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India

Indian woman feared murdered because she embraced Christianity

Relatives repeatedly threatened her with death if she converted, says pastor

Updated: July 08, 2016 08:58 AM GMT
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Indian woman feared murdered because she embraced Christianity
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Local Christians believe a young woman in Jharkhand state, India was killed because of her new faith in Christianity, says a Christian human rights organization.

Twenty-year-old Samjheera from Dumra in Latehar district was found dead in the jungle on June 14, said a July 7 press statement by the Open Doors organization which reports on Christian persecution around the world.

The statement said that Samjheera was preparing to be baptized, a move that upset many relatives who threatened to kill her.

Police have not investigated her death, said her church pastor Philip Tirkey.

Her body was burnt the day she died in a Hindu ritual.

"Because she had been continuously threatened by her relatives with being killed if she converted to Christianity, we believe that she was murdered," said Tirkey, speaking on behalf of local Christians.  

Samjheera had become interested in Christianity two years ago after she prayed to Jesus for help to overcome sickness and was healed, said the pastor.

Jharkhand has a population of 33 million people of whom some 1.4 million are Christian. Most of them are indigenous people or those belonging to the Dalit or former untouchable castes.

The state's 4.5 percent Christian population is almost double that of the national average.

The state, where the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party is in power, has reported several crimes against Christians.

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