South African Hindu woman claims she is Jesus

Durban, India - A Hindu woman here has said she is Jesus Christ and claims to have the 'stigmata of Jesus' on her palms, feet and stomach, as well as the power to heal the sick.

Katherine Jhawarelall, 35, who has a degree in criminology, said Tuesday that she was born with the stigmata and also claimed that Hebrew scriptures and religious symbols from the Bible appear on the walls of her home, the Post newspaper reported.

Stigmata are marks or sensations in locations corresponding to the crucification wounds of Jesus Christ. Jhawarelall claimed she did not know the significance of the stigmata until two years ago.

When reporters from the Post visited Jhawarelall at her home, she pointed out sketches of angels and a cross on the walls. A sign, which she claimed was written in Hebrew, was also etched in her front lawn, the report said.

Jhawarelall told the Post that on the morning of her 33rd birthday on May 15, 2004, she woke up with a swollen arm and realised a message was written on her skin: 'Happy birthday Katherine. God gave you life.'

She was quoted as saying that she was initially startled 'but eventually came to realise and accept who she was'.

'People have condemned my claim. Some have even called me a fake and Satan. However, I believe this reaction is attributed to the fact that I am female and a Hindu. Jesus Christ is universal irrespective of race, colour or creed,' she told the Post, adding: 'I am now the child of God.'

Jhawarelall said her family was forced to flee their Kharwastan home when word about her powers got out and she began receiving death threats. The family then moved to their current residence in the Seaview area 'where the miracles have continued to happen'.

Religious leaders in Durban have condemned Jhawarelall's claims and have warned people to be 'wary of her revelation', the Post reported.

Kingdom Network International founder Bishop Johnny Frank said: 'In the Bible there is no talk of reincarnation and certainly not of Jesus Christ being reincarnated as a woman in this life. Jesus is God and He will come to us in the same form as when he was resurrected. I pray that accuracy and clarity will be revealed to Katherine through the Holy Spirit.'

Jhawarelall, however, is unfazed. 'I carry the legacy that Jesus Christ is the Archangel Michael and He is universal. In Judaism he is Mikael, in Hinduism he is Shiva, Saraswathie, Luxmi, Lord Krishna and Shirdi Baba, in Christianity he was Jesus Christ and in Islam he is Hasrat Mikael,' she was quoted as saying.

Jhawarelall's parents, Jay Hiralall, 63, and Thara, 60, told the Post that they had accepted their daughter's calling and believed she was Jesus because they had seen the miracles in their home.