Two Muslim men were beaten to death by a mob in northeastern India over allegations of cow theft, the latest in a series of similar attacks across the country, police officials said Monday.
Senior Assam state police official Mukesh Aggarwal said police have filed a criminal complaint and are trying to identify the members of the mob, but no arrests have been made so far.
The attack took place Sunday in a village in Nagon district , 130 kilometers (80 miles) east of the state capital, Gauhati, when a mob accused the two men of trying to steal cows and began beating them with sticks and rocks.
Police in the district said that by the time they reached the scene the men were already in critical condition, and were declared dead at a hospital.
Human Rights Watch said in a report last week that since Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s government took office at least 10 Muslims, including a 12-year-old boy, have been killed in mob attacks in seven separate incidents related to allegations over cows.
Hindus, who form 80 percent of India’s 1.3 billion people, consider cows to be sacred, and for many eating beef is taboo. In many Indian states, the slaughtering of cows and selling of beef is restricted or banned.
Over the last two years vigilante groups, who call themselves cow protectors, have become active in small towns and cities across India. Even lower caste Hindus, who usually carry out undesirable tasks such as skinning dead cattle, have faced mob violence.