LUCKNOW: Indian police on Wednesday formally charged 15 suspects over the mob murder of a Muslim man suspected of eating beef in late September, a case that sparked an outcry over communal intolerance.
Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was dragged from his house in Bisada village in Uttar Pradesh state and beaten to death by around 100 people over rumours he had eaten beef – a taboo in the Hindu-majority nation.
“We have filed a charge sheet against 15 persons… it is a case of murder,” additional director general of police in Uttar Pradesh, Daljeet Chaudhary, told AFP.
The group included a 17-year-old juvenile, he added.
The case fuelled concerns that religious intolerance may be growing under Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s right-wing Bharatiya Janata Party government.
While Modi did eventually describe the lynching as “unfortunate”, many commentators pointed out that it took the prime minister several weeks to respond.
Killing cows is banned in many states of India, where the majority of the population is Hindu but which is also home to sizeable Muslim, Christian and Buddhist minorities.