Monday, January 23, 2012

In Kashmir Christians get to taste the ethnic cleansing Hindus once faced

January 23, 2012

The manner in which Muslim zealots in Jammu & Kashmir have been harassing the State’s Christian minority community over a religious conversion row that erupted last week demonstrates yet again the unbridled and absolutely illegal manner in which mullahs are enforcing their writ. 

They have now begun to ‘ban’ priests, ‘banish’ foreign NGOs and demand that missionary-run schools should include Islamic prayers. Given this kind of bullying, it is little wonder that the Valley’s Christians are living in fear. They have become the victims of a vicious slander campaign that includes the kind of story that one of the State’s English dailies ran last Thursday.

A full-page spread titled, ‘Apostasy Unveiled’, the report is a first person account of a love-lorn young Muslim boy who has been lured with money, alcohol and drugs and ultimately beguiled into converting to Christianity — just the kind of thing that the Muslim-majority State’s religious guardians can be trusted to raise a ruckus about.

Ever since the conversion dispute surfaced, the situation has progressively worsened for the Christians, as the Valley’s mullahs have stepped up their efforts to make the entire community in Jammu & Kashmir — which has only a few hundred members — and even foreigners who practice Christianity, their target of hate and violence.

The most telling example of this mindless harassment is perhaps the story of Juan Marcos Troia — an Argentine football coach who had been promoting his sport in the Valley but is now being hounded by the fanatics. His house has been vandalised, funding for his clubs are under the scanner and he has received calls in the middle of the night asking how many copies of the Bible he keeps at home.

At the centre of this controversy is a certain Protestant Pastor, CM Khanna. The mullahs have released a video of his baptising Muslim boys and a shari’ah ‘court’ has expelled him from the State in blatant violation of the law of the land that does not recognise such illegitimate directives.
While the fundamentalists have behaved in the way they would be expected to — and as they have always done — it is for the State Government to end the persecution of the Christian minority which follows the cleansing of the Kashmir Valley of its Hindu minority. Unfortunately, no protection has been given to Pastor Khanna (instead, he has been arrested for disturbing communal peace) nor to the likes of Mr Troia — all of whom have been left to fend for themselves.

Similarly, the country’s Left-liberals, who are quick to denounce Hindus, have, once again, remained stunningly silent in the face of Islamist bullying. Just like they once glossed over the mass exodus of Kashmiri Pandits from the Valley, today there is barely a murmur of protest in support of the Christians living in the Valley.

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