India’s Supreme Court Upholds Ajmal Kasab’s Death Sentence


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On Wednesday, August 29, 2012, India’s Supreme Court upheld the death penalty imposed on 25-year-old Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Amir Kasab convicted under Section 302 of IPC (murder) and terror-related provisions of Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Act, in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station on November 26, 2008.

The Pakistani terrorist Ajmal Kasab on a killing spree at the Chatrapathi Sivaji Terminal railway station on November 26, 2008.

The globally condemned Mumbai terror attacks, began on Wednesday, November 26 and lasted until Saturday, November 29, 2008, resulting in166 people killed and at least 308 wounded.

On November 26, 2008, around 20:00, Indian Standard Time (IST), a 10-member team of terrorists from Pakistan came in inflatable speedboats. They came ashore at two locations in Colaba, Mumbai. They split into groups and went off in different directions.

Later, Ajmal Kasab, the only terrorist captured alive, disclosed that the attackers were members of the Pakistan-based militant organisation, Lashkar-e-Taiba, a terrorist outfit banned in India, Pakistan, the United States, the United Kingdom, and the United Nations, among others. He also confessed that they conducted the attacks with the support of Pakistan’s ISI.

During the 60-hour siege of Mumbai, the terrorists orchestrated 11 coordinated shooting and bombing attacks across Mumbai. Eight of the eleven coordinated attacks occurred in South Mumbai – at Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, the Taj Mahal Palace & Tower, the Oberoi Trident, Leopold Cafe, Cama Hospital, the Metro Cinema, the Nariman House Jewish community center, and in a lane behind the Times of India building and St. Xavier’s College. The other three attacks – an explosion in Mumbai’s port area, at Mazagaon, and in a taxi at Vile Parle.

The attacks began around 21:30 when two men, Ajmal Kasab and another gunman Khan opened fire, in the passenger hall, using AK-47 rifles. They killed 58 people and injured 104 others. Their assault ended at about 22:45. The two gunmen while fleeing the scene fired at pedestrians and police in the streets. They killed eight police officers.

The attackers then passed a police station. The police officers, short of arms and ammunitions, secured the gates and switched off the lights. They dared not confront the heavily armed terrorists. The two terrorists then headed towards Cama & Albless Hospital. However, the hospital staff locked all patient wards.

After the attackers had left the railway station, a team of the Mumbai Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) led by chief Hemant Karkare arrived there. Not finding the terrorists at the railway station, they pursued the attackers.

When the ATS squad’s vehicle entered a lane next to the hospital, Kasab and Khan opened fire. The ATS team returned fire. Chief Hemant Karkare, Encounter Specialist, Vijay Salaskar and Senior Inspector Ashok Kamte succumbed to the bullets of the terrorists. Only Constable Arun Jadhav survived the attack but wounded. He radioed for help.

Kasab and Khan then drove off in the squad’s vehicle. Later, they abandoned it and seized a passenger car and ran into a police roadblock. The ensuing gun battle resulted in Khan’s death, the arrest of a wounded Kasab and the death of a police officer named Tukaram Omble.

By early morning of November 28, Mumbai Police and security forces secured all sites except the Taj hotel.

On November 29, the National Security Guards carried out Operation Black Tornado to flush out the attackers at the Taj hotel. It resulted in the deaths of the last remaining terrorists.

The Indian government insisted that the terrorists came to Mumbai from Pakistan, and their controllers were in Pakistan.

On January 7, 2009, Sherry Rehman, Pakistan’s Information Minister, officially accepted Ajmal Kasab’s nationality as Pakistani.

On May 6, 2010, the Mumbai trial court awarded the death penalty to Ajmal Kasab on all the 86 convicted charges.

Kasab appealed against his conviction and the death penalty. He said he deserved leniency for not being part of the larger conspiracy. He also argued that he wanted a fair trial and legal assistance as mandated under the terms of Article 22 (1) of the Indian Constitution. The court appointed senior advocate Raju Ramachandran to argue the case on behalf of Kasab.

