Churchgoer Shot and Killed in India’s Punjab State
10/26/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – According to the Union of Catholic Asian News (UCAN), a Christian man was shot dead and three others wounded when assailants entered into a Pentecostal church and opened fire in India’s Punjab state. The deadly attack has left the local Christian community in fear and demanding greater protection from the state government.
The attack took place on Friday, October 23, as Christians were attending a special prayer service at a 30-year-old Pentecostal church located in Amritsar. According to witnesses, seven individuals were involved in the attack.
“Four persons armed with guns entered the church and opened fire at us,” Jaspal Masih, the son of the church pastor, told UCAN. “I laid flat on the ground and saved my life.”
Masih’s cousin, Prince Atwal, age 35, was shot in the head and chest and died at the scene.
According to Masih, Atwal seemed to be the main target of the attack. According to local Christians, Atwal had an altercation with a local gang leader several months ago. The church was attacked on a previous occasion and gang members used false accusations of forced conversions to justify their attack.
Attacks on Christians and their places of worship in India continue to be reported in greater number and severity. Much of the violence is perpetrated by radical Hindu nationalists who believe they have the tacit approval of the BJP-led government to perpetrate acts of violence against India’s religious minorities.
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