By George Whitten, BosNewsLife Senior International Correspondent with BosNewsLife Asia Service
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)– Communist rebels decapitated a pastor and cut up his body after murdering him, and severely beat his wife in Valam Guve Village, India, according to a Washington-based Christian human rights organization.
International Christian Concern (ICC) said Pastor Pangi Papa Rao and his wife, Chittamma, were returning from a prayer meeting when the masked communists stopped and questioned them Tuesday, September 14. As soon as they heard the pastor’s name, they murdered him in front of his wife and severely beat her, ICC said.
The communists, also known as Maoists in India, have claimed responsibility for the attack in statements distributed by local; media, BosNewsLife monitored Friday, September 17. They said they had killed him because the pastor was “an informant” for the government of India and warned that others would also be killed, ICC said, citing local sources.
Christians have denied and described the pastor as a dedicated Christian. He is survived by his wife and 19-year-old daughter, Christians said.
Pastor Rao’s church had close to 40 members and ICC suggested worship services would continue with the congregation now attending a nearby church. Communist (Maoist) rebels have been fighting the government of India for several years. They have strong support among landless farmers and tribal groups.