Sultan Masih with his wife Sarabjit.
Sultan Masih with his wife Sarabjit.

Police in India’s north-western state of Punjab dealing with the July murder of church leader Sultan Masih “are not taking the case seriously”, according to his son, Alisha.

“Three months have passed since the incident and they have yet to find any concrete leads. In the name of interrogation, we are being harassed by the police,” said Alisha Masih at a press conference on 8 October.

Alisha Masih also claimed that police protection of the family home had been withdrawn without notice, and compensation of a job and 15,000 rupees (US$23,000) promised by the government had yet to reach them. He added that the Christian community will protest if the case is not solved soon.

Sultan Masih was shot dead by a passenger on a motorcycle on 15 July. Video footage of the killing shows Masih standing alone outside his church when the men attacked. The Christian community were shocked by the incident because they considered Punjab to be a “safe” state due to a good relationship with the Sikh community who, although a minority in India as a whole, make up almost 60 per cent of Punjabis.

Meanwhile, ahead of the 14th EU-India Summit, the human rights group ADF International had urged EU leaders not to “turn a blind eye” to the rising persecution of Christians and Muslims in India. In his address to the conference on 6 October, Prime Minister Narendra Modi made only a passing reference to religion. He said: “As the world’s largest democracies, we are natural partners. Our close relations are founded on the shared values of democracy, rule of law, respect for fundamental freedoms and multiculturalism.”