New Delhi

Priest arrested, charged with rape in Kerala after teen delivers child


Police in southern Kerala state arrested a 48-year-old priest and charged him with rape of a minor after a teen girl in his parish delivered a baby.

Civil rights activists alerted authorities, who questioned the girl, leading to the arrest of Syro-Malabar Father Robin Vadakkancheril, vicar of St Sebastian's Church in Kottiyoor.

The Mananthavady Diocese barred the accused priest from performing priestly duties. On Feb. 28, the Kerala Catholic Bishops' Council reiterated that the church has a "zero tolerance" policy on deviant sexual behavior of clergy.

Biryani is latest issue in India's 'Hinduization' drive


Biryani is a popular Indian rice dish featuring meat or vegetables cooked in a subtle combination of spices. Recently, some lawmakers have added some extra ingredients --religion, caste and politics.

So-called biryani police have been inspecting pots full of the traditional dish to check if street sellers have been adding beef, which is banned across much of the country.

Many street vendors in Haryana state near New Delhi, the center of the crackdown, have had to shut their shops, even though demand for biryani is highest during September's Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha.

Bhutan bans religious activities ahead of election


Political leaders in the small Buddhist nation of Bhutan have announced a nearly six-month ban on all public religious activities ahead of its upcoming elections, citing the Himalayan nation’s constitution, which says that “religion shall remain above politics.”

A notification by the Election Commission of Bhutan asks people’s “prayers and blessings” for the second parliamentary election, expected in June 2013. But it also states that religious institutions and clergy “shall not hold, conduct, organize or host” any public activity from Jan. 1 until the election.


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In This Issue

July 14-27, 2017