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9-Y-O Girl Gang-Raped, Murdered in Punjab After Family Embraces Christianity
Monday, August 13, 2018, 19:54 (IST)
A 9-year-old girl from a newly Christian convert family was gang-raped and murdered on Aug. 5 in the city of Gurdaspur in Punjab, near the Pakistan border.
Anjali Masih was playing with her friends when a group of men abducted her. She was gang-raped and later strangled with a telephone wire.
According to World Watch Monitor (WWM), a significant number of Hindu and Sikh families were converting to Christianity. The brutal attack could have been carried out by people wanting to incite fear into new converts and others from changing religions, said one Christian, who did not wish to be named.
However, Punjab has been largely secure. After the murder of a pastor in the Punjab city of Ludhiana last year, one local Christian told WWM: "The state of Punjab is very safe in India for Christians. There are Sikhs living here – they are also a religious minority in India. We are also a minority, but never before have we had any threats. But unfortunately this has happened and we are all shocked about how this is possible. Nobody knows how this can happen."
Violence against Christians has been predominately increasing since s Hindu nationalist BJP came to power in 2014.
Tamil Nadu state has witnessed the highest number of religiously motivated attacks, followed by Telangana and Andhra Pradesh.