By BosNewsLife Asia Service
NEW DELHI, INDIA (BosNewsLife)-- Evangelical Christians in India, who are reportedly facing persecution in several areas of India, were in mourning this Easter after the recent death of at least 16 Christians in a major traffic accident in Meghalaya state in North East India.
Over 50 were also injured when a truck carrying them overturned in the West Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya on February 26.
The accident happened around 8.30 am local time at Nongspung village, 11 kilometers (7 miles) from the district capital of Nogstoin on the road to the state capital Shillong, witnesses said.
It happened whole the Christians were on their way to an annual meeting of believers of the regional Khasi Jaintia Presbyterian Synod, said evangelical officials.
"The truck carrying the Christians reportedly overturned after the driver lost control and hit a concrete railing, throwing most of the passengers in a deep gorge," said Vijayesh Lal, general secretary of the Evangelical Fellowship of India (EFI).
The EFI, which represents evangelicals across the country, cited reports as saying that 12 people died on the spot and four other succumbed to their injuries in the hospital. Nine out of the deceased were women, including a 13-year-old girl.
Dozens of others, including the driver and the helper of the truck, were seriously injured and rushed to nearby hospitals, Lal said. Authorities were investigating the cause of the incident.
"The EFI community conveys its heartfelt condolences and prayers to the bereaved families. It has also offered to assist in the treatment of those with serious injuries and requests that prayers be mobilized for the families of the deceased and for the complete recovery of the injured," Lal said.
"May the peace that proceeds from the God of all comfort be our portion at this time, even as we collectively grieve the loss of our sisters and brothers in Christ."
The incident, remembered this Easter, comes at a time when devoted Christians have reported attacks by Hindu extremists in several
states of India where authorities crackdown on what they view as "illegal conversions". Christianity has been spreading among people disappointed in the ancient traditions of Hinduism, mission groups say.