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British Christian Aid Worker Stoned To Death in India

By Patrick Reilly
Special to ASSIST News Service

DHARAMSALA, INDIA (ANS) — Police in India have launched a murder investigation after the body of 23-year-old Michael Blakey, was discovered in a Gully near to the St John’s Church in the Wilderness, Dharamsala in the northern state of Himachal Pradesh where he worshipped.

He disappeared on November the 23rd but his body was only discovered three day’s later, partially hidden by large stones

The area is the home of the Tibetan religious leader, the Dalai Lama and considered a safe area for tourists and backpackers.

Police sources in the region said that his injuries were consistent with him being stoned to death. The motivation for the killing remains unclear and police believe may have been committed by more than one person.

Michael, a graduate of Swansea University had taken a gap year to work with the Tong Len charity which he helped set up after hearing of the plight of the Tibetan refugees. It is reported that he developed a strong relationship with a ten year old boy named Suresh and they were “special mates”.

Michael was to return from India just day’s after his “brutal death” to spend Christmas with his family who live in Burnley, Lancashire, before returning to the region for six months.

Speaking of his son’s death Michael’s father told a local journalist, “Michael touched the lives of so many. He just wanted to go to India and help other people, but now we may never know what happened to him.

“Michael was always quite a happy boy but never more so than when he was in Dharamsala. He was doing what he loved best – helping others”.

The Reverend Richard Hall a Methodist minister at Swansea University where Michael gained a first class honours degree wrote of his anger of the British media’s reluctance to report Michael’s death on his blog website. Reverend Hall described Michael’s death as “heartbreaking”.

It is believed that Michael’s body has now been returned to the UK and his family have revealed that following his funeral his ashes will be returned to India and scattered on a sight where a permanent memorial will be erected in his memory.

In 2004 Michael wrote an article published on website of his coming to a faith in Jesus Christ and God our Father. The last paragraph reads “Only the good news of the love of God, and the saving grace that is there for us to receive, can do this. Only by acting through love can we truly work for the glory of God, and only by living with compassion can we do justice to the sacrifice made for us. To preach a gospel of fear is to remove all that is glorious about our relationship with God, and to deny people the essence of the good news. God is love, and without fear, we should accept him as such.”