On February 21, 2011, the Bombay High Court, and on August 29, 2012, India’s Supreme Court, upheld the death penalty imposed on Ajmal Amir Kasab, and rejected his appeal against the sentence in the 26/11 Mumbai terror attacks.

The Supreme Court underscored the fact that Kasab and the other nine Pakistanis who executed the 26/11 terror attacks in Mumbai were part of a “deception, the falsehood that the terrorists were Indian Muslims coming from Hyderabad and were connected with some fictitious organization called Mujaheddin, Hyderabad Deccan … .

Justice CK Prasad and Justice Aftab Alam observed:

“If the appellant had not been caught alive and the investigating agencies had not been able to unravel the conspiracy fully and in all its devious ways, the terrorists might have passed as Indian Muslims and that would have led to devastating short-term and equally debilitating long-term consequences.

“It would have caused a cleavage of distrust and suspicion between communities and disturbed the communal peace and harmony of the country. It is not impossible that conflagrations would have erupted in different parts of the country, which the governments would have found difficult to contain.

“In this regard, the selection of the CST (Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus) as one of the targets for carnage assumes great importance. Trains leave for many parts of the country from the CST. Thus, as news of the carnage spread across the country through the media, travelers would start arriving in different parts of the country, some having lost their near and dear ones at CST, some with a wounded companion and others shell-shocked by the experience of a terrorist attack on the railway station. Their first-hand, eyewitness accounts of the carnage, added to reports in the print media and visuals in the electronic media, could be highly inflammatory and could easily evoke communal violence that would be difficult to contain.

“The deception was ominous because it aimed at destabilising Indian society and its governments. But it was equally distressing for being so deeply untruthful. Indian Muslims may have a long list of grievances against the establishment. Some of the grievances may be fanciful, some may be of their own making and some may be substantive. Nevertheless, no Indian Muslim would even think of venting his grievance like an animal, killing, maiming and wounding innocent people, his own countrymen. This is because he is not only loyal to his faith and community but equally loves his country and fellow countrymen.”

Majority of Indians, barring a few Islamists, want Ajmal Kasab, the ruthless Pakistani killer to die; however, they know that this will never happen on Indian soil as long as sycophant politicians, of all hues, who while welcoming the judgement of India’s Supreme Court, have their own agenda.

The other major deterrent to Kasab’s execution would be Amnesty International. Their web page, “RESEARCH AND PUBLICATIONS“, says,

“Amnesty International opposes the death penalty in all cases without exception regardless of the nature of the crime, the characteristics of the offender or the method used by the state to kill the prisoner.

The death penalty is the premeditated and cold-blooded killing of a human being by the state.

It is carried out in the name of the nation’s entire population, and affects everyone. Everyone should be aware of what the death penalty is, how it is used, how it affects them and how it violates fundamental rights.”

Like any other Indian who loves his country, I cannot fully agree with the Amnesty International in the case of Ajmal Amir Kasab.

How about you?

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The Nuclear Sacrifice of Our Children by Dr. Helen Caldicott


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By Helen Caldicott

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When I visited Cuba in 1979, I was struck by the number of roadside billboards that declared ”Our children are our national treasure.”

This resonated with me as a pediatrician, and of course it is true. But as Akio Matsumura said in his article, our children are presently being sacrificed for the political and nuclear agenda of the United Nations, for the political survival of politicians who are mostly male, and for “national security.”

The problem with the world today is that scientists have left the average person way behind in their level of understanding of science, and specifically how the misapplication of science, in particular nuclear science, has and will destroy much of the ecosphere and also human health.

The truth is that most politicians, businessmen, engineers and nuclear physicists have no innate understanding of radiobiology and the way radiation induces cancer, congenital malformations and genetic diseases which are passed generation to generation.  Nor do they recognize that children are 20 times more radiosensitive than adults, girls twice as vulnerable as little boys and fetuses much more so.

