Conversion Controversy: Pastor Arrested19 November 2011
Srinagar: Police on Saturday arrested head of All Saints Church Srinagar, pastor C M Khanna for allegedly promoting enmity between different religious groups. “Police arrested the pastor in connection with the conversion controversy. An FIR No 186 of 2011 under section 153 A and 295 of RPC has been lodged against him in police station Ram Munshi Bagh. Further investigations are going on,” a top police official told Rising Kashmir. His arrest came after reports surfaced that the Christian missionaries were luring and converting young Kashmiri boys and girls to Christianity. Kashmir’s Grand Mufti, Mufti Bashir-ud Din, who had received a complaint along with video evidence in this regard last month, had summoned the pastor. However, he did not attend the Shariah court on the given date, prompting police to register an FIR against him and start investigations into conversion controversy. Sources said during investigations, police detained seven persons. On November 18, pastor Khan explained his position before the Shariat court headed by Mufti Bashir-ud-Din and is reported to have made certain confessions. “During the meeting, which was attended by various Islamic scholars and religious heads, pastor Khanna confessed that his organization has been involved in conversions of Muslims to Christianity”, Mufti Bashir told Rising Kashmir while giving details of the meeting. He said it has been revealed that certain missionary organizations have been luring people to convert to Christianity by offering money to them. “The phenomenon has been more common in remote villages of Kashmir. It is a very grave issue and should be looked it,” he said. Sensing the gravity of the issue, Hurriyat Conference (M) chairman Mirwiaz Umar Farooq has called an Ulemas conference and summoned the Christian missionaries to his office to seek details of conversion from them. A grand meeting of Muthahida Majlis-e-Amal has been scheduled to discuss the issue on November 21. Meanwhile, Minister for Law and Parliamentary Affairs Ali Mohammad Sagar told a local news gathering agency KNS that government will not allow any person or group to create disharmony. “J&K is known for communal harmony and co-existence of religion. Any person, who will try to create hatred or ill will against any religion will not be spared but will be dealt under law,” he said. Regarding the complaint that an individual has hurt the sentiments of a community, he said, “It will be dealt under law and appropriate legal action will be taken against him. Government is sensitive about the media reports about conversion and has taken serious note of it. A probe has been ordered into it,” he said. Sagar said government was investigating and trying to ascertain whether there is any conspiracy in the issue.