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ICC Note:

Christians from India’s infamous Kandhamal district fear that a Pastor and his wife have been murdered by the Central Reserve Police  Force after an altercation last Sunday. The Christian couple went missing after making telephone calls on a hill top near their home village and encountering two officers. Kandhamal district was the scene of the worst anti-Christian violence to strike India. In 2008, mobs of Hindu radicals swept across the district burning churches and Christian properties, raping Christian women, and killing many Christians they captured. August 25th will mark the 7th anniversary of the violence. 

7/31/2015 India (Asia News) – A Christian couple from the village of Pangalipdar, in Kandhamal (Odisha), has been missing for three days, probably killed by members of the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the country’s largest paramilitary force.

Local media reported the incident as an encounter with Maoist guerrillas that ended with the killing of some militants. “This is absolutely false,” Fr. Ajaya Kumar Singh, director of the Odisha Forum for Social Action (OROSA), told Asia News. “They were not Maoists, but ordinary Christians, killed in cold blood.”

The community filed a murder report, demanding that the bodies be returned to the couple’s two daughters. The two victims are Dhubaleswar, a Christian leader who was very well liked in the area, and his wife.

Around 4 P.M. on Sunday, after the prayer service, the pair set out with three people to a local hilltop to call their children who work in Kerala.

After they finished their call, the others – Sukant Challanset, his wife and jibed Challanset – went home, leaving Dhubaleswar and his wife. On the way back, the three met two CRPF officers.

The officers pointed their guns at them and asked what they were doing. The trio was let go after they explained that they had just made some calls and that two friends were still on the hilltop.

About half an hour later, the three heard gunfire coming from the hill. About 20 villagers were ready to go and check out what had happened, but fear of the CRPF held them back.

The next morning, after Dhubaleswar and his wife were not found at their home, villagers went to look for them. They found bloodstains, a man’s vest and two pairs of slippers at the place where the missing couple were last seen.

“This is a predominantly Christian village,” Fr Singh told Asia News. “After the violence of 2008, young people migrated to other states in search of work. Often people have to go to the top of the hill to get a signal and call the world. Dhubaleswar and his wife were ordinary Christians, not Maoist militants.”

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