Hence the response of Japanese politicians to the Fukushima disaster has been ludicrously irresponsible, not just because of their fundamental ignorance but because of their political ties with TEPCO and the nuclear industry which tends to orchestrate a large part of the Japanese political agenda.

Because the Fukushima accident released 2.5 to 3 times more radiation than Chernobyl and because Japan is far more densely populated than the Ukraine, Belarus and Russia, and because one million people have died within 25 years as a result of Chernobyl, we expect to see more than one million Japanese casualties over the next 25 years.  But the incubation time for cancer after radiation exposure varies from 2 to 90 years in this generation.  These facts also apply to all future generations in Japan that will be exposed to a radioactive environment and radioactive food.

It seems that the people in charge in Japan are busily ignoring or covering up these ghastly medical predictions and deciding in their ignorance that people can return to live highly contaminated areas or else remain living there.  Even areas of Tokyo are recording dangerous radioactive isotopes that originated in Fukushima in house-dust, in plants, and in street soil.

Thyroid cancers related to Chernobyl started appearing only three to four years post-accident (over 92,000 have now been diagnosed).  Yet only 12 months post-accident in the Fukushima Prefecture, 36% of 38,000 children under 18 have been diagnosed by ultrasound with thyroid cysts or nodules (most of these lesions should be biopsied to exclude malignancy). This short incubation time would indicate that these children almost certainly received a very high dose of thyroid radiation from inhaled and ingested radioactive iodine.

These results bode ill for the development of other cancers because hundreds of other radioactive elements escaped which are now concentrating in food, fish and human bodies and inhaled into the lungs.  Some elements are radioactive for minutes but many remain radioactive for hundreds to thousands of years meaning much of the Japanese food will remain radioactive for generations to come.  Nuclear accidents therefore never end.  40% of the European landmass is still radioactive and will remain so for millennia.

So what should happen in Japan? These are my recommendations.

  1. All areas of Japan should be tested to assess how radioactive the soil and water are because the winds can blow the radioactive pollution hundreds of miles from the point source at Fukushima.
  2.  Under no circumstances should radioactive rubbish and debris be incinerated as this simply spreads the isotopes far and wide to re-concentrate in food and fish.
  3. All batches of food must be adequately tested for specific radioactive elements using spectrometers.
  4. No radioactive food must be sold or consumed, nor must radioactive food be diluted for sale with non-radioactive food as radioactive elements re-concentrate in various bodily organs.
  5.  All water used for human consumption should be tested weekly.
  6.  All fish caught off the east coast must be tested for years to come.
  7.  All people, particularly children, pregnant women and women of childbearing age still living in high radiation zones should be immediately evacuated to non-radioactive areas of Japan.
  8. All people who have been exposed to radiation from Fukushima  – particularly babies, children, immunosuppressed, old people and others — must be medically thoroughly and routinely examined for malignancy, bone marrow suppression, diabetes, thyroid abnormalities, heart disease, premature aging, and cataracts for the rest of their lives and appropriate treatment instituted. Leukemia will start to manifest within the next couple of years, peak at five years and solid cancers will start appearing 10 to 15 years post-accident and will continue to increase in frequency in this generation over the next 70 to 90 years.
  9. All physicians and medical care providers in Japan must read and examine Chernobyl–Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment by the New York Academy of Sciences to understand the true medical gravity of the situation they face.
  10.  I also suggest with humility that doctors in particular but also politicians and the general public refer to my web page, nuclearfreeplanet.org for more information, that they listen to the interviews related to Fukushima and Chernobyl on my radio program at ifyoulovethisplanet.org and they read my book NUCLEAR POWER IS NOT THE ANSWER.
  11. The international medical community and in particular the WHO must be mobilized immediately to assist the Japanese medical profession and politicians to implement this massive task outlined above.
  12. The Japanese government must be willing to accept international advice and help.
  13. As a matter of extreme urgency Japan must request and receive international advice and help from the IAEA and the NRC in the U.S., and nuclear specialists from Canada, Europe, etc., to prevent the collapse of Fukushima Dai-ichi Unit 4 and the spent fuel pool if there was an earthquake greater than 7 on the Richter scale.As the fuel pool crashed to earth it would heat and burn causing a massive radioactive release 10 times larger than the release from Chernobyl. There is no time to spare and at the moment the world community sits passively by waiting for catastrophe to happen.
  14. The international and Japanese media must immediately start reporting the facts from Japan as outlined above. Not to do so is courting global disaster.

