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Widow of Christian Killed for His Faith in India Flees Village


“Five additional families were displaced from their homes.”

NEW DELHI After her husband died because of his faith, the Christian widow in the Indian state of Chhattisgarh has been living in constant danger since fleeing.

“I saw them kill my husband right before my eyes,” said Jime Kawasi, whose husband, 22-year-old Kosa Kawasi, was slain in Bastar District on May 4. “They assaulted me, but somehow I managed to escape. I still fear that my husband’s killers will find me and kill me.”

Fleeing Kapanar village, in Darbha block, she took refuge in a house far from the murder site. The five other Christian families in the town, unable to find her, fled the same day, including elderly parents and young children.

Relatives furious with Kosa Kawasi killed him after villagers forbade any families with Christian members to participate in tribal festival offerings to local gods, sources said.

A mob of about 20 villagers, including Kosa Kawasi’s uncle, Dasru Kawasi, and cousin, Madiya Kawasi, went to his house at 10 a.m. and began to argue with him, telling him to renounce Christ, said area Christian leader Santosh Mandavi. When Kosa Kawasi refused, they began to assault him and his wife, he said.

“They hit the couple with wooden sticks, kicked them with legs and fists,” Mandavi said. When Kawasi persisted in his faith, “his uncle and cousin stabbed Kosa with the knife thrice in his stomach.”

Kosa Kawasi’s wife and younger brother managed to rescue him, took him toward the road, and called for an ambulance, but as they were waiting, some people from the mob tried to slit his throat, Mandavi said.

“Kosa’s brother and his wife again saved him and carefully continued to carry him away from the ferocious mob,” he said.

His uncle and cousin then got an axe and struck Kosa on the head, killing him instantly, Mandavi said. Police arrived after about an hour and took his body.

Hidma Kawasi, a brother of Kosa Kawasi, who is also a Christian, escaped when the mob under the leadership of Dasru Kawasi and Madiya Kawasi previously approached his home.

“Thankfully, Hidma fled and is still alive, though the mob tore down Hidma’s house, eradicating it,” a local source told Morning Star News.

In the prior few months, Kosa Kawasi faced immense pressure from family members and villagers, including death threats, if he refused to renounce Christ and return to Hinduism, said the pastor.

Despite Kosa Kawasi’s repeated complaints to the Darbha Police station about the threats to his life and those of other Christians, authorities took no action, refusing to file a First Information Report, a source said.

Mandavi said he went to Kapanar on May 6 and saw police scattered throughout the village. The police station chief informed him that Jime Kawasi was hospitalized in a Dantewada government hospital 28 miles away for injuries sustained in the assault.

“When I met her, she was extremely terrified,” Mandavi said. “She narrated the entire incident and the brutality with which her husband died.”

The day after the attack, police arrested Dasru Kawasi and Madiya Kawasi on homicide charges, but they have not made any further arrests, Mandavi said.

Festival Motive

Before the killing, village leaders decided that if just one member of a family were Christian, the entire household would be banned from attending Kapanar village’s Ammajugani festival, where the locals offered the first mango harvest to the local gods, Mandavi said.

“This infuriated Kawasi’s cousins, uncle, and his family, and in their anger, they attacked Kawasi and his wife and killed Kawasi,” Mandavi told Morning Star News. “The other Christian families also were under threat of being attacked by their relatives, and Kawasi’s brutal killing set a precedence for other relatives to attack their Christian member, so all of them fled for their lives.”

During the festival, everyone in the village sings, dances offers mangoes and animal sacrifices to their gods, and then eats together. Mandavi said that whoever does not attend the festival is forbidden from using mangoes throughout the season.

The area source, who requested anonymity, condemned the villagers for pressuring extended families to the point of murder for adhering to their Christian faith.

“We don’t expect the village heads to behave so immaturely,” he said. “They caused so many homes and lives to be shattered and spoiled. Kosa lost his life, Jime is a young widow now, Dasru Kawasi and Madiya Kawasi are in jail, and their families will also pay for their actions.”

Jime Kawasi, still feeling physically weak and frightened, lives with the five other Christian families several miles away, uncertain when or if she can return to her home.

“I want to continue to follow and serve Jesus,” she said.

“It was for this Jesus that my husband was willing to be faithful to the point of death; I, too, will follow in his footsteps.

Please pray for me; I need your prayers.”

India ranked 11th on the Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2024 World Watch List of the countries where it is most challenging to be a Christian.

The country was 31st in 2013, but its position worsened after Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.

Since Modi took office in May 2014, religious rights advocates claim that the National Democratic Alliance government’s hostile rhetoric toward non-Hindus has given Hindu extremists the confidence to attack Christians in various parts of the nation.



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International Christian News publishes reports on the mission field, specifically focusing on the persecuted church and providing daily gospel news. The organization aims to fulfill the Great Commission, edify the global Christian community, and bring honor and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.