Indian Christians killed for their faith

January 23, 2017 by  
Filed under newsletter-india

Andhra Pradesh

1.    Naxalites slit Pastor Yohan Marayya’s throat & fellow-believer left to die. Warning for 6 pastors.


Pastor Yohan Marayya brutally murdered by Maoists

Lachigudem Village, District East Godavari, 29 July 2016

A note left near his body stated that he was killed for being “very friendly” with police, accumulating wealth and “exploiting the poor” and also warned that 6 more pastors would be killed. Area church leaders said that Pastor Marayya was killed for the thriving ministries he and his brothers were carrying out, which threatened the Maoists influence in the area. They lost control of the people who now believed in Christ rather than in weapons, and they chose to handle the matter in this way.

Christian leaders said that the death of the 45-year-old father of four came six months after the Naxalites abducted his nephew and tried to kill Pastor Marayya’s older brother, pastor Elia Kannayya, who had led the whole family to Christ, as the Naxalites were upset at the Christians for encouraging people to put their trust in God rather than join the rebel movement. About 150 Naxalites had broken into the house of Pastor Kannayya in their attempt to kill him, but he was not home, so they abducted his teenage son, holding him hostage and demanding Pastor Kannayya be handed over to them, the church leaders said. Negotiations led to them releasing the boy after 14 days. Pastor Kannayya had begun the healing and evangelistic ministry 15 years ago, and Pastor Marayya and other brothers helped it to flourish as they planted 60 churches in the tri-state border areas of Chhattisgarh, Orissa (now Odisha) and Andhra Pradesh. The life transforming ministries led area young people to hold the Bible rather than weapons and as the Naxalites saw fewer recruits they began to oppose the brothers, church leaders said.

“Over the 15 years, Pastor Yohan and his brothers were doing cultivation work on 40 acres of land where many church members were also being employed,” said a church leader who visited the area as part of a fact-finding team. “Around these areas, they have about 5,000 church members, and the ministries support 60 evangelists and 40 orphans.” Prior to the murder of Pastor Marayya, the Naxalites had warned Pastor Kannayya to leave the area several times, the church leaders said. As part of the Naxalites’ effort to frighten Pastor Kannayya away and get rid of his ministries, they killed his younger brother, an easier target as he lived deep in the wilderness, according to church leaders.

On July 29 Pastor Marayya and his wife, Manama, woke at about 11 pm to the sound of barking dogs; when the pastor rose to investigate, he found about 100 armed Naxalites around his home. They pulled the pastor out and beat him with sticks. His wife came out and started crying for help, and the assailants pushed her back inside and began beating her as well, church leaders said. Taking the pastor farther away and continuing to beat him, the Naxalites took off his lungi (garment wrapped around the waist) and used it to tie his hands behind his back. They beat him for several minutes before stabbing him and cutting his neck with a sharp axe. The assailants left their note near the body. Besides accusing the church leader of being a police informant, it accused Pastor Kannayya of converting people through deceit and claimed both pastors deceived “our innocent people” to accumulate wealth for themselves through “criminal activities”.

The attackers then went to a neighboring village and abducted a member of his church, identified only as Raju and began severely beating the Christian and warned him to stop going to church, church leaders said. Raju told them that he had been on the verge of dying from illness when Pastor Marayya had prayed for him and taken him to the fellowship, where he had met Jesus and received new life, and that therefore he could not stop going to church. Further enraged, the attackers crushed his hands and fingers with their boots, asking again whether he would return to the church. When he said he would, they threatened to kill him, the church leaders said.

“Raju said, ‘Okay, it is in your hands to kill me; go ahead, I will go to heaven even if you kill me,” a church leader said. The Naxalites told him to go to the village of his pastor, Yohan Marayya, and decide whether he still wanted to go to church, and then released him, the church leaders said. When he reached the village at dawn, he found hundreds of church members mourning over the pastor’s body.


2.    Christian girl gang-raped & killed for not giving up faith

Bayanar Police Station, District Kondagaon. 22 July 2016.

A school going Christian girl was gang raped and killed to apparently, avenge her family’s refusal to give up Christianity, which they embraced 18-years back, say Church leaders. The police seized tablets used to boost sex power beside her body. Her lips were pasted with Fevi Kwick and also eyes. “This is a revenge killing for not abandoning Christianity” says Pastor A K Netam who is serving in the area for almost two decades.

Her father Maner Sori, said he did not abandon his faith as he felt peace within after joining Christianity. He too suspects that his daughter was killed for his family’s faith in Christ. “When the family refused to give up their faith in Christ the villagers boycotted them, but the family did not give in”, says their Pastor.

But in the past three years, the pressure on the family was so much to quit Christianity, but they were adamant to continue in their faith” he says adding “the killing could be part a revengeful act”. The police too, admitted that the villagers had boycotted the family, but refused to directly connect it with the murder.


3.    Christian mother stripped, beaten and killed for her religion

Sindgarh Police Station, Dokawaya Village. 7 December 2016

A Christian mother, Samari Kasabi, has been attacked and killed by a mob who were originally seeking her son, Sukura, and his family

The mother, Samari Kasabi was not only stripped naked and beaten to death, but also then burned by her neighbours. The mob who killed her were looking for Kasabi’s son, Sukura and his family, but not finding them, they killed Samari instead. The family has previously been abducted by Naxalites, an Indian Communist guerrilla group, because of their Christian faith. Hoping to escape this violence, other Christians in the village have renounced their faith.


