Kashmir: Radical Hindus Set Church on Fire Alleging Pastor's Healing Prayer Killed a Woman

Published 19 February 2018  |  
(Morning Star News)
Seema Devi and Pastor Jeewer Joeswa after she won singing award on Christmas Day.

A massive, chanting Hindu mob in Kashmir had set a church on fire last month, as the attackers were reportedly upset because a former Hindu woman was given a Christian burial.

Seema Devi, 23, had put her faith in Christ several months before she came to a pastor for healing prayer. However, she died after several days of struggle against her sickness.

The relative of the deceased woman attacked the church and set it on fire while burning her body on church premises in Sehal Village, in Jammu and Kashmir.

"A mob of men and women, at least 1,000 in number shouting, 'Jai Sri Ram, Jai Sri Ram [Hail Lord Ram],' brought Seema's body to the church," Pr Joeswa, the pastor of the church told Morning Star News.

The mob alleged that Joeswa's prayer killed the woman, said Chittaranjan Tandy, secretary of the Friends Missionary Prayer Band, Jammu Region.

Her husband, Rinku Kumar, was kept in police custody for his own security after the mob tried to burn him alive alongside his deceased wife.

"The police from Nowshera police station tried to control the mob, but they put fire on the church building, vehicles of believers parked near the church, church equipment, furniture and every object in sight, including the food grains," said Tandy.

As Devi's family never accepted her conversion to Christianity, the mob alleged that Devi and her husband had been forcibly converted.

"There was no forced conversion," said Tandy.

"The couple voluntarily attended the church and accepted Christ. In fact, they had experienced the healing and were strong in faith," he added.

Superintendent of Police Popsi Malik said that the couple had been attending church but were still practicing some Hindu rituals.

"They were in the rudimentary phase, thinking whether to continue as Hindu or Christian," said Malik.

"It was the assumption of the mob that the couple got converted by force. Before her death, the couple was attending their church in Punjab state. People have presumed that he was converted to Christianity forcefully. But that was not true," he added.

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