Kailash Bagri, a 40-year-old Dalit man, was stabbed to death in Madhya Pradesh, India, after he struck a “holy” cow, according to a recent report in the Times of India. The attackers then burned Kailash’s body to destroy the evidence and threatened his helpless family to prevent them from filing a police report.
The attack came just after the Indian holiday Diwali, meaning “festival of light.” The holiday is one in which people show their thanks to the deity of wealth. Kailash’s neighbor had decorated the cow so that it could be worshipped during a religious ceremony, a common practice during Diwali. But the cow escaped and wandered into Kailash’s home. He struck the cow in an attempt to make it leave his house.
Kailash’s neighbors and several other villagers were so furious at Kailash that they murdered him in front of his mother, wife, brother and sister-in-law. They burned his body and told the family members not to notify the police about the incident. The Times reported that it was three days before one of them managed to report the incident to the police, who took action and arrested 16 people in connection with the murder.
Attacks like this against Dalits occur frequently and often go unpunished. Even simple assertions of Dalits’ lawful rights and privileges have touched off hate crimes against them by members of the upper castes. Every hour, two Dalits are assaulted, three Dalit women raped, two Dalits murdered and two Dalit houses burned, according to the Human Rights Education Movement of India—yet only one percent of those who commit crimes against Dalits are ever convicted.
Gospel for Asia began working in Madhya Pradesh in 1995, and today more than 375 GFA missionaries serve there. It is their desire to bring the love of Jesus to hurting and broken people, like the family members of Kailash Bagri.
This article was originally published by Gospel for Asia. To learn more about Gospel for Asia, click here.