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Re-posted from Reader Supported NewsAugust 28, 2012

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Dr. Helen Caldicott is a pediatrician specializing in cystic fibrosis and the founding president of Physicians for Social Responsibility, which as part of a larger group that was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1985. Please visit her website.

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Today Is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests 2012


August 29th is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests 2012. We are not making enough progress. There are still 8 countries that will not ratify: China, DPRK, Egypt, India, Iran, Israel, Pakistan and the United States. It’s time to ban the bomb and the mayhem and tragedy that comes with it.”. – Dr Helen Caldicott

Today (August 29th) is the International Day Against Nuclear Tests 2012.

The 64th session of the United Nations General Assembly held on December 2, 2009, declared 29 August as the International Day against Nuclear Tests. The resolution was initiated by the Republic of Kazakhstan, together with a large number of sponsors and cosponsors with a view to commemorate the closure of the Semipalatinsk Nuclear Test site on 29 August 1991 where the Soviet Union conducted 456 nuclear tests from 1949 until 1989 with little regard for their effect on the local people or environment.

This resolution unanimously adopted by 64/35 votes called for an increased awareness and education about the effects of nuclear weapon test explosions. Its goal was to achieve a nuclear-weapon-free world. It advocated the necessity of banning nuclear weapon tests as a valuable step towards achieving a safer world.

The International Day against Nuclear Tests has promoted a worldwide environment with increased prospects for a world devoid of nuclear firepower. While there are clear indications of progress on numerous fronts, challenges are still there. The United Nations hopes to eliminate all nuclear weapons, eventually. Until then, as we work towards achieving global peace and security, we must observe the International Day against Nuclear Tests.

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Women’s Sex Strike. Ever Seen Such a Thing in Your Life?


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj

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Togolese women will abstain from sex for a week from Monday.

English: The president of Togo, Faure Gnassing...

Togo is a small African country with 6 million people ruled by the same family for more than four decades. Gnassingbe Eyadema ruled Togo for 38 years. Following his death in 2005, his son Faure Gnassingbe became the President. He was re-elected in 2010.

On Saturday, Lomé, the capital of Togo, saw a rally, that protested against the recent electoral reforms. The demonstrators believe it makes a lot easier for President Gnassingbe’s party to win re-election in the parliamentary polls set for October. The opposition coalition of nine civil-society groups and seven opposition parties and movements under the umbrella “Let’s Save Togo” organized this demonstration.

The women’s wing of the coalition urged the Togolese women to abstain from sex for a week from Monday. Isabelle Ameganvi, leader of the women’s wing of the coalition, declared that sex can certainly become a “weapon of the battle” to bring about political change.

By staging the sex strike, this opposition group expects to put pressure on Togo’s men to take action against President Faure Gnassingbe, and end the system allowing him unlimited presidential terms.

Many women seemed pleased with the call for a sex strike. However, some men, including heads of opposition parties and human rights groups in the anti-Gnassingbe coalition, did not believe it would be a success. Mixed reactions prevail among the Togolese women folk. Some women in Lomé welcomed the sex strike as a political tool.

Some women were skeptical about Isabelle Ameganvi’s call.

