Can I visit my boyfriend? My parents? Go fishing or bushwalking? Coronavirus rules in the ACT and South Australia explained



Flickr/Chris Fithall, CC BY

Michael Lund, The Conversation and Wes Mountain, The Conversation

Editor’s note: this article adds to the information we already published for New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria, and we will endeavour to update with information as we are able to collect it.

What you can and can’t do under the coronavirus restrictions seem to vary from place to place so no wonder people have turned to Google for answers.

According to Google Trends, some of the top coronavirus searches nationally in the last few days include “can I visit my parents coronavirus Australia?”, “can I go fishing during coronavirus?” and “can I go for a drive during coronavirus Australia?”

“Can I visit my boyfriend during coronavirus Australia?” was also a common one.




Read more:
Can I visit my boyfriend? My parents? Can I go fishing or bushwalking? Coronavirus rules in NSW, Queensland and Victoria explained


This time we asked legal experts – Benedict Sheehy in the Australian Capital Territory and Mark Giancaspro in South Australia – to help shed some light on what the new rules might mean for residents of their state or territory.

Obviously things are changing quickly so best to keep an eye on the latest information from the ACT and South Australia, as well as the federal government.

Can I visit my parents?


Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Benedict Sheehy, ACT: The ACT government is rolling over a set of declarations and there are day by day changes. That is what you might hope for with a small population and a government that is seeking to be flexible.

The declarations are currently less restrictive than those in New South Wales and Victoria. They include fines of $8,000 for breaches by individuals.

The declarations have the same emphasis on reducing gatherings of more than a few people, through to mandatory closure of “non-essential” venues such as gyms, restaurants and museums in line with the national government.

The declarations are likely to become more restrictive in line with spread of COVID-19 and national government policy. Like other parts of Australia there are uncertainties about specific aspects, particularly how they will be interpreted by the police and ordinary people.

At this stage there aren’t tough restrictions. Visits by children who do not normally live with their parents are permitted for “care and support”, including food delivery and other assistance. Visits by friends are also permitted.

The declarations aim to restrict unnecessary visits rather than provide a comprehensive lockdown of elders living at home. But aged care facilities are restricted.

Mark Giancaspro, SA: The SA government has taken direction from the federal government in advising South Australian residents to stay home unless it is absolutely necessary to go outside. There are fines of $1,000 for people who fail to follow the rules on self-isolating.

“Non-essential” visits include social visits to family and friends. But in SA, gatherings of ten people or fewer are currently permitted provided social distancing rules are adhered to (though a limit of two people per gathering is “encouraged”).

If your parents are in a residential aged care facility then a recent direction from the Chief Executive of SA Health prohibits visitation.

In any event, the federal government advises those aged 70 or over (or 65+ with chronic medical conditions) to avoid contact with others to reduce risk of infection.

An obvious exception, which is regarded as “essential” contact, is where care or support are being provided by the visitor.




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Can I still go to the dentist? How coronavirus is changing the way we look after our teeth


Can I go fishing or bushwalking?


Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Benedict Sheehy, ACT: There is no specific restriction but considerable uncertainty. Campgrounds, playgrounds and information centres in Namadgi National Park and the Parks and Gardens facilities are closed.

Most wildlife areas and parks are still open “providing the community access to nature for recreation, health and wellbeing”. The declarations allow non-social outdoor exercise.

As things stand people can apparently go bushwalking or fishing as long as they are not in a closed location (sometimes still closed after the bushfires) and maintain physical distancing 1.5m from others.

Mark Giancaspro, SA: Again, SA is taking advice from the federal government and stipulates that South Australians may leave home for “essentials”, including exercise “in a public space such as a park”, with a limit of two people applying.

South Australians are permitted to visit parks, including bush and walking tracks, provided they have not been ordered to isolate and the parks are in their local neighbourhood. Most South Australian parks remain open to local visitors.

There is no firm direction as to fishing but the federal government said Australians are required to stay home unless it is essential they go outside.

Recreational fishing, therefore, would not be deemed essential. But if this is in the course of employment or to attain seafood for consumption, this would appear to count as an “essential” activity and be allowed (subject to social distancing requirements).




Read more:
Can mosquitoes spread coronavirus?


Can I go for a drive?


Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Benedict Sheehy, ACT: Occupancy in major carparks appears to be down by around 80% . There are no reports of police pulling over motorists with questions about whether travel is essential.

