A sixteen-year-old Christian, Sambaru Madkami has been reportedly stabbed and stoned by Hindu extreme tribal regions in Eastern India.

Investigating officers discovered Madkami’s mutilated body on the 5th of June buried in Malkangiri jungle. The jungle was less than four miles from the boy’s village of Kenduguda, Malkangiri District, Odisha state

Sambaru Madkami – an epitome of faith

The village animists seized him on the night of 4th of June after a brutal decision they made. They had all organised to annihilate the head of males of the three Christian families in the village.

Sambaru’s father Unga Madkami, spoke to Morning Star News: “They had come for me but I was not at home. I had taken my daughter who was sick to the doctor.”

According to area sources, Sambaru had been staying at home instead of his school’s hostel. This was because of the current COVID-19 lockdown. Consequently, he headed meetings of home church in the area daily.  The founding pastor of the home church lived in another town and showed up just twice a month. This was due to increasing persecution in the village.

The three Christian families in the village consisting of 210 families gathered at Sambaru’s house to fellowship. His cousin also spoke to Morning Star News: “Sambaru knows the word of God the most from among us, so he was the one who led us in a time of prayer and learning from the Bible everyday in his house.”

Kidnapping and Assault

On the night of 4th of June, about 10 villagers arrived Sambaru’s family’s home and called for his father. According to an area resident, Sambaru’s father was staying at a relation’s house overnight and so the villagers kidnapped Sambaru. The eyewitness further told Morning Star News: “They took him a few metres further where a huge mob was waiting for him.

“They tied his hands and started to beat him.”

The molesters also targeted the father of Sambaru’s cousin. His wife however encouraged him to escape to the jungle when they came calling for him.

Furthermore, the attackers then summoned the third Christian male head, Sukka Padiami who was 18 years old. Padiami leaped though his rear window and escaped towards the jungle.

Sambaru’s cousin informed Morning Star News: “We ran for almost 20 kilometers and them called our Pastor, who directed us to go to his friends house and we took refuge there.”

Cold-blooded murder

The area pastor Bijay Pusuru who is also a close family friend of Samburu asserted: “The villagers were instigated to attack Christians at the behest of Hindu extremists.”

Autopsy reports among other observations indicated that the murderers struck the young Christian with a stone before slitting his throat.

“They dug a shallow pit and put his dead body there and covered it with mud and leaves.” Pastor Pusuru informed Morning Star News.

Confession and arrests

Consequently, Sambaru’s  cousin filed a complaint and six people have so far been arrested. According to investigating officer Ram Prasag Nag, among those who confessed to the abduction and murder are Madkami and Roba. In addition, they also led the officers to Sambaru’s body.

Nag told Morning Star News: “At the confession of two of the arrested, we were able to trace Sambaru’s mutilated body.

“We are still in the process  of investigation and with new facts surfacing, the sections of FIR (First Information Report) are being charged accordingly.

Sambaru’s cousin asserted in his police statement that Sambaru Madkami was kidnapped and murdered for his Christian Faith. However, according to Nag, the suspects arrested informed the officers that they murdered him because he and other targeted Christians were performing “black magic”.

The General Secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI) Reverend Vijayesh Lal said his heart mourns with the family.

“I know that Sambaru’s sacrifice will not be in vain. Only God can bring good out of it, and my prayer is that He will.” Lal stated.

Justice for the persecuted

On the 11th of June, two attorneys from Human Rights Law Network visited Sambaru’s family and that of the other targeted Christians.

They recorded their statements and with the aid of local lawyers, look forward to petition the High Court of Odisha. They are aiming for high-level cross-examination into the case.

Similarly, the US Commission on International religious Freedom had earlier taken steps on the issue of religious freedom. On the 28th of April, they urged the U.S State Department to include India as a “Country of Particular Concern” to its list of nations with poor records of safeguarding religious freedom.

Currently, India is on the 10th position on Open Door’s 2020 World Watch List of countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian. The ranking was performed by Christian Support Organization.

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