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Beloved Pastor Killed in Central India by Masked Men, Known for Defending Christians Against Hindu Nationalists

03-20-2022
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A community in Central India is mourning the loss of a Christian pastor who was brutally murdered last week by a group of masked men.

According to International Christian Concern (ICC), five men broke into the home of Yalam Shankar in Angampalli village, Bijhapur district of Chhattisgarh state on Thursday.

They reportedly dragged the 50-year-old outside and stabbed him to death. His body was taken to the coroner's office and handed over to family members.

Local sources told ICC that Shankar was the senior pastor at Bastar for Christ Movement (BCM) Church in Angampalli. He was a former sarpanch of the village and very well-liked.

A local Christian who asked to remain anonymous told ICC, "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."

Sources confirmed that several days before Shankar's death, local radical Hindu nationalists threatened to kill him if he continued to preach the Christian faith. 

CBN News has previously reported on the rise in persecution against Christians throughout India.

A group of eight people, including two women, entered Pastor Rakesh Babu's home in Uttar Pradesh state's Vyaspur village, Chandauli District on Jan. 14. 

The assailants threw the pastor to the ground, beat him with wooden sticks, and tried to choke him. They also slit his wife's throat over accusations that he was luring people to Christianity.

A house church in India's Chhattisgarh state was reportedly attacked by a mob of 200 radical Hindu nationalists on Jan. 9, leaving two Christians with serious injuries.

The brutal attack started when a radical named Sanjith Ng barged into a worship service taking place in Odagoan village.

And crazed Hindu extremists attacked two Christian pastors, accusing them of luring people to Christianity with money before beating them both until they were unconscious. 

A group of 12 people attacked Pastor Sanjay Kumar and Pastor Inderjit after the group saw them praying with a family on the roof of their home. The incident occurred on Jan. 28 in the Anand Nagar area of Haryana state's Ambala Cantonment.

India currently ranks 10th on the Open Doors 2022 World Watch List of places in the world where it is most difficult to be a Christian.

The Open Doors watch list warns "the persecution of Christians in India is intensifying as Hindu extremists aim to cleanse the country of their presence and influence."

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