New Delhi: The US Commission for International Religious Freedom (USCIRF) on Wednesday strongly condemned the lynching of a Muslim man in Jharkhand and called on the Narendra Modi government to take strong actions to prevent this kind of violence and intimidation.
Tabrez Ansari, 24, was allegedly tied to a pole and thrashed with sticks by a mob at Dhatkidih village in Jharkhand’s Seraikela Kharsawan district last Wednesday on the suspicion of theft.
The newly-married man was purportedly seen in a video being forced to chant Jai Shri Ram and Jai Hanuman. He succumbed to his injuries on Saturday.
“We condemn in the strongest terms this brutal murder, in which the perpetrators reportedly forced Ansari to say Hindu chants as they beat him for hours,” USCIRF chairman Tony Perkins said.
“We call on the Indian government to take concrete actions that will prevent this kind of violence and intimidation by a thorough investigation of Ansari’s murder as well as the local police’s handling of the case,” he said, adding, “Lack of accountability will only encourage those who believe they can target religious minorities with impunity.”
Noteworthy, the incident occurred after India rejected the latest US religious freedom report that outlined alleged incidents of religious tension in India, claiming that it is proud of its secular credentials and is committed to tolerance and inclusion.
The US State Department, in its annual 2018 International Religious Freedom Report released on June 21, said mob attacks by violent extremist Hindu groups against the minority communities, particularly Muslims, continued in India in 2018. The report pointed out that though India’s Constitution guarantees the right to religious freedom, “this history of religious freedom has come under attack in recent years with the growth of exclusionary extremist narratives”.
“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 rumours that victims had traded or killed cows for beef,” the report stated.