07/18/2017, 16.20
INDIA
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Pentecostal clergyman killed in Punjab. For Bishop Mulakkal, it is an attack on Christians

by Nirmala Carvalho

Rev Sultan Masih was the pastor of the Temple of God Church. He was gunned down whilst talking on his mobile. For the bishop of Jalandhar, "This attack against Christians has deeply wounded the whole community". The victim's family blocks motorway. A “lynching culture” prevails across the country, says Sajan K George.

Ludhiana (AsiaNews) – The killing of Pentecostal Rev Sultan Masih "was an attack on the Christian community,” said Mgr Franco Mulakkal, bishop of Jalandhar, who spoke to AsiaNews about the murder of the Christian clergyman last Saturday night in a village in India’s Punjab province.

Although the police are still in the dark and have not identified the attackers, the bishop has no doubt that "The assassins knew he was a clergyman. This attack against Christians has deeply wounded the whole community and caused insecurity and anxiety. We have no idea why he was murdered."

Rev Masih was the pastor of the Temple of God Church in Slem Tabri. Those who knew him say that he had no enemies or disagreements with his neighbours.

Two men on a motorcycle gunned him down when he was outside his church and was talking on his mobile phone.

Yesterday his relatives and community leaders held a rally to demand that justice be done quickly and the killers be arrested.

They blocked the Ludhiana-Jalandhar NH-1 motorway [pictured], and refused to celebrate the funeral until they got certain answers.

The blockade lasted three hours, and in the late evening the funeral took place. In the meantime, the authorities boosted security in all churches.

Chief Minister Amarinder Singh granted a compensation of 500,000 rupees [(US$ 7,800) to the victim’s widow and offered jobs in the state police to his children (a son and a daughter), so that they could earn a living for the family.

For Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC), "the lynching culture and the lawlessness that prevail in many parts of India nurture hate and a climate of impunity. We want peace. Violence and murders are against the teachings of every religion."

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