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Kashmir priest arrested for baptising Muslims: The Church of England Newspaper, November 25, 2011 p 7. November 26, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of North India, Evangelism, Persecution.
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Bishop Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy of Amritsar

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

A priest has been arrested in the Indian state of Kashmir and charged with promoting religious enmity and outraging religious feelings after he baptised 15 Muslim young men who had converted to Christianity.

The Rev. Chander Mani Khanna, rector of All Saints Church in Srinigar in the Church of North India’s Diocese of Amritsar was jailed on 19 Nov 2011 by police following complaints laid against him by a local Muslim leader.

While India does not have a law forbidding religious conversions, a police official told the Hindustan Times Mr. Khanna had been booked for having violated laws against offering “allurements” to converts and for breaching the peace by having baptised the young Muslims.

The Bishop in Amritsar, the Rt. Rev. Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy denied claims lodged against Mr. Khanna.  The “allegations were fabricated and no material benefits were offered to anyone desirous of baptism,” he said, according to the website Christian Today.

“The Muslim youths were coming to Church for more than one year and they had voluntarily expressed their desire for baptism. The converts in detention have denied the allegation that they were forced to become Christians,” Bishop Samantaroy said.

The Christian Messenger reported that Mr. Khanna said he had not proselytized the young men, but would not turn away those who wanted to know more.  “It is my responsibility to preach God’s Word. I can’t refuse anyone. The house of God is open for all.”

According to Indian press accounts the 15 young men had been attending services at the church for some months.  When they asked to be permitted to receive Holy Communion, Mr. Khanna said that they would have to undergo a course of instruction and be baptized.  The young men agreed and were received into the church after they completed their catechetical training.

After a film of the baptism ceremony appeared on YouTube, the local Sharia court – which has no civil or criminal jurisdiction over non-Muslims – summoned Mr. Khanna to appear to answer charges that he had forcibly converted the young men.   According to AsiaNews, witnesses claim that police beat the converts to make them give evidence against the pastor.

The former Bishop of Rochester, the Rt. Rev. Michael Nazir-Ali stated that he knew Mr. Khanna “and he is a respected parish priest of the Church of North India who would never use underhand methods to evangelise.”

“I am astonished that such a person can be arrested by an India committed to religious freedom and democracy. I call not only for his immediate and unconditional release but also for protection for him and his family. Let us pray that freedom and justice will prevail in Kashmir for everyone: Muslim, Christian and Hindu,” Bishop Nazir-Ali said.

New Moderator for the CNI: The Church of England Newspaper, Oct 12, 2011 October 14, 2011

Posted by geoconger in Church of England Newspaper, Church of North India.
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The new moderator of the Church of North India, Bishop Philip P. Marandih (left) and deputy moderator, Bishop Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy (right)

First printed in The Church of England Newspaper.

The Church of North India reports the Bishop in Patna has been elected to a three year term as moderator of the united church.

Meeting from 6-0 Oct 2011 at St. Thomas School in New Delhi, the 450 delegates and guests to the 14th meeting of synod gathered under the theme of “Arise and Build: Fear not, for I am With Your Always.”

A press statement from the gathering said “this triennial event in the life of the church draws its significance from the deliberations, sharing of ideas and vision for mission which is then entrusted to a new leadership for carrying them forward.”

Delegates elected the Rt. Rev. Philip P. Marandih, Bishop in Patna, the church’s outgoing deputy moderator as moderator in succession to the Rt. Rev Purely Lyndoh. The Rt. Rev. Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy, Bishop in Amritsar, was elected deputy moderator for the coming triennium.

“Please uphold these two Bishops in your prayer as the whole church looks up to them for their vibrant and earnest leaderships in fulfilling the motto – Unity, Witness and Service,” the press statement said.

The Church of North India has 27 dioceses in the northern half of the country and maintains 580 schools, 61 hospitals and 17 colleges including Delhi’s St Stephen’s College.