An angry mob in northeastern India has beaten two Muslim men to death over allegations of cow theft.
A senior state police official named Mukesh Aggarwal frowned at the incident which comes as an addition to a series of violent mob attacks around the country. The police representative said on Monday that no arrests have been made.
However, Aggarwal highlighted that the police have filed a criminal complaint while efforts are being made to apprehend the culprits and bring them to justice.
During the Sunday attack in a village located within Nagon district, 80 miles east of the state capital, Gauhati, an angry mobbed used stones and sticks to kill the two men who allegedly tried stealing a cow.
“Cow vigilantism” is a term for justifying violent mob attacks against cow theft suspects around the country. These premeditated killings have been politicized, misused and criminalized.
According to a police statement from Nagon district, the deceased were in critical condition when cops arrived. They were confirmed dead on reaching the hospital.
The Hindu Newspaper reported that Abu Hanifa and Riazuddin Ali (the victims) were both in their early 20s. The mob attack victims were confirmed as citizens from Kasomori village, about 150km from capital Guwahati.
“When the first police team reached the spot we found the two youths in critical condition after being severely beaten,” Debaraj Upadhay, Nagon district superintendent of police, told the Newswire in a telephone interview on Monday.
“The team immediately took the men to hospital, where they succumbed to their injuries,” he added.
On 1 April, a Muslim trader known as Pehlu Khan was killed by a mob in Rajasthan. He was reportedly transporting a cattle he had bought at an animal fair back to Haryana (his residence). The deceased was later identified as a dairy farmer who did no wrong but was falsely accused in the name of “cow vigilatism.” His death was recorded as the third of it’s kind around the country.
Some local Hindu radical groups have been accused of religious fanaticism. These attacks reportedly started in the wake of Bharatiya Janata Party’s victory at the polls in 2014, and the ruling nationalist party is believed to have inspired an alarming rise in cow-related lynchings.
Human Rights Watch said in a report last week that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took office at least 10 Muslims, including a 12-year-old boy, have been killed in mob attacks in seven separate incidents related to allegations over cows.
Hindus, who form 80% of India’s 1.3 billion people, consider cows to be sacred, and for many eating beef is taboo.
In many Indian states, the slaughtering of cows and selling of beef is restricted or banned.