06/27/2019, 17.12
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Catholic man lynched by cow vigilantes in Jharkhand

Ramesh Minj was 37 years old. He died as a result of the beating he received from a mob of 120 Hindu nationalists in August 2017. The family has not yet achieved justice. For Catholic activist, “Such is the nature of the violent beast, political Hindutva”.

New Delhi (AsiaNews) – The murder of a Catholic tribal man in Jharkhand by Hindu nationalist cow vigilantes has been ignored by everyone, this according to John Dayal, general secretary of the All India Christian Council and president of the All India Catholic Union.

The dead man, Dayal told AsiaNews, Ramesh Minj, 37, died from the beating he received from a mob of Hindu radicals in August 2017.

“His death did not enter the discourse of persecution of Christians,” he explained. “Christian NGOs were not involved.” Meanwhile, “the family is still waiting for justice.”

Ramesh 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”.

Ramesh 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.

This kind of incident is nothing new. Indian public opinion has recently been shaken by the brutal murder of Tabrez Ansari, a 24-year-old Muslim from Jharkhand. The pictures of him crouching and pleading mercy have gone viral online.

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

In India the issue of "sacred cows" has become a national emergency, especially in connection with the lynching of Muslims by members of Hindu Sangh Parivar groups.

In Hinduism, cows are sacred animals and killing them is considered an outrage to the gods. 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 Ramesh’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.”

For the president of the All India Catholic Union, “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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