A pastor in Central India has been tragically murdered after a group of men broke into his house and stabbed him to death.
According to International Christian Concern (ICC), on 17th March five masked intruders entered Yalam Shankar’s home in Angampalli village, Bijhapur district of Chhattisgarh state, dragged him outside and attacked him with knives.
Yalam Shankar was the Senior Pastor at Bastar for Christ Movement Church in Angampalli as well as a former village sarpanch, an elected position of significant influence within village-level self-government and responsible for contact between government officers and the village community.
Pastor Shankar was known to have defended Christians from radical Hindu nationalists. A local Christian who wished to remain anonymous told ICC, “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.”
According to ICC, Pastor Shankar had received death threats from local radical Hindu nationalists saying that he would be killed if he continued to proclaim the Christian faith. More broadly, hate speeches by right-wing organisations and their political leaders have contributed to the severe persecution being faced by Christians in Chhattisgarh state.
Pastor Shankar is survived by his wife, two sons and grandchildren.
India ranks tenth on Open Doors’ World Watch List of countries where Christians are most persecuted.