indu extremists are being blamed for the death of a Seventh-day Adventist pastor in Orissa, India late last week, local church leaders reported.
Samuel Nayak, pastor of the Phulwani Adventist Church, and his mother were burned to death during anti-Christian violence sweeping the region of India, said Gordon Christo, communication director for the Southern Asia Division.
Nayak’s family was away from home at the time and escaped alive, Christo said. TheInternational Herald Tribunereported eight people confirmed dead as a result of the rioting.
The outbreak came after unidentified attackers killed a Hindu religious leader and four other individuals, theTribunereported. According to theTribune, Hindus are blaming Christians for the deaths, while the Indian government cited Maoist rebels.
One Adventist school in Jeypore was attacked last Sunday, and another school in Khurda was closed for several days. No deaths have been reported at the schools, Christo said.
Members of the Phulwani church escaped alive, but all lost their homes to fires set by the mob, Christo said.The Orissa state on India’s east coast has experienced previous violence against Christians by Hindus, including the death of a missionary and his two young sons in 1999.