Man Held in India over Christian Slayings

Police in India have arrested a man in connection with the murders of two Christian ministers in the nation’s southern Andhra Pradesh state, news agencies reported Monday.

The 25-year-old suspect, who was remanded in custody, will appear in court on July 7, the British Broadcasting Corporation stated in a report issued on June 27. Meanwhile two other suspects are being sought.

Earlier this month and late last month, the mutilated bodies of the Rev. K. Daniel and Pastor K. Isaac Raju were found several days after the two preachers were reported missing for several days.

According to the New Delhi-based Christian Today newspaper, the brutal killings of Raju and Daniel had shaken the Christian community of Andhra Pradesh and prompted several Christian leaders to believe that both the preachers were victims to communal violence that was surfacing in the state.

In response to protests against the killings, State Home Minister K. Jana Reddy ordered a special probe into the apparent murders and offered protection to Christian missionaries living in the state, Christian Today reported.

Following the recovery of Raju’s body near a drainage canal on the outskirts of Andhra Pradesh’s capital city of Hyderabad, the state government also formed a Special Investigation Team (SIT) to find those responsible for the murders.

According to the Dubai-based Khaleej Times, police reportedly questioned 150 activists of Hindu nationalist groups, including the Bharatiya Janata Party, on June 2 after a newspaper in the state’s Warangal town gave the police an anonymous letter it had received, claiming that a previously unknown Anti-Christian Forum had carried out the killings. While police reportedly detained several people in connection with the recent discovery of the bodies of the two deceased pastors, Hindu groups protested they were being maligned without evidence, officials reported.

Later that night, police also raided the office of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, a Hindu extremist organization that had close ties with the BJP, and detained members of Hindu religious and political groups from different parts of Warangal. However, the Khaleej Times reports that they were released because of a lack of evidence.