Family of Muslim killed by mob faces charges over alleged cow slaughter

Relatives of a Muslim murdered by a mob in India over claims he slaughtered a cow have been charged with killing the animal. Seven members of Mohammad Akhlaq’s family will face prosecution after a neighbour lodged a complaint with police. The decision was made by a court acting on a forensic report that said the meat found in a dustbin outside the family’s home was beef or the meat of “a cow or its progeny”, police said on Saturday. It was also alleged that a witness had seen the family slaughter a cow - considered sacred by Hindus - three days before Mr Akhlaq’s was beaten to death in September.

Now as the court has ordered investigation… against Akhlaq’s family, we are determined to conduct a free and fair investigation into the matter

Police official Daljeet Singh Chaudhary

The killing of Mr Akhlaq sparked furious debate about religious tolerance in India. The 50-year-old’s family left their village in Uttar Pradesh state after the attack and is now living in New Delhi. The court petition names seven members of the family, including Mr Akhlaq’s wife and mother; his brother, Jaan Mohammad, was said to have been seen slitting the throat of the animal. Eating beef is not a crime in the state but slaughtering a cow carries a punishment of up to seven years in jail. Meanwhile, 19 people are facing charges related to the murder of Mr Akhlaq, although they have yet to appear in court.