01/22/2018, 09.32
INDIA
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Tamil Nadu, Pentecostal pastor found hanged. He had received threats

by Nirmala Carvalho

Rev. Gideon Periyaswamy was 43 and led the Maknayeem church. He converted 25 years ago from Hinduism. In the past he had been harassed and humiliated. The Hindus "were not happy with the increase of the Christian faithful".

Chennai (AsiaNews) - A Pentecostal Christian pastor was found dead hanging from the roof of his home in a village in Tamil Nadu. Rev. Gideon Periyaswamy was 43 and led the church of Maknayeem, in the village of Adayachery. His death is shrouded in mystery,  aroused by the fact that just a week ago he had lodged a complaint against extremist Hindu groups.

Some faithful already speak of murder and the attempt to disguise murder with suicide. Speaking to AsiaNews Sajan K George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians,  states that the circumstances surrounding the pastor’s death “are strange" and he underlines the inconsistencies demaning  "a complete investigation, especially in light of the threats received in the past".

The pastor was found hanging from a rope on January 20. At about 5 am, the body was discovered by Indira and Regina, two Christians from the community who came to the church to clean the structure. The women reported that the body of Rev. Periyaswamy hung abnormally from the ceiling, knees bent to the floor. In addition, when the police broke the knot around the neck, a cut was found under his throat, with a noticeable blood clot.

Local witnesses claim that the death is due to the disagreements with local extremists, who humiliated and harassed him for years. "But he - remembers a believer - told us that we had to live in peace with our neighbours and not create grounds for disagreement".

The pastor had converted 25 years ago from Hinduism and led the Adayachery church for 12 years.  Rev. Reuben, a friend of the deceased, reports that "the local Hindus were not happy with the increase of the Christian faithful". Despite the death threats, the pastor repeats: "I have no problems. If the Lord grants it to me, I will die a martyr for Christ, but his ministry will not end."

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