Christian boy set ablaze for faith died in Bihar: report

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Christian boy who was a victim of a fire assault in Bihar died on Sunday in a Patna hospital after battling serious burns for more than a month, The Telegraph reported.

Nitish Kumar allegedly threw the acid on himself after a family quarrel over a hair cut, according to police, who classified the case as suicide and did not begin an inquiry.

According to Nitish's elder brother, “This is not true.” They had been suffering significant threats from Hindu extremists, who threw acid on his brother on August 11 as he returned from his early morning routine of buying fresh vegetables in Gaya District's Kamta Nagar village.

Dr Kamod Narayan Tiwary, owner of the hospital where Nitish was treated, said, “The police came and said they did not want to get involved in the case. It was getting late and the bodies of burn victims decompose fast.”

“Finally, the guardians of the boy were asked (by the hospital) to give a declaration that they did not want to register a case. The body was released after that,” said Dr Tiwary.

“The family signed on a consent sheet declaring they were not interested in pursuing the matter further with the police or the courts, did not want a post-mortem and wanted to take the body with them. They took the body away after that,” the doctor explained.

“Throwing acid on a minor Dalit Christian for practising is a barbaric act,” said Father Devasagayaraj M Zackarias, former national secretary of the office for disadvantaged castes of the Catholic Bishops' Conference of India (CBCI).

“The family is threatened. They need protection as we seek justice for the death of the boy,” he added.

"From many sources we know that in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh many Dalit Christians are attacked for their faith with murders, rapes, assaults and intimidation,” said Bishop Sarat Chandra Nayak, chairman of the CBCI’s Office for Scheduled Castes and Backward Classes.

“Dalits are at least half of the Christian population and suffer from an increasing level of violence against them and a double discrimination,” Bishop Nayak explained.

For this reason, “The authorities must do their duty and protect the most vulnerable instead of de facto denying that India is a democratic country that promotes the development of everyone.”