(NEWSER) – The mob came in the night while Mohammad Akhlaq slept, smashing in his door and dragging him from bed, then beating him to death with bricks until the blocks crumbled in their hands, reports the Washington Post. Why? “They accused us of keeping cow meat,” Akhlaq’s daughter, Sajida, tells the Indian Express. (More: Enraged Mumbai residents say hands off our chicken tikka.)
About 80% of Indians are Hindu and refuse to eat beef for religious reasons, but many of the country’s 140 million Muslims do eat beef—or at least they did until laws passed or tightened under Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, banned the practice, per the Post. The AP reports the state of Uttar Pradesh—home to Akhlaq, a Muslim in his 50s—prohibits the slaughter of cows and those who break the law face arrest. Yet when a rumor spread that Akhlaq killed a calf, 100 men in Bisara village reportedly took matters into their own hands.
They “broke down our doors and started beating my father and brother,” Sajida says. “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.” The 22-year-old is now in critical condition. “They also tried to molest me and hit my grandmother,” Sajida continues. “They threatened to kill me if I said a word to the police.”
Sajida adds there was only mutton in the fridge. “The police have taken it for examination. If the results prove that it was not beef, will they bring back my dead father?”
The AP reports eight people are charged with murder and rioting. The Expressnotes protesters set fire to two police cars and one person was shot by police after officers detained the priest of a temple from which the mob reportedly set out. The priest was later released. (In Afghanistan, a mob killed a woman over rumors she burned a Koran.)
This article originally appeared on Newser.
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