An independent Christian evangelist was burnt to death by his family and local villagers in the Bankura district of West Bengal, India, on 14 August.
The victim, who CSW sources have named only as Madhavan, lived in the village of Gobindapur in the Jhargram district of West Bengal. He was the sole convert to Christianity in his extended family, and had worked under a local evangelist named Tanmoy Shaikh in Bankura district.
Sources told CSW that when Madhavan went to visit his family for a wedding in early August, his children destroyed his Bible and verbally harassed him. His family also reportedly pressured him to denounce his faith before the wedding, however Madhavan refused to do so.
Subsequently, on 14 August, Madhavan’s own wife and son came into the church in Bankura where he was and proceeded to beat him badly and take him home. He was then dragged into a nearby forest by his family members and locals who poured petrol over him and burnt him alive.
Sources also told CSW that the police refused to take any action in response to the murder, citing that the issue was a family problem and they didn't want to interfere. Hostility to Christians is common in the West Bengal region, and therefore no villagers were willing to speak about the killing.
CSW's Founder President Mervyn Thomas said: "CSW forcefully condemns the gruesome murder of the evangelist Madhavan. It is deeply disappointing to see that the police officials haven't even registered a complaint, let alone taken any action in response to this egregious act. We urge the government of West Bengal and the central government of India to ensure that justice is served in this case and that the perpetrators do not enjoy the impunity that often surrounds such crimes in India."