//Pastor killed in mysterious 'accident'

Pastor killed in mysterious 'accident'

Suspicion cast on alleged radical Hindu driving rickshaw

Though authorities are calling it an "accident," a Christian pastor in India has been killed under suspicious circumstances, reports The Voice of the Martyrs, or VOM.

According to the report, 35-year-old Pastor Jimendra Nayak preached at a New Year’s service at Beradakia Church in his native town of Baliguda, Kandhamala district in India. At 8 p.m. Jan. 1, after the service concluded, Nayak took an auto rickshaw to return to his home in Puri district, where he served as pastor of Indian Church Assembly. He didn’t leave the vehicle alive.

Police insist Nayak died in a mysterious "accident," while the officer in charge and the postmortem doctor were not available for comments. VOM contacts investigating the pastor’s death say the accident explanation is highly unlikely.

According to VOM, Nayak’s body was found inside the cabin of the rickshaw with his head badly smashed. The body was removed from the alleged accident scene without proper procedures and dumped at Baliguda Hospital, the organization’s investigators say.

"Khanu," the owner/driver of the rickshaw who is linked with Hindu radicals, sustained no injuries, while no major damage was done to the glass of his vehicle.

The family reportedly has had trouble getting authorities to investigate the incident and receiving a postmortem report.

Bystanders interviewed by VOM sources around the bus stop where Nayak was last seen reported unfamiliar people discretely asking questions about the pastor’s whereabouts, the time of his service and other details. Nayak previously had been threatened and detained by radical Hindus many times.

The pastor is survived by his wife, 1-year-old son, 14-year-old sister, 8-year-old handicapped brother and his elderly parents.