A mob in India beat to death an old Muslim man and severely injured his son following rumours that he and his family had been consuming beef, it was reported on Wednesday.
Residents of the Bisara village in Dadri, Uttar Pradesh, attacked the family of Muhammad Akhlaq, 50, Monday night after a local temple reportedly spread rumours that some Muslims had been slaughtering cows, police officials said. Akhlaq himself was beaten to death while his 22-year-old son was severely wounded, they added.
A day earlier, a mob lynched another Muslim man in Uttar Pradesh as well after accusing him of being a ‘Pakistani’ terrorist.
“They dragged my brother and father outside the room and used bricks which they found under his bed to beat them,” Akhlaq’s 18-year-old daughter Sajida was quoted as saying by The Indian Express. “My father was taken outside the house and beaten to death.
My brother was dragged to the courtyard downstairs and they used bricks to hit him on the head and chest, leaving him unconscious,” she said.
“They also tried to molest me and hit my grandmother on her face. They threatened to kill me if I said a word to the police,” Sajida added.
Akhlaq’s mother Asgari Begum said the Hindu residents of Bisara were led to believe they had been storing and eating beef. “There was an announcement from the Shiv Mandir saying we had slaughtered a cow and were eating beef since Eid,” she said.
“That was all it took… they [the mob] didn’t even bother check what kind of meat it was [in our fridge],” Asgari Begum added. She said she had ‘never even seen beef’ in her life.
According to Sajida, the temple had not even finished making the announcement when the mob reached her house. “We didn’t even know what the announcement was about… [but] before it had finished, they were at our house and had broken down our doors,” she told The Indian Express.
It was only when the police reached the village around 10:30 pm that the attackers ran away, Sajida added.
Police have arrested six people in connection with the attack. The arrests triggered further protests, however, which prompted police shelling, caused damage to vehicles and resulted in injuries to a 20-year-old power worker.
Vandana, whose brothers are among the six to be arrested so far, said she was ‘sad’ at how the episode unfolded. “But all said and done, I’m sure no one will dare to eat beef in this village ever again,” she added.
Meanwhile, Akhlaq’s family, which has been living in Bisara for generations, said they had never felt any communal tension in the past. “Every time there was a feast in this house, Hindu residents of the village would attend such functions. Even on Bakr Eid [Eidul Azha], we had guests. But suddenly they started doubting us,” said Sajida
Police also said they have sent samples of meat taken from Akhlaq’s home to the forensics department for examination.
“There was some mutton in the fridge which was taken away yesterday. They thought it was beef. The police have taken it for examination,” said Sajida. “But even if the results prove that it was not beef, will they bring back my dead father?” she asked.
A magisterial inquiry has been ordered into the incident and Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav has announced an ex-gratia payment of Rs100,000 for Akhlaq’s family.
Man accused of being ‘Pakistani terrorist’ lynched
A 42-year-old unidentified man was lynched in Kanpur, Uttar Pradesh on Sunday by a mob which accused him of being a Pakistani terrorist, police said.
Nine persons were later arrested for their alleged role in the killing and remanded in judicial custody, police said, adding that efforts were on to identify the deceased.
The attack on the man was triggered by rumours that a Pakistani terrorist was present in the area, said Sukh Ram Rawat, Sheikhpura police outpost in-charge.
“While questioning him about his background, the locals started beating him up. More people from nearby localities joined in and assaulted the man with sticks. Some of them hit him with a sharp edged weapon,” added Rawat.
Akhilesh Kumar, Station Officer, Maharajpur, said that by the time police reached the spot, they found “a group of men trying to throw the man in a river.”
“After seeing the police, they left the victim and fled. We have concluded that the victim is a Muslim after physical verification,” he said.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2015.