(World Watch Monitor) — The body of Gideon Periyaswamy, 43-year-old pastor of the church of Maknayeem in Adayachery village, in India’s southern Tamil Nadu state, was found hanging from the roof of his house on Jan. 20. Church congregation members who discovered his body described his knees bent to the floor and his body hanging abnormally. When the police released the knot, they saw a cut under his throat with a noticeable blood clot.
This incident came a week after the church leader complained to police about threats from Hindu extremists, describing them as “some village people troubling him.” The church members claim that he was harassed and endured humiliating jokes in recent months by local Hindus who were not happy with the increasing number of Christians in the area.
A convert from Hinduism 25 years ago, Periyaswamy had been the pastor of the church in Adayachery for 12 years. Despite the harassment, he had told his community they should be at peace with their neighbours and not create grounds for disagreement.
Sajan K. George, president of the Global Council of Indian Christians, told AsiaNews that the circumstances surrounding the pastor’s death are “strange” and underlined the inconsistencies. He demanded “a complete investigation, especially in light of the threats received in the past.”