By Samuel Mathai
Bhopal: In a gruesome act, alleged religious fanatics on June 4, lynched, dismembered and then buried a 14-year-old tribal Christian boy in the Indian state of Odisha.
According to sources, the teenager, Samaru Madkami, a student of class 7, a resident of Kenduguda village in Malkangiri district of Odisha was murdered in cold blood allegedly by a group of right-wing religious fanatics on the night of June 4.
The sources said that a few villagers ganged up with a handful of right-wing activists, who are not residents of the village, first attempted to kidnap 3 Christians of Kenduguda village. Two of the victims somehow escaped from their clutches and ran away for their life.
But Samaru Madkami was left behind at the mercy of his assailants who brutally slayed him and chopped his body into pieces. After carrying out the coldblooded murder, the assassins buried the body and fled the scene.
Talking to Inquest, Shibu Thomas, the founder of Persecution Relief, said that Pastor Bijay Pusuru, who serves in Malkangiri district as pastor and Dr Victor Choudary informed Persecution Relief about the gruesome murder of the Christian boy in Odisha.
Samaru Madkami is the son of Unga Madkami, an Elder who serves in the Bethel House Church- a ministry headed by Pastor Bijay Pusuru. Samaru lost his mother at a very young age and was being raised by his father.
As said by Pastor Bijay Pusuru, Christians in the district, especially in the village, have been facing many threats and are being continually harassed by the right-wing activists. From the beginning of the year, there have been many attacks on Christians have been reported. “I have made four complaints at the Malkangiri police Station regarding these attacks,” Pastor Bijay said.
He said, last month, religious fanatics stuffed 3 Christians into jute bags and tried to throw them into the river. In another incident, these goons attempted to set two Christians ablaze. All of these attacks have been taking place in the same place, he added.
Pastor Bijay said that he approached the Malkangiri Police Station on June 5th morning to lodge a complaint about the missing teen. The station in-charge immediately dispatched 3 police vehicles to the village, but by the time the killers fled from the scene.
However, by evening the police nabbed around a dozen suspects. Rev. Remo and Pastor Bijay were present at the police station when the suspects were being interrogated.
Unga Madkami, the father of the victim filed an FIR under IPC 1860 sections 295-A,367,506,34, FIR No: 0180, dated 05/06/2020 at 2:20 pm.
As per the FIR, the victim and his father had adopted Christianity 3 years ago and since then a few villagers have been harassing them. On June 4 at around 11 in the night, a few villagers, namely Deba Madkami, Budra Muchaki, Aaita Kabasi, Rabu Madi and some others picked up Samaru telling him that he needed to attend a meeting in the jungle.
Shibu Thomas said that “Of the 1500 plus cases reported during the past 4 years, this, by far, has to be the most disturbing one of Christian persecution. The hate and aggression in the minds of the religious fanatics and the brutal nature of this crime leaves me dumbfounded. My mind has been gripped by the thoughts of an innocent child who desired to serve Jesus Christ, in spite of the pain and challenges of losing his mother at a very tender age. This vicious cruelty exposes the tainted mentality and attitude of the religious fanatics of this day and age. This frightening and contagious crusade of religious intolerance has now peaked at new inhuman altitudes.”
This is not the first time Odisha is witnessing a Christian being slain for his faith. Graham Stains and his two young sons, Philip and Timothy, were burnt alive by a Hindu fundamentalist group on January 23, 1999. Anantram Gond was killed for his faith on February 11, 2019 by Naxalites. Many others have paid heavy prices for their faith.
According to Persecution India statistics 22 cases of Christian Persecution in Odisha, including a murder were recorded in 2019 and 8 cases have been reported since January 2020 till date. These statistics rank Odisha at number 10 among the list of hostile states towards Christians in India.
From January 2016 to March 2020, Persecution Relief has recorded 1961 cases of Hate crimes against Christians in India.
In 2019 we have recorded 199 incidents related to Threats, Intimidations & Harassments against Christians, 104 incidents of Church attacks, 85 incidents of Physical Violence reported which includes Women & Children, 100s of House Churches were forcefully closed down by Religious Fanatics and the local administrations.
US Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) ranked India’s persecution severity at “Tier 2” along with Iraq and Afghanistan. Over the past seven years, India has risen from No. 31 to No. 10 on Open Doors’ World Watch List, ranking just behind Iran in persecution severity.
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