November 25, 2011
A pastor in Kashmir, India, was arrested and imprisoned for baptizing seven Muslim converts to Christianity, International Christian Concern reports. The Rev. Channa Mani Khanna was accused by the Grand Mufti of the region of forcing conversions for money, then called before a sharia (Islamic law) court to answer charges of forced conversion; police also arrested and beat the seven converts. "[They] were exercising their constitutional rights to religious freedom and freedom of choice; they have done nothing illegal," said Sajan George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians. "The request to appear before a sharia court is alarming. ... India is a secular country with a secular constitution, which states without exception and demands respect for the principles of equality among citizens of the republic." Anglican bishop P.K. Samantha Roy of the Docese of Amritsar is calling on the government of Kashmir for justice, and said the church would seek legal redress.