July 16, 2016 11:23 am

Family of Indian man killed by mob accused of cow slaughter

In this Sept. 30, 2015 file photo, a bruised Asgari Begum, mother of 52-year-old Muslim farmer Mohammad Akhlaq who was killed over rumors he slaughtered a cow, stands by the entrance of her home in Bisara, a village about 45 kilometers (25 miles) southeast of the Indian capital of New Delhi.

AP Photo/Manish Swarup

LUCKNOW, India – Nearly a year after a mob in northern India killed a Muslim man over rumours that he had slaughtered a cow, his family faces prosecution for alleged cow slaughter following a neighbour’s complaint, police said Saturday.

Police registered a case of cow slaughter against Mohammad Akhlaq’s family on Friday following a court order, said police officer Daljeet Singh.

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The court acted on a forensic report that said the meat found in a dustbin outside the family’s home was beef or the meat of “a cow or its progeny.”

Hindus consider cows to be sacred, and for many, eating beef is taboo. The eating of beef is not a crime in Uttar Pradesh state, but slaughtering a cow carries a punishment of up to seven years in jail.

No arrests have been made so far. Yusuf Saifi, the family’s attorney, said he would challenge the court’s order.

READ MORE: India arrests 8 for allegedly killing Muslim over beef-eating rumour

The court is hearing a petition filed by the neighbour and backed by those accused of Akhlaq’s murder alleging that his family had killed a calf and that his brother Jaan Mohammad was seen slitting the throat of the animal. It names seven members of the family, including Akhlaq’s wife and mother.

The killing of Mohammed Akhlaq last September sparked furious debate about religious tolerance in India.

Akhlaq’s family left the village after the attack and is living in New Delhi

READ MORE: India’s die-hard Hindus push to ban beef in blow to poor

Hindus make up more than 80 per cent of India’s population of 1.25 billion, and many have reveled in Prime Minister Modi’s championing of Hindu culture. Many Indian states banned cow slaughter long ago, and hard-liners want a national ban.

Violent protests have erupted at several places in recent months over rumours of cow slaughtering by Muslims. Near the Himalayan town of Shimla, a mob beat a man to death and injured four other people in October over rumours that they were smuggling cows.


© 2016 The Canadian Press

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