Beaten to death over rumours of eating beef

NEW DELHI • Indian police said yesterday they have arrested six people after a 50-year-old Muslim man was beaten to death over rumours he was storing and consuming beef, a taboo in the Hindu-majority nation.

Mr Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged from his house on the outskirts of the capital by around 100 people before being kicked and beaten with stones on Monday night, a police officer said.

"When our team reached the spot, a crowd was there outside his house. They (police) managed to rescue him and take him to the hospital, but his life could not be saved," said Senior Superintendent Kiran S.

"We have arrested six people and deployed additional personnel to contain any further repercussions."

Mr Akhlaq's 22-year-old son was also seriously injured in the attack and was in intensive care at a nearby hospital.

Local villagers, protesting against the arrests, clashed with the police and damaged a number of vehicles, reported the BBC.

Killing cows is banned in many Indian states, a majority-Hindu country that also has sizeable Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities.

In March, the state of Maharashtra toughened its ban to make even possessing beef illegal, a move seen by religious minorities as a sign of the growing power of hardline Hindus since nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.

The rumours that the family had eaten beef began when a calf was reported missing in Dadri village, 35km from New Delhi.

"An announcement about the family consuming beef was made at a temple, after which the mob descended on the man's house," said Senior Supt Kiran.

AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 01, 2015, with the headline 'Beaten to death over rumours of eating beef'. Print Edition | Subscribe