EFI NEWS Persecution Watch, Jan 27, 2012

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We request prayer that the church would continue to serve the nation inspite of innumerable suffering and pray also for those who are persecuting that they may experience the love of God.  

Christians Targetted in Kashmir Valley 

The Evangelical Fellowship of India has called upon Mr. Omar Abdullah, the Chief Minister of Kashmir, to ensure the security and safety of the tiny population of Christians in the Kashmir valley region of the state which has been living in terror since a mischievous hate campaign has been launched in the city following a fatwa of the Sharia court on January 19, 2012. 

The EFI is also deeply concerned at the unabated campaign against Christians and Christian schools being carried out by the section of the Srinagar media which has resulted in a large number of fundamentalist elements to join the campaign. 

There are unconfirmed reports that some of the Christian families have fled the valley and Srinagar city to the safer environment in Jammu or out of the State. The heavy snow and traffic blockades because of the weather have added to their trauma. 

The anti-Christian  campaign first stated in Srinagar in October when fundamentalists accused Church of North India pastor Mr. C M Khanna of All Souls Church  of forcible and fraudulent conversions in the city, which is almost entirely dominated by Muslims. One baptism ceremony in the church was filed by mobile phone cameras, and copies of it  widely circulated in the valley, rousing passions. Pastor Khanna was summoned by the Sarah court and grilled for seven hours. The police later arrested him on fabricated charges of carted enmity been communities. 

Simultaneously, a rumour campaign was mounted against the Christian schools which have been in the city for more than a  century. The school principals were accused of luring students to Christianity. The schools, which have over 7,000 students, have just seven Christian students. 

Since schools and churches have been repeatedly attacked in the valley in previous years, a fact finding team consisting of National Minorities Commission vice chairman Mr. H T Sangliana, Dr. John Dayal of the All India Christian Council, Rev. Dr. Richard Howell of the EFI, Rev. Vijayesh Lal and Adv. Markose accompanied to a visit to Srinagar and Jammu. The team met the Mirwaiz, Mr. Omar Farooq, who is the religious head and Mr. Bahsidurrrdin, the Grand Mufti who heads the Shania court and told them there could be no forcible or fraudulent conversions, and they would be not acceptable to the Church. During the team’s visit, Pastor Khanna was given bail by the court. 

The fact finding team came to the conclusion that the entire episode had been engineered by various local groups as part of their  political agenda. In recent days, tensions have again risen after a highly malicious report in the local newspapers narrating the "seduction" of Kashmiri youth by Christians. The Sharia court immediately issued a fatwa against Pastor Khanna, Catholic priest Jim Borst and another  CNI pastor, asking the government to  take action against them. 

What has deeply disappointed the Christian community is the attitude of the state government, which is the upholder of the law. The State does not have a Minorities Commission. The EFI has therefore once again appealed to the State government, and in particular to the Chief Minister,  to intervene in the matter so that the people can live in peace and the Christian institutions are allowed to function without threats and blackmail.  

Pastor beaten and paraded naked in Haliyal, Karnataka 

Haliyal: On January 23rd, 2012 Pastor Rev. Kalappa Chandrakanth Chavan along with 20 other believers of New Life Fellowship Church was attacked by a dozens of Hindu activists in, Bijjahalli, Haliyal in Karwar District of Karnataka. 

As told to EFI, the incident occurred at around 8 pm when   Pastor Chandrakanth was a conducting a prayer meeting at a believer, one Mrs. Manjula’s house. The pastor was accompanied by his friend and another believer Kishore Kavalekar. As the prayer meeting was about to come to an end some 20 Hindu RSS radicals barged into the house pelting abuses.  

Accusing them of forced conversions, the radicals begun to beat both Kishore Kavalekar and Rev. Chandrakanth in front  his wife Vandana, and 3 year old daughter. The Hindu extremists proceeded to tore the clothes of the pastor and dragged him in front of the whole village. Finally they tied him to a tree near a Hindu temple and called the Haliyal police.  

Evangelical fellowship of India, called up the Haliyal police station and spoke to the Sub Inspector Umesh Seth. He informed that both Rev Chandrakanth and his friend were sent to the government hospital for the treatment of their injuries. No police case has been registered.  

Pastor attacked in Andhra Pradesh  

A group of Hindu radicals attacked Pastor Kiran on January 17th, 2012 in Yadagirgutta, Nalgonda district, Andhra Pradesh. 

According to AICC, the incident took place, when Pastor Kiran along with other church member went to visit Ms. Rachel a member of his church. 

Seeing the pastor carrying some Christian literature Hindu fundamentalists started to question the pastor and attacked the pastor and the church members accusing them of forcible conversations. They then took the pastor to the police station. 

Evangelical Fellowship of India, spoke to the Sub Inspector, Mr. Shankar of the Yadagirgutta police station and he informed EFI that the no case was registered and the matter was resolved between the two parties.   

An Appeal to write to Authorities  

As concerned people, kindly write to the Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka appealing to him to safe guard the rights of the minority communities and to give protection to churches against attacks and to take immediate action against the perpetrators of violence. 

Shri Omar Abdullah
Chief Minister of Jammu & Kashmir
Civil Sectt., Jammu-Tavi - 180 001
Email: [email protected]
(O) Tel: Jammu - (0191) 2546466 ; 2546766
(O) Tel: Srinagar - (0194) 2452224 ; 2452228
(O) Fax: Jammu - (0191) 2545529
(O) Fax: Srinagar - (0194) 2452120 

Shri Kiran Kumar Reddy
Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh
'C' Block, 6th Floor, AP Secretariat
Email: [email protected] 
(O) Tel: (040) 23456698 ; 23455205

(O) Fax: (040) 23452498 ; 23454828
(R) Tel: (040) 27763048  

Shri D V Sadananda Gowda
Chief Minister of Karnataka
Email: [email protected] 
(O) Tel: (080) 22253414 ; 22253424

(O) Fax: (080) 22353115  

Issued By: 

Rev. Dr. Richard Howell,
General Secretary
Evangelical Fellowship of India
New Delhi, India 

Evangelical Fellowship of India (established 1951) is a charter member of World Evangelical Alliance, an accredited NGO with the Economic and Social Council of the United Nations