Evangelist Burnt To Death In India
by Stefan Bos, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – An independent Christian evangelist was burnt to death by his family and local villagers in the Bankura district of India’s eastern state of West Bengal, Christians confirmed Tuesday.
The August 14 murder of the evangelist, who was identified only as Madhavan, lived in the village of Gobindapur in West Bengal’s Jhargram district, investigators said.
He was the only Christian convert in his extended family and preached the Gospel under the leadership of a local evangelist named Tanmoy Shaikh in the Bankura district, according to Christians familiar with the case.
Advocacy group Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW) confirmed that the troubles began when Madhavan went to visit his family for a wedding in early August. His children reportedly destroyed his Bible and verbally harassed him during the wedding day.
His family allegedly pressured him to denounce his faith in Christ Jesus before the wedding. However, Madhavan refused to do so, Christians said.
Subsequently, on August 14, Madhavan’s own wife and son came into the church in Bankura where he was and beat him badly, and take him home, CSW said, citing local sources.
DRAGGED INTO FOREST
He was then dragged into a nearby forest by his family members and locals who poured petrol over him and burnt him alive, according to Christians with knowledge about the situation.
Sources also told CSW that the police “refused to take any action” in response to the murder, as the issue was seen as “a family problem,” and they didn’t want to interfere.
Hostility to Christians is common in the West Bengal region, and therefore no villagers were willing to speak about the killing, CSW added.
CSW’s Founder, President Mervyn Thomas, told Worthy News that his group “forcefully condemns the gruesome murder of the evangelist Madhavan.”
He said that it is “deeply disappointing” to see that police officials “haven’t even registered a complaint, let alone taken any action in response to this egregious act.”
His group has urged the government of West Bengal and the central government of India “to ensure that justice is served in this case.” CSW also wants that “the perpetrators do not enjoy the impunity that often surrounds such crimes in India”, a mainly Hindu nation.
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