India

Indian man lynched over beef rumours

  • 30 September 2015
  • From the section India
A relative holds a photograph of slain Indian villager Mohammad Akhlaq at his home in the village of Bisada, Image copyright AFP
Image caption Mohammad Akhlaq was a farm worker

A 50-year-old man in northern India has been killed in a mob lynching allegedly over rumours that his family had been storing and consuming beef at home.

Mohammad Akhlaq was kicked and beaten with stones by a group of men in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh state on Monday night.

Mr Akhlaq's 22-year-old son was also seriously injured in the attack, and has been admitted to a hospital.

Six people have been arrested in connection with the incident. Police are probing who spread the rumour.

Slaughter of cows is a sensitive issue in India as the animal is considered sacred by Hindus, who comprise 80% of the country's 1.2bn people.

Uttar Pradesh is among a number of Indian states who have tightened laws banning cow slaughter and the sale and consumption of beef.

The beef ban has also provoked outrage with many questioning how the government decides what is on their plate.

Mr Akhlaq's family said the family had stored mutton, and not beef in their fridge. The police have taken the meat and sent it for testing, reports said.

"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 local official NP Singh told The Indian Express newspaper.

Senior police official Kiran S told the AFP news agency that the "announcement about the family consuming beef was made at a [local] temple".

The incident happened in a village, barely 50km (31 miles) away from the Indian capital, Delhi, where Mr Akhlaq, a farm worker, lived with his family.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Relatives mourn the death of Mohammad Akhlaq in the village
Image copyright Hindustan Times
Image caption Local villagers protested against the arrests and clashed with the police
Image caption Mr Akhlaq's family says a temple made an announcement that they had consumed beef
Image caption There is tight security outside Mr Akhlaq's house

His 18-year-old daughter Sajida told the newspaper that a "group of more than 100 people from the village" reached the 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 had come to know later that an announcement had been made from the temple about us eating beef...There was some mutton in the fridge...The police have taken it for examination."

Reports said local villagers, protesting against the arrests, had clashed with the police, and damaged a number of vehicles.

Eleven states - including Uttar Pradesh - and two union territories (federally-administered regions) in India ban slaughter of cows, calves, bulls and bullocks.

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