A grieving family of a Hindu priest who was killed while on a holy journey to save a dying Hindu woman in Kerala have told ABC News their grief is “unbearable.”
Dharampal Kumar was found dead in the jungle in February 2018 after being kidnapped by an unknown male, allegedly in the interest of protecting a female Hindu holy man.
His family told ABC affiliate KLISH that he was a “sacrificial virgin” who was on a journey to visit his Hindu mother who had died.
Dhananjay, a brother of Dharampur Kumar, told the news outlet that his brother was a good priest and the family had prayed to him every day.
“Dharamps death was a big blow to our family, but we were so overwhelmed that we did not even think about the consequences,” he said.
Krishna Kumar, the priest’s son, told ABC that the family’s faith had taken a hit and that the community was mourning the loss of a “good man.”
“Our community is very sad about his death, but the family is very happy,” he added.
“He was our father, our grandfather, our brother and his family are in pain.”
While Dharamps family has not been able to find the perpetrator, the police believe the kidnapper may have been motivated by religious reasons.
“The motive behind his abduction is likely to be connected to religious reasons, for instance, his religion was not a majority religion,” the police said.
“This is why it is important to keep in mind that any person who is abducted for any reason should immediately call a police station.”
Dharamviras police said the kidnapping of the priest is being investigated as an attempted murder, but they did not say what the reason was.
According to the Kerala police, a preliminary investigation has found that Dharamvirs family did not follow his religious practices.
Police said they are investigating if Dharams family has any connection with the Hindu holy men in Kerala, but said they have not received any information that Dhanamviras family was involved in the kidnapping.
Local news reports indicated that Dharma is believed to have escaped and was living in the hills near Dhanampal village in the town of Uthappa in the western district of Palakkad, where Dharamas family is based.
Dharams sister-in-law told KLISH the family has lost faith in their priest, adding that the kidnappers have targeted Dharamavirs father-in the name of religion.
“He is the only Hindu holy priest that is alive today,” she said.