08/03/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – According to UCA News, Christian leaders in India called for a further investigation into the attack on Balwinder Bagicha, a protestant pastor, who was found lying mortally wounded along the road in the Ferozepur district of India’s state of Punjab. Later in the day, on July 27, Pastor Bagicha died as a result of the wounds he received in the attack.
The police initially registered the death as “accidental”. However, Hanook Bhatti, a Punjab-based Christian leader, told UCA News, “It was not accidental; it is a clear case of premeditated murder.”
“I personally visited the spot where the pastor was found along with police,” Bhatti told UCA News. “We found an aadhar (Indian ID) there and the footprints of more than one person, indicating that the pastor was in a fight.”
James Masih, another Christian leader, saw the body and told UCA News, “There was only one catastrophic wound to the back of the head. It looked like a powerful blow from a sharp-edged weapon that led to his death.”
Pastor Bagicha’s family reportedly fears pressuring the police to further investigate the killing. However, Christian leaders said they are trying to gather support to open the case based on previous murder investigations.
In 2020, at least five Christians have been murdered for their faith in India. Other killings have been reported, but the religious motives of the perpetrators have yet to be confirmed. If Pastor Bagicha was murdered for his faith, he would be the sixth Christian in India to be killed for their faith this year.