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Christian woman slain with axes and stones in India

32-year-old Bindu Sodi was murdered because her uncle insisted she and her family had no right to stay at their ancestral farmland after becoming Christians.

Bindu was the sole breadwinner for her mother, sister, brother, his wife, and their young child. Her uncle, Chetu Sodi, tried to evict them from their farm and forcefully took over the land of Bindu’s brother, Bhima Sodi.

The local pastor advised them to file a complaint with the local police. The revenue department cited Chetu, but he refused to appear. The officer sent the village registrar to visit him in person and settle the dispute. 

Mandavi, Bindu’s younger sister, recalled the events: “Uncle told the registrar that because we have all become Christians, we have no right over the ancestral property, and therefore, he refused to sign the papers the registrar was carrying.” 

The registrar ordered Chetu to go to the revenue office and warned him that failure would result in a fine. Pastor Telam, who tried to assist the Christian family, stated: “But it was all too late. Bhima and the entire family were very disturbed by how things were going. Bhima had no job; he took care of the farmland. They were not sure how long the revenue department proceedings would take.”

Bindu recorded her uncle throwing stones at her and her family on the evening of the 24th of June. Her brother and mother managed to escape on a tractor, whilst Bindu and her sister-in-law tried to run away.

Mandavi recollected the tragic event: “While running, Bindu toppled over something and fell. The mobile got thrown at a distance, and Tulsi turned picked up the phone and approached to help Bindu, but the uncle and his son reached Bindu and began to assault her. They were striking her with stones and an axe besides beating and kicking Bindu, leaving her half dead and then began to go after my brother and mother. Bhima and their mother hid themselves in someone’s house to save their lives. When Uncle couldn’t find them, they went back and once again started to assault Bindu until she was dead. Some parts of her flesh from the cheeks were missing. She was hit by the axe several times at several places; they smashed her face with stones and brutally assaulted her until she bled to death on the field.”

Bindu’s body was sent for post-mortem in Dantewada. The police arrested Chetu and his son the next day. 

Pastor Telam expressed his disappointment with the police when they did not permit the family to bury Bindu in their home village: “The police even threatened to put me in jail for four or five hours if I continued to encourage the family to demand the burial to be conducted in the village. They said that I have poisoned the minds of the family members to conduct the burial in the village, and that is why the family is becoming stubborn about it.”

The pastor joined the family in mourning the tragic death of their young church member: “She was the first person from the Toylanka village to accept Christ. Because of her evangelism, eight more families in that village came to Christ. She was a great evangelist of our church.”


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