Public transport and taxis are still operating. The expectation is that people will use common sense. Public and private transport will be used for travel to workplaces with an essential status, childcare, for buying food and other supplies, visiting the doctor (queues for flu shots in several locations) and visiting friends.

Mark Giancaspro, SA: Yes, provided this is for the purposes of undertaking an “essential activity”. This includes travelling to: markets for food shopping; public spaces such as parks for exercise; medical facilities or pharmacies for appointments or to collect medications; to work (if you cannot work from home); or to another person’s home to provide them with vital care or support.

It is otherwise required that you stay home and avoid travel.

If you drive beyond the state borders, which is highly discouraged, you may be subject to entry requirements. On return you will also be subject to strict measures including compulsory isolation for 14 days.




Read more:
If coronavirus cases don’t grow any faster, our health system will probably cope


Can I visit my boyfriend/girlfriend?


Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Benedict Sheehy, ACT: People are still visiting loved ones or friends, subject to restriction on visits by people who are quarantined.

You are not permitted to visit boyfriends/girlfriends if either are subject to any are in self-isolation (people who have been diagnosed as having COVID 19) or self-quarantine (people who are travellers returning to the ACT from an international trip).

Mark Giancaspro, SA: Yes, provided you adhere to the limitation as to gatherings of people, as well as the social distancing requirements.




Read more:
The coronavirus lockdown could test your relationship. Here’s how to keep it intact (and even improve it)


Can I go for a walk around my neighbourhood or sit on a park bench?


Wes Mountain/The Conversation, CC BY-ND

Benedict Sheehy, ACT: The declarations allow outdoor exercise and walking to the shops. The restriction emphasises physical distancing rather than a curfew or ban on being outdoors.

The declarations contains no specific instruction concerning park benches.

Mark Giancaspro, SA: Yes. In fact, this is recommended if you plan to exercise, as open spaces provide opportunities to stay active and healthy while also abiding by social distance requirements.

This is again subject to limitations on the number of people assembling. You should not go for a walk or sit on a park bench with more than one other person.




Read more:
Coronavirus: tiny moments of pleasure really can help us through this stressful time


The Conversation


Michael Lund, Commissioning Editor, The Conversation and Wes Mountain, Multimedia Editor, The Conversation

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Australia: Bushfire Crisis Update


At last, Australia has a Modern Slavery Act. Here’s what you’ll need to know



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Soon we’ll have a much better idea of what we are buying, and companies will be shamed into sourcing products better.
Shutterstock

Paul Redmond, University of Technology Sydney

It has taken years, but after votes in the Senate and House of Representatives last week, Australia has a Modern Slavery Act.

It’ll take effect on January 1.

But what difference will it make?

First, what is modern slavery?

Britain abolished slavery on its own soil in 1833. It abolished the most egregious forms of child labour a century later.

But slavery and child labour are still being used to make the products Britons buy, just as they are being used to make the products Australians buy.




Read more:
How to keep slave-caught seafood off your plate


Increasing integrated global supply chains have made it hard to tell whether even products that are stamped “Made in Australia” have at some stage used slaves or underage children as part of the production process.

Forcibly detained adults and children work in industries including fishing, cocoa, cotton, clothing, cannabis, construction and prostitution.

The term “modern slavery” refers only to the worst forms of exploitation, and not to other serious breaches of human rights such as the denial of freedom of association or the denial of worker safety, such as at Rana Plaza clothing factory in Dhaka, Bangladesh in which more than 1,000 garment workers died when their building collapsed in 2013.




Read more:
Unravelling British wool: how the local and global are intertwined in the making of everyday products


The International Labour Organisation believes that 21 million people worldwide are forced labourers, half of them in the Asia-Pacific region.

What will be required

As with the British Act, Australia’s will require businesses and other organisations above a certain size (consolidated revenue of A$100 million) to report annually on the risks of modern slavery in their operations and supply chains, and the action they have taken to assess and address those risks, and the effectiveness of their response.

Smaller businesses will be able to report voluntarily.

To ensure high-level engagement, the statement has to be approved by the board of directors or equivalent and signed by a director.




Read more:
We analysed 101 companies’ statements on modern slavery – here’s what we found


The statements will be publicly available on a central register maintained by the Commonwealth. The Commonwealth government itself, and those of its entities that satisfy the reporting revenue threshold, will also have to prepare a statement.

