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World News

Pastors in India now fear for their life after church leader murdered, says charity

by Alex Collett

A Christian charity has warned that Pastors in India are now fearing for their life after a church leader was murdered. 

Open Doors tells of the brutal killing of Yalam Shankar, a 50-year-old, from the Bijapur district of Chhattisgarh state.

He was dragged out of his home on Thursday March 17 at night and stabbed to death.

Now within the area, another 26 pastors have been threatened with 'action' if they continue to share the gospel.. 

The pastors have all been named on a leaflet which has been shared across the area. 

Director of Advocacy for Open Doors UK & Ireland Dr David Landrum said: "Our hearts go out for the family of Yalam Shankar who was so brutally murdered.  

"Not only have they lost him, but they have no recourse for justice. 

"The police have taken absolutely no action against the perpetrators of this murder - nor have they acted against the threat to the other 26 pastors.  

"Violence against Christians is still building in this area of India and without justice there is only going to be more violence. 

"The 26 pastors who are being targeted are living in fear of their lives - yet they still have the courage to continue to gather to pray and worship together. 

"Violence against Christians is gaining momentum and shows no sign of abating under the leadership of the BJP." 

India is ranked at number 10 on Open Door's World Watch List, an annual ranking of the 50 countries where Christians face the most extreme persecution. 

Open Doors is hosting a day of prayer for the pastors on Friday, April 8. 

An Open Doors partner, whose identity is hidden due to safety concerns, said: "We do not know who exactly is behind the pastor's killing, but Christian leaders living in these areas are terrified.  

"Just the other day another pastor was attacked. 

"The danger is imminent.  

"We are calling for an urgent day of prayer for the 26 pastors whose lives are being threatened.  

"All of us need to be on our knees for these pastors."  

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