“The anti-Christian intolerance in Jammu and Kashmir is reaching alarming proportions” is the complaint of Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), after the arrest of two Christians in Srinagar, the capital of Indian state, on false charges of forced conversions. The arrest took place on April 10 last, after a Muslim mob attacked two men, five women and two children, all of British origin.
The foreigners had been living for about four years Shivpora, a district of Srinagar. According to local residents one of them, James Thomas, was engaged in conversion activities. So, two days ago a large group of people attacked the Christians, threw stones at their vehicles and tried to destroy their house. The intervention of the police prevented the demolition and the wounding of those present, but officials arrested James and Alora Milli to clarify the charges against them.
The police have impounded the building and evacuated the foreigners. The local imam told police that he had repeatedly asked the foreigners not to convert Muslims, but to no avail. “Now – he added – they can no longer access the area. And even if they try to convert anyone, I will prevent it at all costs.”
“The false and defamatory accusations of the Imam – says Sajan George – and the complicity of the police in arresting these Christians are a serious threat to religious freedom, a right guaranteed by the Constitution of India.”
Jammu and Kashmir is the only Muslim-majority state of India where religious intolerance frequently occurs. This past January, a group of foreign tourists risked being lynched after the publication of some posts on Facebook. An exemplary case dates back to 2011, when the Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, pastor of All Saints Anglican Church, was arrested for having baptized seven Muslims and then indicted by an Islamic court (which has no legal authority in the State or in India, ed) for proselytism and forced conversions.