What will not be required

Two controversial omissions are penalties and independent oversight.

The government was unwilling to impose a penalty for failing to lodge a statement or for lodging an incomplete statement.

This needn’t be fatal. The requirement and the public register means that companies that don’t report properly can be “named and shamed” by non-government organisations. Consumer pressure can itself become a sanction.




Read more:
The Modern Slavery Bill is a start, but it won’t guarantee us sweeter chocolate


The UK experience does not encourage optimism as about compliance.

In response to these concerns, Senate amendments have empowered the minister to name and shame his or herself, publicly calling out continued instances of non-compliance and reporting to parliament annually on compliance trends.

Australia’s parliamentary inquiry and a good many of the submissions strongly supported the appointment of an independent statutory anti-slavery commissioner with the authority and resources to oversee compliance.

The government will instead establish a departmental unit to help business address slavery risks and prepare statements.




Read more:
Should Australia have a Modern Slavery Act?


The Labor party supports both penalties and the appointment of an independent commissioner.

It is possible that both requirements will be in place before the first modern slavery statements are due on June 30, 2020.

NSW has also passed its own Modern Slavery Act, due to take effect after the Commonwealth Act commences. It imposes a lower revenue reporting threshold of $50 million, and provides for penalties for businesses that do not comply, of up to A$1.1 million.

It also creates the post of Independent NSW Anti-Slavery Commissioner.

What now

American baseballer Yogi Berra said that when we come to a fork in the road, we should take it. Wise advice. We have two ways forward and should take both. In truth, they converge.

First, we need to monitor compliance levels, and determine whether penalties and independent oversight are needed. And we need to set up processes that ensure the reports are of good quality.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights provide a guide. Happily, the Act adopts these principles.

The other path is to address the broader harm that Australian businesses can do, beyond incorporating slavery into products that are sold in Australia.




Read more:
We need to combat forced labour and in-work poverty – Brazil and India offer some lessons


The Guiding Principles help here too, outlining the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights and to provide remedies wherever they operate.

This responsibility extends to our mining companies, 200 in Africa alone, who should respect human rights whether or not slavery is incorporated in products they sell back here.

And it extends to technology companies whose platforms put people at risk such as Facebook’s possible role in the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya in Myanmar.

Slavery is important, but there is more to human rights than slavery.

The Act is a start, quite a good one. We will need more.The Conversation

Paul Redmond, Sir Gerard Brennan Professor, Faculty of Law, University of Technology Sydney

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Should Australia have a Modern Slavery Act?



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Businessman Andrew Forrest and his wife Nicola are strong advocates of anti-slavery measures.
AAP/Alan Porritt

Fiona McGaughey, University of Western Australia; Dave Webb, University of Western Australia, and Peta-Jane Hogg, University of Western Australia

There has been a flurry of activity recently in relation to establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia. This has included a parliamentary inquiry and Labor’s recent policy release on the topic.

Is slavery a problem in Australia?

First, there is no doubt that activities associated with modern slavery, such as human trafficking, servitude and forced labour, are grave human rights issues, requiring a dedicated and co-ordinated response.

Governments cannot solve the problem on their own. It is a particular issue in countries like India, but also occurs in Australia.

Between 2004 and 2016, the Australian Federal Police received almost 700 referrals relating to suspected human trafficking and slavery-related crimes, though only 17 people have so far been convicted of these offences.

Most recently, in February 2017, two men pleaded guilty to charges of servitude relating to their treatment of Taiwanese workers in Brisbane.

Recent media reports of exploitation of migrant workers in Western Australian farms and market gardens, Victorian farms, and in 7-Eleven retail stores nationwide, suggests this is a real – but often hidden – issue in Australia.

What developments are underway for a Modern Slavery Act in Australia?

Moves are underway in Australia to introduce new laws to tackle slavery that will operate outside the existing criminal law framework.

On February 15, a parliamentary inquiry into establishing a Modern Slavery Act in Australia was launched. The terms of reference for the inquiry specifically refer to the UK’s Modern Slavery Act and to relevant findings from the Joint Standing Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Trade’s 2013 report Trading Lives: Modern Day Human Trafficking.

Although the UK’s Modern Slavery Act has seven parts, including protection for victims, civil and criminal provisions, new maritime enforcement mechanisms, and the establishment of an anti-slavery commissioner, the focus has overwhelmingly been on its impact on businesses.

