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Kerala Blast & Jehovah’s Witnesses


Why is it in the news?

  • Recently, two casualties and multiple injuries resulted from blasts during a Jehovah’s Witnesses Sunday prayer convention near Kochi.
  • Dominic Martin, a former Jehovah’s Witnesses member, claimed responsibility for the blasts via a video on social media, now under police detention.

Jehovah’s Witnesses

About

  • They are Christian Sect, distinctively not adhering to the Holy Trinity doctrine, which professes God as three equal personas: Father, Son (Jesus Christ), and Holy Spirit.
  • Emerged from the Bible Student movement initiated in the 1870s by Charles Taze Russell.
  • The sect’s Governing Body is headquartered in Warwick, New York.

 Deities and Beliefs:

  • Worship Jehovah as the sole true and Almighty God, recognized also as the deity of Abraham, Moses, and Jesus.
  • Consider Jesus Christ as the “King of God’s Kingdom in heaven,” but not equivalent to the Almighty God.
  • Rely solely on the Bible, viewing it as God’s word.

Festivals:

  • Do not observe Christmas or Easter, associating them with Pagan traditions.
  • Paganism entails religions venerating nature, often rooted in traditional beliefs of indigenous populations globally.

Distinctive Activities:

  • Prioritize faith in Jesus Christ and Bible study over ritualistic ceremonies. Engage in door-to-door evangelism, advocating for their interpretation of “The Truth.”
  • Hold a belief in the impending apocalypse.
  • Anticipate the replacement of human governance by the Kingdom of God, fulfilling God’s intent for Earth.

Jehovah’s Witnesses in India

  • Have been operating in India since 1905.
  • Established an official presence in Bombay (now Mumbai) in 1926 and achieved legal recognition in 1978.

Legal Precedents:

 Bijoe Emmanuel vs State of Kerala, 1986.

  • In this case, Supreme Court bench had granted protection to three children of the Jehovah’s Witness sect, who didn’t join in the singing of the national anthem at their school.
  • The court held that forcing the children to sing the anthem violated their fundamental right to religion.
  • It was pleaded that for Jehovah’s Witnesses, only Jehovah should be worshiped.
  • Since the national anthem was a prayer, his children would stand up in respect when it was playing, but their faith did not allow them to sing it.

The Supreme Court in the Bijoe Emmanuel case had remarked that:

  • Article 25 is an article of faith in the Constitution, incorporated in recognition of the principle that the real test of a true democracy is the ability of even an insignificant minority to find its identity under the country’s Constitution.
  • The Court was satisfied that the expulsion of the three children from the school is a violation of their Fundamental Right to freedom of conscience and freely to profess, practise and propagate religion.
  • The Fundamental Rights of the appellants under 19(1)(a) and 25(1) have been infringed and they are entitled to be protected. We allow the appeal, set aside the judgment of the High Court and direct the respondent authorities to re-admit the children into the school… We only wish to add: our tradition teaches tolerance; our philosophy preaches tolerance; our constitution practises tolerance; let us not dilute it.

Other Noteworthy Case: 2020, Bengaluru:

A hospital performed a blood-free liver transplant on a Jehovah’s Witness patient respecting their religious beliefs.

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