Asia-Pacific

Suspected cow smuggler killed in India

A mob has attacked and fatally beaten a Muslim man in western India after he was accused of cow smuggling.

A Muslim man has been beaten to death by a mob in western India over allegations he smuggled cows, police say.

The mob intercepted two men who were bringing two cows with them around midnight on Friday in a forested area in Alwar district of Rajasthan state and began beating them with sticks, said police officer Mohan Singh.

He said the men were taking the dairy animals to their village in neighbouring Haryana state.

One managed to escape while the other was taken to a hospital where doctors declared him dead on arrival.

Singh said police got a tip-off about the attack and immediately but "the attackers fled as they saw us approaching, leaving behind the injured man and two cows."

Police could not verify the allegation the men were smuggling cows.

In a similar case last year in the same district, a Muslim man was killed and 14 others brutally beaten after being accused of bringing cows for slaughter.

Cows are considered sacred in the Hindu-majority country, and slaughtering cows or eating beef is illegal or restricted across much of the country.

India has seen a series of mob attacks on minority groups since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party swept national elections in 2014.

Most of the attacks by so-called cow vigilantes from Hindu groups have targeted Muslims, who make up 4 per cent of India's 1.3 billion people. Hindus make up about 80 per cent of the population.

Last month, two Muslims were lynched in eastern Jharkhand state on charges of cattle theft. Such mob attacks have left at least 20 people dead by cow vigilante groups, mostly believed to be tied to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's ruling party.

India's highest court on Tuesday asked the federal government to consider enacting a law to deal with an increase in lynching and mob violence, fuelled mostly by rumours that the victims either belonged to members of child kidnapping gangs or were beef eaters and cow slaughterers.

Stay up to date with SBS NEWS

  • App
  • Subscribe
  • Follow
  • Listen
  • Watch