The act and associated regulations require businesses with a turnover of £36 million or more to disclose what they are doing to eliminate slavery and trafficking from their supply chains and their own businesses. It appears there is support from people in the business community, and faith-based and other non-governmental organisations, for a similar business reporting initiative in Australia.

A key promoter of the introduction of a Modern Slavery Act here is businessman and philanthropist Andrew Forrest. He and his wife Nicola established Walk Free, a Perth-based international non-governmental organisation with a mission to “end modern slavery in our generation”.
Walk Free was one of the 173 organisations and individuals to make a submission to the parliamentary inquiry.

Although submissions varied in terms of how modern slavery and trafficking might best be tackled, there was broad, in-principle support for the introduction of an act. This includes submissions by businesses such as Qantas and Wesfarmers, both of which already report on their anti-slavery efforts under the UK legislation.

There is apparent bipartisan support for the initiative. The Coalition government has been exploring options for business reporting over the last several years through the Supply Chains Working Group set up as part of the National Roundtable on Human Trafficking and Slavery.

Labor has expressed strong support for the introduction of new business reporting obligations, proposing to go further than the UK by imposing penalties on businesses in Australia that fail to report on their anti-slavery efforts.

In the UK, as well as at an international level, compliance with such reporting obligations is primarily driven by considerations of public opinion.

What international obligations exist?

Several voluntary international obligations relevant to modern slavery exist. Globally, more than 9,400 organisations from over 160 countries have committed as participants to the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). This is the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative, actively engaging in responsible human rights and labour practices.

The Global Compact Network Australia (GCNA) brings together UNGC participants, other leading companies, non-profit organisations and universities – including the University of Western Australia – to advance these same goals in Australia.

Furthermore, the UN has guiding principles on business and human rights. Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has recently established an advisory group on the implementation of these principles.

OECD guidelines for multinational enterprises also apply to Australian businesses. For example, the associated dispute resolution mechanism has been used to bring a complaint against security firm GS4 Australia for conditions and alleged abuse of detainees on Manus Island.

Will an Australian Modern Slavery Act prove effective?

Last week’s visit to Australia by Kevin Hyland, the UK anti-slavery commissioner, was timely.

Although the UK legislation has received a cautious welcome so far, it is too early to judge whether it will have any meaningful impact on reducing worker exploitation.

In Australia, longstanding criminal laws against trafficking and slavery have not prevented their occurrence and, for the most part, have not been relied on by authorities to prosecute exploitation. The effectiveness of pursuing employers for the exploitation of migrant workers via the Fair Work Ombudsman is also limited.

By extending the responsibility to tackle exploitation to include business and not just government, it is hoped that the introduction of an Australian Modern Slavery Act will help tackle worker exploitation. However, there remains a risk that this initiative will continue the trend of side-stepping the root causes of worker exploitation in this country.

Vulnerability to workplace exploitation is closely connected to the regulation of migration and labour.

The ConversationTherefore, as well as receiving the support of Australia’s business community, any proposed solution to this problem must engage with government policies and practices affecting migration and migrant labour to reduce worker vulnerability.

Fiona McGaughey, Lecturer, Faculty of Law, University of Western Australia; Dave Webb, Associate Professor of Marketing and Business Ethics, University of Western Australia, and Peta-Jane Hogg, PhD Candidate in Law, University of Western Australia

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

Australia: Catastrophic Bushfire Conditions Generate Massive Bushfire Across the South East


South-Eastern Australia is in the grip of a heatwave with temperatures threatening the record books. Temperatures across the country are reaching between 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit) and 50 degrees Celsius (122 degrees Fahrenheit), with the hottest recorded temperatures in many centres threatened, as well as the highest temperature every recorded in Australia.

For more on the fires visit:
Battlefront NSW: State on bushfire red alert | News.com.au.

Cults: The Family International


The Group Formerly Known as the Children of God Cleaning Up Their Act

The following article reports on reforms taking place within the former Children of God sect, now known as The Family International (TFI).

