Catholic press body to visit Kandhamal, Odisha

Catholic press body to visit Kandhamal

February 17, 2019

By Matters India Reporter

Jharsuguda, Feb. 17, 2019: The Indian Catholic Press Association (ICPA), national forum of Catholic journalists, has decided to visit Kandhamal, the epi-center of anti-Christian persecution next month.

The ICPA will hold its National Convention and Annual General Body meeting at Arnold Vikas Sanchar Sadan, Jharsuguda, Odisha, from February 28 to March 3.

“We chose Jharsuguda to hold the programme as the events occur 10 years after the painful ‘Kandhamal tragedy,’ which is also in Odisha. Moreover, the members from the region are enthusiastic and interested in hosting the events there,” Jose Vincent.K.J., ICPA secretary told Matters India.

It is a journey of pilgrimage and solidarity with the Khandhamal Christians and days of study, he said.

Violence against the Christians of Odisha erupted in Kandhamal District with untold savagery, ‎with ‎Hindu ‎extremists blaming Christians for the August 23, 2008 murder of Hindu ‎leader ‎Swami ‎Lakshmanananda Saraswati, despite Maoist rebels claiming the assassination. Some 100 ‎Christians were killed and an estimated 395 churches and 6,500 Christian houses were destroyed.

The Executive Committee of the Association, which met in Kochi, Kerala, on August 28, 2018, decided to hold the Convention and Annual General Body at Jharsuguda.

The year 2019 is the year of General Elections in India and election for the Association, as well. In this context, the theme that ICPA has chosen is “Indian Constitution and Pluralism.”

“We are all witnesses to the increasing threat that our Indian Constitution is facing from various quarters. The very concept of pluralism is being trampled upon. Religious Minority rights are also under constant threat. As such, we need to be vigilant. Let this be an occasion for us to study in depth our constitutional provisions and be better prepared to face the situation,” Jose Vincent explained.

The ICPA is an association of Catholic newspapers and periodicals, news agencies and publishing houses, journalists and teachers of journalism. It is one of the oldest and most active Catholic press organisations in Asia.

During the convention, the ICPA will confer its prestigious annual “Louis Careno Award for Excellence in journalism.”

In 2003, ICPA instituted Louis Careno Award for Excellence in journalism in memory of Fr. Joseph Carreno, Spanish Salesian in India and author of several scientific books and articles. The award is sponsored by the Mumbai Province of the Salesians of Don Bosco. This award is given to an individual or institution for outstanding contribution to the press in English or languages other than Hindi.



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