A pastor in India has been killed in an attack on his church.
According to religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), 55 year old Alok Rajhans was set upon by five people at the Christ Service House in Luasingha village in Odisha state on 20th May.
CSW reports that a group of unidentified people had been hurling stones at the church over the previous twenty four hours .
Pastor Rajhans was inside the church building with some of his congregants when he noticed the stone throwing. He asked the church members to return to their homes before confronting the perpetrators.
In return, the attackers struck him with rods, stones and knives.
His wife, Subhashini, sustained injuries to her arm when she tried to intervene.
Subhashini has remained at the family home while their son, 28 year old Ujjwal, has said he will continue his father's ministry despite the tragedy.
Reacting to the development, CSW's Founder President, Mervyn Thomas said: "We express our deepest condolences to Pastor Rajhans' family and the wider Christian community in Luasingha.
"This gruesome attack demonstrates the appalling plans at play to rid the village of Christians. Minorities in India are often subjected to harassment and fear simply for exercising their freedom of religion or belief.
"Perpetrators of such violent acts should not be allowed to enjoy impunity for their crimes. We urge the authorities to apprehend the attackers and to ensure that those who act behind the scenes to perpetrate hate and intolerance are brought to justice."