SRINAGAR: (Christian Times) – The Christian, Hindu, Muslim and Sikh Kashmiris have raised a unanimous for peace in the valley and an end to the violence. All these people from different faiths gathered at the 120 years old Holy Family Church and prayed for peace in Kashmir valley. The bells of the church that had been silent for years were symbolically rung on the occasion. Father Roy Matthew expressed good wishes for all those attending. He also prayed for unity, brotherhood, values, mutual respect for faiths and peace during his address.
It is pertinent to mention here that Holy Family Church is 120 years old and the bell was rung here after nearly 50 years. It was repaired especially for this occasion after going out of order in 1967, and the church didn’t have enough funds to repair it at that time. The 105kg bell was reinstalled with the help of generous donations by the families living in the area. Hindus, Muslims and Sikhs also joined the Christians for prayers on the occasion and they all prayed for peace in the valley. Kashmir is predominantly Muslim and around 20,000 Christians also live here, most of them Christians.
Father Roy Matthew said in his address that Kashmir was the only state with a Muslim majority in India but the world was getting a negative impression of the state. He said that we wanted to give the world a message that we were all one and accepted each other. A Kashmiri Muslim, Ahmed Malik, told media on the occasion that he was really happy to meet the people of other faiths. “We want to send out a message of peace to the world”, he said. He also expressed grief over the impression of Muslims in the world as an intolerant people. “The people here want peace and that is the only thing they want”, the Kashmiri Muslim said.