A beef lynching? A crazed mob in India, driven by rumors of beef consumption, executed a man, lynching him in front of his family in India’s northern state of Uttar Pradesh. Driven by rumors that the family had slaughtered, ate and stored beef from a cow – an animal considered sacred among India’s largely Hindu populace – the mob carried out vigilante justice, even though the family insisted the meat in their fridge was mutton.
Reports the IBTimes on Sept. 30: “The incident happened in Dadri town, about 37 miles southwest of New Delhi, Monday night. The mob broke into Mohammad Akhlaq’s house, dragged him and his son Danish out and beat them with bricks, NDTV, a local news network, reported. The 50-year-old reportedly died before he could be taken to a hospital while Danish remains in a critical condition.”
“My husband was bleeding. His head was smashed. They beat the family… My husband had no enemies,” Akhlaq’s wife reportedly said, according to the Indian Express.
According to police, six people have been arrested in connection with the beef lynching. The beatings led to a night of protests and riots, with damage to police vehicles and at least one protestor being shot and wounded. Beef was removed from the home and shipped to forensics for analysis, investigators said.
District Magistrate N.P. Singh said police were able to gain control of the situation, and that the local priest was taken in for questioning as well. “Some locals spread rumors that Akhlaq had cow meat at his home and engaged in cow-slaughtering. Following the rumors, tension ignited and some locals attacked his home in Bisara village,” Singh said.
Akhlaq’s daughter, Sajida, said the family never had any beef in their home. “A group of more than 100 people from the village” descended on their home, Sajida recounted. “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. We came to know later that an announcement had been made from the temple about us eating beef.”
Adds BBC News: “Slaughter of cows is a sensitive issue in India as the animal is considered sacred by Hindus, who comprise 80 percent of the country’s 1.2 billion 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.”
“They also tried to molest me and hit my grandmother on her face,” Sajida added. “They threatened to kill me if I said a word to the police.”