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Samjheera 'killed in India for her faith'

World Watch List 2016

  1. North Korea
  2. Iraq
  3. Eritrea
  4. Afghanistan
  5. Syria
  6. Pakistan
  7. Somalia
  8. Sudan
  9. Iran
  10.  Libya
  11.  Yemen
  12.  Nigeria
  13.  Maldives
  14.  Saudi Arabia
  15.  Uzbekistan
  16.  Kenya
  17.  India
  18.  Ethiopia
  19.  Turkmenistan
  20.  Vietnam

The 20-year-old women - known only as Samjheera - had faced strong opposition for converting to Christianity, her church pastor in the eastern state of Jharkhand said.

According to one resident in the village of Dumra in Latehar District, a mark around her neck suggested Samjheera had been strangled.

Samjheera became interested in Christianity after she was cured of an illness two years when she prayed to Jesus, and she planned to be baptised.

Pastor, Philip Tirkey said Samjheera had told church members her relatives had been threatening to kill her unless to denounced her Christian faith.

Family members say Samjheera died after falling from a tree while collecting fruit, however, even some non-Christian members of her community are said to suspect she was murdered.

Her body was burnt according to Hindu customs on the same day.

Pastor Philip Tirkey was quoted by the Christian anti-persecution organisation Open Door as saying: "Police were not involved and there was no opportunity given for investigation.

"Because she had been continuously threatened by her relatives with being killed if she converted to Christianity, we believe that she was murdered."

India has moved up the Open Doors World Watch List for persecution against Christians in recent years, to number 17.

Open Doors has been encouraging supporters in the UK and Ireland to highlight persecution facing Christians in India, by writing to the Indian High Commission.

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