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In India, 'Beef Lynching' Highlights Hindu-Muslim Divide

Indian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration to condemn the lynching and murder of an Indian Muslim, in Mumbai on October 6, 2015. Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was dragged from his house September 29, 2015 on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi and attacked by a Hindu mob over rumors that he had stored and eaten beef.  (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)
Indian protesters shout slogans during a demonstration to condemn the lynching and murder of an Indian Muslim, in Mumbai on October 6, 2015. Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was dragged from his house September 29, 2015 on the outskirts of the capital New Delhi and attacked by a Hindu mob over rumors that he had stored and eaten beef. (Indranil Mukherjee/AFP/Getty Images)

A Muslim man living in the Indian city of Dadri, just outside New Delhi, was beaten to death by a mob of Hindus angry that the man allegedly had beef in his refrigerator that he was planning to eat.

The cow is considered sacred by Hindus, who make up the majority of the population in India, and the slaughter and consumption of beef is illegal in many – but not all – states.

The incident, which is not the only case of protest and violence in the name of beef, highlights a growing divide between India’s Hindus and Muslims – a divide many attribute in part to the rise of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

Here & Now‘s Jeremy Hobson speaks with Rahul Tandon of the BBC about how beef has become a political issue in India.

Note: This BBC interview can be heard in the Here & Now podcast or with the WBUR app.

Guest

  • Rahul Tandon, correspondent for the BBC in Kolkata. He tweets @rishavtandon.

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