A 14-year-old Christian boy from India has been killed by religious extremists. Local reports indicate that Sombura Madkami, a youngster from Kenduguda village, which is located in the in Malkangiri district of India’s Odisha state, was killed on 4 June after being kidnapped and dragged into the local jungle by a group of extremists who have been harassing local Christians for a number of years.
A local pastor, Kosha Mosaki, told the press: “On the night of June 4, a few villagers ganged up with a handful of religious fanatics, who were not part of the village, and attempted to kidnap Christians." The group captured Sombura and two other believers, who were able to escape before being taken into the forest.
Once they had Sombura in the jungle, the group executed him and buried his body in an attempt to hide their crimes.
The two boys who had escaped the attackers quickly informed police of the incident, and the authorities subsequently identified Deba Madkami, Budra Muchaki, Aaita Kabasi, and Rabu Madi as being involved in the abduction and murder of Sombura. Police also managed to locate the body after arresting and interrogating the suspects.
According to International Christian Concern, local Pastor Bijay Pusuru from Bethel House Church located in Kenduguda, claims that extremists had been harassing them for years prior; restricting church activities and issuing death threats against Christian families who continued to attend church. Pusuru added that the police had done little to investigate the incidents.
John Dayal, a civil rights activist and writer in India, said: “This is the most heinous and gruesome case of anti-Christian violence that has come to light in the enforced silence of the coronavirus lockdown. There has been an unending series of various degrees of violence against the Christian community in several states. What is equally and compellingly obnoxious is the way local politicians and a section of media are trying to erase or at least underplay the abduction and lynching of the young believer. The case must be investigated by the national Investigating Agency as the state police and administration have lost the trust of the people.”
Christian Solidarity Worldwide's Chief Executive Mervyn Thomas said: “Our deepest prayers and condolences go out to Samaru’s father, Mr Madkami, for the loss of his son. Samaru was martyred for his faith. We are deeply concerned by the intolerance and violence towards Christians that continues to fester in Odhisa despite lessons from the savage attacks against Christians in Kandhamal which took place 12 years ago. There is clearly a systematic plan to wipe out the Christian community in these areas. We urge the state government to identify the sources of hate and crimes against minorities and to hold those responsible to account.”
India is ranked at number ten on the Open Doors World Watch List, with Christians suffering severe levels of persecution. Believers are often targeted by radical Hindu mobs who have ramped up their operations since the election of Prime Minister Modi. Many experts argue that Modi, who is himself a Hindu, has encouraged and enabled the violence through the use of nationalist rhetoric that implies Christians are not true Indians because they follow a 'foreign' religion.