A Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob in India’s Madhya Pradesh on the suspicion of slaughtering cattle, the Hindustan Times reported on Saturday.
Police identified the deceased as Riaz, a 45-year-old tailor. His friend, Shakeel, 38, was injured in the alleged assault and admitted in a hospital in Jabalpur in a critical condition.
They were allegedly beaten up by attackers armed with sticks in Amgara village, about 28km from their home in the Purani Basti neighbourhood of Maihar town, in the early hours of Friday.
According to Indian Express, four accomplices of Riaz and Shakeel fled from the scene when the villagers “found a group with cattle”.
In his complaint to the police, Shakeel denied any involvement in slaughtering cattle. Meanwhile, one of his alleged attackers, Pawan Singh Gond, filed a complaint against Shakeel and Riaz for slaughtering cows.
Police have registered a first information report (FIR) under sections of the Madhya Pradesh Cow Slaughter Ban Act, 2004, and the Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Cattle Preservation Act, 1959 against Riaz and Shakeel, Hindustan Times reported.
“On the basis of the FIR lodged by the villager, Shakeel will be arrested after he is discharged from the hospital,” a police officer was quoted as saying. He added that carcases of two cows were recovered from the village.
The maximum punishment for cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh is seven years imprisonment.
Attacks by ‘cow protection’ vigilante groups have been on the rise in recent years in India.
The increase in the attacks had last year forced the Indian prime Minister Narendra Modi to speak out against them.
“Killing people in the name of Gau Bhakti (cow worship) is not acceptable. This not something Mahatma Gandhi would approve,” Modi had said days after a 15-year-old Mulsim boy Junaid Khan was killed for allegedly carrying beef.
Critics say vigilantes have been emboldened since Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party was elected to power in 2014.
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