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2012/april/sex-cult-cleans-house.html

Recent Incidents of Persecution


Madhya Pradesh, India, December 31 (CDN) — Hindu nationalists on Dec. 26 beat a Christian distributing gospel tracts in Damoh Naka at Jabalpur. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that at about 3 p.m. Devanand Dandale was distributing literature when Hindu extremists from the Bajrang Dal and Dharam Sena grabbed him, seized his mobile phone and money and phoned other extremists to come. A GCIC coordinator told Compass that for nearly two hours the extremists repeatedly slapped and kicked Dandale, pulled his hair and mocked him, finally forcing him to the Kotwali police station. En route, they falsely told news reporters that Dandale was a convert who was forcing others to convert. On advice of police, Dandale filed a complaint against Amit Tiwari, Sunil Sonkar, Ambasingh Thakur, Surendra Jain and Babu Tiwari, after which he was sent home at 9 p.m. At press time Dandale was receiving medical treatment for swollen legs and severe pain.

 

Andhra Pradesh – On Dec. 20 in Hi- City, Hyderabad, about 100 Hindu extremists attacked Pastor T.R. Raju, warning him to vacate the area. The previous day Pastor Raju had led a Christmas celebration with a convert from Hinduism, an actor identified only as Surya, as a quest speaker, reported the All India Christian Council (AICC). Surya had mentioned the blessing of having Christ as God and did not criticize other faiths, according to the AICC. Afterward, however, four people came and argued with the pastor and verbally abused him. The next day, about 100 Hindu hardliners gathered at the pastor’s house, verbally abused him and beat him, according to the AICC. Surya also showed up and pleaded with the furious mob to stop, and police arrived as the attackers scattered. The extremists continued to threaten the pastor to leave the area or face harm. They also threatened the pastor’s landlord, who subsequently gave notice to the pastor to vacate the house in 10 days.

 

Maharashtra – Carol singers on Dec. 18 were beaten at 10:15 p.m. in Worli Koliwada, Mumbai, reported national daily the Times of India (TOI). Joseph Dias of the Catholic Secular Forum reportedly said 25 members of the New Life Church youth group were singing carols when Dhananjay Desai of the Hindu extremist Hindu Rashtra Sena began mocking them, saying they were paid to sing. Desai then phoned other Hindu extremists, who rushed to the spot in three cars and charged into the youth group, beating two of them, Ganesh Gadam and Joel Metrin. The TOI reported that the extremists forced the victims into their cars and took them to a police station. Dias told Compass that police issued a warning to the assailants, who threatened the Christians with harm if they persisted in holding public Christian activities.

 

Karnataka – Hindu extremists from the Rashtriya Sawaymsevak Sangh on Dec. 17 attacked a Christian and accused him of “large-scale conversion” in Shimoga. The All India Christian Council (AICC) reported that about 15 Hindu extremists gathered at the house of S. Prakash, manager of the Dalit Education Centre, and accused him of using the school as a cover for the alleged conversions. The extremists beat Prakash, leaving him with several internal injuries, and threatened further harm if he did not close down the school. They also cut down trees at the school and destroyed its signboard. Prakash filed a complaint with local police. Village officials are supportive of the work by the school, reported the AICC. A police investigation was ongoing at press time.

 

Madhya Pradesh – On Dec. 9 in Satna, police arrested Pastor V.A. Anthony and booked him under the state anti-conversion act. The arrests was made in connection with an incident that took place earlier this year when the pastor conducted a Christian funeral at the request of the parents of the diseased, reported the All India Christian Council (AICC). An activist with the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, Lakshimi Yadav, learned of the funeral and filed a case against Antony. Police investigated the case but found no wrongdoing by the pastor. In early September, Hindu extremists from the Sangh Parivar forced local newspapers to publish biased reports about the funeral and complained to the inspector general of police that the pastor had forcibly converted the parents of the deceased, identified only as Rajesh. The Hindu extremists threatened the pastor on Sept. 12.

 

Karnataka – Hindu nationalists from the Bajrang Dal on Dec. 8 disrupted a prayer meeting, falsely accused Christians of forcible conversion and seriously injured two of them in Gonilkoppa. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that at about 8 p.m. the Shakina Full Gospel Church was worshiping when 10 extremists led by Hindus identified only as Manu, Devaraj and Manju stormed in. A GCIC coordinator told Compass that Christians identified only as Raju, Kaliamma, Rajukamma, Belli, Lovaliamma and Viji were verbally abused and dragged to the Gonilkoppa police station, where the extremists pressured police to arrest them. The Evangelical Fellowship of India reported that officers released the Christians without charges but strictly warned them, for security purposes, not to conduct future worship meetings at their homes. Belli and Viji, who bled profusely from the attack, received medical treatment at the Gonilkoppa Government Hospital. “Police, however, did not take action against the extremists for attacking the Christians,” a GCIC coordinator noted.

