Take action!
How to Get Involved

Christian Converts Arrested and Beaten in India

ICC Note:

Christian converts in India were arrested in beaten in India's Muslim majority area of the Kashmir Valley. After a video of the converts being baptized was leaked, Muslims in the area claimed Christian pastors were paying people to convert to Christianity. The converts testified that they converted willingly without force or bribe. Pastors involved in the baptisms are currently in hiding.       

12/17/2012 India (CompassDirectNews) — 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.

Senior Superintendent of Police of Srinagar Ashiq Bukhari was not available for comment.

Police got the names of the converts and pastors from a video recording of the baptism provided by Kashmir’s grand mufti (the highest official of religious law), Bashir-ud-din Ahmad. The video was later posted on YouTube.

The Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Church, told Compass that he had been summoned by the mufti, who is also the head of the sharia (Islamic law) court. He said he would meet Ahmad on Nov. 17.

The court had issued the summons for Saturday (Nov. 12), but Pastor Khanna had a prior engagement.

India, home to the world’s third-largest Muslim population, has a few sharia courts pertaining only to civil matters.

Ahmad alleged that Pastor Khanna, whose church is affiliated with the Church of North India (CNI) denomination, was converting young Muslim men and women by offering money, and that therefore he must be arrested. The mufti told media that the video was definitive evidence that Muslims were being “lured” to Christianity, although it only shows the baptism ceremony.

Pastor Khanna said the young men converted of their own will and without his persuasion.

The Indian constitution provides for religious freedom, including the right to propagate and the right to change one’s religion.

The pastor told Compass that the former Muslims, who were baptized at his church facility in August, were willing to sign affidavits saying there was no duress or allurement.

“That’s what they told the police also,” he said.

Pastor Khanna said his church is located in the heart of Srinagar, and that many Muslims come to attend worship service on Sundays.

“I have never gone to anyone’s house to share about Jesus,” he said. ‘But in the church, it is my responsibility to preach God’s Word. I can’t refuse anyone. The house of God is open for all.”

The pastor said the Muslim youths had been coming to the church on their own initiative and wanted to take part in Holy Communion. Pastor Khanna told them they had to follow a procedure if they really wanted to join in the sacrament, and they expressed desire to be baptized in due course.

“I can’t convert anyone; it is the work of the Holy Spirit,” he added. “And what do I teach in the church? God’s love and how to be good citizens and good human beings … I have never shown disrespect for the Quran.”

Pastor Khanna said there were many people, some with cameras, at the baptism ceremony.

“If it was meant to be a secret or illegal activity, we wouldn’t have allowed cameras,” he said.

Kashmir’s civil society had shown support, he added, as the church had helped build about 600 homes for the poor, apart from providing other services in the region.

Kashmir police reportedly acted on the mufti’s complaint because conversion is a sensitive issue.

“The decision to book the seven was taken at the highest level to avoid possible unrest in the Valley,” The Times of India reported.

Kashmir has only a few hundred Christians. The whole state, which has a population of more than 10 million, has little more than 20,000 Christians – mostly from the Hindu-majority Jammu region.

Christians have generally had good relations with the Muslims, but there have been some sporadic incidents of violence.


[Full Story]

Tags: ,

Forward to a friend
  • Kids

    Care for orphans and hurting children

    read more
  • Families

    Support wives and children of imprisoned or martyed pastors

    read more
  • Pastors

    Spread the gospel by supporting underground pastors

    read more
  • Women

    Save women from abduction and sexual exploitation

    read more
  • Communities

    Help rebuild communities devastated by persecution

    read more

Other Projects

other projects

ICC is constantly monitoring the state of Christian persecution in countries around the world and looking for ways that we can act as bridge between our supporters and the persecuted church. Beyond the projects you see above, we are working in many other areas to provide practical assistance to our brothers and sisters in Christ. View our other projects page to understand more of our work and keep up to date on our current projects.