A convert from Hinduism 25 years ago, Pastor Periyaswamy was single and served as pastor in Adayachery for more than 12 years, his close friend, pastor Azariah Reuben, told Morning Star News.
â€śThe local Hindus were not happy with growing Christianity,â€ť Pastor Reuben said. â€śThey had several times tried to stop the ministry.â€ť
At pastorsâ€™ meetings and on other occasions, Pastor Periyaswamy spoke of Hindu hostilities to his church services and requested prayer, he said. Pastor Reuben said that Pastor Periyaswamy once remarked, â€śI have no problem â€“ if needed, if the Lord permits it, I would die as martyr for Christ, but the ministry should not stop.â€ť...
Pastor Periyaswamyâ€™s cousin, Shiv Shankar, told Morning Star News that Pastor Periyaswamy was involved in many charity activities and led a simple life.
â€śWe come from a Hindu family, and he was the first to convert to Christianity at the age of 18,â€ť Shankar said. â€śHe boldly professed his faith. I can never think my cousin would commit suicide. He was murdered.â€ť
Two weeks ago, he invited all relatives to the churchâ€™s anniversary celebrations, he said.
â€śHe was elated. My other cousin and her husband, Gideonâ€™s sister and brother-in-law, gifted him a gold ring,â€ť Shankar said. â€śHe refused, but they forced him to accept. He did. Even that ring is missing.â€ť
Nehemiah Christie, director of legislations and regulations for the Synod of Pentecostal Churches, urged police officials and government to conduct a fair investigation.
â€śThere is urgent need for an autopsy in the presence of a judicial magistrate,â€ť Christie told Morning Star News. â€śPastor Gideon Periyaswamyâ€™s death canâ€™t be ruled out as suicide.â€ť
The deputy inspector general of police of Kanchipuram Range, identified only as Thenmozhi, told Morning Star News that officers would carry out a fair investigation.
â€śThere is no doubt in that â€“ we will ensure a fair investigation,â€ť Thenmozhi said. "