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India: Six masked men kill Christian whom a Maoist group had warned to ‘leave the pastorship’

The savagery and inhumanity of the persecution of Christians worldwide is epitomized by this story. Each account of Christian persecution we report here is a human story, often involving wives and children and families left bereft and grieving. In India and elsewhere, these stories of loss and devastation are all too often exacerbated by the indifference of authorities (note that in this case, police questioned the basic facts of the case without foundation, and no arrests have been made).

The Order of Saint Andrew the Apostle, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate, calls upon the government of India to move swiftly and decisively against the groups that are persecuting Christians.

For previous coverage of the persecution of Christians in India, see here.

“Christian Pastor Slashed, Shot to Death in Central India,” Morning Star News, March 29, 2022:

NEW DELHI (Morning Star News) – Six masked men in central India this month killed one of 22 Christians a Maoist group had warned to “leave the pastorship,” sources said.

Pastor Yalam Shankar was slashed and shot to death the evening of March 17 outside his home in Angampalli village, Bijapur District, Chhattisgarh state in front of his wife and daughter-in-law, relatives said. They said he was in his early 50s.

The assailants left a note on his body stating that they were Maoists who had killed him for being a “police informer,” but area Christian leaders and police said they doubted that was the motive.

While Pastor Shankar was eating dinner on March 17, some men outside his house called out the name of his oldest son, the pastor’s daughter-in-law said. Pastor Shankar went out to speak with them, and his wife and daughter-in-law followed.

As he stepped out telling them that his son was not at home, the six men with faces covered with cloths attacked him, said his daughter-in-law, whose name is withheld for security reasons.

“As soon as my father-in-law stepped out of the house, they tied his hands at the back,” she said. “Then they hit his face and forced him to kneel. After he did, they slit the back of his neck with a knife. They shot two bullets into his chest and stabbed him in his chest with a knife.”

The masked men left but soon returned, kicking his body to ensure that he was dead, she said.

One of the assailants approached Pastor Shankar’s daughter-in-law with a gun, causing her to faint, she said.

“My heartbeat suddenly increased, and my head began to spin, and I fainted out of fear,” she said.

Pastor Shankar’s body was taken for autopsy and was buried the late afternoon of March 18. He is survived by his wife, two sons, daughter-in-law and grandchildren.

The handwritten, 12-point note in Hindi left on his body was headed, “The police informer of Angampalli village Yalam Shankar is killed at the hands of our PLGA,” the People’s Liberation Guerrilla Army, armed wing of the banned Communist Party of India (Maoist).

But Madded Station Head Officer Sandeep Tandon told Morning Star News the motive for the killing was unclear.

“We are not sure if the killing was carried out by the Maoists, though the note mentions so,” Tandon said.

The note alleges that Pastor Shankar was killed for being a police informer, but Tandon denied it, saying, “I had no contact with the deceased, nor was he in touch with me.”

Madded police registered a case under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code in First Information Report No. 4 on March 18. No arrests had been made at this writing….

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