India: Killed for His Witness

From Voice of the Martyrs.

Brother “Sadavir” regularly shared his faith among members of India’s Koya tribe in the thick forest of the Dantewada district. It eventually cost him his life.

Members of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), one of the country’s two major political parties, and Bajrang Dal, the militant wing of the World Council of Hinduism, told the Koya community “If Sadavir keeps converting all your people to Christians, one fine day your group will be vanished.”


Fearing the loss of their cultural identity, Koyas attacked Sadavir in 2010 and 2012, along with the man who pastors a congregation of 72 people that worships at Sadavir’s home every Sunday.

Despite the attacks, Sadavir’s ministry continued — until a knock on his door at 1 a.m. on Jan. 22, 2015. His wife, “Jani,” opened the door to find a mob of 200 people — composed of both Koyas and Naxalites, members of India’s Communist guerrilla groups. Before she could say anything, the mob entered their home, grabbed Sadavir and took him away.

Jani ran after the group into the forest, pleading for her husband’s safety and release. “We will not do anything to him,” she was told. “Go, and in the morning get food for him and come to our camp.”

Joined by her mother- and sisters-in-law the next morning at 8 a.m., his wife took the food and walked the more than 40 miles until they reached the camp at about 1:30 p.m.

At the camp, Naxalite leaders were told, “He is converting all our people to Christianity by bribing them and is giving all your information to the police.” They tied Sadavir, a father of three, to a tree. Then in front of his wife, mother and sister, they beat his legs with bamboo sticks saying, “You are spoiling our culture by converting our people to Christians!” They beat him until his flesh was hanging from his bones. Then they killed him by piercing his chest with a trishula, a three-pronged spear and an important Hindu symbol.

The killers initially kept his body out of fear his wife would notify the police. However, Jani begged them for her husband’s body. They gave her his body on one condition — that it would be burned, not buried. His murders wanted no evidence of Sadavir’s murder.

VOM is supporting 27-year-old Jani and her three children during this difficult time.

 

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