LAXMANPUR, India (BP)–An evangelist who helped screen a film about the life of Jesus in eastern India’s Bihar state was brutally murdered May 2.
Reported details of the murder vary. The International Christian Concern human rights group reported May 5 that Ravi Murmu and members of his team had completed the screening and started their journeys home. Along the way, the evangelist separated from the rest of the team to take a shortcut home. When he failed to arrive by late evening, a search was organized and his body was found with his right hand severed and deep cuts on his neck and other parts of his body.
The All India Christian Council, however, reported that the team’s generator developed problems during the screening and the evangelist went to fix the problem but did not return.
Robbery apparently was not the motive because the attackers in the incident, which occurred in Laxmanpur, didn’t take any of the evangelist’s belongings, including his motor bike, cell phone and watch.
Police took the body to a hospital for a post mortem exam, after which the family was able to take the body, ICC reported.
Murmu (listed as age 28 by ICC, 30 by the Indian council) is survived by his wife Rinku, an 8-year-old daughter Celesty and his widowed mother.
Murmu’s brother Shailendra, who also is an evangelist, was asked how the family is coping with the murder and answered, “The peace of God still reigns in this house and in this family,” ICC reported.
Ravi Murmu was an evangelist working with Brethren Church, according to the All India Christian Council’s indianchristians.in website. Two people reportedly have been detained by police in connection with the murder.
India’s censusindia.gov.in website says Bihar’s 83 million people are 84 percent Hindu, 16.5 percent Muslim and .06 percent Christian. Religious violence, which often is connected to Hinduism’s traditional caste system, is a chronic problem in the state.
Compiled by Baptist Pressw assistant editor Mark Kelly.