“It is easy for her to say because she is not married herself. She does not live with a man at home,” said Ekoue Blame, a Togolese journalist. “Does she think women who live with their husbands will be able to observe that? By the way, who controls what couples do behind closed doors?”

“It’s a good thing for us women to observe this sex strike as long as our children are in jail now. I believe that by observing this, we will get them released,” Abla Tamekloe told the Associated Press. “For me, it’s like fasting, and unless you fast, you will not get what you want from God.”

When asked if her husband would agree, Tamekloe said: “It is easy for me to observe it. I am used to it, but I am not sure my husband will accept, but I have to explain to him.”

Another Togolese woman said she supported the sex strike, but not sure whether she could bear it for a whole week.

“I do agree that we, women, have to observe this sex strike, but I know my husband will not let me complete it. He may agree at first, but as far as I know him, he will change overnight,” Judith Agbetoglo said. “So I don’t believe I can do the one-week sex strike. Otherwise, I will have serious issues with him. He likes that too much.”

“One-week sex strike is too much,” said Fabre of the National Alliance for Change, who suggested a shorter period, amid laughter from the crowd at the demonstration. “Let’s go for only two days.”.

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Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko

Satanic Leaf-tailed Gecko

Could you tell exactly what this really is?

To the less discerning eye, it would most likely be a leaf shriveling up on a tree.

This awesome form is actually a lizard that could camouflage itself to mimic a dead leaf. It is an exquisite camouflaged Satanic leaf-tailed gecko (Uroplatus phantasticus), found at the Andasibe-Mantadia National Park in Madagascar.

With its leaf-shaped tail, it can coil its whole body to resemble a curled up leaf. Perched on a branch, with its curvy body having a lighter shade of brown, this resourceful creature has integrated itself into its natural environment. They sleep flattened against branches of trees with their heads pointing downwards. They can adjust their body coloration to brown or grey and it can transform itself into amazing yellow, green, orange and pink hues to blend with their surroundings. When they are resting on a mossy or lichen covered branch, it is almost impossible to see them.

Satanic leaf geckos get their name because they look like they have ‘horns’ and some specimens have red eyes. When disturbed, larger members of the species let out a loud hiss. Locals are afraid of them and refer to them as the devil.

The leaf-tailed gecko family has nine members ranging in size from 8cm to 30cm. Larger members of the genus have beards and fringes around the body.

The geckos are nocturnal creatures. During the day they move only when disturbed. They respond to prodding with an impressive display of a brightly coloured gaping mouth and an erect tail. They hunt insects at night. They can overcome oversized prey with their large mouths.

Geckos are totally adapted to life in a primary rainforest and their disguises are so cryptic, that their species and sub-species are still being discovered even today.

Tail of Leaf-tailed gecko

Tail of Leaf-tailed gecko

Uroplatus phantasticus (Leaf Tailed Gecko) (Photo credit: gripso_banana_prune)

Uroplatus phantasticus (Leaf Tailed Gecko) (Photo credit: gripso_banana_prune)

Uroplatus phantasticus (Leaf Tailed Gecko) (Photo credit: gripso_banana_prune)

Uroplatus phantasticus (Leaf Tailed Gecko) (Photo credit: gripso_banana_prune)

Male Uroplatus phantasticus - satanic / fantastic leaf-tail gecko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Male Uroplatus phantasticus – satanic / fantastic leaf-tail gecko (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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What is ‘Coalgate’?


Crime Minister

Currently, in India, the word Coalgate, sounding similar to the name of a popular toothpaste, means the report published on August 17, 2012 by the Comptroller and Auditor General of India (C&A G or CAG).

The organisations subject to the audit of the Comptroller and Auditor General of India are:

  • All the Union and State Government departments and offices including the Indian Railways and Posts and Telecommunications.
  • About 1,200 public commercial enterprises controlled by the Union and State governments, namely, government companies and corporations.
  • Around 400 non-commercial autonomous bodies and authorities owned or controlled by the Union or the States.
  • Over 4,400 authorities and bodies substantially financed from the Union or State revenues.

