Conversion allegations fabricated: Bishop *Kashmir pastor arrested for baptizing seven Muslims

November 22, 2011 by  
Filed under India, Jammu and Kashmir, newsletter-lead, Persecution

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Kashmir-pastor-arrested1Jammu and Kashmir, November 22, 2011: The allegations of forcible conversions against a pastor in Kashmir are fabricated, Church of North India Bishop Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy of Amritsar has said.

His clarification came two days after pastor C.M. Khanna of the All India Saints Church in Kashmir was arrested on November 19 on charges of forcibly converting Muslim youth to Christianity.

Khanna was charged with alleged conversion after a video showed him converting a group of Muslim men earlier this month. He was sent to police custody for a week.

As there are no anti-conversion laws existing in the state, the pastor has been apparently booked for disturbing peace and hurting religious sentiments of the people.

The head of the Sharia court in Kashmir, Mufti Mohd Bashiruddin, was quoted by media as saying that the pastor was found guilty of the charges and even had “confessed” to his crime.

“The allegations are fabricated and no material benefits were offered to anyone desirous of baptism,” the bishop said.

A special investigation team is probing the case and seven converts-six from central Kashmir’s Budgam and one from south Kashmir’s Bijbehara areas-have been questioned.

“The youngsters had voluntarily expressed their desire for baptism. The converts in detention have denied the allegation that they were forced to become Christians,” Bishop Samantaroy said.

Meanwhile pastor Khanna refuted the allegations, saying “I have never gone to anyone’s house to share about Jesus.”

“But in the church, it is my responsibility to preach God’s word. I can’t refuse anyone,” he said.

The pastor said the youngsters, who had been coming to the church on their own, had expressed the desire to be baptised in due course.

Moderate separatist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq on Monday held a conference of Muslim clergy to discuss ways “to arrest the activities of Christian missionaries”.

“Everyone has a right to preach their religion but taking advantage of somebody’s helplessness and luring them by offering money…will never be tolerated,” he said.

– ucan

Kashmir pastor arrested for baptizing seven Muslims

 

Kashmir Pastor arrestedJammu and Kashmir, November 21, 2011: The region’s grand mufti accused Rev Chander Mani Khanna, of All Saints Church, after a video appeared on YouTube. Police beat the seven young converts to get them to accuse the pastor of forced conversions. In early November, the grand mufti summoned Rev Khanna to appear before a Sharia Court.

Police in Kashmir arrested Rev Chander Mani Khanna of the All Saints Church after the head of the Kashmir Shariat Court accused the Christian clergyman of converting Muslims in exchange of money. The case began on 8 November when Grand Mufti Bashir-ud-Din summoned him to appear before the court to explain the alleged conversions.

To back his accusation, the Grand Mufti used a video that appeared on YouTube that shows Rev Khanna baptising seven young Muslim men and women. The same video was then linked by other online platforms provoking an avalanche of verbal attacks against the clergyman.

“Rev Khanna’s arrest is an attack against religious freedom,” said Predhuman K Joseph Dhar, a scholar who translated the Bible in Kashmiri. “The situation is tense and there is great concern that someone might threaten his life.” “Having failed to do what we asked you to do, we are forced to take measures based on the Sharia,” the Grand Mufti said in a letter to the clergyman. Afterwards, “police arrested seven people, the seven men and women who are baptised by rev Khanna in the video. According to witnesses, police beat the seven in order to testify against the pastor.”

The Jammu Christian Federation called on the government “to release the pastor since administering the baptism on consenting adults is his prerogative.” “The rights of Christians are being sacrificed on the altar of political expediency and convenience,” said Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC). “Christians too are entitled to minority rights. Allowing a Sharia Court to enforce its laws on Christians represents an end to the rule of law and equality of Indian citizens.”

Kashmir does not have any anti-conversion law. In fact, police arrested the clergyman under Articles 153A (Promoting enmity between different groups on ground of religion, race, place of birth, residence, language, etc., and doing acts prejudicial to maintenance of harmony) and 295A (Deliberate and malicious acts intended to outrage religious feelings of any class by insulting its religion or religious beliefs) of the Indian Penal Code.

– asianews

False accusations of forced conversion against Kashmir pastor

November 10, 2011 by  
Filed under India, Jammu and Kashmir, newsletter-india, Persecution

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Rev M Khanna

Rev M Khanna

Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, the Presbyter-In-Charge of the All Saint’s Church in Srinagar, Jammu and Kashmir, has been summoned by the Mufti-E-Azam (or the Grand Mufti) of the state to appear before a Sharia Court to answer charges of conversion.

Rev. Khanna has been accused “motivating the Muslim youth for conversion from Islam to Christianity.” The Mufti has claimed that he has sufficient proof to back up the allegation including a video footage.

