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A Bharatiya Janata Party leader in India, Sakshi Maharaj, recently called for the death penalty for anyone convicted of “cow slaughter,” a process that may involve the import and export and consumption of the animals. A high court in India recently directed the government to consider the passage of a national law that would prohibit such actions. Politicians in India take the matter quite seriously; there have been physical fights in the government’s assembly halls between opposing parties; one member assaulted another member of the assembly after learning that he had hosted a beef party. The fight was condoned by local leaders and deemed to be fighting words. There have been lynchings of people over rumors of cow consumption. A “Health Minister,” Anil Vij, has pitched a law that would declare the cow a national animal that would replace the Royal Bengal Tiger. He has called the cow “the most pious animal in Indian culture” and noted that it is worshiped in most countries. “Milk Parties” have been organized by diverse groups, including Muslims, to draw attention to the issue and create peace and harmony.

New York Times Picture.- Getty Images

Villagers carried the body of a Muslim driver attacked by extremists angered by rumors of cow slaughter.

UPDATE: November 5, 2015: The deadly debate continues; a mob kills another seemingly innocent man.

An article written in the New York Times reports that a “Muslim man was beaten to death this week (on November 2nd) by a mob of Hindus who suspected him of stealing a cow”. The “bloodied and battered body” of Mohammad Hasmat Ali (55) was found by police in the “remote village of Uchekon Moiba Thongkhong in Manipur, a state in northeast India,” the paper reports. Ali was married with three children and was a headmaster of a madrasa. He had no criminal history or links to the cattle business.

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