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Monday, April 1, 2019

what is death ? ~ Pastor sued by Undertakers !!

11 years ago, on this day occurred the death of famous writer Sujatha (Srirangam Rangarajan)

Sabarmati Express (19168/19167) connects the city of Ahmedabad, to Varanasi city  through Jhansi. The train takes  two days to complete the journey. It travels through Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh via Ratlam Junction, Ujjain Junction, Guna Junction, Kanpur Central, Lucknow Charbagh, Ayodhya, Faizabad. It enters Gujarat from Dahod railway station then Godhra, Vadodara and Ahmedabad.  .. .. and on this day, in 2002, a very tragic thing occurred.  On that fateful day, a group of karsevaks were burnt when the coaches they were travelling were put on fire at the station.   The commission set up by the Government of Gujarat to investigate the train burning spent 6 years going over the details of the case, and concluded that the fire was arson committed by a mob of 1,000 to 2,000 people. A court convicted 31 Muslims for the incident and the conspiracy for the crime. Of the 31 convicts, 11 were awarded capital punishment, while 20 others were handed the life term in jail. However, in 2017, the Gujarat High Court commuted death sentence of 11 convicts to life imprisonment and upheld life imprisonment of 20 convicts awarded by the trial court.  An year later, a special SIT court sentenced two persons for life imprisonment while three others were acquitted.

Death is the permanent cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living organism. Death – particularly the death of humans – has commonly been considered a sad or unpleasant occasion, due to the affection for the being that has died and the termination of social and familial bonds with the deceased.  It is too well known that ‘all that is born is bound to die one day’ ~ yet, everyone thinks that it would not occur to them in near future !   According to some psychologists, this uncomfortable truth constantly lurks in the back of our minds and ultimately drives everything we do.   What would happen, though, if the ambiguity surrounding our own demise were taken away? What if we all suddenly were told the exact date and means of our deaths? While this is, of course, impossible, careful consideration of this hypothetical scenario can shed light on our motivations as individuals and societies – and hint at how to best spend our limited time on this Earth.

When one dies, there are rituals according to the religion, customs and local beliefs.  While most Hindus burn the dead, there are some who bury .. .. and there are Undertakers, who contract this procedure .. .. miles away, a group of funeral directors in South Africa say they will sue a self-styled prophet who claims to have resurrected a dead man, reports BBC.

A viral video of Pastor Alph Lukau shows him shouting "rise up" to a man lying down in a coffin who then jerks upright to cheers from worshippers. The funeral companies say they were manipulated into being involved. The spectacle, seen outside Pastor Lukau's church near Johannesburg, has been ridiculed and condemned by many. "There are no such things as miracles," the Commission for the Promotion and Protection of Cultural, Religious and Linguistic Communities (CRL Rights Commission) told South Africa's national broadcaster.   "They are made up to try to get money from the hopelessness of our people."

Three funeral companies who say they were manipulated by the "scheme" are now taking legal action for damage to their reputation. Kingdom Blue, Kings & Queens Funeral Services and Black Phoenix told local media that church representatives tricked them in different ways.  "Alleged family members of the deceased" told the Kings & Queens Funeral Services they had had a "dispute with a different funeral service provider". The customers also allegedly placed "Black Phoenix stickers on their private car" to look credible to Kings & Queens Funeral Services when they went to hire a hearse from them. The coffin, the funeral directors say, was acquired from Kingdom Blue.

Pastor Lukau's church, Alleluia Ministries International, has not responded to the BBC's request for comment.  The Sowetan news site reports that the church has since backtracked on its resurrection claim, saying the "dead" man was in fact "already alive" when he was brought to the premises in Kramerville. Pastor Lukau had only "completed a miracle that God had already started", Alleluia International Ministries is quoted by The Sowetan as saying. The BBC's Milton Nkosi says the video has sparked a national debate on fake pastors and had been widely condemned by established religious groups.

However some South Africans have taken to social media with the hashtag #ResurrectionChallenge to see the funny side. It is the latest high-profile row over religious leaders in the country who make extraordinary claims to their congregations.  Last year, a South African pastor was found guilty of assault for spraying his followers with a household insecticide which he falsely claimed could heal cancer and HIV.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
27th Feb 2019.

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