CAIRO - A Christian school in Kashmir has banned Muslim students from joining its classes, allowing only Christians, Hindus, Sikhs and Buddhists in the Muslim-majority province.
"It is a matter of concern this really hurts our religious sentiments," a parent, Tanveer Ahmed Shah, told State Observer newspaper.
I don't know if state government is doing anything or not.
Missionaries Row Grips Kashmir
The school, Presentation Convent Higher Secondary Srinagar, has been operating in Kashmir since 1936 by a group of Presentation Sisters- a worldwide network of Catholic Religious Organization.
Drafting its admission form for the year 2012-2013, the school omitted participation from Muslim children by not mentioning Islam as one of the religion for the applicants.
The students have been asked to choose one out of the four religions; Christian, Hindu, Sikh and Buddhist.
Mohammad Ashraf of Raj Bagh Srinagar attacked the form as conveying to the Kashmiri people that the schools were only open for non-Muslims.
He also called for cancelling the new form immediately.
Kashmir is divided into two parts and ruled by India and Pakistan, which have fought two of their three wars since the 1947 independence over the region.
Pakistan and the UN back the right of the Kashmir people for self-determination, an option opposed by New Delhi.
Muslims make the majority of population in the disputed Himalayan region.
According to the Kashmir church, there are only 400 or so Christians in the Valley.
The figure is fiercely disputed by Muslims who insist that around 20,000 Kashmiris have converted to Christianity over the past two decades due to Christian missionaries' efforts to Christianize Kashmiris.
The omission of Islam has triggered a serious concern among the locals and religious organizations.
Jamaat e Islami spokesperson, Advocate Zahid Ali told State Observer that this act is a provocative act, calling for cancelling it.
Social activists also criticized the school for not allowing any poor students, despite its huge profits.
"The land given to Presentation Convent is public property; Government can earn crores annually, Muzaffar Bhat a Social activist
If it asks Convent School authorities to pay rent as per market value, he added.
Located on government land, the school get land subsidy which adds to its annual profits which reaches around billion Rupees annually.
"If government is providing with such facility there should be some reservation for the poor people, said Bhat.
The school seems entertaining elite folk only."
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net