A Christian pastor who had unwavering faith in Jesus Christ was brutally beaten to death by a militant mob in the eastern district of Godavari in India's Andhra Pradesh state.
On July 29, at least 100 militant Naxalites (Indian communists) came to a village and took Pastor Yohan Maraiah to a forest, according to police. The mob tied the pastor's hands behind his back and beat him mercilessly. His body was found three hours after on the outskirts of the village, Agenzia Fides reports.
A letter from the attackers was found near the pastor's body. The note accused him of being a "police informer" and of "accumulating disproportionate wealth exploiting Tribals."
The killing of the innocent pastor has drawn condemnation from Christians in India. The Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) also condemned the murder and pointed out that the country's constitution supposedly guarantees freedom of religion.
"This was not the first time the Pastor had been targeted; he suffered several attacks and had his church torched more than once," said GCIC chairman Sajan K George. "However he remained strong in his unswerving faith in Jesus Christ."
In a separate incident in June, a group of Hindus in the Jharkhand state summoned 25 Christians and tied up six of them. The extremists from Hunter village beat them up with sticks because of their faith, Morning Star News details.
Christian leaders said the believers now fear for their lives after the Hindu extremists threatened to kill them and forbade them to worship Jesus. Police also reportedly threatened to impose fines on them if they continued to worship publicly.
Aside from that, police forced Christians to sign a bond stating they would only worship inside their homes or else they would be fined US$150 (INR10,000). A Christian leader also said their names were removed from a list of houses allotted to villagers by the state.