School Burning Prompts Call for India President to Protect Christians

By Aaron J. Leichman | Christian Post Reporter

India’s president is being pressed to protect Christians in the country’s northern Kashmir region after a mob burned down the oldest school there and also attacked other Christian institutions nearby.

“I am pained to state that though the local authorities were informed about a possible attack … no protection was provided,” stated the Rt. Rev. Pradeep Kumar Samantaroy in a message to President Pratibha Patil.

“You are aware that the Christians in the State of Jammu and Kashmir are a tiny minority who always live and serve under stressful and sometimes threatening situations,” the Church of North India bishop added Wednesday. “The present situation has made the Christians in Jammu and Kashmir feel very insecure.”

On Monday, hundreds of Muslims in the divided region of Kashmir took to the streets in violent protest over the reported desecration of Qurans in the United States.

Around two dozen people reportedly died in the clash that ensued between police and protesters, and the Tangmarg Tyndale Biscoe branch school was burned to ashes.

The school, which is managed by Samantaroy’s diocese, the Diocese of Amristar, had been providing education to 550 children from 150 villages around the town of Tangmarg. It had been founded in 1996 by the Tyndale-Biscoe & Mallinson School Educational Society to cater for those in the economically deprived sectors of the community.

After Monday night, however, the three-story wooden building was completely destroyed by the fire that was set by an angry mob, which was responding to reports of a man in the United States who desecrated the Quran over the weekend.

In a statement Thursday, the activist who helped organize the Quran desecration said his group was “truly sad” to hear of the deaths that followed Saturday’s anti-Quran demonstration in front of the White House.

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