Standing in solidarity with the victims of unrest, Kashmir’s Christian community on Sunday won the hearts of the majority Muslim community by keeping Christmas celebrations a low-key affair Unlike past, the churches were not decorated and Carol singing was missing too. Churches had deliberately done away with the decorative exterior lighting.
Even the customary Santa Claus was missing in the churches as a mark of respect for the people who suffered during the five months of unrest in Kashmir. “So many people have suffered. So many people have died. Kashmiris did not celebrate Eid this year. So therefore we decided to celebrate Christmas with simplicity,” Shami Joseph, an official at the Holy Family Catholic Church, told DNA.
More than 90 people have been killed and over 13,000 people injured in the unrest which began after the killing of Hizbul Mujhadeen poster boy Burhan Wani on July 8.
Over 1,100 people mostly teenagers have suffered injuries in their eyes when security forces fired pellets to quell the violent mobs across Kashmir. Over 5000 persons have been arrested of whom 500 detained under Public Safety Act, under which a person can be jailed without trial and bail up to two years.
“So many of our brothers and sisters suffered due to the unrest. We focused on the spiritual aspect of the celebration rather than the external aspects,” said Father Roy Mathews of Holy Family Catholic Church.