After bathing, on the afternoon of March 21, 2018, Chadarajupalli Subbaravamma headed to the terrace of her home in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh in order to pray and read her Bible.
During her daily devotional, Subbaravamma, reportedly past the age of 60, was brutally bludgeoned to death. According to Open Doors, an organization that monitors religious freedom around the globe, Subbaravamma’s killer confessed he murdered the devoted wife and mother “because he was angry she had left Hindu gods and had adopted Christian faith.”
Approximately 60 minutes after Subbaravamma went to sit on her terrace, neighbors revealed they spotted a young adult male entering her home. Mere minutes later, Subbaravamma’s spouse, 70-year-old Jayaramaia, stated he heard his neighbors yelling, “he is killing her. He is killing her.”
According to the World Watch Monitor, Jayaramaia said the intruder ran up the stairs too quickly for the elderly man to catch him. The couple’s son, Subba Rao stated, “By the time we all went to the terrace, she was lying with her blouse by her side and the Bible thrown away.” The grief stricken son went on to add, “she was knelt in prayer and fell with her face down. The blows were so heavy that her head is broken apart. Nobody should wish such painful death to their bitter enemies even.”
The chaos during the murder attracted a large crowd outside the home. The concerned gathering blocked the only entrance to the house. Seeing no opportunity for escape, the murderer allegedly locked himself inside of a bathroom. Soon after, the police arrived on the scene and apprehended the killer.
Subbaravamma reportedly converted to Christianity 10 years ago. Before this time, her family was employed in a Hindu temple close to their home, where they made statues of different Hindu gods.
Subbaravamma’s entire family eventually became Christians. They traded their work at the Hindu temple for hard labor. Concerning his parishioner, the pastor at the church Subbaravamma attended, Mohan Rao, said “on any Sunday, she would be the first one to make it to the church. She was a strong believer.”
Subbaravamma’s son told the World Watch Monitor, “But the police told us, ‘That fellow is mad’. I am not educated; my family survives only on [the produce from] our one-acre agriculture field. They asked me to ‘shut up’, and ‘don’t make a scene’.”
Regarding the police, Subbaravamma’s son also revealed, “they told me if we inform any Christian leaders, they will take up protests and will not let us perform the last rites for at least ten days. They told me, ‘that fellow is mental, and there can’t be any complaint against him’.”
While the police report filed on the day of the murder at the local police station in Martur recorded the assailant as an “unknown person,” locals identified him as Ramu, a 20-year-old sculptor.
The murderer was reportedly hired by the high priest at a nearby Hindu temple. The temple is located in the hills. Its patrons must pass by Subbaravamma’s home before arriving at their place of worship. The Christian family’s house can also be seen from the temple. According to locals interviewed by the World Watch Monitor, this reality vexed the high priest.
Regarding the arrested assailant, police Superintendent Satya Yesu Babu confided to the World Watch Monitor, “The accused suffers from some psychological disorder. He would roam around the houses in the locality daily, and on the day of the offence he entered the room where the old lady was present, assuming her to be a young woman. He tried to catch hold of her, but she resisted.”
Despite the alleged confession from the killer, he went on to add, “This case has no religious angle. The accused is a psychological pervert and he was desiring only sex. When she revolted, he started beating her.”
Subbaravamma’s neighbors have voiced outrage with the police’s insistence that the murder wasn’t committed due to religious reasons. A villager informed the World Watch Monitor, “Are we so foolish that we can’t recognize if a person is insane? We will stand up for Subbaravamma. As many as 50 of us are ready to testify in the court if needed.”
In a country where 90.9 percent of the residents practice Hinduism, Christians are regularly persecuted. Since the Hindu Nationalist Party won the general election in 2014, crimes committed against Christians have increased. Pray for those in India and all over the world who are daily facing persecution for their Christian faith.
~ 1776 Christian