Easter blessings from UCAN
There is no more important week in the year for Christians than this Holy Week. We call it Holy because of the mystery we celebrate - God's gift of His son who loves us to his death on Calvary and beyond.
Because of that love, we wish each other Happy Easter even when we know there is a lot of tragedy about it - Good Friday. As Christians, we know that what we see happening with and in Jesus goes to the heart of what we know from our own experience of life.
At the Second Vatican Council, the Christian lives we all lead were described as being shares in the Paschal Mystery. We have our share in the death and resurrection of Jesus every day. Our lives are part of the Paschal Mystery.
At UCAN, we work to describe that mystery in the unfolding tragedies and astonishing blessings of the people we seek out and report, feature and comment on.
While at times deeply distressing work, this effort of ours gets its coherence in the same way the death of Jesus did - because of the astonishing grace of a God who never gives up on life and love.
Because of that, we can wish you Happy Easter.
Fr. Michael Kelly SJ
Mumbai court sentences three to life for gang rapes
More sentences due on Monday for photojournalist's rape
Police escort two of four suspects to court on Thursday (AFP Photo)
- AFP, Mumbai
- March 21, 2014
An Indian court handed down life sentences Friday to three gang rapists who attacked a photographer and a phone operator in an abandoned mill compound in the centre of Mumbai.
Mohammed Salim Ansari, Vijay Mohan Jadhav and Mohammed Kasim Hafeez Shaikh were given the sentences a day after their conviction for the attacks in July and August last year which triggered worldwide headlines and reignited anger about women's safety in India.
"This court has to take a stern view of crimes against women so that a proper message is sent to society," Judge Shalini Phansalkar Joshi told a packed hearing of the sessions court in south Mumbai.
The sentences handed down on Friday only relate to the gang-rape of the phone operator and the judge said that separate tariffs would be announced on Monday for the assault on the photo-journalist.
The men, sitting together at the back of the courtroom and surrounded by police, looked down and wept as their sentences were read out, while their relatives were heard crying.
A fourth man, Mohammed Ashwaq Sheikh, was also jailed for life over the telephone operator case, while another convicted in the photographer attack, Siraj Rehmat Khan, will learn his fate on Monday.
The five men were aged between 18 and 27 when they were arrested, and a juvenile suspect is being separately tried over the photographer case.
The phone operator came forward after reading about the photographer's ordeal in the same compound, which lies close to an upscale area of the city as well as slums from which most of the rapists hailed.
Police described the photographer's attackers as unemployed school dropouts, while neighbors say they were a gang of youths known for petty theft and drinking in the area.
The case sparked anger in the city that is usually considered safer than the capital New Delhi, where an attack on a student in December 2012 sparked weeks of angry street protests about India's treatment of women and led to tougher laws for rapists and other sex offenders. AFP