Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Letter from Bishop of Amritsar

Dear Friends,

Greetings from Kangra, Himachal Pradesh! I wish to give you an update on Rev. Khanna. I could talk to Rev. Khanna through the mobile phone of a member of All Saints' Church, Srinagar who went to the police station to serve breakfast to rev. Khanna. Rev. Khanna is well and seemed to be quite composed. We are hopeful that things will move in the derection of his release tomorrow.

The whole incident relating to rev. Khanna's arrest is shocking and humiliating. Rev. Khanna decided to appear before the Shariat Court on 17th to clarify his position though this court has no legal validity. He did not run away from Kashmir even if there was a perceived threat to his life. He was picked up by the police with the pretext that the Inspector General of police wanted to see him. He was not given a copy of the FIR (First Information Report) either. The congregation of All Saints' Church did not have their minister to lead them in the Sunday worship today.

The whole Christian community is hurt because Christian Mission work in the state of Kashmir has been carried out with utmost commitment for the benefit of the majority Muslim population. The Church has always served the state of Jammu & Kashmir in the areas of education and health care irrespective of caste, creed or religion and has made contribution to the building up of the Kashmiries. It is unfortunate that the long sacrificial ministry of the Church has not been considered while arresting rev. Khanna for allegedly causing communal disharmony.

I have appealed to all Christians to keep calm and observe fasting prayer for release of Rev. Khanna. I am grateful to those friends and partners who are praying for rev. Khanna and the Christians in Kashmir.

Prayerfully in God's service,

Bishop P.K.Samantaro

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