By Muhammad Luqman
Yet another Muslim man accused of killing a cow has been beaten to death by a mob in central India, the latest vigilante murder over the animal considered sacred by the Hindu majority in a country called secular democracy.
According to Indian media, Siraj Khan, a 45-year-old tailor, was attacked in the Satna district of Madhya Pradesh state and died at the scene.
Khan’s friend Shakeel Maqbool, who was also attacked, was admitted to hospital with critical injuries.
After the attack , an additional 400 strong police force was deployed to the district as inquiries widened, the Press Trust of India reported.
“We have arrested four people, and they have been sent to judicial custody. We are investigating what prompted the attack,” an Indian police officer was quoted by media.
Hindus consider cows sacred and slaughtering the animals, or possessing or consuming beef, is banned in most Indian states.
Cow slaughter in Madhya Pradesh carries a maximum seven-year jail term but many other parts of India impose life sentences for infringements.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ruling right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has promised to completely outlaw cow slaughter in India.
The Hindu revivalist BJP has been accused of turning a blind eye to a rising number of vigilante attacks in the name of cow protection.
Rights groups say Hindu mobs have been emboldened under the party, who stormed to power in 2014. Most of the victims are Muslims.
In two major cases last year, a dairy farmer was killed on a roadside for transporting cows and a Muslim teenager accused of carrying beef was stabbed to death on a crowded train.
There has been a rise in the number of incidents of cow vigilantism since the election of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to the Indian central government in 2014. The frequency and severity of cow vigilante violence has been described as “unprecedented” Human Rights Watch has reported that there has been a surge in cow vigilante violence since 2015. The surge is attributed to the recent rise in Hindu revivalism in India.