Thursday, January 16, 2014

Clergyman stabbed to death in Andhra Pradesh


A group of unknown people stabbed an evangelical pastor in Andhra Pradesh and he died of his injuries on Monday, reported Italy-based Asianews.

The attackers also tried to kill the wife of Reverend Sanjeevulu before they fled the scene.

Police have failed to book the attackers, but arrested a group of Christians who demonstrated to demand the arrest of the culprits, the report said.

According to some sources, on the afternoon of Jan. 11 four men visited Rev Sanjeevulu's home in Vikarabad, a village that is 64 kilometres from the state capital of Hyderabad. The clergyman heads a group called the 'Friends of Hebron'.

On the doorstep of the reverend's home, the men said they wanted to "pray with the pastor," but as soon as he came out, they stabbed him seven times and beat him with clubs and sticks.

After she heard screams, Sanjeevulu's wife rushed to him. The attackers stabbed as well but she managed to escape and survived.

The pastor was admitted to Yashoda hospital where, despite medical treatment, he died Monday afternoon from his stab wounds.

The day after the attack, many Christians and friends of the clergyman went to the hospital where they expressed their sorrow for the attack.

Christian leaders in Hyderabad organised a dharna (sit-in protest) demanding justice from the government.

Some of the faithful marched outside the offices of the Chief Minister to demand the arrest of the culprits, but were themselves arrested.

Police did announce that it was launching an investigation into the incident.

Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Churches, told AsiaNews that he was "deeply saddened" by the murder of the clergyman.

"Although the motive of the attack is not yet known, we must strongly condemn the fact that anti-Christian persecution has made a comeback in Andhra Pradesh. We need to see justice done," George said.

"Approximately three months ago," he added, "we know that Sanjeevulu had a heated discussion with some members of a Hindu fundamentalist group, who threatened him. It could be premeditated murder."

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