Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Tragedy in Kashmir

I received the following from the Bishop of Amritsar about the school in Tangmarg. I quote it in full because it sets the context so well:

Dear Friends,

Warm greetings to you from Amritsar! Today was a very special day for me. In the midst of receiving greetings and messages for my birthday I got a horrifying message from Parwez that the Tangmarg branch of Tyndale Biscoe & Mallinson was vandalized and set on fire. I was shocked and immobilized for few moments not willing to believe what I had just heard. I was even hopeful that the fire brigade would be able to reach the School and save it from devastation. But the unexpected happened. The whole school building got completely burnt destroying everything in it. We have lost the most beautiful school of the Diocese. However, I thank God for there was no human casualty. The few support staff who were present in the School managed to run away to safety in time.

This ghastly incident was a result of a rumor that was deliberately spread to announce an alleged burning of copies of Quran in the U.S.A. There were few other incidents of attacks on church. Last night a C.N.I. Church was burnt in Malerkotla (Chandigarh Diocese) and a Roman Catholic Church was attacked in Poonch (Jammu) but the police successfully prevented any damage to the Church.

I have written letters to the President, Prime Minister and other high officials to take steps to give adequate protection to the Christians of J & K. apart from informing the C.N.I. Synod office, friends and partners. I request you to write letters to the Prime Minister of India urging him to take appropriate action.
The Tangmarg School building is gone but not our hope and confidence. I thank God for the gift of this challenge to rebuild on my birthday. I know my limitations. But I believe your prayers will cause a storm in heaven and invite God’s intervention in the Kashmir situation.
It is a time to pray and act together.
Diocese of Amritsar
Kashmir school principal on burning of Tangmarg school

Mr Parwez Kaul, head of the Tyndale-Biscoe and Mallinson schools, speaks on the shocking arson attack

"We ask everyone to pray for us around the world," he says. "In Kashmir we are used to facing challenges, this the worst challenge I have been forced to face."

The sound quality is far from excellent, but we wanted you to hear the voice of those involved.

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