The auditor general’s report has questioned the government’s procedure of awarding coal mining concessions to private companies without competitive bidding. It states that as on March 11, 2011, there has been a lack of transparency in the allocation of coal blocks to private participants. The report does not charge criminal misconduct by Manmohan Singh’s vulnerable coalition government. However, the report has raised issues concerning the non-transparent procedure of awarding coal blocks by an inter-ministerial committee. The report alleges that this unduly helped private and state power and steel companies leading to an unrealized revenue of Rs 1.85 lakh crore ($37 billion) to the exchequer; even so, industry watchers and the government doubt this figure.

The CAG report has turned into a provender for the opposition lawmakers.

On Monday, August 27, the parliament resembled a noisy theatre. The BJP lawmakers and members of the ruling Congress party engaged in a shouting match. Manmohan Singh appeared in the lower house of parliament. He submitted a comprehensive four-page rebuttal of the main allegations in the auditor’s report. He managed to mumble a few words only as the uproar from the opposition forced him to sit down. They raised slogans such as “Prime minister tender your resignation.”

A few minutes later, Singh tried to deliver the same rebuttal speech in the upper house of parliament. He was silenced once again by similar chanting.

In his written statement, the Prime Minister has denied that his government had done anything wrong. He blamed the opposition parties, who ruled the major coal-rich states, for the delay in introducing competitive bidding for coal-fields. He added that the findings of the state auditor were “clearly disputable.”

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What Money Can Buy and Cannot Buy


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj .

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10 Dollar Bill

What Money Can Buy What Money Cannot Buy
Food Appetite
A house A home
A bed Sleep
A book Knowledge
A computer Brain
Finery Beauty
Obedience Loyalty
Position Respect
 A clock Time
Insurance Safety
Medicine Health
 Blood Life
 Amusements Happiness
 Sex Love

However, one thing You and I know is this: Money can’t buy everything, but determination can.

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Six Word Saturday – August 25, 2012 : A Lamp Post?


Here’s my entry for Six Word Saturday:

THIS LOOKS LIKE A LAMP POST

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Sometimes, even behind their back…

Click on the badge above for more details on this challenge.

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Mary’s Statue Shedding Tears of Blood in Ghaziabad, India


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Myself By T.V. Antony Raj

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On Saturday 14 July 2012, in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, India, a statue of Mary, brought a few months before from St. Paul’s Centre, New Delhi, shed tears of blood. This event captivated many Christians and members of various other Faiths.

CMI Priesst House, Christ University Campus, Ghaziabad, India

CMI Priesst House, Christ University Campus, Ghaziabad, India

The incident took place in the community chapel of the CMI Bhavan of the Carmelites of Mary Immaculate in Mariam Nagar, Ghaziabad (Near Delhi), India.

Sunita, a domestic helper at CMI

Sunita, a domestic helper at CMI

Around 11.30 am, Sunita, a domestic helper at the institution, saw the tears of blood oozing from the eyes of the statue. She tried to wipe off the blood, but the flow continued.

Fr. Joy Kizhakkayil CMI, the priest in charge

Fr. Joy Kizhakkayil CMI, the priest in charge, said he saw Sunita kneeling before the statue, shivering, praying and crying aloud to Mother Mary.

A senior staff-nurse working in New Delhi, named Mary was present at the monastery when the event transpired. She said she noticed the tears of blood, and she touched it with reverence and apprehension.

“The news spread fast and people started rushing to the chapel,” said Brother George CMI.

About 65 Catholic families residing in the surrounding areas rushed in to view the wondrous incident. By nightfall, around three thousand people visited the statue. Due to the surge of people, the police were called in.

