08/01/2016, 14.45
INDIA
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Andhra Pradesh, Maoists torture and kill a Protestant pastor

by Nirmala Carvalho

Pastor Yohan Maraiah was dragged from his home and taken by force into the forest. His body was dumped near the village, with his hands tied behind his back. The Maoists repeatedly stabbed him and shot him. The rebels claim he was murdered for having "accumulated wealth", but the pastor served the poorest of the village.

Hyderabad (AsiaNews) - A group of Maoist rebels savagely beat, tortured and killed Pastor Yohan Maraiah in the district of East Godavari, Andhra Pradesh. The Christian was draggedfrom his home in the village of Lachigudem into the nearby forest, while his church was set on fire. There he was killed and then his body dumped at the road junction that leads to the village.

Speaking to AsiaNews, Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) condemned the brutal murder and reports that Christians in India are increasingly the victims of blind and unmotivated violence.

The murder of the 55 year old pastor took place on July 29. Investigations reveal that a group of 100 armed Maoist rebels seized the pastor at night and dragged him into the forest. He was violently beaten with sticks, stabbed and shot to death. His battered body was found three hours later with his hands tied behind his back.

Sajan K George said: "In front of his church in flames Pastor Yohan Maraiah remained strong in faith in Jesus Christ. He was not doing any illegal activities in India. Religious freedom is guaranteed by the Constitution ".

Next to his body, the Maoists left a letter in which they explain the motives for the brutal act: they accuse the Christian of being a police informer and not having repented for the fact that he had "accumulated a disproportionate" wealth. The letter goes on to say: "We punished him by the people's court because Maraiah exploited the tribal poor and the needy."

The president of the GCIC says instead that the pastor was born in the Sukuma district in Chhattisgarh, "and had settled for 15 years in the village of Andhra Pradesh. He did not engage in any illegal activity, the poor and marginalized came to his church to receive peace, comfort and dignity that only Jesus can give”.

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