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A 33-year-old Christian who was unsuccessfully targeted for death in an earlier gun battle now has been found dead after he disappeared while doing his job as a lineman for a power distribution company, according to ministry leaders in India.
Manzoor Ahmad Chat had been seen last shortly after he left on a scooter to take care of his responsibilities for the Power Development Department in the Kakapora district, according to reports from Salem Voice Ministries, which works to spread the Gospel throughout India and other third world nations, focusing on the Muslim community.
“While he was going he met two believers and reminded them about the prayer meetings. But on the way he [was] kidnapped by the militants,” the report said.
His headless body was found a day later, with his head found close to a nearby mosque, according to the ministry.
He disappeared on Friday, and on Saturday, “people of the Pinglena village found the headless body from a nearby paddy field,” according to Salem’s report. “He seemed to have been brutally tortured and finally slaughtered.”
Officials with Salem said he earlier had been targeted in an attack by militants. There had been a gun battle between militants and armed government forces at Manzoor’s house just a year ago, officials said.
As the body was handed over to the family for a memorial service, police were confronting two leaders of a militant group called Leshkar-e-Toyiba during their investigation, the report said.
Two leaders of that group were killed by police during that confrontation, officials said.
Rev. Paul Ciniraj, the president of the Christian Ministers of the Churches of India, and also the director of the Salem Voice Ministries, condemned the attack, and congratulated the government for its quick response.
The missions organization noted that just four months ago, evangelist Basheer Ahamed Tantry was shot and killed in Kashmir, and another attack just last month left Pastor Ashir of the Salem Underground Church in Kupwara severely injured.
According the government sources, the region where the attacks have happened is known as the rice bowl of Kashmir for its production of food, and is a key tourist area, with waterfalls, flowers, fruit and natural scenery.
The organization works with about 430 missionaries, and has 291 home churches (213 in India and 78 in other nations) gathering weekly as part of its umbrella organization.
“We do charitable works by giving education to the poor children; running orphanages; building houses for homeless; supplying medicines, clothes and food for the needy; establishing mobile dispensaries for the slums, interior villages and hill places,” the group said.
“We run computer schools for the youth, tailoring and binding schools for the widows and poor women. We provide monthly scholarships for the poor nursing students as well as university and technical students.”
Ciniraj was a Muslim by birth, but became a Christian years ago. Since then he and his family have survived several attempts on their lives.
Just a week ago, confirmation came from Christian Solidarity Worldwide that three militant Islamists were given prison sentences of up to 20 years for the beheadings of three Christian schoolgirls in 2005 in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
“We are pleased that justice has finally prevailed following the brutal attack on the three schoolgirls in 2005,” said Mervyn Thomas, president of CSW.
Noviana Malewa, after treatments to minimize scarring from the machete attack
The schoolgirls were attacked while on their way to school and three were killed. A fourth, Noviana Malewa, was slashed horribly on her neck and face but managed to flee the area and survive.
The militants put the heads of the three girls in plastic bags and dumped them in nearby villages with notes stating, “We still need another 100 heads. Blood for blood, a life for life and a head for a head.”