The video clip, also present on many social media sharing websites including youtube and facebook, shows Khanna baptizing people. According to reports with EFI News, the video has since been copied on CDs in large numbers and was distributed by Muslim hardliners in the valley, calling people to strike against Christianity.

Rev. Khanna was first summoned to appear before the Mufti on October 28, 2011. The letter from the Mufti to him said, “..law and order problem at large scale shall erupt in the entire Jammu and Kashmir state”, if he did not appear before “the Supreme Court of Islamic Shariet” for clarifications. The letter ends with a veiled threat that in failing to do so Rev. Khanna will be “personally responsible for the consequences thereof.”

Since Rev. Khanna was out of station, the Mufti set a date of 12th November 2011. Rev. Khanna wrote an email to the Mufti asking for fixing a date later than 12th November, since he was pre-occupied. Hence a second letter from the Mufti setting the date of the appearance for 17th November. The letter demands an appearance “failing which we shall be constrained to initiate action against you (Rev. Khanna) strictly as per Shariet Law.”

On 30th October 2011, a Police Inspector from R.M. Bagh police station came to Rev. Khanna’s residence in the Church at 11 pm and placed the family of Rev. Khanna under house arrest. The police however later denied that he was under house arrest, but said that he was detained for his own safety. But Rev. Khanna or his family members still have been unable to move outside the Church premises because of threat to their life.

Meanwhile the Police arrested 7 people in connection with the conversion. These people were the same who were shown in the video as being baptized by Rev. Khanna. According to reports, these 7 were beaten up severely by the police in order to obtain a confession against Rev. Khanna that he gave them money to convert to Christianity.

They were let out after two days but are still being summoned daily by the Intelligence Bureau and the police and pressured to give a statement against Rev. Khanna.

The situation remains tense in the valley and the statements against Rev. Khanna continues on social networking sites. There is every apprehension that some hardliners may attempt to take his life.

On 8th November Rev. Khanna reported that the leader asked him must to report to the Shariat Court on 17 November. Police official have advised him not to move outside at any cost. We have also informed from Rev. Khanna that he should submit a letter to the concerned IG as well as the SSP for further actions.

Please pray for the safety of Rev. C M Khanna and also pray that his meeting with the Mufti may go well and the result will be peaceful. Christian workers have had a commendable record in Kashmir Valley in the education and medical care fields. Rev. Khanna himself has been personally responsible not only for rebuilding of houses following the earthquake in the valley, but also for many peace and reconciliation initiatives.

Do also write to the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mr. Omar Abdullah for an intervention in the matter. Mr. Abdullah has been silent on the matter so far.

Shri Omar Abdullah
Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir
Civil Sectt., Jammu-Tavi – 180 001
Email: omar@sansad.nic.in

(O) Tel: Jammu – (0191) 2546466 ; 2546766
(O) Tel: Srinagar – (0194) 2452224 ; 2452228
(O) Fax: Jammu – (0191) 2545529
(O) Fax: Srinagar – (0194) 2452120

– EFI

Islamic court asks Protestant pastor to answer conversion charges

October 31, 2011 by  
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Mufti Bashir-ud-din

Mufti Bashir-ud-din

Jammu & Kashmir, October 29, 2011: Jammu and Kashmir state’s top Muslim cleric has asked a Church of North India pastor to appear before an Islamic court to answer conversion charges.

Mufti Bashir-ud-din’s summons on October 28 has given Rev.  C.M. Khanna November 12 as the date to appear before the supreme court of Shariat in Srinagar.

The grand mufti said his court has received a video that shows Rev.  Khanna converting Muslim children.

“We had issued him summons to appear before the court today (Friday) but he did not turn up. Now we have issued him summons again and asked him to appear on the next hearing (November 12),” the mufti said.

The mufti said his people have asked to issue a fatwa (ban) against the Christian pastor. “But we have not issued it because we want to listen to him. We have asked him that communal harmony should not be disturbed,” he added.

The government does not appoint the grand mufti, who does not have any legal authority to issue fatwa or summons.

However, the government recognizes him as top Muslim cleric in the state.

Meanwhile, Reverend Khanna has denied the charges and instead accused the grand mufti’s office of seeking favors by asking for admissions of a child in a Church school in Srinagar.

“There is no forced conversion and there is nothing which can be called allurement. We do not offer any job or any money. We tell them ‘If you come it is your responsibility to contribute and support the church’,” Khanna said.

The pastor also said he was a member of the school management until last year and advised the mufti’s people to approach the principal for the admission.

“They said the school has not given admission to the successful candidate,” he said.

Reverend Khanna said the grand mufti had made similar charges against him five years ago.

“Islam is an evangelical religion so is Christianity. To propagate a faith is not crime. Our concern is not conversion. There are many people who are coming to listen to the word of God,” the pastor added.

– dnaindia

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