By Stefan J. Bos, Chief International Correspondent
The young church leader Nitish Kumar died in hospital in the city of Gaya in India’s Bihar state, confirmed charity Barnabas Fund which had close contacts with the local Christians.
Kumar “was buried on September 26 after finally succumbing to his injuries sustained in an acid attack,” Barnabas Fund added.
In published remarks, his family said the attack was carried out by “radical Hindutva nationalists” in reprisal for Nitish’s refusal to stop holding daily prayer meetings in his home.
Police reportedly claimed his death was a suicide saying he burned himself to death in response to a family argument. Christians vehemently denied the police allegations.
Sanjeet, the victim’s elder brother, said the problems began August 11 when Kumar had gone to buy vegetables from the local market. “He had hardly gone 750 meters (0,5 miles) when three men on a motorcycle threw acid on him,” Sanjeet said in a statement. “He started burning and rushed back screaming.”
“POLICE NOT HELPFUL”
Ranjeev, another of Kuma’s brothers, complained that police “were not helpful” in registering the case.
Dr. Kamod Narayan Tiwary, the hospital owner where the Christian teenager was treated, expressed his shock about the late Christian’s situation. “When I saw the boy, 70 percent of his body had burned. Both hands, his back, parts of the chest, both thighs, and a leg had severe burns that seemed to have been caused by acid or a similar chemical.”
Ranjeev added in a statement released by Worthy News threats against the family, which began in July, had increased since the attack.
An unidentified Indian church leader was quoted as saying until now, Bihar has not been known for anti-Christian violence. “I am worried that this will become a model of attack for others to follow. Christians in smaller communities have become more and more vulnerable to such attacks.”
In July 2021, the Evangelical Fellowship of India warned of increasing targeted and communal violence against Christians across the country, a mainly Hindu nation.
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