On Sunday, two Muslim men were beaten to death by a mob in India for allegedly stealing cows, marking the third cow-related death in India in April and at least the 10th death since 2014.
Police report the attack occurred when a mob accused the men of trying to steal cows and then proceeded to beat them with sticks and rocks. The two unnamed men were in critical condition when police reached the scene and were later declared dead at a hospital.
Mukesh Aggarwal is a senior state police official in the northeastern state of Assam where the violent attack took place. He said police have filed a criminal complaint and are working to identify members of the mob, but they have yet to make any arrests.
In a report by Human Rights Watch last week, it stated that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a member of the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party, took office in 2014, a rise in cow-related lynchings and beatings has occurred.
On April 1, Pehlu Khan, a Muslim cattle trader and dairy farmer, was lynched as he transported cattle he purchased at an animal fair back to his home.
Last week, the count totaled at least seven incidents in which 10 Muslims have been killed in mob attacks related to cows, including one involving 12-year-old boy.
Hindus form 80 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people. They believe cows to be sacred, and many consider eating beef unacceptable. Slaughtering cows and selling beef is restricted or banned in many Indian states.
The mob attacks, however, are mostly attributed to local Hindu radical groups. Over the last two years, vigilante groups that call themselves cow protectors, have taken action in cities and small towns across India. Even lower caste Hindus who skin dead cattle have been victims of mob violence.
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