ISLAMABAD: The meat in an Indian Muslim’s fridge that led to his killing by a Hindu mob was mutton not beef, forensic tests have established.

Mohammed Akhlaq, 50, was lynched by a mob of Hindus who accused him of slaughtering a calf and storing its meat his fridge.

The victim died from head wounds after his assailants barged into his home and smashed his skull with a sewing machine. His son was seriously injured in the attack.

Cases have been registered against ten members of the mob and six have been arrested for murder. The mob was led by a local leader India’s ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

His killing and the weak reaction to it by supporters of Narendra Modi’s Hindu nationalist government has caused alarm throughout India and beyond.  One minister said the killing was not murder but an “unfortunate accident.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has faced strong criticism for his failure to issue a swift condemnation of the killing. But at an election rally in Bihar yesterday he called for religious unity without referring specifically to the attack.

 

Modi, who was earlier accused of masterminding the 2002 Gujrat riots that killed hundreds of Muslims, said India would only prosper “when Hindus and Muslims unite and fight” against poverty instead of against each other.

Anger over the killing escalated yesterday when forensic tests proved the meat found in Mohammed Akhlaq’s fridge was in fact mutton, not beef.

Akhlaq’s family had insisted all along that there was no beef in the house. But the charged Hindu mob did not listen to the family’s calls for mercy and beat him to death.

Later, the Indian police collected a sample of the meat from Akhlaq’s house in Bisada and sent it to a vet for preliminary testing. Initial results suggested it was mutton but a second laboratory test in Mathura established it beyond doubt, Times of India reported today.

Family members said a brown calf went missing in the village a day before Eid and on the night of September 28 Akhlaq was seen walking out of his house with a plastic bag with something that looked like meat in it. The victim threw this bag in front of an electric transformer near his house.

A boy who saw Akhlaq throwing the bag told a few people what he had witnessed. Four youths, one the son of a local BJP worker, gathered inside a temple and claimed the meat in the bag was from a stolen calf which had been slaughtered. They announced this over the loudspeaker and he was brutally murdered soon after.