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Indian Muslim is stoned to death by Hindus over beef.

A 50-year-old Muslim farmer in northern India has been stoned to death by a mob of Hindus over rumors his family had been storing and eating beef at home.

Mohammad Akhlaq was kicked and stoned by a group of men in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh state.

Akhlaq's 22-year-old son, Danesh, was seriously injured in the attack and has been hospitalized.

Six people have been arrested in connection with the incident. Police are probing who spread the rumor about the family eating beef.

The slaughter of cows is a sensitive issue in India as the animal is considered sacred by Hindus, who comprise 80 percent of the country's 1.2 billion people.

Uttar Pradesh is among the Indian states that have tightened laws banning cow slaughter and the sale and consumption of beef. Eleven of India's 29 states ban the slaughter of cows.

The beef ban has provoked outrage, however, with many questioning how the government decides what is on their plate.

Akhlaq's family said it had stored mutton, and not beef in the fridge. The police have taken the meat and sent it for testing, news reports said.

"Some locals spread rumors that Akhlaq had cow meat at his home and engaged in cow slaughter. Following the rumors, they attacked his home," senior local official NP Singh told The Indian Express.

Senior police official Kiran S told the AFP news agency the "announcement about the family consuming beef was made at a [local] temple."

The killing happened in a village barely 50 kilometers (30 miles) from the Indian capital, Delhi.

The dead man's 18-year-old daughter told the newspaper a mob she estimated at more than 100 villagers attacked the family home.

Although this is not the first time that eating beef has led to a killing in India, writer Shekhar Gupta called Akhlaq's death "a chilling turning point in our politics."

"It marks the rise of Hindu supremacist mob militancy," Gupta wrote, and something the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party, a Hindu nationalist party, "won't unequivocally condemn or disown." He urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to intervene.

A blogger wrote an open letter to Modi urging him to speak up against the killing. "Don't you think that people deserve to be reassured that India is a safe secular country where minorities are not lynched periodically?" Sonia Chopra wrote. Modi, a vegetarian, had raised the issue of cow protection during his election campaign last year and said cows are being slaughtered to boost India's meat exports.

Another son of Akhlaq, Mohammad Sartaj, is a corporal in the Indian Air Force. On Sunday, Sartaj was asked what he would like to say to India's politicians. "These people must have read the couplet: 'India is best place in the world; religion does not teach us to hate each other,'" Sartaj told a TV interviewer. "If we follow that, it will not be a small feat."

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Title Annotation:Faith: Religion and the world
Publication:Iran Times International (Washington, DC)
Date:Oct 23, 2015
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