A mob in India beat a Muslim man to death with sticks this month after forcing him to perform Hindu chants. The incident has been described on social media as a sectarian “lynching,” video footage cited by several news outlets purportedly shows.
The mob reportedly beat 22-year-old Tabrez Ansari on June 18 in the eastern state of Jharkand. Ansari reportedly died of his injuries on June 22.
On Monday, the Independent reported that the attackers targeted Ansari for allegedly breaking into a house and stealing a motorbike and other items.
“Let us assume he was caught for theft, but tying him up and beating him for hours and then asking him to chant [Hindu slogans] is shocking,” Maqsood Alam, the victim’s uncle, declared, according to the Independent. “His mistake was that he was a Muslim, otherwise he would have been alive.”
Several videos allegedly showing the attack have reportedly spread quickly online in the wake of the assault.
The Modi Administration has emboldened Islamophobia to frightening levels in #India. Mass lynching, violent attacks, and a culture of fear looms over the country's 195 Million Muslims
VIDEO: This lynching of a Muslim Man, Tabrez Ansari, happened days ago. (WARNING: graphic) pic.twitter.com/2ac5mR3Gmv
— Khaled Beydoun (@KhaledBeydoun) June 25, 2019
Citing one the clips, Indian newspaper the Telegraph reported on Monday:
Tabrez was caught with two others on the suspicion that they had stolen a motorcycle, a purse, a voter identity card, and a cellphone at Dhatkidih village within the Seraikela police station limits, around 35km from Jamshedpur in Jharkhand, a state where lynchings tied to [theft or trade of] beef had been reported earlier.
The other two escaped but around 15 villagers tied Tabrez to a cement pole and thrashed him with sticks through the night, police sources said. On Wednesday morning, the villagers handed over Tabrez, along with the allegedly stolen goods, to the police and told them he had fallen and injured himself.
Ansari reportedly pleaded with the crowd to stop, to no avail.
The mob forced the victim to chant the Hindu slogans “Jai Shri Ram” and “Jai Hanuman.”
According to the Independent, the chants, which mean “‘victory to Lord Rama’ and ‘victory to Hanuman,’ are traditionally performed by devout Hindus. Rama and Hanuman are both Hindu gods.”
On June 23, Indian authorities arrested the mob’s alleged ringleader, identified as 23-year-old Pappu Mondal.
“The arrest was executed on a complaint from the wife of Tabrez, whom he had married in April,” the Telegraph noted.
India news outlet the Wire claimed that detectives said Ansari admitted to robbing the house with two other accomplices.
“Multiple Indian newspapers said the police officers did not record the alleged assault in their incident report,” the Independent pointed out.
India’s ruling Hindu-nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) is inciting hatred against religious minorities in the country, namely Muslims and Christians, the U.S. government has learned.
A report on international religious freedom issued by the U.S. government on June 21 found that attacks against India’s Muslim minority took place throughout 2018.
There were reports by nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that the government sometimes failed to act on mob attacks on religious minorities, marginalized communities, and critics of the government. Some senior officials of the Hindu-majority Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) made inflammatory speeches against minority communities.
Mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against minority communities, especially Muslims, continued throughout the year amid rumors that victims had traded or killed cows for beef.
Hindus honor the cow, believing it is a representative of the divine.
New Delhi has dismissed the U.S. government’s findings as false.
“India is proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion,” a spokesperson for the Indian government said, the Independent reported.
Ironically, when Ansari succumbed to murderous assault, was the same day when the
Indian govt rebuked the US for the state department’s 2018 International Religious
Freedom report that criticized India’s growing intolerance!#IndiaAgainstLynchTerrorhttps://t.co/Q6kbfd6Vxc
— United Against Hate (@UAH_India) June 25, 2019
State added that, in India, “There were reports of religiously motivated killings, assaults, riots, discrimination, vandalism, and actions restricting the right of individuals to practice their religious beliefs and proselytize.”