India: Police blame stoning death of 16-year old Christian on pastor-father’s “sorcery”

Police in Odisha State, India this week claimed that the June death by stoning of a 16-year old boy was caused not by his conversion to Christianity but by suspicions that the boy’s father, a pastor, was a sorcerer who allegedly caused the deaths of 16 villagers.

The claim is the latest turn in a case that has drawn the attention of Christians globally. Voice of the Martyrs Korea is one of several international Christian organizations that is raising concern over the police report and the rising level of anti-Christian violence in the area.

Odisha State, formerly known as Orissa, has long been a hotbed of anti-Christian violence. Twelve years ago 100 Christians were killed and 300 churches destroyed as the result of a public campaign to strengthen Hindu nationalism and raise suspicions against Christians. Most of those committing acts of violence were either never arrested by police or they were acquitted by the courts.

Now police are attempting to blame the death of Samaru Madkami on baseless suspicions about his father rather than admitting that anti-Christian violence is on the rise again. It is important for the general public, and especially for Christians around the world, to be aware of this pattern of blame shifting because it can rapidly escalate to the level of violence against Christians that happened in Odisha twelve years ago.

Voice of the Martyrs Korea has been working in partnership with a local Indian Christian NGO to provide financial aid and general support for Samaru’s family and two other related Christian families who were forced to flee from their village due to Samaru’s death. The families are frightened to return home three months after the attack and have been resettled in another location for their safety. Voice of the Martyrs Korea also helps Voice of the Martyrs Canada to support 23 orphans in Odisha State whose parents were victims of the earlier wave of violence against Christians.

Bishop Dr P.R. Parichha, the President of the Odisha State chapter of the All India Christian Council, was the one who had requested a police investigation into the death of Mr Madkami. Dr. Parichha told Christian Solidarity Worldwide, a Christian human rights organization based in the UK, “While the Deputy Inspector General of Police has acknowledged in his response letter that Samaru was brutally murdered, I am disappointed with their opinion that the death of the minor was a result of vengeance for sorcery. The Madkami family do not practice such things. His father is a pastor. Why weren’t the cases of the 16 people who died ever reported to the police or the matter investigated sooner? What proof is there? There are so many gaps in the claim by the accused persons. It is unfounded, biased and misleading. The police should not deviate from the root cause of the murder of Samaru.”

As reported by Voice of the Martyrs Korea in June, Samaru Madkami, a 16-year-old boy from Kendukuda village, Malkangiri district, Odisha, India, was crushed to death with stones by Hindu militants on June 4, 2020 in response to his conversion to Christianity.

Voice of the Martyrs Korea donors provided sufficient funds to care for the family of Samaru through the end of the year, in addition to aiding with the care of 23 Christian orphans in Odisha State. Individuals interested in helping Voice of the Martyrs Korea meet the needs of other families of Christian martyrs and prisoners throughout the world can make a donation to VOMK’s Families of Martyrs/Families of Prisoners (FOM/FOP) fund at www.vomkorea.com/en/donate or via electronic transfer to

국민은행 463501-01-243303

예금주: (사)순교자의소리

Please include the name “FOM/FOP” on the donation.

About Pastor Foley

The Reverend Dr. Eric Foley is CEO and Co-Founder, with his wife Dr. Hyun Sook Foley, of Voice of the Martyrs Korea, supporting the work of persecuted Christians in North Korea and around the world and spreading their discipleship practices worldwide. He is the former International Ambassador for the International Christian Association, the global fellowship of Voice of the Martyrs sister ministries. Pastor Foley is a much sought after speaker, analyst, and project consultant on the North Korean underground church, North Korean defectors, and underground church discipleship. He and Dr. Foley oversee a far-flung staff across Asia that is working to help North Koreans and Christians everywhere grow to fullness in Christ. He earned the Doctor of Management at Case Western Reserve University's Weatherhead School of Management in Cleveland, Ohio.
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