Indian Kashmir: Christians arrested for "promoting enmity"
Srinagar (AsiaNews) - Christian
couple in the town of Bandipora (Jammu and Kashmir) have been accused of
"promoting enmity" and arrested for distributing pamphlets. According
to state police, Mafford Maharaj Singh, 62, and his wife Kusum, 60, along with
a local girl disturbed the leaflets to people at a city market, who began to shout
to attract police attention. Their
children, originally from New Delhi, tell a completely different version:
"Our parents went to Srinagar on April 16 last year to attend a wedding.
The next day, while doing some shopping at the market, talking to a salesman our
father said he was Christian and they were insulted, beaten and finally
arrested by local police. "
The agents said they arrested the two "as a precaution to prevent tensions in the area." Meanwhile, however, the case was registered under the Article 153 A (promoting enmity between groups on the basis of religion, race, place of birth, residence, etc..) under the Ranbir Penal Code this Article provides for up to three years prison, fines or both. In case of offense on religious grounds, the sentence can be extended up to five years in prison.
For Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), the arrest is evidence the "growing pressure to which they subject Christians by kashmiri Muslim majority. Since local imams decided to stop any kind of fitna [whatever may disturb the faith of a Muslim, ed], life for the Christian minority is increasingly difficult. "
Six months ago there was the case of Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Anglican Church, arrested for having baptized seven young Muslims, due to allegations by an Islamic court (which has no legal authority in India, ed.)
Today, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, chairman of All Parties Hurriyat Conference (moderate coalition fighting for the independence of Kashmir from India), has launched a website that wants to control the alleged conversion to Christianity of young Kashmiris. "This - says Sajan George - is actually an attempt to monitor the activities of missionaries."