NEW DELHI, Oct 10 : Indian police have arrested 21 men after a mob thrashed two Muslims suspected of slaughtering a cow and set fire to some dozen shops, officials and reports said on Saturday.
The incident was reported from northern Uttar Pradesh state, where a mob recently murdered a 50-year-old Muslim man for supposedly eating beef -- a taboo in the Hindu-majority nation.
"A rumour spread (on Friday) that a cow has been slaughtered, after which some people beat up the men and resorted to arson," Chandrapal Singh, a senior administrative officer of Mainpuri district, told AFP.
Singh said a post-mortem of the cow showed it had been dead for a while owing to some ailment and the men were only removing its skin when they were attacked by the mob.
The incident adds to a raging row over what is seen as rising intolerance towards Muslims and other religious minorities since Hindu nationalist Narendra Modi stormed to power last year.
Meanwhile, adding further meat to the beef controversy, senior RJD leader Raghuvansh Prasad has said that even Rishi-Maharshi (saints) used to eat beef, buttressing his party chief Lalu Prasad's claim that "Hindus also eat beef".
"It's written in Vedas that Rishi-Maharshi (saints) also used to eat beef... There is no point discussing it at present (at a time when elections are held)," he said. ?AFP