Sunday, June 6, 2010

Anti-Christian Motives Suspected in Evangelist’s Slaying in India

Hostilities common in area in Bihar state; victim had been part of team attacked in 2008.

The gruesome nature of the May 2 murder of an evangelist in Bihar state who had no enmity with anyone has led area Christians to suspect anti-Christian motives.

The mutilated body of Ravi Murmu, 32, was found in Jamalpur, Munger district, with the right hand nearly severed by means of a sharp weapon, and the jaw and neck were similarly slashed.

“Efforts were made to chop off his hand and neck, trying to separate it from his body,” Shekhar Kumar, a member of his church, told Compass.

Police are investigating but have made no arrests so far.

“All his belongings were intact, which included his motorbike, Bible, cell phone, wristwatch and some cash,” Murmu’s brother-in-law, Shiv Kumar, told Compass. “This seems to be a planned murder. That is why Ravi was targeted when he was alone. To me the motive seems to be anti-Christian.”

Murmu’s pastor, Yunus Mandal of Bethel Brethren Assembly in Jamalpur, agreed.

“The intention behind the murder evidently is not robbery,” Mandal said. “I am suspicious that Hindu fundamentalists have done this, but this could also be the handiwork of the Naxalites [Maoist rebels].”

Kumar and Murmu’s widow, Rinku Murmu, both said the evangelist had no enmity with anyone, and that anti-Christian sentiment was the only motive they could surmise.