Police in Bihar arrested seven Muslim men after they were beaten by cow vigilantes on Thursday over rumours that they were eating beef.

Mohammad Shahabuddin, a resident of Dumra village who the mob accused of killing cattle and eating beef, was surrounded in his house by a mob of people shouting ‘Bharat Mata ki jai’. The mob, including members of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad then beat him with sticks, the New Indian Express reported. The 50 or so attackers alleged that Shahabuddin had killed a cow the night before and him and his neighbours were eating the meat. His neighbours were also brought to his house, locked in a room with him and beaten, the newspaper reported.

When a police van arrived at the scene, according to Dainik Jagaran, the attackers threw stones at it and told the police that the Muslim men should be left with the mob to face “justice”. Photos published by the Hindi daily show a mob holding long wooden sticks.

The police team managed to stop the mob, New Indian Express reported. However, like in many cases of vigilantism based on beef rumours, action was taken not against the mob of attackers but those being attacked. Kudus Qureshi, the husband of the local village head who had apparently come to try and stop the attack, Nasruddin Mian, Mustafa Mian, Jehangir Mian, Aslam Ansari, Bablu Mian and Rizwan Mian were arrested and later named in an FIR. Four of them were injured in the mob attack and had to be treated at a local hospital.

“Seven people have been arrested on charge of deliberately hurting the  religious sentiments of the local majority community. We are conducting investigation into the matter,” Rajesh Jha, SHO of the Chanpatia police station, told the newspaper. He said that no complaint had been received against those who attacked the Muslim men.

This is the second recent case of beef-related vigilantism in Bihar. On August 3, a gau raksha vigilante group intercepted a truck carrying meat and beat up three Muslim men. Vigilante violence across India has been on the rise, with numerous cases of lynchings coming to light.

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