A Muslim tailor died of injuries in hospital after a Hindu mob attacked him and a friend in Madhya Pradesh’s Satna district on suspicion of cow slaughter, reports said.
Police identified the tailor as Riyaz, 45. His friend, Shakeel, 38, was injured in the alleged assault and admitted in a hospital in Jabalpur.
They were allegedly beaten up by the attackers armed with sticks un Amgara village, about 28km from their home in the Purani Basti neighbourhood of Maihar town, in the early hours of Friday.
Tension gripped Satna, about 485km northeast of the state capital Bhopal, following the incident and police stepped up security. Union home minister Rajnath Singh is scheduled to visit Satna on Sunday.
Riyaz died at the district hospital in Satna a few hours after the alleged assault.
He is survived by his wife and three children. Shakeel operates a taxi.
In his complaint to the police, Shakeel said a mob attacked him and Riyaz around 3am on Friday.
Police said Shakeel denied engaging in cow slaughter.
The police arrested four residents of Amgara village on charges of murder and assault.
The suspects were identified as Pawan Singh Gond, Vijay Singh Gond, Phool Singh Gond and Narayan Singh Gond.
One of the accused, Pawan Singh Gond, lodged a complaint with the police against Riyaz and Shakeel, accusing them of slaughtering cows in the village. Pawan Singh Gond also said in his complaint that Riyaz and Shakeel were injured when they fell while trying to run away. The accused denied assaulting the two men, police said.
Police registered a first information report on the basis of Pawan Singh Gond’s complaint against Riyaz and Shakeel under sections of the Madhya Pradesh Cow Slaughter Ban Act, 2004, and the Madhya Pradesh Agriculture Cattle Preservation Act, 1959.
Satna superintendent of police Rajesh Kumar Hingankar said carcases of two cows were recovered from Amgara village.
“On the basis of the FIR lodged by the villager, Shakeel will be arrested after he is discharged from the hospital,” he added.
Shakeel’s father Ismail Khan denied the charge against his son.
“All I know is he had gone out to collect some dues from some person,” said Khan. Riyaz’s family members refused to talk to journalists.
Madhya Pradesh amended its rules against cow slaughter in 2012 and raised the maximum punishment from three years’ imprisonment to seven years.