A few minutes backed picked up some tweets about Rev. Khanna getting arrested in Kashmir for converting a few muslims, and read a blog which was being referred to: http://kafila.org/2011/12/25/merry-christmas-rev-khanna-thinking-about-freedom-and-intolerance-in-kashmir/.
Here’s my response to the author and my view on the issue:
Shuddha, defending a Rev. priest to freely convert could be defended in its own right. Why make such a massive case against *Indian Occupation* in the same post? A really *defensive article*, as if to keep the azadiwallas in good humour!
Meanwhile, wherever Islam has dominated, all religions, even sects within Islam – those of the unorthodox types – Ahmeddiyas, Bahai’s Sufis – have all suffered, persecuted, and often eliminated or exterminated. This has happened in Pakistan, Bangladesh, Iran.
Recently, a perfectly normal exhibition of various calligraphic Quran’s organised by Ahmadiyas in Delhi, was *forced* to close down by the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid in Delhi, because he felt the Ahmadiyas are *not Muslims*; see: http://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Delhi/article2481853.ece
Even *bridge-builders* like Mualana Wahiduddin Khan are classified as *heretics* and ostracised from mainstream Islam.
Saudi Arabia does not allow anyone to practice any other religion; one has heard horrible stories of pictures of Indian gods and godesses being picked out of pockets of Indians and crushed by immigration officers – as a way of teaching a lesson about who not to argue with in that country.
In 1951 22% of Bangladesh was Hindu; by 2001, it was down to 9.2%. Let’s look at Pakistan. Post partition (and the massive migrations) nearly 20% of the Pakistani population was Hindu, while it is now less than 2%. The reasons are primarily of direct/in-direct persecution and often even forced conversions and threats.
That the same precedent would follow in Kashmir once it found *independence* from India is not only believable, but perhaps inevitable. No matter what the liberal, and well-meaning Kashmiri Muslims say or do, they do not have much in control.
Sufi processions and even Dargahs are regularly targetted by militants and extremists, just as they are in Pakistan. No one has heard such incidents happening anywhere in India. The situation is becoming so bad that organisations such as the Pulitzer Center for Crisis Reporting is asking *Is Kashmir headed the way of Pakistan and Afghanistan, where the Islamic radicalism has fueled a nihilistic ideology of settling disagreements through violence?*. See http://pulitzercenter.org/projects/kashmir-india-pakistan-sufi-wahhabi-islam.
This is a case for India to not only remain in Kashmir, but also cause influence of its culture, which includes Sufism, back into Kashmiri mainstream.