A 45-year-old man has been lynched to death by a crowd in Madhya Pradesh after he and three others were suspected to have slaughtered a cow. The man, identified as Siraj, a tailor in Maihar in Satna district, was killed by an angry mob while a taxi driver named Shakeel, 33, suffered major injuries and is still in a coma at a private hospital in Jabalpur. Two other men believed to be with them managed to escape the violence.
The incident took place on Thursday night, and four people were arrested for murder and attempt to murder. Among the four arrested, one filed a complaint against Siraj and Shakeel under the state government's anti-cow slaughter law, and Shakeel is expected to be arrested if he recovers from his injuries. It is as yet not clear what animal was actually slaughtered and by whom, though the police have recovered the remains of some bulls.
Meanwhile, the Sub-Divisional Officer of Police, Maiher area, Arvind Tiwari, reportedly said that they had recovered "beef" and the carcass of a slaughtered bull from the spot. In India, beef refers to both buffalo and cow meat.
Following the incident, that took place just a day before union home minister Rajnath Singh's visit to the state, 400 policemen have been deployed in the area to maintain law and order. Satna was one of the minister's scheduled stops in the state.
"He may or may not have done it but what right the villagers have to take law into their own hands," Siraj's brother-in-law Babloo Khan told The Indian Express. "They should have handed them over to police."