'Even if He Was Muslim, Beating Him Would Be Wrong': Brother of Man Killed in MP
"Out of the five siblings, he was the eldest and the most innocent," says his brother Rajesh Jain.
"Even if my brother was a 'Mohammed' [Muslim], it's still wrong to beat someone. Humanity should prevail. Who gave them this right [to kill someone]?" asks Rajesh Jain, younger brother of Bhanwarlal Jain, an elderly, mentally ill man who was allegedly beaten up over suspicion of being a Muslim in Madhya Pradesh's Neemuch.
Bhanwarlal was later found dead on the night of 19 May.
"Out of the five siblings, he was the eldest and the most innocent. He wasn't stable enough to marry but he could go about his daily routine. He could even help us with farming. He was like a blank piece of paper with no anger, hurt, or negativity," adds Rajesh.
Sixty-five-year-old Bhanwarlal lived with his brother Rajesh, their 90-year-old mother Pistabai, and Rajesh's family in Sirsi village of Jaora tehsil in Madhya Pradesh's Ratlam district. The village sarpanch, Pistabai, is the oldest of all the sarpanches in the Ratlam district.
What Happened to Bhanwarlal Jain?
On 15 May, Bhanwarlal along with a few family members, including his brothers Rajesh and Ashok Jain, and their 90-year-old mother, left from Ratlam to visit a Bhairo Baba temple in Rajasthan's Chittorgarh. On 16 May, the eldest brother Bhanwarlal, who isn't mentally fit, wandered off to Neemuch's Sarsi village, which in the local dialect is pronounced in the same way as his original village Sirsi in Ratlam.
On 19 May, the local police in Neemuch received a call about an unidentified dead body, which was recovered and put in the freezer.
A photo was circulated for the identification of the body. Rajesh and his family confirmed that the deceased was Bhanwarlal Jain.
On the following morning, on 20 May, the police handed over the body for the final rites after conducting a post-mortem. Later that day, Bhanwarlal's younger brother Rajesh received a video on WhatsApp which showed his brother being thrashed by a man (later identified as the accused Dinesh Kushwah) in the middle of the night, asking the former to identify himself and questioning him about whether he was a Muslim.
Rajesh and some other family members rushed to the Manasa police station of Neemuch district where a case was registered under sections of murder.
A day later, on 21 May, the Neemuch police arrested Dinesh Kushwah and sent him to jail. Speaking to The Quint, Bharatiya Janata Party's Neemuch district president Pawan Patidar had confirmed that Dinesh Kushwah was a party worker, and his wife a local BJP leader.
MP Home Minister Says 'In Touch With Family,' Family Denies
Bhanwarlal Jain's family has been a BJP loyalist since decades. Talking to The Quint, Bhanwarlal's cousin Ajit Chattar Jain said that he, his wife, and Bhanwarlal's mother Pistabai are all BJP loyalists. However, he adds that no leader has contacted them ever since the death of his cousin.
"I was a councillor of Jaora municipal council, and my wife held that post, too. We are BJP loyalists till today, but after the death of my brother, no BJP leader has called us or met us," Ajit says.
"My uncle, Bhanwarlal's father Shantilal, and his friend Bankarlal Naima founded and established the Jana Sangh in Sarsi village. Since then, the family has been associated with the BJP."
Rajesh, too, adds that although he has read news reports about Madhya Pradesh Home Minister Narottam Mishra saying that they are in touch with our family, no one has contacted them.
"It was disheartening when I heard our respected Narottam Mishra ji on the TV saying that they are in touch with the family. No one has contacted us. No has called us until now."
Rajesh further claimed that the accused was receiving political protection.
"The bulldozer was sent to his house. It was stationed there for an hour but then it was called back. Why wasn't his house demolished? This points towards the political protection that the accused is getting," Rajesh says.
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