12/18/2020 India (International Christian Concern) – On December 8, a pastor from India’s Jharkhand state was shot dead by unidentified assailants. Although the motive for the murder has yet to be officially established, the family of the slain pastor claims he was killed for his faith.
According to local sources, the slain pastor was identified as Pastor Salim Stephen Surin. Pastor Surin was a part-time evangelist in Jharkhand’s West Singhbhum district and ran a small shop the village of Rania to support his wife and two children.
On December 8, Pastor Surin and his wife, Tarsis Surin, traveled to Putikda village because five people had expressed their desire to be baptized. After visiting the Christians in Putikda, Pastor Surin and his wife traveled home on the couple’s motorbike. Along the way, the couple was stopped by three unidentified individuals who shot and killed Pastor Surin.
“They killed my husband in front of my own eyes,” Tarsis told International Christian Concern (ICC). “I was terrified seeing my husband collapse having been shot in the chest. I started to think about my children and loudly cried out to God to save me and take care of my children.”
“I pushed the man who was pointing the gun towards me,” Tarsis continued. “I ran into the thick bushes and the nearby forest. I probably walked for more than ten hours to reach my home. I purposely did not take the road to avoid the attackers.”
After Tarsis escaped, the unidentified assailants fled the scene of the murder. At approximately 5:00 p.m., Pastor Surin’s body was discovered lying on the road by local travelers.
Local Christians report there have been multiple threats issued against Christians in Putikda village. According to one source, the Christians of Putikda have been told they must renounce their Christian faith.
Despite the threats, Pastor Surin continued to visit Putikda and support its Christian community. A murder case was registered by police and an investigation has been opened to look into the matter.