by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Five suspected Hindu nationalists broke into the home of a senior church leader pastor in India’s Chhattisgarh state on Thursday and murdered him, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
A resident of Angampalli village in the Bijhapur district of Chhattisgarh state, Pastor Yalam Sankar was the Senior Pastor of BCM (Bastar for Christ Movement) Church in Angampalli prior to his murder, ICC said. An evangelist, the pastor had previously been threatened by radical Hindu nationalists who said they would kill him if he continued to share the Gospel.
According to a local ICC source, Sankar was known for his defense of Christians being persecuted by Hindu radicals. “The Christians in this area have been facing intense opposition from the radical Hindu nationalists. Several times Pastor Shankar defended Christians from radical Hindu nationalists, and that could be the reason for this extreme form of persecution of killing,” the source said.
Sankar is survived by his wife, two sons, and grandchildren. “The family and the entire Christian community in the region are appalled and devastated,” ICC said in its report.“Christians in Chhattisgarh state have been facing severe persecution following the hate speeches of right-wing organizations and their political leaders,” ICC added.
Christians in India have been increasingly vulnerable to violence, imprisonment, and murder since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.
India ranks 10th on the US Open Doors Watch List 2022 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted: it had ranked 31 on the list before the BJP became India’s ruling party.
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