Murdered Indian pastor received death threats, son reveals

The son of a murdered Indian church leader has revealed his father received death threats before he was shot by men on a motorbike on Saturday.

Sultan Masih, 47, was standing outside his Temple of God church in Ludhiana, Punjab when he was murdered. He left a wife and four children, two of them adopted.

Sultan Masih and his wife Sarabjit.World Watch Monitor

His son Alisha, 22, also training to be a pastor, said his father had asked friends to pray for him after being threatened.

According to World Watch Monitor, Sultan had been approached by a group of men who had asked him where he had found money to pay for a church anniversary function attended by around 800 people. They had asked whether he would given them something if they converted.

Alisha said his father had refused to given them anything and said those who had converted had done so because they had come to believe in Jesus.

Hindu nationalists frequently level charges against Christians of paying Hindus to convert, which is illegal.

Sultan was making a telephone call at the time he was murdered. 'We don't know if the phone call was connected to his murder, but the people who killed him were surely monitoring his activities because they waited for the time until he was alone,' Alisha said. 

He added: 'Our father was a courageous man and he was never afraid to die for Jesus. He has put the same zeal in us. Our family will continue to serve God.'

The Temple of God Church where Sultan Masih was murdered.World Watch Monitor

Paul Tamizharasan, a close friend of his, told World Watch Monitor following the funeral: 'Family members are grieving and we hope the government will catch the accused. We demand answers and have gone to the Punjab government, but they couldn't find who did this.

'The state of Punjab is very safe in India for Christians. There are Sikhs living here – they are also a religious minority in India. We are also a minority, but never before have we had any threats. But unfortunately this has happened and we are all shocked about how this is possible. Nobody knows how this can happen.'