Pastor Munsi Deo Tando was abducted and murdered in cold blood near his village named Bhatpar, situated in the Bhamaragad Taluka of the Gadchiroli District in the Indian state of Maharashtra. The Pastor was conducting a prayer and fasting meeting on Friday, the 10th of July 2020 at 4 pm. He concluded the meeting at around 5:30 pm. “After the meeting, a group of people said to be Naxalites, came to his house. Six people in all, out of whom 3 were women. They caught hold of the 30-year-old Pastor and immediately bound his hands behind his back. They then seized him and took him around half a kilometre away from his home and shot him dead” said Pastor Vijay Kumar. “His body was later discovered at the same spot.”
Persecution Relief spoke to Pastor Vijay Kumar who was at the hospital, 13 kms away from the village, where a Post mortem of Pastor Munsi’s body was being conducted.
“The pastor and his family faced a lot of persecution in the village because of their Christian faith.
A few villagers did not approve of his Christian activities and openly opposed him. False allegations were made against him to the Naxalites.” Said Pastor Vijay.
Pastor Munsi is survived by his wife Jaini and 3 young children who are currently in a state of shock. The local Christian community is in disbelief and saddened by the news.
This is the 3rd case of Christian persecution leading to murder in less than a month.
Samaru Madkami, a 14-year-old Christian boy was hacked to death by religious fanatics. This happened in a village named Kenduguda in Malkangiri, a district in the east-Indian state of Odisha. 3 years ago, he and his entire family adopted Christianity. Since then, the fanatics had been threatening to kill them and the rest of the Christians in the village. Even after the assassins were caught, they still boldly threatened to kill the other Christians in the village.
On account of his Christian faith, 27-year-old Kande Mudu was murdered by a group of religious fanatics who were armed with weapons in a village named Bari which is in Khunti, a district in the Indian state of Jharkhand. The fanatics broke into his home, attacked him and slit his throat. He and his family had adopted Christianity 4 years ago and had been harassed by local fanatics ever since. Bindu Mudu, his wife and his two daughters fled the village from fear of being attacked and their whereabouts are unknown. No arrests have been made thus far.
In the 1st Half of 2020, Persecution Relief recorded 293 cases of Christian Persecution. In 2019 alone, we recorded the maximum number of 527 cases compared to 447 cases in 2018, 440 in 2017 and 330 in 2016. From January 2016 to June 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 2067 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.
The US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) has downgraded India to the lowest ranking, ‘Countries of Particular Concern’(CPC) In its 2020 report.
Shibu Thomas is Founder, Persecution Relief