02/13/2012, 00.00
INDIA
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High Court in Kashmir stays proceedings against Rev Khanna, but his life is in danger

by Nirmala Carvalho
The authorities had laid charges against the Anglican clergyman after an Islamic court accused him proselytising and forced conversions. For Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the life of the Anglican pastor “is still in danger”. Three of the seven converts Rev Khanna had baptised have gone back to Islam after the Sharia court issued threats against them.
Srinagar (AsiaNews) – The High Court of Jammu and Kashmir stayed further proceedings against Rev Chander Mani Khanna. After accusing him of promoting disharmony and religious animosity in Srinagar, the authorities filed a First Information Report against him following allegations by the state’s grand mufti that the Christian clergyman had carried out forced conversions. Despite the favourable sentence, “his life is in danger”, Global Council of Indian Christians President Sajan K George said.

In November 2011, an Islamic court had summoned the clergyman to answer charges that he had pushed seven young Muslims to convert to Christianity in exchange for money. A video posted on YouTube was presented as evidence. Rev Khanna and the converts rejected the allegations.

The clergyman was first arrested and then released a week later. In January, the Islamic court ordered his expulsion as well as that of Fr Jim Borst and other Christian missionaries.

“With the court order, the pastor can finally leave the state,” Mr George said. “Because of the threats from the Islamic court, his family has already left. They are no longer safe there.”

In Srinagar, “the atmosphere is increasingly tense,” the GCIC president explained. “The situation is precarious and unstable. Islamic fundamentalists have threatened to seize all the properties of the families of the converts in order to have them go back to Islam.”

Intimidations have had their effect, at least partly. Three of the seven converts have decided to abjure Christianity.”

“What is shameful is the fact that the Islamic court has not legal authority in Jammu and Kashmir. “Yet, the grand mufti’s charges have led to a major case of anti-Christian persecution."
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