41 Christians were detained by police in Ludhiana, India after they covered their faces while driving during a protest against the murder of a local pastor. On July 15, two masked gunmen attacked and killed Pastor Sultan Masih outside of his church. The murder has sparked multiple demonstrations by the Christian community calling on local authorities to bring Pastor Masih’s killers to justice. Attacks on Christians and their places of worship have dramatically increased since the BJP-led government took power in 2014. Many claim that the impunity enjoyed by radical Hindu nationalists under the current government is a major reason why attacks have grown in both number and intensity.
07/25/2017 India (Christian Daily) – Police in Ludhiana, India, detained at least 41 individuals for covering their faces while driving, a move that was spurred by the murder of a pastor by two unidentified assailants in Salem Tabri.
On July 15, two attackers riding a motorcycle shot dead 50-year-old Ludhiana pastor Sultan Masih. A week after the incident, members of the Christian community threatened to launch protests if authorities did not arrest the people responsible for the pastor’s death by July 24, The Hindustan Times detailed.
In a press conference on July 22, state minority commission member Albert Dua announced that they will hold Masih’s funeral on Monday but the police should be able to arrest the murderers by then. He said some local Christians have received death threats after the pastor was killed.
“After the incident, anti-social elements have already threatened a pastor in Haibowal and a sister in Kila Mohalla,” said Dua. “We cannot let our people die. The administration must ensure our security.”
In addition, Dua called on political leaders who took the time to visit the grieving family to give Masih’s son a job and not use the situation for their political popularity. He suggested hiring the pastor’s son as a police assistant sub-inspector.
In the wake of the Christian community’s threat of protests, the Ludhiana police detained 41 people on Saturday for violating an order banning the covering of one’s face while driving. The faces of the two assailants who shot Pastor Masih were probably covered when they fled the scene, The Indian Express reported.