“They accused us of keeping cow meat, broke down our doors and started beating my father and brother. My father was dragged outside the house and beaten with bricks,” [18-year-old daughter Sajida] said.
The family insists the rumors are false:
Akhlaq’s 46-year-old brother, Jan Mohammad Saifi, said the family was baffled by the attack.
“My brother was singled out. Why were we targeted? We don’t eat beef,” he said, blaming a local hard-line Hindu organization for inciting the violence. “They announced our family had slaughtered a cow in the village, and that provoked people to attack our home.”
Akhlaq’s daughter, Sajida, said the family had mutton in the refrigerator, and not beef, according to The Indian Express. Police said they have sent samples of meat taken from Akhlaq’s home to a laboratory to determine whether the meat is from a goat or a cow.
Keep in mind that this is all being reported by one news outlet, so the story may be clarified as more details are discovered.
But let’s suppose it’s true. That means a man was killed because of the dietary requirements for one particular religion. The Hindu faith forbids people from eating beef, so a man who may have “blasphemed” deserved to die, according to dozens of believers.
Even if Akhlaq had stored beef at home, why would it matter? It’s not like he was encouraging others to eat it. Ultimately, he wasn’t killed for having beef at home. He was killed for not being Hindu.
That’s what religious extremism looks like. It’s not confined to one religion or geographical area. Unchecked dogma, anywhere, can get out of hand. The government better do everything in its power to prosecute anyone involved in the killing.
So far, eight people have been arrested.
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to Matt for the link)