RAPED AND KILLED?: Christian convert mother of 4 allegedly raped and killed before animals fed on her body [#IndiaPersecution #ChristianPersecution] 07/07
Tribal Hindus persecuted a widowed, Christian mother of 4 before her body was found severely mutilated in the wilderness near her village in Chhattisgarh, India.
The body of 40-year-old Bajjo Bai Mandavi was initially unrecognizable and appeared to have been eaten by wild animals when it was found 2 miles into the wilderness near her native Kumud village, Kuye Mari, May 29, 2020.
Bajjo Bai Mandavi was last seen going into the wilderness to collect firewood May 25, 2020.
Bajjo Bai Mandavi had suffered death threats, deprivation of water and shunning at the hands of villagers who were upset that she left their blend of Hindu and traditional tribal rituals.
This led family members and area Christian leaders to believe Bajjo Bai Mandavi was raped and killed before animals fed on her body.
“There was no way to find out who the people were who raped my sister-in-law and then murdered her, so police and the authorities thought best to call it an attack by a wild animal.”
– Bajjo Bai Mandavi’s brother-in-law, Bhajnath Mandavi, said through tears
Bhajnath Mandavi is the younger brother of Bajjo Bai Mandavi’s husband Bhola Mandavi, who died of an illness 4 years ago, leaving Bajjo Bai Mandavi with children who are now 6, 8, 12 and 17.
Villagers had met 4 times to discuss action against her according to area pastor Rupesh Kumar Salam.
“She was threatened and asked to leave her faith and re-convert, but she boldly took a stand for her faith.”
– Rupesh Kumar Salam, who leads a church of about 120 people in nearby Kue Mari.
Bajjo Bai Mandavi had attended Sunday services there regularly with her children.
In Kumud village, hers was one of just 2 Christian families among 21 other families.
The tribal Hindu families prohibited her from fetching water from the common village tap, forcing her to walk miles for it.
“She bravely fought all the odds and refused to deny her faith even after she started to receive death threats from the Hindu extremist villagers. Bajjo Bai became a Christian a little more than three years ago, and since then had faced severe opposition from the villagers.”
– Rupesh Kumar Salam
Bajjo Bai Mandavi regularly talked about the threats and shunning she and her children faced from the tribal Hindu villagers.
“I always told her that we are praying for her and that everything will be fine — we could never imagine that she would face such brutality. She was raped and then murdered by religious extremists for her Christian faith.”
– Rupesh Kumar Salam
According to her brother-in-law Bhajnath Mandavi, Bajjo Bai Mandavi’s own brother, who lives in her village, would not speak to her after she became a Christian.
“Nobody except one Christian family would speak to Bajjo Bai and her children.”
– Bhajnath Mandavi
An influential, tribal Hindu family in the village likely had a hand in the alleged rape and killing according to a source close to her family who requested anonymity.
“The villagers and all of us know who they are, but no action would be taken against them. They have a lot of money to enable them to keep themselves out of any trouble.”
– The Source
If indeed a homicide, the woman’s death would be the third religiously motivated killing of a Christian in India within a few weeks.
In Bari village, Jharkhand state, followers of tribal religion abducted and killed Kande Munda June 7, 2020.
And on June 4, 2020 in Odisha state, followers of tribal religion abducted 16-year-old Sambaru Madkami before stabbing and stoning him to death for his faith.
In Uttar Pradesh state on May 28, 2020, villagers tried to kill Pastor Dinesh Kumar in an ambush that left him unconscious.
The remains of the semi-naked body were found in the wilderness by the driver of a tractor loaded with road construction material.
The driver notified police, and Christians arrived at the site of the body with officers.
Gurcharan Bhandari, leader of Kumud and other nearby villages, denied any foul play.
“She was probably killed by a wild animal.”
– Gurcharan Bhandari
Though Gurcharan Bhandari had not seen the police report, according to him, it states that she was killed by a wild animal.
Family members and church leaders also have not received a copy of the police report.
According to the village chief, an autopsy took place at the site where the body was discovered.
Though neither he, victim family members or church leaders have received a copy of the autopsy report, according to Gurcharan Bhandari, it also indicated that she was mauled to death by a wild animal.
According to the village chief, it was common for wild animals to attack humans in the wilderness but admitted that no such attack had ever taken place in the area where she was collecting firewood.
According to Gurcharan Bhandari, the last attack took place 3 years ago in a far different part of the wilderness.
Gurcharan Bhandari suspects a bear might have killed Bajjo Bai Mandavi but could not explain why only her legs appeared to have been eaten.
Bhajnath Mandavi is caring for the deceased’s 2 younger children.
The 12-year-old has been living with another relative 30 miles away for the past year.
“I am still in shock. I do not know what the future of her four children will be.”
– Bhajnath Mandavi, who was unable to attend his sister-in-law’s funeral due to coronavirus travel restrictions
The oldest son, a contract laborer in Tamil Nadu state, also was forced to miss the funeral due to travel restrictions.
“The eldest son could not come home even at his mother’s death.”
– Bhajnath Mandavi
Bajjo Bai Mandavi had supported her family as a daily-wage laborer.
According to a senior pastor and Christian leader in the area, converts to Christianity in India’s rural areas increasingly face the threats and shunning she suffered.
“Social boycott is very real. It is practiced even against high-ranking government officials when they accept Christ, so what can we say about this woman who was just a poor person and also a widow?”
– Pastor Son Singh
The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom on April 28, 2020 urged the U.S. State Department to add India as a “Country of Particular Concern” to its list of nations with poor records of protecting religious freedom.
India is ranked 10th on Christian support organization Open Doors’ 2020 World Watch List of the countries where it is most difficult to be a Christian.
The country was 31st in 2013, but its position has worsened since Narendra Modi of the Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014.
Christian Mother of Four in India Was Persecuted before Her Death:
If homicide, it would be the third killing of a Christian in the country within a few weeks:
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