SRINAGAR: It was a muted Christmas celebrations in Srinagar. At the Holy Family Catholic Church, the oldest church in the city, there was no extensive decorations and no carols.
The Christian community decided do away with celebrations this year in solidarity with the people of Kashmir who have suffered in the recent unrest.
"Because we thought that so many of our brothers and sisters in the valley suffered due to the unrest. We are in solidarity with them. We focussed on the spiritual aspect of the celebration rather than the external aspects," said Father Roy Mathews, Holy Family Catholic Church.
Even the number of people who attended the prayers was low compared to last years. The minuscule Christian population in the Valley say they can't remain insensitive to suffering of the people in Kashmir.
About 100 people died during the five month long unrest. More than 12,000 were injured; 1,000 of them were hit by pellets in their eyes and many were partially or fully blinded.
"This year we are going low profile because of the situation in Kashmir. We are taking that in consideration and joining with people of Kashmir," said Father John Paul.
As faithful held special prayers for peace in Kashmir and message from church was about sensitivities to human sufferings. For the Christian community, this Christmas was an occasion to empathise with the victims of violence during five month long unrest.