4.    A 60-year-old Christian man died from injuries during Hindutva attack

Lahundiguda Police Station, Kuther Village, Bastar District. 31 October 2016.

The entire family, including a pregnant woman, was brutally beaten with the senior citizens succumbing to the injuries, because they refused to denounce their Christian faith. The perpetrators broke into the home of Sularam Kashyap and his pregnant wife, Sudri, severely beating the Christian couple along with Sularam’s parents. All four were hospitalized at the Government District Hospital of Jagdalpur.

While in the hospital, the Christian family was visited by an aid worker who attempted to record the family’s testimony. This upset police who ordered the injured family to leave the hospital on October 15th. Because of the severity of his injuries and the lack of proper medical treatment, Sularam’s 60-year-old father, Sukru Kashyap died.

As a part of the social boycott against Christians, local Hindus blocked Sularam from burying his father in the Kuther village graveyard. Thankfully, Sularam was able to perform the burial there the next day but only after police intervention.

In June 2014, more than 50 villages within the Bastar District, including Kuther village, passed resolutions effectively banning the practice of non-Hindu faiths. Though these resolutions were later ruled unconstitutional by the Chhattisgarh High Court, Hindu radicals have used them to justify assaults, threats and social boycotts against Christians living in the district.


5.    Samjheera ‘killed for her faith’

Jharkhand. 08 Jul 2016

Samjheera 'killed for her faith'

The young Christian woman found dead in the jungle was killed because of her faith, local believers fear. Samjheera had faced strong opposition for converting to Christianity, her church said. She became interested in Christianity after she was cured of an illness two years when she prayed to Jesus, and planned to be baptized. Pastor Philip Tirkey said Samjheera had told church members her relatives had been threatening to kill her unless to denounced her Christian faith. Her family members say Samjheera died after falling from a tree while collecting fruit, however there were strangling marks on her neck, leading to the suspicion she was murdered. Her body was burnt according to Hindu customs on the same day. The police were not involved and there was no opportunity given for investigation.


6.    Evangelist killed, throat slashed, body dumped under a bridge

Khunti 6 May 2016

The mutilated body of Pastor Abraham Biswas Surin of the Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church was found with his throat cut and several wounds to his body. Investigators have ruled out robbery, since all his personal effects were found. There were grievous injuries to his head and stomach and the killing is even more suspicious because he was an Adivasi and the police found the murder weapon near the body, an axe with a long handle, apart from his personal items, like a ring, wallet, and mobile phone.


7.    Christian youth shot dead for his faith

Bhitarkota 20 November 2016

Around 4:30 in the morning, seven villagers came to the house of fellow villager Jeyram Khoskla, and took him from his home. He never returned. Around 1 p.m. that day, his body was found shot dead nearly 2 ½ miles from his home. Jeyram,23, and his wife Indu came to faith a few years ago. They have 3 young children. Jeyram was an active member of the church and was often involved in showing the “Jesus” film and distributing Bibles. He brought nearly 50 families in and around his village to Christ and had received severe threats from other villagers many times before. Other Christians in his church are facing threats as well. Indu, his wife, works as a sweeper in the village school.


8.    Under-trial Christian mentally deranged woman killed for blasphemy

Veroke Village, Amritsar Rural Police, 13 September 2016

The 55 year old Christian woman who was hacked to death was allegedly accused of desecration of Sri Guru Granth Sahib and Mrs. Balwinder Kaur attacked with sharp edged weapons died due to excessive bleeding. The police were investigating that she could have been eliminated by some Sikh radical elements who wanted to revenge the sacrilege incident. Another woman is also suspected to be murdered for similar reasons.

Tamil Nadu

9.    Evangelical Christian hacked in church

Chennai. 2 October 2016

A Pentecostal Christian was hacked to death in a church, Dhanasekharan, aged 34, was murdered by a group of men wielding knives and sickles. He had been praying at his Devasabha Church when he apparently received a phone call and stepped out of the service. When he was surrounded by the gang of aggressive men he fled into another church, where they caught up with him and murdered him before making a get-away. Married with two young children, he is believed to have been in the real estate business.


10.    Pastor accused of black magic found dead

Bhuigaon, Vasai, 17 August 2016

Pastor Sebastian Martin

Ashirwad Prayer Centre organized prayers and healings and the manager was arrested , but the pastor had fled. Pastor Martin Sebastian’s death is shrouded in mystery. The pastor, nicknamed “Baba healer (Father healer)” by the media, was very famous for some videos circulated in social media where he cured some patients.

Nuns & Christian Women Raped & Beaten:

Chhattisgarh stands out in this regard. The case of a Catholic nun raped and the accused being released for lack of evidence in court proceedings that lasted whole of 2016 is shocking. The accused, 19 year-old Dinesh Dhurv, and 25-year old Jitendra Pathak, were arrested on charges of tying up and gang raping a 48-year old nun of Salesian Missionaries of Mary Immaculate (SMMI) ‎at a medical center in the state capital, Raipur.

Further, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has found in Chhattisgarh, 16 women were “prima facie victims of rape, sexual and physical assault by state police personnel”, besides 20 other women and that of a minor raped by an army jawan, whose cases NHRC ordered to be investigated.

Cardinal Gracias, president of the Asian Bishops Conferences believes investigations were compromised by the “halfhearted attitude of the police,” who failed to protect the crime scene and did not collect the traces of the attackers from the victim’s body.

For more info, contact: Joseph Dias, Catholic Secular Forum (CSF) Founder & Gen. Secretary +91 9769555657

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