 

Madhya Pradesh – Armed men on Dec. 6 attacked the Rev. Thomas Chirattavalli in Satna. The suspected Hindu extremists hit the priest’s head when he opened the door of the parish house, then they chased and beat him. The parish driver, cook and another staff member heard the disturbance and tried to come out, but the assailants had locked the doors from outside. The priest sustained two deep wounds on the head, as well as injuries on other parts of his body. He filed a First Information Report at Burgama in Singrauli district.

 

Karnataka – Shimoga police on Dec. 5 forced the closure of a house church at Rippon Pete, Shimoga district. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that on Dec. 3 Pastor Sebastian Babu was falsely accused of forced conversion by area Hindu extremists who threatened to harm him if he continued church services. On Dec. 5, as Sunday worship was going on in Rippon Pete, police arrived after the extremists complained of “conversion activities.” Officers took Pastor Babu into custody and warned him against conducting worship, adding that he had to report to the police station the next day with the landlord of this rented house. A GCIC coordinator told Compass that Pastor Babu and his landlord went to the police station on Dec. 6, where officers learned that the landlord had no objection to the house church. Nevertheless, they advised him against conducting Christian worship “as a security measure.”

 

Karnataka – Hindu extremists on Dec. 5 pressured the Slum Board administrative committee in Kengeri, Bangalore to demolish the Gypsy Prayer Church building. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that the extremists barged into the prayer hall and disrupted a service led by a pastor identified only as Rajesh. They filed a complaint with the Slum Board committee against the Christians and persuaded it to order that the church building be demolished.

 

Karnataka – Police on Dec. 2 arrested a pastor on charges of attempted forcible conversion in Udayanagar, near Mahadevapura. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) reported that a pastor identified only as Johnson and a senior church member identified only as George were invited for a prayer service at the home of a Christian. Johnson, 26, of Kerala, was staying at the Evergreen School at Udayanagar near Mahadevapura. While they were praying at about 11 a.m., nearly 25 Hindu nationalists from the Bajrang Dal stormed the house, dragged Johnson outside and continued hitting and kicking him while falsely accusing him of forced conversion. A GCIC coordinator told Compass that the extremists forcibly took them to the Mahadevapura police station, where officers filed charges. At press time, the pastor was still in jail.

 

Kerala – Hindu extremists on Dec. 2 attacked a nun who is a college student in Ernakulam. The All India Christian Council reported that Sister Ann Matthews was attacked by a group of men inside Ernakulam South Railway Station and had to be treated for her injuries at Medical Trust Hospital. Matthews said she was targeted because she was a nun. Police have registered a complaint, but no arrests had been made at press time.

 

Karnataka – Police arrested a pastor on Dec. 2 after Hindu extremists beat him and accused him of forceful conversion in Udayanagar, near Bangalore. The Global Council of Indian Christians reported that Hindu extremists stopped the pastor, identified only as Johnson, as he was returning home after a prayer meeting. They accused him of forcefully converting Hindus to Christianity, beat him and dragged him to Mahadevapura police. The assault continued in front of police. Later Pastor Johnson was arrested under Section 295 of the Indian Penal Code for damaging a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class. A judge sent the pastor to Bangalore Central Jail, but he was released on bail the next day.

 

West Bengal – Radical Muslims in Natungram, Murshidabad have forbidden a woman who converted to Christianity from Islam to buy or sell if continues in her new faith, a source told Compass. The past few months the Muslims had ordered Chanda Babi and her family, who became Christians in February, not to attend church services and told them not associate with any neighbors. As Babi and her family continued to follow Christ, the Muslim radicals on Nov. 28 ordered villagers not to buy from her family’s milk business, and they ordered shopkeepers not to sell to her, the source said. They further warned that they would impose a large fine if her family continues to believe in Christ.

 

Uttarakhand – Police on Nov. 9 detained three Christians from the Indian Pentecostal Assemblies on false charges of forceful conversion in Ravli Mehdud, Haridwar. The Evangelical Fellowship of India reported that police officers stormed into the prayer meeting and took Pastor Manoj Kumar and two church members into custody. Officers verbally abused the Christians, uttered derogatory remarks against Jesus Christ and the Christian community and threatened to harm Pastor Kumar. The Christians were released without charges after the intervention of area Christian leaders.

Report from Compass Direct News