A pastor from Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district was shot dead by unidentified assailants while travelling back home on December 8 with his wife on a motorcycle.
Pastor Salim Stephen Surin was a part-time evangelist and ran a small shop in Rania village to support his family.
According to reports from International Christian Concern (ICC), pastor Surin often visited Putikda village, a few miles from Rania, to support the Christian community there.
Since five people in Putikda had expressed their willingness to be baptized, pastor Surin along with his wife, Tarsis, travelled to the village on December 8.
While on their way back home, the couple were stopped by three unidentified assailants, who shot pastor Surin on the chest and killed him.
“They killed my husband in front of my own eyes,” Tarsis told ICC. “I was terrified seeing my husband collapse having been shot in the chest. I started to think about my children and loudly cried out to God to save me and take care of my children.”
“I pushed the man who was pointing the gun towards me,” Tarsis continued. “I ran into the thick bushes and the nearby forest. I probably walked for more than ten hours to reach my home. I purposely did not take the road to avoid the attackers.”
The assailants left the scene after the murder and pastor Surin’s body was discovered by local travelers at around 5 p.m.
According to Christians in Putikda, there have been various instances where Christians in the village were threatened and told to renounce their faith. Yet, pastor Surin was persistent in visiting the village to support the Christian community.
Although the motive for the pastor’s murder was not formally identified, his family believes that he was murdered for his faith.
A murder case was reported against the attackers, and an investigation was initiated by local police to look into the issue.