NEW DELHI, INDIA (Worthy News)– Police investigations continued Monday, June 11, into the reasons behind the murder of a Protestant pastor in southern India and the destruction of a church in the north where hundreds of Christians have reportedly fled their homes, Worthy News monitored.
In the latest most bloodiest known incident against devoted Christians in this predominantly Hindu nation, Pastor C Wilson, 54, was found murdered along an abandoned two-wheeler in Tamil Nadu state, police and Christians said.
His body was reportedly discovered June 2 at a highway near Othakadai town, with his skull fractured with stones.
"It seems like an incident of robbery, but he can be a victim of religious hatred or it can be anything. Until further investigations are carried out, we will not know," said the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), an advocacy group.
Local police said in statements that they are close to detaining a suspect.
They opened "a case of murder," but police investigators acknowledged that they are yet to ascertain the motive behind the murder.
Police have not ruled out robbery, religious hatred or enmity as reasons for the killing.
The murder has underscored concerns within India's minority Christian community over increasingly violent anti-Christian attacks as it came shortly after a 119-year-old church was burned in India's northern Jammu and Kashmir state.
Christians said the church in Srinagar, the state's summer capital, was set ablaze on May 23 by suspected Islamic extremists.
While the guard was away, the offenders reportedly threw a petrol bomb into the building.
Bishop Peter Celestine Elampassery of Jammu-Srinagar said in published remarks that "Muslim fundamentalists" want Christians to leave the state, and because they are a minority, "cannot resist the pressure".
Over 400 Christians have fled their homes as a result of threats from Muslims, according to rights activists and Christians.
It was not immediately clear Monday, June 11, where, or whether, all Christians have found shelter.
Both Muslim extremists and the larger Hindu nationalist movements have expressed concerns about the spread of Christianity in India, especially among Dalits, which were long deemed the 'lowest caste' in the country's ancient system of Hinduism.
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