Beheaded body of Christian pastor found in India

The beheaded body of an abducted Christian pastor was found by a reservoir in eastern India yesterday morning.

Pastor Abraham Topno, 46, is believed to have been killed in the late hours of Tuesday after being attacked by about 25 masked men, suspected to be anti-government Maoists, according to World Watch Monitor.

The pastor, whose body was found by the shore of Surangi reservoir in Jharkhand state, had last been seen on May 1, travelling in a jeep with local taxi driver Ranga Singh Munda before being attacked by masked men.

Persecution ReliefPastor Abraham Topno

Police inspector Gimal Kumar described the event: 'It was late in the evening, as they entered the thick forests surrounding the state capital, Ranchi. They [the assailants] pulled the pastor and the driver out, blindfolded them and tied their hands with a stiff rope. Then they cut his throat.

'The masked men told Ranga Singh Munda to go away and that that they have no business with him. "We only want him [the pastor]," they said, and asked Munda to run away.'

Munda is currently in custody. A note was found near the body, which read in Hindi: 'Death to police spy. Long live PLGA [People's Liberation Guerrilla Army],' It was signed 'Your Maoists'.

'It appears that Maoists have targeted and murdered him simply based on the suspicion that he is an informer to the police,' inspector Kumar said.

Pastor Topno had served in the Tamar area of Jharkhand state for nearly 25 years according to relatives, due to an interest in the indigenous tribal groups residing there. The forest range near Tamar is recognised as an unsafe area by police due to the Maoist presence there, and Topno had been attacked in 2016, again accused of being a police informant.

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