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Gruesome Murder of Pastor in Jharkhand
Sunday, May 6, 2018, 18:53 (IST)
A pastor in Jharkhand was gruesomely killed on May 1 by unidentified attackers who slit his throat and beheaded him.
According to Morning Star News, Maoists claimed responsibility for the murder of Abraham Topno, pastor of Pentecostal Church of God. However, local Christians to whom he ministered for more than 20 years suspect the involvement of Hindu extremists.
Topno, 46, was kidnapped by unidentified gunmen in Ranchi District, his driver told family members.
Later, his body was found with his head cut off from his body, and his vehicle was set on fire.
Despite sighting of a note at the scene saying "Death to police spy," by Maoists, family members of Topno blame Hindu extremists who likely mobilized Maoists to carry out the execution.
Topno was ambushed and kidnapped by 20-25 unidentified gunmen near his village of Kubasal while on his way back in a public carrier, a Mahindra truck.
They dragged him and the driver out and covered their "faces completely with a cloth bag," said the driver after returning. The attackers spared the driver.
"They started to talk to my uncle while the driver was made to stand at a distance," Topno's nephew, Aman Christochit Herenz, told MSN citing the driver, Ranga Singh Munda.
"His ears were covered along with his face, so he could not make out their conversation. The Maoists then slit the neck of my uncle and chopped off his head from his body and set the vehicle on fire while not interacting with the driver at all."
Pastor Nuas Mundu, senior pastor of the Pentecostal Church of God in Murhu village, Khoti District, said he suspected the Hindu extremists responsible for the murder.
"We know that he was a vibrant evangelist, a pioneer missionary, and we suspect that Hindu extremists are behind his killing," said Mundu.
"Maoists will kill anybody for money, and if someone pays them, they will do the job for them," he added.
But that doesn't beat out the Maoists from the suspect list.
Maoists are increasingly targeting Christians, said Shibu Thomas, founder of Persecution Relief.
"In the past Christian missionaries did not have much trouble from the Maoists, but lately it's seen that they are trying to harass local Christians across Jharkhand and East Godavari jungles," he said.
"We don't know the reason for the same, but definitely they have also deviated from their ideologies and have political affiliations," he added.
Topno's wife, Huldah Hareing, was shocked and sought prayer.