Young man murdered by mob in India over suspicions of cow slaughter

A pamphlet protesting against the Muslim practice of beef-eating. The demon Kali (far right) attempts to slaughter the sacred cow, represented by "the mother of cows" Kamadhenu in whose body all deities are believed to reside. The colour version ran by the Ravi Varma Press (c. 1912).Wikipedia

A young Musim man in India who believed he had been hired to transport some machinery has been beaten to death after he was accused of smuggling cows for slaughter.

Villagers at Sarahan in Himachal Pradesh in northern India beat the 20-year-old man, Norman, to death and injured four others. 

The murder comes after another man was lynched in Dadri after it was claimed that he and his family had stored and consumed beef, Indian Express reported.

India is the world's largest exporter of beef and its fifth biggest consumer. Many Hindus regard cows as sacred and in some regions it is forbidden to kill or consume beef. Of India's population of 1.3 billion, more than eight in ten are Hindu and just over a tenth are Muslim. Since Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi's Bharatiya Janata party came to power last year, there has been a growing movement for a nationwide ban.

Hindu vigilantes saw a truck with cattle being driven "rashly". Norman was escorting the truck in another vehicle. The four men in the truck were caught by the villagers when it crashed, who then caught Norman and beat him so badly that he died in hospital the following day. The other four got away by rolling down a mountainside.

None of those responsible for the assault has been arrested. "We got the post-mortem done at Indira Gandhi Medical College, Shimla. The body has been handed over to his relatives, who came here from Saharanpur, UP," said superintendent of police Somuya Sambasivan.

However, the four surivors of the assault have been arrested and taken into custody under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and the Himachal Pradesh Cow Slaughter Act.

Police said they cannot arrest those who beat up the four survivors and murdered Norman because noone is able to identify them.

Norman's father Sayeed Akhtar said his son was hired on the pretext of transporting machinery. "He was innocent and perhaps not aware of the cattle smuggling," he said.