As Pastor Sultan Masih was preparing to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the church he co-founded in Salem Tabre, Ludhiana, in India, a phone call lured him outside the church at about 8:45 pm Saturday night, July 15, where two youths believed to be Hindu shot him as they passed by on a motorcycle. CCTV cameras several feet away recorded the whole incident, but the assailants had their faces covered and it was too dark to identify them. Two children playing outside near the church also witnessed the shooting and yelled for help.
The pastor’s 26-yr-old son was the first to come out of the church to find his father. He then frantically alerted others in the church building to get help. Masih was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. The family is convinced it was a planned attack. Police strongly suspect a group called Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) is responsible. Members of that group instigated and videorecorded confrontations with Pastor Misah in the recent past expressing their anger over the church anniversary celebration. They also falsely accused Masih of forced conversions claiming he was paid to convert people and was paying people to be converted to Christianity.
Hindu attacks against Christians in India has risen so much in recent years that Open Doors ranked the nation no. 15 on its 2017 Watch List of persecuting nations. Pastor Masih was known for his charitable acts and had a school to educate poor children. His assassination sparked so much outrage that the next morning on Sunday, July 16, hundreds of Christians gathered in the morning to protest by blocking a popular highway, demanding that a thorough and quick investigation be done by the police to find the murderers, arrest them, and try them. The protest lasted until 3:30 pm.
My prayers are with his family, his church, and all the Christians in India for their spiritual strength and comfort in this emotionally difficult time. I also pray for the persecuted church everywhere that God may grant them wisdom in handling our enemies and deliverance from our enemies as he metes out his justice.
Jacob Airey, Indian Pastor Murdered During His Church’s Anniversary Celebration, DailyWire.com, July 17, 2017.
Wilson Chowdry, When This Pastor was Shot to Death Outside His Church; the Christian Response on His Behalf brought Traffic to a Standstill for 5 Hours, BreakingChristianNews.com, July 17, 2017.