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Lawmakers in India-held Kashmir punch colleague for serving beef

Updated October 08, 2015
India-held Kashmir's main opposition party National Conference legislators rescue Independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid after being thrashed by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) legislators in the legislative assembly in Srinagar on October 8, 2015.  — AFP
India-held Kashmir's main opposition party National Conference legislators rescue Independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid after being thrashed by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) legislators in the legislative assembly in Srinagar on October 8, 2015. — AFP
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state Mufti Mohammad Sayeed sits inside the state legislature house in Srinagar, India-held Kashmir, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.— AP
Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir state Mufti Mohammad Sayeed sits inside the state legislature house in Srinagar, India-held Kashmir, Thursday, Oct. 8, 2015.— AP
Independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid (CL) shouts after being thrashed by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) legislators in the legislative assembly in Srinagar on October 8, 2015.  — AFP
Independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid (CL) shouts after being thrashed by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) legislators in the legislative assembly in Srinagar on October 8, 2015. — AFP
Independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid (CL-back) shouts after being  thrashed by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) legislators in the legislative assembly in Srinagar on October 8, 2015.  — AFP
Independent lawmaker, Engineer Rashid (CL-back) shouts after being thrashed by Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) legislators in the legislative assembly in Srinagar on October 8, 2015. — AFP

SRINAGAR: Lawmakers from India's ruling Hindu nationalist party in India-held Kashmir have kicked and punched an independent member of the state assembly for hosting a party where he served beef. Slaughtering of cows is banned in most Indian states.

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) members beat lawmaker Engineer Rashid Ahmed, a Muslim, in the assembly soon after its session began Thursday.

Other opposition lawmakers rescued Ahmed and later staged a walkout.

The ruling party lawmakers were angry over a party hosted by Ahmed the previous night at which he served beef.

Differences have deepened within Kashmir's ruling coalition, with the Hindu nationalist party demanding a ban on slaughtering cows and selling beef in the Muslim-majority state.

Read: Beef ban: Sale, slaughter of cows banned in India-held Kashmir

Moves to protect cows have intensified since Modi's Hindu nationalist BJP came to power after general elections last May.

Many Hindus regard the cow as the living symbol of their religion and consider it sacred. Hindu welfare organisations run gaushalas, or cow shelters, in many cities where abandoned cows found wandering the streets are given food and shelter.

Feeding a cow is seen by many Hindus as a way to appease the gods and get one’s wishes fulfilled.

Also read: In India, meat and murder threaten Modi's inclusive agenda