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An Indian man who had become a Christian last year was killed and beheaded in eastern India earlier this month.

On 11 February, Anant Ram Gand, 40, was taken from his home in the village of Raigarh Tehsil, in the district of Nabarangapur, Odisha, by three men who killed him and left his decapitated body in the middle of the road.

At the time, his wife Sukbati, 38, was away with their four daughters and Anant was at home alone with his 6-year-old son.

Since his conversion to Christianity nine months ago, Anant and his family had been harassed by the villagers. They were prevented from drawing water from the public well and he was beaten on two occasions. Later he was excommunicated from the village and he and his family moved about a kilometre away from the village.

India has seen a wave of anti-Christian violence in recent years, with a notable increase since Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist BJP came to power in 2014. States with so-called “anti-conversion laws”, such as Odisha, have been particularly affected. The laws are meant to prevent forced conversions, but in effect are used as a pretext to anti-minority harassment. Those accused of attempting to convert others to another religion often face mob violence.

Sources: Persecution Relief, AsiaNews, World Watch Monitor

  • Uphold in prayer the loved ones of Anant. Pray the Lord may help them to cope with shock and grief. Pray particularly for Sukbati as she comes to terms with the loss and makes decisions concerning her and her children’s future.
  • Pray Sukbati and her children may come to know and love the Lord as Anant did. May they not hesitate in relying on Him as their great comfort, strength and provider.
  • Pray the family will be granted justice. Commit to God the three men responsible and all those in Odisha who oppose the Gospel.

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