News Catholic family seeks justice for lynching victim in Jharkhand

Catholic family seeks justice for lynching victim in Jharkhand

A Catholic family in Jharkhand is awaiting justice for a tribal man, who was lynched by cow vigilantes in the eastern Indian state nearly two years ago, a lay leader says.

The death of Ramesh Minj “did not enter the discourse of persecution of Christians,” bemoans John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council and president of the All India Catholic Union. “Christian NGOs were not involved.”

Meanwhile, “the family is still waiting for justice,” the Catholic lay leader told AsiaNews.

A mob of Hindu radicals beat 37-year-old Minj to death in August 2017.

“Minj lived in Tingaru, a village in Palamu district, Jharkhand. He married Anita Minj ten years ago. The couple lived in the predominantly Christian Oraon village,” Dayal said, adding that the victim had many talents. During the sowing season, “he drove a tractor;” off season, “he drove a Bolero taxi.” Two years ago, “A mob of 120 people beat him for slaughtering a bullock.”

Minj was eventually arrested and taken to the police station in Bhandaria. His wife managed to see him before he died in jail. She said he had a torn leg and his body was covered in bruises. Police indicted 17 people in connection with his death, but no one was arrested. He was buried next to Sal trees.

Recently, Tabrez Ansari, a 24-year-old Muslim was lynched in Jharkhand. The pictures of him crouching and pleading mercy have gone viral online.

Reacting to the incident, well-known columnist Harsh Mander has petitioned the state high court to stop communal violence. For his part, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said he was pained by the incident.

In Hinduism, cows are sacred and killing them is considered a sacrilege. Some Indian states have adopted laws banning buying and selling cattle and eating beef.

For many Christians and Muslims, beef is an important source of food and income for those, often poor, who work the animal hide.

In Minj’s case, Dayal blames police for his death “because of callousness and inefficiency,” and failing to arrest “the politically powerful instigators of the mob.”

The issue has not been cited in relation to “the Sangh-inspired ban on beef and the cattle trade,” which has “led to deaths not only of Muslims, and later Dalits, but also Christians and in fact people of all religions.”

Dayal continues: “This is a wake-up call for the Church and the community. What impacts Muslims eventually impacts Christians and other religious and caste minorities. Such is the nature of the violent beast, political Hindutva that has been unleashed this past decade.”

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