India arrests suspects in death of Muslim over beef rumour

Muslim farmer in northern India dies after being beat by bricks over alleged rumours of slaughtering, storing beef at his home

Photo by: AFP
Photo by: AFP

Mohammad Akhlaq was a farm worker and killed by a mob.

Eight people have been arrested for allegedly beating a Muslim farmer to death and severely injuring his son after hearing claims that the family was eating beef.

When a temple announced the family had been slaughtering cows and keeping the beef in their house, a mob of about 60 Hindus became enraged in Bisara, a border village in Uttar Pradesh state, the District Magistrate, Nagendra Pratap Singh said.

Singh also said that on Monday night, the mob picked up 52-year-old Mohammed Akhlaq and his son from their home and beat them with sticks and bricks.

Akhlaq was announced dead, while his son was being treated at a nearby hospital.

In many Indian states, the slaughtering of cows and selling of beef are restricted. For Hindus, cows are worshipped as holy and many of the animals are often seen in country.

Shashi Tharorr, opposition lawmaker said through twitter that "horrific killing shows this meat bigotry has gone out of control," and that Indians should be "free to eat what they want."

Following the complain of Hindus’s losing their cows and buffaloes, tensions started to escalate in the village, where approximately 40 percent of the 1,500 citizens are Muslim, Singh said.

Police arrested the suspects on Tuesday, which resulted in a group of protestors attacking the officers and their vehicles, the police were forced to open fire, a local newspaper said.

Meanwhile, police sent samples of meat taken from Akhlaq’s home to decide if the meat being stored is actually from a cow or not.

Akhlaq's 46-year-old brother, Jan Mohammad Saifi, said that the family was surprised by the attack and Akhlaq’s daughter Sajida said that they had mutton in the refrigerator.

"My brother was singled out. Why were we targeted? We don't eat beef," Saifi said. "They announced our family had slaughtered a cow in the village, and that provoked people to attack our home’’ he added.

18-year-old Sajida told the newspaper that, "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." 

Uttar Pradesh requested a probe for the incident, state official Alok Ranjan said.

According to Sing, eight suspects in custody were accused of murder and rioting. Police are searching for two more suspects in the area.

TRTWorld and agencies