300 BC and 1700 BC. Harappa and Mohenjodaro, both now in Pakistan, were the principal towns of the developed urban civilization discovered in the 1920s.

The Dravidian or an equally vibrant civilization existed in southern India during this period, historians said.

The engraving seems to have been made with a stone axe in a linear style to portray a two-dimensional human figure. It was discovered at the Edakkal caves in Wayanad district, 450 km north of state capital Thiruvananthapuram, last week.

Archaeologists and historians are excited with the “unique” discovery.

“What is striking in the Edakkal sign is the presence of an Indus motif, which is rare. The jar is the same as the Indus Valley’s. But the human figure is slightly different. This is where the influence of the Edakkal style really dominates,” said historian M R Raghava Varrier, who identified the sign during the excavation.

“The occurrence of the sign, which is the most characteristic symbol of the Indus script, is very significant,” he said.

Varrier said there had been indications of remnants similar to the Indus Valley civilization in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. But this new finding clearly establishes the fact that the Indus Valley civilization had its presence in the south, he said.


Ex-nun’s confessions set to rock Kerala Church February 22, 2009

Posted by reader111 in Religious Conversions.
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Shaju Philip, Feb 19, 2009


Thiruvananathapuram: Already reeling under several controversies, the Kerala Catholic Church is facing fresh embarrassment from a tell-all autobiography written by a nun who recently quit the Order alleging harassment from superiors.


‘Amen — an autobiography of a nun’, released last week, is written by Dr Sister Jesme, 52, who was the Principal of St Mary’s College, Thrissur, till last August when she quit the Congregation of Mother Carmelite (CMC).


“Dedicated to Jesus”, Amen is explicit in its details of the sexual repression and harassment behind the Church walls as well as the draconian rules and “greed” of the Order. Jesme claims that since the book was released, she has been getting calls pledging solidarity.


“Nuns mingle with the whole spectrum of the community around them. They teach students, comfort the aged and nurse the sick; still the brides of the Church remain an enigma. My work would throw light on the misunderstood convent life, engulfed in darkness,” says Jesme.


Apart from the Abhaya murder in which a nun and priests are accused, the Kerala Church was recently in the news for a priest “adopting” a 26-year-old woman.


RamadaBangalore.comAds By GoogleJesme’s autobiography includes a poignant version by her of how the convent authorities tried to twice prove that she had mental problems and get her admitted into a rehab centre after she reportedly spoke out against the malpractices within the Order.


Starting with her first days in the Church, 30 years ago, she talks of priets forcing novices to have relations with them and the closet homosexuality within nun ranks, “which the Church reckons as the dirtiest thing possible”. “If nuns developed unusual interest in each other, authorities would deploy other inmates to watch them,” she writes.


The book says Jesme herself was forced into such a relationship by a fellow nun, and that her complaints to a senior nun were ignored. According to her, the other nun said she preferred such a relationship as it ruled out pregnancy. There were others who had affairs with priests, she writes.


Another passage in Amen deals with a chance encounter Jesme had with a priest in Bangalore while on her way to Dharwar to attend a UGC refresher course in English. “My plan was to stay at the waiting room at the Bangalore railway station. But sisters in the convent gave me the address of a pious, decent priest. When I reached Bangalore, the priest was waiting to receive me. He embraced me and took me to his presbytery. After breakfast, he took me to Lalbagh (Botanical Garden) and showed me several pairs cuddling behind trees. He also gave a sermon on the necessity of physical love and described the illicit affairs certain bishops and priests had.”



Kerala new hotspot for paedophiles January 25, 2009

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(Chetan Chauhan, Hindustan Times)


Trafficking of young boys for prostitution is on the rise with tourism hotspots like Kerala emerging as the new attraction for paedophiles, says a report on Status of Indian Children, released on eve of the first National Girl Child Day.


“With the increase of paedophilia as part of sex tourism, the demand for boys is rising,” the report said.


There are, however, no major studies to understand the magnitude of the problem, as male prostitution is an underground and clandestine activity in India. While Goa has been a major destination for some years now, Kerala is emerging as the preferred destination for pedophiles.


“There have been reports of increase in number of boys being trafficked to Kerala to become part of sex trade,” said Bharati Ali of HAQ, Centre for Child Rights, the NGO that brought out the report.


Chiding the government, the report said, “Unlike Sri Lanka and Thailand, this problem has not been seriously tackled or discussed in India and has more or less shrouded in secrecy”.