Another Indian pastor has been killed, but this time Hindu extremism was not to blame.
Instead, the murder of Yohan Maria Kumar in Telangana on 29 July came reportedly at the hands of a Maoist group, the Naxalites – another group that has been known to target Christians.
He leaves a wife and four children.
The local police reported that over 100 Naxalites came to the pastor’s village and took him into a forest. His body was later found on the outskirts of the village, with his hands tied behind his back. In a letter left beside his body, the pastor was accused of being “a police informer” and “accumulating disproportionate wealth by exploiting tribals”. About 80 per cent of all Christians in India are of tribal communities, according to Operation World (2010).
“This was not the first time [Kumar] had been targeted,” Sajan K. George, chairman of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told Fides. “He suffered several attacks and had his church torched more than once”.
Attacks on Christians are now a “daily occurrence” in India, according to Tomson Thomas, coordinator for the Persecution Relief advocacy group. Many of these attacks are inspired by a rise in Hindu nationalism since the Hindu nationalist BJP came to power in 2014, as shown in this timeline.