India: Hindu Nationalist Gang Reportedly Stabs Pastor to Death at Home

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A 50-year-old Indian Christian pastor was “brutally murdered” by an unidentified group of assailants in central India’s Chhattisgarh state last week, the Indian news website Siasat reported Monday, noting locals believe the suspects may be tied to Hindu nationalist groups.

“Pastor Yalam Sankar, was murdered, last Thursday [March 17], in Angampalli village, by five men who broke into his house at night. He was dragged outside before being stabbed to death,” Siasat reported on March 21, citing an original report by International Christian Concern.

“According to local Christians, the pastor had been warned by Hindutva [Hindu nationalist] goons against preaching his religion and had been threatened with his life,” Siasat noted.

The British Asian Christian Association (BACA) reported the incident on March 19, providing gruesome details of the tragic killing. BACA wrote at the time:

A senior Pastor [Sankar] was brutally shot dead and then had his neck sliced open by six Hindu extremist assassins, whilst at home.

The attack in the village of Anganpalliguda, Bhopalpatnam/Taluk, in Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh State was witnessed by his terrified daughter-in-law.

After the murderers had left the property one returned some 30 seconds later to stab the Pastor in the heart just to make sure he was dead.

Police in Chhattisgarh state said on March 19 they had “registered a murder case” to investigate Sankar’s killing “but have clarified that they to date have no clues to help identify the assassins,” BACA relayed.

BACA said one of its representatives attended the funeral of Sankar in his home village on March 18. The organization witnessed roughly 1,000 people in attendance at the ceremony, noting the large turnout was a testament to Sankar’s devoted Christian following.

Remembering Sankar’s legacy as a beloved Christian pastor who spread the Gospel to impoverished Chhattisgarh residents before his untimely death last week, BACA wrote:

Pastor Timothy [a nickname of Sankar] was a well-liked Pastor who had been preaching the Gospel to remote tribal villagers. 20 junior Pastors were working under him in Bijapur District. He was a successful evangelist who had brought many former Hindu’s to Christ within the bounds of the law [sic].

He was known for his pastoral care which included biblical counselling and he was responsible for several shelters for poor villagers. Since December 2021 he was also running a food programme for deprived families [sic].

Data from India’s latest census (conducted in 2011) shows Chhattisgarh state is 93.25 percent Hindu and 1.92 percent Christian. The state’s population based on the same data is estimated at 30 million.

Radical Hindu nationalists have increasingly attacked Christians in India in recent years according to the reports of some Christian watchdog groups, such as Open Doors. Breitbart News has regularly documented the rise in anti-Christian attacks in India by Hindu nationalists since 2016.


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