The following day when Fr. Kizhakkayil came to the chapel to offer Holy Mass, he saw a heavy stream of blood coming out of the statue. The priest said they got samples of the fluid tested at the nearby St. Joseph Hospital. “The result has shown that the blood group is B+,” he added.

Test Report of the Marian Blood

The bleeding occurred four times on three consecutive days from July 14, 2012.

The Church authorities moved the statue to St. Mary’s Assumption Church – the parish church of Mariam Nagar, Ghaziabad.

As far as I know, up to now, no cynic has come forward to detract or deprecate this event, nor anyone has come up with a rational or scientific explanation.

So, you be the judge.

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Are the Creation-Flood Stories Myth or History?


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Myself . By T.V. Antony Raj .

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How should we, the contemporary readers interpret the creation-flood narrative in Genesis 2–11?

The stories are neither myth nor history.

“Myth” is a poor term, as it has many different meanings and so connotes untruth in prevalent English.

“History” is, likewise, misleading, for it implies that the events, in fact, took place. The proper term would be ‘creation-flood story.’

The ancient thinkers of the Middle East did not have our means for researching serious topics. They used narratives for issues that we would describe as philosophical or theological. They sought out meaning in the ancient stories of their times. They contemplated on topics such as: how gods act with justice and generosity, why humans are rebellious, the dynamics of carnal allurement and marital relationships, why there are so many Peoples and languages. Their stories reveal an exclusive period, when divine decisions determined the future of the human race.Moreover, every time they retold these stories, they added, or subtracted narrative matters.

Even though most of these stories might seem to us as primitive and naive, they are, in fact, narrated in a compressed form with skill, and subtlety. They offer radical answers to perennial questions about God and human beings. To illustrate here is the story of the Tower of Babel told in Genesis,

Tower of Babel

The Tower of Babel

Story of the Tower of Babel – Genesis 11:1-9

The whole world had the same language and the same words.

When they were migrating from the east, they came to a valley in the land of Shinar and settled there. They said to one another, “Come, let us mold bricks and harden them with fire.”

They used bricks for stone, and bitumen for mortar.

Then they said, “Come, let us build ourselves a city and a tower with its top in the sky, and so make a name for ourselves; otherwise we shall be scattered all over the earth.”

The LORD came down to see the city and the tower that the people had built.

Then the LORD said: If now, while they are one people and all have the same language, they have started to do this, nothing they presume to do will be out of their reach. Come, let us go down and there confuse their language, so that no one will understand the speech of another.

So the LORD scattered them from there over all the earth, and they stopped building the city.

That is why it was called Babel, because there the LORD confused the speech of all the world. From there the LORD scattered them over all the earth.

One Jewish tradition implies that humans later defied God when he tried to forge a relationship between the various nations. So, God decided to direct his attention to one nation only, hoping it would eventually unite all the nations of the world. To bring God’s decision to fruition the authors of Genesis introduce Abraham.

The Covenant of Circumcision – Genesis 17:1-11

When Abram was ninety-nine years old, the LORD appeared to Abram and said:

I am God the Almighty. Walk in my presence and be blameless. Between you and me I will establish my covenant, and I will multiply you exceedingly.

Abram fell face down and God said to him:

For my part, here is my covenant with you: you are to become the father of a multitude of nations. No longer will you be called Abram; your name will be Abraham, for I am making you the father of a multitude of nations.

I will make you exceedingly fertile; I will make nations of you; kings will stem from you. I will maintain my covenant between me and you and your descendants after you throughout the ages as an everlasting covenant, to be your God and the God of your descendants after you.

I will give to you and to your descendants after you the land in which you are now residing as aliens, the whole land of Canaan, as a permanent possession; and I will be their God.

God said to Abraham:

For your part, you and your descendants after you must keep my covenant throughout the ages.

This is the covenant between me and you and your descendants after you that you must keep: every male among you shall be circumcised. Circumcise the flesh of your foreskin. That will be the sign of the covenant between me and you.

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