A Muslim man in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was lynched to death by a Hindu mob after rumours surfaced about his family storing and consuming beef at home. Before being killed, 50-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq was hit with stones by members of the mob, who also went on to violently attack his 22-year-old son.
So far, six people have been arrested with regards to the shocking incident that took place in Dadri on September 28, as police officials continue to investigate who started the rumour.
In India, where 80 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion population constitutes Hindus, the slaughter of cows happens to be a sensitive issue since most adherents of the religion consider the animal to be sacred. Uttar Pradesh is only one of the many states that have recently tightened laws related to cow slaughter as well as the sale and consumption of beef.
Speaking to the media, Akhlaq’s family said that they had stored mutton in their refrigerator and not beef. In a bizarre move, the police decided to have the meat tested to prove whether it was really mutton or beef.
“Some locals spread rumours that Akhlaq had cow meat at his home and engaged in cow slaughter. Following the rumours, they attacked his home,” senior official NP Singh told the media.
Another senior official said the revelation about Akhlaq’s family consuming beef was made at a local temple. The lynching took place in a village, merely 50 kilometers from the capital city of India, where Akhlaq worked as a farmer to provide for his poor family.
His 18-year-old daughter, Sajida, described the series of events that led to Akhlaq’s gruesome death.
“A group of more than 100 people from the village reached our house on Monday night. They accused us of keeping cow meat, broke down our doors and started beating my father and brother. My father was dragged outside the house and beaten with bricks,” she said. “We came to know later that an announcement had been made at the temple about us eating beef...There was some mutton in the fridge...The police have taken it for examination.”
After certain members of the mob were arrested the following day, locals clashed with the police and damaged several vehicles even.
In India, as many as 11 states –as well as two union territories– have implemented bans on the slaughter of cows, bulls and bullocks.
Photo Credits: The Indian Express