Hindu Militants Kill Native Missionary in Andhra Pradesh

Thursday, May 26, 2005

Thursday, May 26, 2005
By BosNewsLife News Center

NEW DELHI/BHUBANESWAR (BosNewsLife)-- Hindu extremists allegedly "tortured and killed" a native missionary in India's southern state of Andhra Pradesh last Thursday, when a court acquitted fellow militants in the murder of another, Australian, missionary and his two children, BosNewsLife learned from local sources Wednesday May 25.

Christian Aid Mission (CAM), which supports indigenous missionaries in the area, identified the murdered person only as Brother D. because of security fears.

"Apparently, Brother D. left his house with Gospel tracts early on the morning of May 19," indigenous ministry officials told BosNewsLife in an e-mail message released by CAM. "He never returned [and] his wife gave the police a missing person report [the same day]."

May 19 was also the date when the High Court of India's north-eastern state of Orissa overturned a death sentence given to Dara Singh for his involvement in the murders of Australian Missionary Graham Staines and his two young sons Philip and Timothy in 1999.


Singh received life imprisonment along with another Hindu militant, while 11 suspects were acquitted. It was not clear if the murder was in response to the ruling, but Hindu militants have threatened to kill Christian missionaries and to make Singh a national hero.

"On the morning of May 20, local newspapers brought news of an unrecognized dead body some boys had found" in Andhra Pradesh," said a local ministry official on condition of anonymity. "The next day, Brother D.'s wife identified the body as her husband by his clothes."

Investigators reportedly discovered that the man was tortured with acid poured over his face and body. CAM said locals suspect that "Hindu extremists" were behind the attack. "Whoever killed him put his body in a gunny sack and threw it outside the city into the bushes," added a local ministry official in the CAM statement. Police investigations continue, CAM said.


On Wednesday, May 25, the Federation of Indian American Christian Organizations of North America (FIACONA) urged the Indian government to intervene and end what it described as "continuing instances of attacks on Christians in India by extreme factions of Indian society."

In an open letter released before the news of the murdered missionary broke, FIACONA mentioned several BosNewsLife reports on persecution and attacks against Christians in the states of Karnataka, Kerala, Orissa and Bihar. It expressed "grief over the passing away of Catholic priest Mathew Uzhuthal," on May 1, after he was attacked in Bihar by a criminal gang on April 11.

The Christian advocacy group also mentioned a recent attack against an Assembly of God church in Karnataka during Pentecost weekend when "dozens of Hindu militants attacked the worship service, injuring the pastor and his associate." It also spoke of violence against a team of the missionary group Youth With A Mission on May 5 in Karnataka, where "youth members were apparently dragged to a nearby Hindu temple and made to bow down before an idol."


In Kerala this month "eight students of Darseba Bible College, run by the India Pentecostal Church" were injured when they were assaulted allegedly by a group of motorbike-borne persons," FIACONA added. The organization urged authorities and police to take the attacks more seriously. So far "the Government of India is failing in its constitutional duty to protect Christian populations," in several states, the group claimed.

However Indian Prime Minister News Manmohan Singh said in March he would pressure officials to end tension in states ravaged by anti-Christian violence. Christians comprise roughly two percent of India's over one billion population, according estimates.

(Based in New Delhi, Journalist Vishal Arora, 32, has covered persecution and other hard hitting news stories for a variety of international and national publications. He has traveled around the country on invitation by NGOs for seminars and talks on human rights, communalism, and religious persecution. Vishal Arora can be contacted at e-mail address vishalarora_in@hotmail.com or visit his website Also introducing Satya Sundar Mishra as BosNewsLife India Reporter based in Orissa. Mishra, 26, is a Development Journalist of Orissa working on social and religious issues that are not yet on the radar screen of media and politicians. He has been working for a variety of key publications and is currently also active as Sub-editor and Senior Reporter with Odisha Bhaskar, a regional daily newspaper. He can be reached via e-mail satya_mishra11@rediffmail.com ).