A pastor in India who was known for long five- to six-hour prayer sessions was found beaten, tortured and hung to death from the rafters of his church, parishioners said. The murder has deeply shocked the congregation.
Morning Star News reported on Sunday that the body of pastor Gideon Periyaswamy of Maknayeem Church in southern India was found early Saturday morning. His death comes after he had complained about Hindu extremists.
Pastor Azariah Reuben, a close friend of the 43-year-old victim, said that Periyaswamy converted from Hinduism 25 years ago, and has served as pastor in Adayachery for more than 12 years, becoming known as a "prayer warrior."
"The local Hindus were not happy with growing Christianity," Reuben said. "They had several times tried to stop the ministry."
A week before he was killed, the pastor had filed a complaint with local police "on some village people troubling him." Officials were reportedly investigating the incident before the pastor was found dead.
Periyaswamy's body displayed signs of being beaten and tortured, according to some members of his 70-strong congregation.
The British Asian Christian Association said that the parishioners who found the pastor removed the thin rope around his neck.