Modi breaks silence on India 'beef' lynching

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi breaks his silence over mob killing of Muslim man rumoured to have eaten beef and calls for peace at election rally

Photo by: AP
Photo by: AP

Indian Muslim protests against Indian prime minister Narendra Modi due to the killing of a Muslim farmer.

Prime Mister of India Narendra Modi spoke at an election rally in Nawada on Thursday, breaking his silence on the lynching of Mohammed Akhlaq who was murdered by a mob in India because of the rumours that he had eaten beef.

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi speaks during an election rally. (AP)

"Hindus and Muslims should combat with poverty instead of each other" he said during a rally.

“I have said it earlier too. Hindus should decide whether to fight Muslims or poverty. Muslims have to decide whether to fight Hindus or poverty. Both need to fight poverty together," added Modi. 

"The country has to stay united, only communal harmony and brotherhood will take the nation forward. People should ignore controversial statements made by politicians, as they are doing so for political gains.”

Hindus consider cows sacred and want to prohibit slaughtering the animals in many states. Mr. Modi’s government wants a nationwide ban, despite the fact Muslims and other religious minorities consume beef in India.

"Indians should not believe unreliable expressions by politicians" said Modi, adding "Even if Narendra Modi himself says something like that, don't listen to him. If you want to listen, then hear the speech of President Pranab Mukherjee yesterday [Wednesday]."

"There can be no bigger thought than that. President has shown us the way, and we have to walk on that path. Only then will we be able to live up to the expectations of the world."

Mohammed Akhlaq, 52, was an ironsmith who fashioned agricultural implements. He had managed to educate his children.

His eldest son, Sartaj, is in the Air Force as ground staff, and 21-year-old Danish was also studying to get into the Air Force like his brother.

Their sister was witness to the terror of a mob breaking down their door, beating her grandmother, mother and herself before dragging off Akhlaq and Danish.

She ran from one neighbour to another begging for help, but no one came forward. In vain she insisted that the meat in their fridge was mutton not beef. That didn't stop the mob.

The mob had been instigated by a priest who declared from a temple that Akhlaq had eaten beef and thereby hurt Hindu sentiments.

To avenge the rumoured death of a cow, Akhlaq was beaten to death with sticks and bricks. His son, Danish, has survived the lynching but is still in coma, and likely to suffer brain damage.

Only six people have been arrested after the incident.

TRTWorld and agencies