Christian duo held for ‘promoting enmity’ in Kashmir

Delhi couple, local girl were arrested for distributing pamphlets on Christianity in north Kashmir.

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The Jammu and Kashmir Police has arrested a Christian couple on charges of “promoting enmity” while they were allegedly distributing pamphlets about Christianity in the border township of Bandipora in north Kashmir.

The police said the couple from Delhi, along with a local girl, was distributing pamphlets in the Bandipora market when people raised a hue and cry and called the police. Sensing trouble, the police seized the pamphlets and immediately whisked them away for sustained questioning.

The police later registered a case under section 153A Ranbir Penal Code (promoting enmity between groups on grounds of religion, race, place of birth, residence, etc) at the Bandipora police station. Under this section, the law prescribes imprisonment of up to three years, or with fine, or with both. In case of an offence relating to religion, the punishment could extend to five years.

“We have arrested the duo. The woman was seen distributing pamphlets in the market place where she had gone shopping,” said Bashir Ahmad Khan, superintendent of police, Bandipora district.

The couple and the girl have been detained and questioned in the police station. Police sources said during questioning, they said they were not doing anything unconstitutional or illegal in the town.

The police said they were arrested to avoid any law and order breakdown in the area. “There was lot of hue and cry which could have created law and order problem in the area. Therefore we took them into custody as a preventive measure to avoid any crisis in the district,” said a police official.

The arrest comes six months after the police arrested a Christian priest in Srinagar in November last year. A case was registered under section 153A and 295A of RPC against Rev Khanna at the Ram Munshi Bagh police station. Khanna was arrested three days after he appeared before the self-styled supreme court of Shairait, headed by the Grand Mufti of Kashmir Bashir-ud-din, who had issued summons to him.

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