A Christian missionary and father-of-four was brutally murdered in India by a Maoist group angered by his mission work amid a rise in religious persecution across the country.
A| Maoist group in the Gadchiroli district of India’s Maharashtra state, on July 10, shot and killed Munshi Dev Tado, a 28-year-old Christian convert and father of four children, ages 6, 5, 4 and 1, Morning Star News reported.
In Bhatpar village, Gadchiroli District in the western peninsular state, pastor Munshi Devu Tado was leading a worship service on his property for about 15 village families from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. when three armed men and three women escorted him away, his wife, Jaini Munshi Tado, said.
“They shook hands with him at first, then took him by his hand and, after few steps, they tied his hands at his back with a rope,” she told Morning Star News. “I, my father-in-law and brother-in-law followed after them, pleading and enquiring as to why they are taking him. They said they just want to talk to him and that we need not worry, they will send him back in a little while.”
Family members continued to follow until the Maoists forcibly stopped them and pushed them away, throwing them to the ground, Jaini Munshi Tado said.
“Hardly five to seven minutes later, we heard a gunshot,” she said, weeping. “We immediately ran in the direction only to find the body of my husband in the pool of his blood, and the Maoists had gone. I wept bitterly, my husband was gone.”
After killing the pastor, the Maoists left a note in Tado’s pocket claiming he was a police informant. However, when police arrived to investigate, they said Tado was not an informer for them and that they did not even know him.
Pastor Tado and his family began to suffer persecution after leaving the Maoist Naxalite movement and converting to Christianity several years ago. Villagers angered by his conversion attacked Tado’s home and threatened to kill his family on several occasions, Christian Post Reports.
Tension escalated when the pastor began to lead regular worship services at his home and villagers began receiving Christ, said Pastor Vijay Kumar Vachami, a mentor and close associate of Tado.
“There were only three Christian families in the past, but this year due to the hard work of Tado, the number of families increased to 18,” he said, adding, “He was a very simple man and a very faithful servant of God. Please pray for his family that is left behind.”
“The culture of hatred towards religious minorities and the impunity which surrounds attacks against them is rampantly spreading across India. This must be addressed urgently and we urge the authorities in Jharkhand and the central government to develop a plan of action. Christians and other religious minorities must feel safe and be able to live in their homes and have livelihoods as equal citizens without fear of violence or harassment from any segment of the community,” Thomas concluded.
Believers in India—number 10 on the 2020 World Watch List—are often shunned, unjustly arrested, attacked—even killed—because they choose to follow Jesus and not Hinduism or the local religion. Our Indian family needs the prayers of the global church to stand strong in the midst of persecution—and to remain a light for Christ in the world’s second-most populated country.