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Maoist insurgents murdered Sukbati’s husband, Ananthram, in 2019 during a period of increasing violence against Christians.

Sukbati and her husband, Ananthram, came to faith in Christ and were baptised in 2018 after one of Ananthram’s relatives shared the gospel with them. Before coming to know Christ, Ananthram had supported a left-wing separatist group called the Naxalites, whose Maoist-communist ideals aspire to nothing less than an overthrow of the Indian government.

Like many in his village, Ananthram supported the Naxalites primarily to avoid becoming one of their targets.

Sukbati and her children pray for the men who killed Ananthram.

But after he and Sukbati placed their faith in Christ, their lives and priorities changed. As a result, they became involved in church activities and stopped supporting the Naxalites. That’s when the persecution began.

First, they were ostracised by their own neighbours. Villagers cut off the utilities to their home and beat Ananthram, warning him to stop his Christian activities. When Ananthram refused to abandon his faith in Christ, village leaders informed the Naxalites about his Christian faith and claimed that he was a police informant.

Members of the Naxalites soon confronted Ananthram about the accusation, but he assured them that he had never received money for helping the police. “I am a follower of Jesus,” he told them, “not a police informant. I work in the fields to earn for my family.”

Then, on a February evening in 2019, Ananthram answered a knock at the door and was faced with a Naxalite mob in front of his house. As men grabbed Ananthram, tied his hands behind his back and began dragging him away, his seven-year-old son tried to follow him. When the mob threatened to kill the boy, he ran to his uncle’s house for help. The boy and his uncle searched for Ananthram that night but could not find him.

The next morning, they discovered Ananthram’s body on the side of the road a few kilometres from their house. The murderers had fractured Ananthram’s skull with a large rock and left a note warning others against following Christ.

“When I heard that my husband had been killed,” Sukbati said, “I was afraid they would come and kill the whole family. We have been threatened two or three times since the day he died.”

When asked why she does not return to Hinduism, which would make life much easier for her and her five children, Sukbati testified to her unwavering devotion to Christ. “When Ananthram was alive,” she said, “he told us one thing: ‘Don’t give up Jesus.’ We came to know the truth, and we cannot stop. Though my husband lost his life for his faith in Christ and it is difficult to take care of our children and live without him, I will not give up Jesus because He will be with me to care for me and my children.”

Although Sukbati and her children are the only Christians in their village, they boldly share the gospel every chance they get. They occasionally see the men who killed Ananthram. Sukbati said she holds no animosity towards those who killed her husband, and she prays that they will come to know Christ.