Indian priests arrested for marrying off their children

Indian Hindu priests perform Arti evening prayers at Sangam during the annual 'Magh Mela' in Allahabad on January 29, 2017. Two Hindu priests have been arrested in India for marrying off their teenage children, police said Monday. (AFP / SANJAY KANOJIA)
Updated 06 February 2017
0

Indian priests arrested for marrying off their children

NEW DELHI: Two priests have been arrested in India for marrying off their teenage children in a secret ceremony they believed would bring prosperity to their families, police said Monday.
Three others, including the mothers of the betrothed, were also detained when police broke up the Hindu wedding rituals in the southern city of Hyderabad.
Police, acting on a tip off, discovered dozens of family members present at the secretive ceremony to wed the 15 and 13-year-old teenagers.
“We received information about the wedding and during the raid rescued the children before arresting the five accused,” police inspector Narender Goud told AFP.
Their parents claimed the marriage was a family tradition premised on the belief that it would bring them good fortune, Goud said.
The priests justified the union by claiming they too were married at the same age.
Child marriages are illegal in India but the practice remains widespread, especially in rural and poorer parts of the country where superstitious beliefs are rife.
The teenagers alleged they were compelled to marry by their parents, Goud said. They remain at a local child welfare agency.
Almost half of all Indian women aged 20-24 married between 2005 and 2013 were wedded before the legal age of 18, a UNICEF report said last year.
Many parents in India marry off their children in the hope of improving their financial security and to avoid the shame associated with pre-marital sex.


Mexico demands apology for colonial ‘abuses,’ Spain hits back

Handout photo released by the Mexican presidency showing Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador answering questions during a press conference at the Palacio Nacional, in Mexico City on March 25, 2019. (AFP)
Updated 26 March 2019
0

Mexico demands apology for colonial ‘abuses,’ Spain hits back

  • “The government of Spain deeply regrets that the letter the Mexican president sent to his majesty the king, whose contents we firmly reject, has been made public,” it said in a statement

MEXICO CITY: The 500-year-old wounds of the Spanish conquest were ripped open afresh on Monday when Mexico’s president urged Spain and the Vatican to apologize for their “abuses” — a request Madrid said it “firmly rejects.”
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, an anti-establishment leftist, reopened the debate over Spain’s centuries of dominance in the New World with a video posted to social media, urging Spanish King Felipe VI and Pope Francis to apologize for the conquest and the rights violations committed in its aftermath.
“I have sent a letter to the king of Spain and another to the pope calling for a full account of the abuses and urging them to apologize to the indigenous peoples (of Mexico) for the violations of what we now call their human rights,” Lopez Obrador, 65, said in the video, filmed at the ruins of the indigenous city of Comalcalco.
“There were massacres and oppression. The so-called conquest was waged with the sword and the cross. They built their churches on top of the (indigenous) temples,” he said.
“The time has come to reconcile. But let us ask forgiveness first.”
Spain’s reaction was swift and unequivocal.
“The government of Spain deeply regrets that the letter the Mexican president sent to his majesty the king, whose contents we firmly reject, has been made public,” it said in a statement.
“The arrival, 500 years ago, of Spaniards to present Mexican territory cannot be judged in the light of contemporary considerations,” it said.
“Our two brother nations have always known how to read our shared past without anger and with a constructive perspective, as free peoples with a shared history and extraordinary influence.”

Lopez Obrador took office in December after a landslide election win that represented a firm break with Mexico’s traditional political parties.
A folksy populist, he pulls no punches in going after traditional elites — but had so far cultivated cordial relations with Spain, including during a visit to Mexico City by Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez earlier this year.
Lopez Obrador made the remarks during a visit to his native Tabasco state, in southern Mexico.
He was later due to visit the nearby city of Centla. On March 14, 1519, the site was the scene of one of the first battles between Spanish conquistador Hernan Cortes and the indigenous peoples of the land now known as Mexico.
With the help of horses, swords, guns and smallpox — all unknown in the New World at the time — Cortes led an army of less than 1,000 men to defeat the Aztec empire, the start of 300 years of Spanish rule over Mexico.