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Underground Church Worker Beheaded in Kashmir

By Michael Ireland

4/16/07 India (ANS) – An active member of the Salem Voice Ministries underground House Church in Kashmir was brutally murdered on Saturday, April 14, according to news sources in India .

Manzoor Ahmad Chat, 33, was beheaded by Hizbul militants on Saturday before dawn. Local police recovered the head and the remains of his body from Gundi Pora and Pinglana villages in Pulwama District. Manzoor and his family became believers in Jesus Christ after converting from Islam and regularly attended prayer services held by the SVM (Underground) House Church . He was a prayer leader in the house church.

Manzoor was employed by the Government as a lineman of the Power Development Department (PDD) in the Kakapora area. On Friday he was traveling by scooter to carry out his duties. While he was going he met two believers and reminded them about the prayer meetings, but on the way he was kidnapped by the militants, according to police reports.

On Saturday, people in the village of Pinglena found Manzoor’s headless body in a nearby paddy field. They also found the head kept in a polythene bag near the mosque.

According to SVM, militants had planned to kill him earlier. A gun battle between militants and armed forces had taken place at Manzoor’s house last year. Reports say Manzoor seemed to have been brutally tortured and finally slaughtered to death.

Police registered a case and investigations have been launched. The dead body has been handed over to the family following a post mortem. Police also say they killed two leaders of the militant group Leshkar-e-Toyiba.

Rev. Paul Ciniraj, the President of the Christian Ministers of the Churches in India (CMCI) and also the Director of the Salem Voice Ministries, condemned the murder. He also praised the State and Central governments for taking quick action against terrorists and the continuous fight against terrorism.

The Daily News and Analysis , India ( , also carried a report of the murder, as does The Hindu,(DNA)Online edition of India ‘s National Newspaper at

The DNA report says suspected militants brutally killed a government employee by beheading him after chopping off his ears, nose and tongue in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir, according to official sources.

A human head, kept in a polythene bag, was recovered by police near a mosque at Pinglana village in the district, official sources said.

Following the recovery of the head, police launched a massive search in the area, which led to the recovery of torso from a nearby field, they said. The deceased was identified as Manzoor Ahmad Chat, a lineman in the Power development department. He was believed to have been abducted by militants and later beheaded.

Please pray for Manzoor’s widow and children.

Four months ago evangelist and campaigner Basheer Ahamed Tantry, who was also a government employed engineer, was shot dead in Kashmir in public during the day.

Also, Pastor Ashir of the SVM Underground Church in Kupwara in Kashmir was severely attacked last month.