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Presbyterian Pastor in Bangladesh Shot Six Times

August 14, 2013 by Open Doors in General

Presbyterian Pastor in Bangladesh Shot Six Times

As Pastor Arun Kanti Chakma was quietly sleeping inside his church, attackers burst in and shot him six times, ending his life. The unidentified attackers escaped without a struggle.

Arun Chakma, 40, pastor of a Presbyterian church in the Bangladeshi village of Tapitapara, Khagrachari, a district in Chittagong, Southeast Bangladesh, was murdered around 12 a.m. on Saturday, July 13. He is survived by his wife Shupta (35) and their only daughter, thirteen-year-old Gayetree.

His neighbors, Totrushing Chakma and Shakhomy Chakma, remember him as a good and peace-loving man. “The police and the pastor’s relatives are wondering why he was murdered all of a sudden,” they said.

The Chittagong Division is home to the Chakma people, one of the four ethnic groups that practice Theravada Buddhism, Bangladesh’s third largest religion, according to online sources. Still considered a minority, the Chakmas fall prey to discrimination and oppression. The believers among them suffer even more intense opposition as a religious and ethnic minority.

A former Buddhist himself, Pastor Arun came to Jesus Christ nine years ago and immediately began sharing his newfound faith with the people in his village. “That time, the Buddhists in our village threatened him many times. They were forcing him to return to Buddhism, but Pastor Arun held his ground,” said a local source.

“It is not yet established if he was killed for his faith,” said an Open Doors’ worker in Bangladesh. “It’s tense in Khagrachari now; it’s not yet safe to visit pastors Arun’s family.”

Attacks against religious and ethnic minorities seem to intensify during elections in Bangladesh. With General Elections commencing this October and culminating in January 2014, Bengali Christians are increasing their vigilance through prayer and are calling on the worldwide body of Christ to join them.

“Please pray for them,” the OD worker implored. “His horrible death has brought fear to his church members and other believers in the area. His widow Shupta and their daughter Gayetree are worried. Their prayer is for the Lord to comfort them and to help them cope with their present situation, as they have lost a person so important in their lives.”

Father, as Shupta and Gayetree mourn the loss of Arun, husband and father, we pray that You would comfort their hearts and encourage their souls. Provide for them in the loss of the leader of their home. We pray also for the some 30 Christian families, left now without a shepherd. Raise up godly teachers and leaders to pastor this flock, Your church in Khagrachari. We join Bengali Christians in praying for peace to rule in Bangladesh in the upcoming elections and beyond. In the name of Jesus who protects and sustains us in times of trouble, Amen.

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