NEW DELHI, 13 January 2012, (AICC Statement) — The All India Christian Council is deeply disturbed at the Srinagar based Sharia Court issuing a statement against Christian pastors Jim Borst and C M Khanna in Srinagar.
Jan 11: Supreme Court of Islamic Sharia Wednesday indicted Christian Pastor C M Khanna and Dutch national, Jim Borst for their involvement in luring people to convert their religion. The Sharia court has threatened it will issue a sentence shortly. Such statements can encourage extremist elements to indulge in violence, the Council fears.
Christian Council secretary general Dr John Dayal said the church in India displayed remarkable sobriety and a sense of responsibility in their response to the arrest in Srinagar of Reverend Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of the All Saints Church late last year on charges of conversion on the demand of a local Mufti. It was hoped that religious and secular authorities, and the state government, would show maturity and responsibility keeping in view the delicately poised public peace situation and the hardship the common people have faced at the hands of terrorists of various hues and other agencies.
The Church does not accept as genuine any conversion brought about by fraud or force.
Dr John Dayal pointed out that a fact finding team which went to Srinagar in the wake of the arrest of Rev Khanna, and interviewed Church personnel, Ulema, school, authorities and the police, found no evidence of force or fraud in baptisms that have been carried out over a period of time. Each baptism has been proved to be voluntary. The Christian community in the entire valley does not number more than 400, and has lived in peace with its neighbours for the last century and a half.
The Council said the Christian community does not accept the jurisdiction on the Sharia courts or similar instruments of other religions anywhere in India. The vital issues of the rights of minorities, and freedom faith are also involved.
Dr John Dayal said it devolves on theJammu and Kashmir Government, religious leaders and people of goodwill in theKashmir valley to ensure that the nights of minorities are respected, their welfare assured, and communal harmony strengthened in the region which so desperately requires and environment of peace for its development and wellbeing.