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Pastor Kidnapped Twice, Nearly Killed

Hindu extremists in Karnataka state intended to crush his head with large stone.

8/28/07 India (Compass Direct News) – Pastor Mark Jaikumar is recovering in a private care facility in Bangalore , Karnataka state after being kidnapped, blindfolded and hearing Hindu extremists’ plans to kill him – his second abduction in one week.

Pastor of the Divine Gospel Church in Chelekere village, Bangalore , the 43-year-old Jaikumar was abducted from the church compound at 8:30 p.m. as he began home on Saturday (August 25). He had just survived a prior attempt to kidnap and kill him on Wednesday (August 22).

In Saturday’s kidnapping, four men sitting in a car with the engine running were stationed near the church gate when Jaikumar saw one get out. Assuming they needed assistance, Jaikumar walked toward the man.

“The man then forced me into the rear seat of the car, got in after me and drove off,” Jaikumar told Compass. “The assailants blindfolded me and took away my mobile phone. They kept cursing and mocking the Christian faith in filthy language and told each other that all my conversion activities would end once they killed me.”

After he was driven around for about five hours, the car stopped near a bus station, Jaikumar said, at Peenya, an industrial township about 15 kilometers (nine miles) from Bangalore. The kidnappers removed his blindfold and forced and him onto a bus, with one of the men accompanying him.

Jaikumar said they were heading towards Dharmastala, about five hours by car from Bangalore .

“The road is a long, winding road with hairpin bends,” he said. “By God’s grace, the bus developed a problem and was stalled at the side of the road somewhere near Sakleshpur, approximately 150 kilometers [93 miles] from Bangalore .”

The bus driver ordered everyone off the bus, and on his way out Jaikumar told him that he was being kidnapped.

“Realizing that I had informed the driver, the accomplice got into the car that was following us and disappeared,” Jaikumar said.

The driver phoned his family, and the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) sent two cars to pick him up.

Jaikumar fared less well in the prior kidnapping. The pastor was on a routine visit to Ray Peace Ministry Orphanage, in Sasulu village near Dodbalapur, about 55 kilometers (34 miles) from Bangalore , for their weekly prayer service with orphans and staff members. Around 10 p.m., as he was leaving, five men armed with knives entered the orphanage and abducted Jaikumar.

One of the men immediately gagged him, while the others carried him off to a lonely stretch of road.

“They ripped my shirt off, and kicked, punched and struck me with fists all over my head and body,” he said. “All the while, they kept cursing the Christian faith and made allegations of converting the orphans, then they tore my shirt and tried to strangle me, while one of the attackers took a big stone to crush my head.”

The headlights of an approaching vehicle beamed onto them, he said, and the assailants ran away.

In severe pain, Jaikumar managed to return to the orphanage. Staff members took him to the village dispensary for first aid, and the next morning he registered a complaint at the Doddabalavangala police station.

After the second kidnapping on August 25, Dr. Sajan K. George, national president of the GCIC, told Compass the GCIC co-ordinator went to the Hennur police station to file charges, but officials refused to register a kidnap complaint. Instead, they registered a missing persons complaint.

At the Hennur police station, Inspector Somshekar Chabbi told Compass, “We registered a missing persons complaint as there was no evidence that Jaikumar was taken against his will.”

At press time, no arrests had been made in either of the cases.