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Pastor in J&K booked for conversions

india Updated: Nov 21, 2011 02:12 IST
HT Correspondent
HT Correspondent
Hindustan Times
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The Jammu and Kashmir police interrogated CM Khanna, pastor of the All India Saints Church, on Sunday after booking him for reportedly forced conversions. Khanna was arrested on Saturday following widespread protests over allegations regarding his involvement in forced conversions.

Preliminary questioning revealed that he had converted around 15 Muslims.

He has been charged with causing religious enmity and religious conversion under duress and in exchange of allurements.

“Investigations are on and some more arrests are expected soon,” said Ashiq Bukhari, senior superintendent of police, Srinagar.

Earlier this month, a video clip surfaced on social networking sites, showing purported conversions of locals in which Khanna was allegedly involved. Protests began in the Valley and Khanna appeared in a shariat court to explain the matter following “summons” by Kashmir's grand mufti, Mufti Bashir-ud-Din.

Khanna had denied his involvement in the matter, but the mufti said they had a video clipping, which confirmed that he was “taking an active part in motivating Muslims to convert to Christianity”.

The protests spurred the government to take action in the matter.

Even to the police, Khanna denied his role in the conversions. "He admitted it after he was shown the evidence and agreed to provide the details," said a police officer on condition of anonymity.

Minister for law and parliamentary affairs Ali Mohammad Sagar said, “Any person who tries to create hatred or ill will against any religion will not be spared.” The chairman of the moderate faction of Hurriyat, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, who held a meeting with several other pastors over the issue this week, said, “It is very unfortunate. We cannot remain silent over the issue.”

Another meeting between the Christian missionaries and the Islamic leaders would be held on Wednesday, the Mirwaiz said.