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Friday, December 9, 2022

Christian mob demands release of pastor involved in ST youth Biki Bishal’s murder: Assam

Christians mobbed the deputy commissioner’s office demanding the release of the local pastor who had been arrested for his involvement in ST youth Biki Bishal’s murder. Members from several churches of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh gathered outside the office on Thursday (September 22). A local pastor and his assistant were arrested for inciting a mob to lynch Hindu youth Biki Bishal for refusing to convert to marry his Christian girlfriend.

Human rights firm Legal Rights Observatory (LRO) stated that a 2-hour protest was organized outside the DC office to pressurize the SP (Superintendent of Police) to release the accused. LRO tweeted a poster calling upon Christians to gather against the ‘humiliation of Christians’ by Lakhimpur police. The crowd wanted GEL Lutheran church Ismail Shabbar (44) pastor of Gossner Evangelical Lutheran Church and his assistant Niranjan Aian to be set free.

Lakhimpur SP BM Rajkhowa opined that since investigations against the pastor were ongoing demanding his release wasn’t justified. “They (Christian Missionaries) should not make it an issue of religion, instead should realise that the pastor has been arrested for his involvement in the Criminal activities,” stated the police.

Rajkhowa confirmed that additional sections have been added to the FIR (First Information Report) following the arrest of the pastor, his assistant, and the girl’s father and her uncle. Other than Section 302 (murder), 295 (injuring or defiling a place of worship with intent to insult the religion of any class) and 306 (abetment to suicide) have been included against the accused.

Biki Bishal and his Christian girlfriend were in love and intended to marry. Locals and family members also said that Bishal and his girlfriend had eloped earlier this month as they wanted to get married, and subsequently Bishal had brought the girl to his home on September 3.

On September 6, the girl’s family members, accompanied by some church officials and a huge mob drawn from 4 churches, came to Bishal’s house and allegedly took the girl away forcefully against her will. Biki was threatened and told that he would be allowed to marry the girl only if he embraced Christianity.

The victim’s family has alleged that Bishal was called by someone from his girlfriend’s family to her village on September 11 and had been missing since then. His body was found hanging from a tree on September 12 after he was lynched by the mob. The incident took place at a remote tea garden area at Koilamari Balijan in Assam’s Lakhimpur district.

(Featured Image Source: FirstPost)

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