Activists remember nun murdered for tribal rights
Feb. 19, 2014
Human right activists in the national capital paid rich tributes to a Catholic nun, who was hacked to death two years ago after she campaigned against coal miners to secure the tribal rights in Jharkhand.
At a meeting over the weekend, Church workers joined activists to remember Sister Valsa John of Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, who was killed in the coal mine areas of Pachuwara in Jharkhand on November 15, 2011.
They discussed tribal rights and issues of lopsided development projects displacing villagers, stressing that injustice against tribal people continues in the villages of India. Two books were also released to cherish the values for which the nun sacrificed her life.
The nun was killed after about 50 people broke into her room, part of a villager’s hut deep inside the village. Police said Maoist pamphlets were found at the scene of the crime. Police could not establish the cause of attack on her despite the arrest of several local persons, but her friends and colleagues believe she was killed for mobilizing people against the exploitation by mining corporations.
Sr. Valsa, who worked among the Santhal Tribals for many years, had made Panchwara her home and organized the Tribals when they faced displacement on account of large portions of land being allocated to a West Bengal based mining company.
Speakers at the panel discussion on "Tribals, Land rights and Development" pointed out that Sr. Valsa's effort was to protect the land, which is most sacred to the tribals. Her non-compromising attitude and demands to respect the rights of the people irked the mine management, who saw her as a hindrance.
Speakers said company officials went around instigating and enticing the simple village youth with money and liquor. They managed to polarize the people, which ultimately led to her murder. A fact-finding team that visited the village soon after her death demanded a federal CBI enquiry in to the murder as well a white paper on the terms and conditions of the mining contract. But nothing much had happened.
A book titled People’s Valsa: In the Footsteps of Her Master was released. It is edited by Sisters Helen Saldanha and Mary Scaria. Sister Saldanha is Secretary of Indian bishops' Office for Women while Sister Scaria is rights activist lawyer practicing in New Delhi.
Another book, Sr. Valsa John: A Martyr for Our Times -by George Menachery was also released. A CD titled "The beacon, on the life and work of Valsa" by photo journalist John Mathew was also released by Retired Archbishop Vincent M. Concessao of Delhi on the occasion.
Other national News
Cardinal Oswald re-elected to head the CCBI
Cardinal Oswald Gracias of Bombay was re-elected on Monday to head of Conference of Catholic Bish...
Feb. 7, 2017
EUCHARISTIC CELEBRATION - MIGRANT COMMUNITY (TRIBAL BELT, CHOTANAGPUR)
5000 tribal migrants from Jharkhand, Orissa and Madhya Pradesh came together from different pocke...
Nov. 7, 2016
Historic day: St Lawrence Shrine declared Minor Basilica
Karkala, Aug 1: It was a historic moment for Karkala and indeed for the entire coastal regio...
Aug. 2, 2016
CBCI Office-Bearers Meeting the Prime Minister
Source: CBCI.in The Office-Bearers of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of India (CBCI) hea...
April 27, 2016
Press Release by His Eminence on the brutal attack on Bishop Prasad Gallela
We are deeply saddened by this sacrilegious attack on Bishop Prasad. We assure him of all our sup...
April 25, 2016