India PM Narendra Modi condemns murder in cow's name

Indian PM Narendra Modi Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Mr Modi (above) has been criticised for not doing enough to condemn cow protection vigilantes

India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said murder in the name of cow protection is "not acceptable".

Many Hindus believe cows are sacred and killing them is banned in some states.

Hours after Mr Modi's comments, a Muslim man was reportedly killed by a mob who accused him of transporting beef in his car.

On Wednesday, thousands of Indians took part in protests against rising attacks on Muslims and Dalits (formerly untouchables) by vigilante groups.

The latest victim, a 45-year-old man, was reportedly attacked by more than 100 people in the eastern state of Jharkhand.

Pictures on social media showed him being beaten as meat lay strewn on the road and his car was enveloped by flames. He died in hospital.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Many Hindus believe that slaughtering cows is unacceptable

Nearly a dozen people have been killed in similar attacks. Targets are often picked based on rumours and Muslims have been attacked for even transporting cows for milk.

On Wednesday, protests under the banner #NotInMyName were held in several Indian cities, including Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Lucknow and Allahabad, as well as in London. Gatherings are also planned for later in the week in Chennai city as well as in Toronto in Canada, Boston in the US, and Karachi in Pakistan.

Critics of the government say that ever since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party came to power in 2014, cow protection vigilantes have carried out numerous attacks on Muslims and lower caste Indians known as Dalits, for whom beef is a staple.

They have also criticised Mr Modi for not doing enough to condemn the attacks.

Image copyright Orijit Sen
Image caption The campaign poster by graphic artist Orijit Sen
Image caption Demonstrators held banners and songs of protests were sung

On Thursday, Mr Modi told a gathering in his home state Gujarat that killing people in the name of cow protection was "not in keeping with the principles of India's founding father, Mahatma Gandhi".

"As a society, there is no place for violence," Mr Modi said, adding that "no person has the right to take the law in his or her own hands".

This is not the first time Mr Modi has commented on the cow vigilante groups.

He had made similar comments in August, but mob lynchings of Muslims accused of eating beef or killing cattle have continued.

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Media captionWhat’s India’s beef with beef? (VIDEO FROM 2015)

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