//Investigate preacher's murder: Christian Solidarity

Investigate preacher's murder: Christian Solidarity

New Delhi (ICNS) June 16,2006,  Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), a U.K-based Christian rights group, has urged the government to investigate the murder of preacher Prem Kumar in Nizamabad, Andhra Pradesh.

Pastor Kumar’s murder follows a similar pattern to the murders of three other Christian leaders in the region within the last eighteen months, the group said in its website.

Condemning the murder, the rights group urged the police to investigate the crime.

Pastor Kumar was killed on 8 June 2006. CSW’s partners, the All India Christian Council (AICC), reported that he was attacked with boulders and stones and his head was crushed beyond recognition.

According to the AICC report, Pastor Kumar was approached at 8 a.m. by a young man requesting that the pastor lead a prayer service in the village of Rampur Thanda.

Pastor Kumar agreed, but before setting out he asked his son, Sunil, to contact him every 30 minutes. However, at 11 a.m. Sunil lost contact with Pastor Kumar. That evening, the family organized a search party and discovered Pastor Kumar’s body in the forest near Rampur Thanda.

Pastor Kumar is the fourth church leader to have been murdered in Andhra Pradesh state in just over a year. The May 2005 murders of Pastor K. Daniel, who was found brutally mutilated in Hyderabad after his attackers poured acid on him, and Pastor Isaac Raju, who was wrapped in a jute bag and dumped behind bushes in the Golconda area outside the city, took place under similar circumstances. Both men were lured to a remote location in a similar manner to Pastor Kumar.

The men arrested for the murders publicly admitted their opposition to the alleged conversion activities of the two pastors.

A month earlier, the body of Pastor Sidney David was found smashed by a boulder in Karimnagar. His family alleged that Hindu extremists were responsible, though the police investigation is still continuing.

Christian Solidarity Worldwide Chief Executive, Mervyn Thomas, says: “It is impossible not to feel shocked and saddened at these brutal and calculated attacks. Our thoughts and prayers are with Pastor Kumar’s family at this time. We urge the police authorities in Andhra Pradesh to carry out a full investigation into these attacks and bring the perpetrators to justice.”