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Pastor Murdered, Church Burned, Anti-Christian Violence on Upswing in India

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Why does British Asian Christian Association Chairman Wilson Chowdhry believe Indian Pastor Gideon was murdered? Watch his Where in The World interview from The Global Lane.

India may be the world's largest democracy, but the government often falls short when it comes to protecting Christians and other minorities from attack by militant Hindus.

In 2017, Christians experienced almost as many attacks against them during the first half of the year than during all of 2016. So far this year, there are  no signs that the religious intolerance and persecution is letting up.

Just within this past week, two major incidents occurred: one in Tamil Nadu state, and another in Jammu Kashmir.

Last Saturday, parishoners of Maknayeem Church near Kalpakkam, Tamil Nadu attempted to enter their church for a prayer and fasting meeting. When they arrived, they discovered the church gate was locked.
After unlocking the gate, they entered the church and found 43-year old Pastor Gideon Perisyaswamy hanging form the rafters of the church.

According to Wilson Chowdhry of the British Asian Christian Association, when police arrived on the scene they appeared "whimsical" and failed to initiate an investigation of the crime scene. Instead, they labeled the pastor's death a suicide.

Chowdhry says the church members suspected foul play because a gold ring was missing from the pastor's finger and there were signs of welts, bruising and torture on Pastor Gideon's body. 

"This was a particularly special day in which a large number of the church were about to attend for prayer an fasting. It would seem very unusual for a man to commit suicide before that without leaving a note," he said.

According to Chowdhry, the church and pastor had received several death threats from militant Hindus who were angry about the church evangelizing and converting Hindus to Christianity. Pastor Gideon had reported the threats to local police.

On January 16, 2018 in Jammu Kashmir, a Hindu mob burned Sehal Christ Church of Seri Panchayat. Several Christian businesses were also set ablaze.

Chowdhry says the militants were upset because a former Hindu was given a Christian burial. 

The woman, Seema Devi had converted to Christianity before she became ill and died. Her parents wanted her body to be cremated which is the Hindu custom, but her husband wanted the Christian ceremony because his wife was Christian.

The parents accused Rinku Kumar of murdering his wife Seema, but Chowdhry says Kumar actually prayed regularly for her healing.

Many Christians from Sehal Christ Church have fled into the woods because Hindus are forcibly re-converting many of them to Hinduism. Chowdhry says his organization has helped the pastor find refuge in a safe house about 200 miles away from the village.

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About The Author

Gary Lane

Mr. Lane currently serves as International News Director and Senior International Correspondent for CBN News. He has traveled to more than 120 countries—many of them restricted nations or areas hostile to Christianity and other minority faiths where he has interviewed persecution victims and has provided video reports and analysis for CBN News. Also, he has provided written stories and has served as a consultant for the Voice of the Martyrs. Gary joined The Christian Broadcasting Network in 1984 as the first full-time Middle East Correspondent for CBN News. Based in Jerusalem, Gary produced