NEW DELHI – A fact-finding mission to India’s Kashmir Valley found that Muslim leaders’ increasingly shrill opposition to conversions has instilled fear among the Christian minority, which has been threatened as Christmas nears.
Christians in Srinagar, the summer capital of India’s northern-most state of Jammu and Kashmir, are “really scared,” said Dr. John Dayal, a member of the National Integration Council and part of the fact-finding team. “Christian men, women and children are in a state of panic, fearful of their security, uncertain of the future, uncertain of their jobs.”
The Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Church in Srinagar, was arrested on Nov. 19 on charges of hurting religious sentiments of Muslims after several youths were baptized; he was released on bail on Dec. 1. But the pastor of the Church of North India denomination, who is due to retire early next year, may never be able to go back to his church due to security concerns, Dayal said. more >>
As U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton arrived in Burma’s capital, Naypyidaw, last week in a show of support for authorities’ ostensible reforms to discuss minority rights, government troops killed civilians and burned houses in a Christian-majority state about 450 miles away.
On Wednesday (Nov. 30), the day Clinton arrived, Burmese soldiers killed a woman and injured six other villagers as they fired four rounds of mortar shells at civilians in the Tarlawgyi area of Kachin state’s Waingmaw Township, Kachin News Group reported.
Another battalion burned down 10 homes in Nam Wai village and five more in neighboring Hpa Ke village, both in Dawhpumyang sub-township in Bhamo district, the Thailand-based news agency added. The killing and arson followed two explosions that killed a student and injured another the previous night (Nov. 29) in the state’s capital, Myitkyina. Local residents suspected government agents planted the bombs, a Kachin journalist told Compass by phone on condition of anonymity. more >>
NEW DELHI – Charges that a pastor in Jammu and Kashmir state “lured” Muslims to Christianity by offering money are false and have put the lives of the clergyman and other Christians in danger, according to Bishop Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy of the Church of North India denomination.
Following the arrest on Saturday (Nov. 17) of the Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Church in Srinagar, Bishop Samantaroy told Compass by phone that the time has come for the church to speak up against the “discriminatory action” by authorities in India’s Kashmir Valley.
The bishop of the Amritsar Diocese said the pastor told him his life was in danger, as the charges have angered area Muslims. The government must provide protection to the pastor, churches and Christian institutions “immediately,” he said. more >>
A nun, who was very outspoken about the treatment of India’s local tribal people, was brutally murdered in the Dhumka region.
Valsha John, an ordained nun of Sister of Charity of Jesus and Mary, was from the Kerala's Ernakulam district. She was a leader who championed the rights of the local tribe's people displaced by a private company that wished to mine the coal-rich region of Pachwara village in Pakur district.
According to reports, Sister John was attacked by an unidentified man who beat her with a stick and then used an axe to finish the brutality. The man was taken in to custody and was formally charged, according to a statement by Pakur Superintendent of Police Amarnath Khanna. more >>
Evangelist Franklin Graham is in the south Indian city of Hyderabad where tens of thousands are coming to hear the Gospel message despite calls by rightwing Hindu groups to ban his four-day festival.
On the second night of the Hyderabad Festival Friday, about 50,000 people poured into Lal Bahadur Stadium in the capital city of Andhra Pradesh state, which was under a tight security cover. And on the weekend, the number was expected to rise even higher.
“I heard about the Graham family when I lived in Virginia, but I didn’t know what they did really – just something religious,” said Jayesh, a youngster who had just returned to India after attending college in the United States. more >>
NEW DELHI – Police in India’s Kashmir Valley detained and beat converts from Islam and were expected to arrest Christian workers after Muslim leaders alleged that Muslim youth were being “lured” to Christianity.
Police in the Muslim-majority Kashmir Valley picked up seven converts who were recently baptized in All Saints Church in Srinagar, a local Christian who spoke to the converts after their release on Nov. 2 told Compass. Srinagar is the summer capital of the northern state of Jammu and Kashmir and the main city of the Kashmir Valley.
The source, who requested anonymity, said police beat the converts and asked if Christians had given them money for their conversion. Most of the converts were from Budgam district, about 18 miles from Srinagar, and pastors there fearful of being arrested were in hiding, he added. more >>