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ICC Note:

Christians in India’s Tamil Nadu state have engaged in a protest by blocking a busy road to demand an impartial investigation into the recent death of a pastor. Last weekend, Pastor Gideon Periyaswarny was found hanging in his home in an apparent suicide. According to local Christians, Pastor Periyaswarny had been receiving threats from Hindu radicals for months, which he reported to local police. Also, Christians claim injuries on the pastor’s body indicate foul play. Attacks on Christians in India have dramatically increased both in number and intensity. Last year, a pastor in India’s Punjab state was murdered in a drive-by shooting. Police have yet to bring the murders of the Punjab pastor to justice. 

01/26/2018 India (The Christian Times) – Christians have blocked a busy road in India’s Tamil Nadu state on Monday, demanding an impartial investigation on the death of a pastor who was found hanging inside his home.

The protesters are suspecting foul play on the death of Pastor Gideon Periyaswarny, 43, who led an independent church in Adayachery village in Kanchipuram district.

The pastor was found hanging from a rope on Jan. 20 after he reportedly complained to the police of harassment from high-caste Hindus in his area.

Police inspector Amal Raj said that “prima facie it appears to be a case of suicide but we are looking at all possible angles.”

Church members who came to clean his one-room house near the church said that his door was bolted from the outside, and when they opened it, they saw his body hanging. They further noted that the pastor’s knees were bent to the floor and that his body appeared to be hanging abnormally.

When the knot was released, the police reportedly found a cut under his throat with a noticeable clot.

Pastor Immanuel Prabhakaran, who worked with Periyaswarny, said that the high-caste Vanniyar group had been opposing the deceased pastor’s mission activities involving lower-caste people.

“Not a single Sunday service in the past six months passed off peacefully without disturbance,” Prabhakaran said, according to UCA News.

Lawyer Gini Immanuel, who assisted Periyaswamy when he filed his complaints, said that the pastor had faced a series of problems, including the demolition of the church’s roof and the disconnection of its water supply.

Christians have staged a demonstration on a road in front of Chengalpattu government hospital, where Periyasamy’s body is awaiting postmortem to determine the cause of death.

The protesters are urging the police to arrest four suspects, including village leaders, who have been subjects of the pastor’s complaints.

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