India-held Kashmir protests death of truck conductor over cow slaughter rumours

Updated October 19, 2015

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Zahid, a truck conductor died in a petrol bomb attack after rumours that he had slaughtered a cow.─ AP/File
Zahid, a truck conductor died in a petrol bomb attack after rumours that he had slaughtered a cow.─ AP/File

SRINAGAR: Protesters in India-held Kashmir clashed with security forces during the funeral a Muslim conductor who was attacked 10 days ago over cow slaughter rumours, Times of India reported on Monday.

Cufew-like restrictions imposed across the Valley after pro-liberation leaders called for a shutdown over death of Zahid, a truck conductor who was injured in a petrol bomb attack over rumours that he had slaughtered a cow.

Indian forces have put several Kashmiri leaders including pro-liberation All Parties Hurriyat Conference leader Syed Ali Shah Geelani and Shabir Ahmad Shah under house arrest and movement of people was restricted in police station areas in South Kashmir.

Strict restrictions have been imposed in eight police station areas of Srinagar including M R Ganj, Nowhatta, Safa Kadal, Maisuma, Rainawari, Khanyar. Anantnag and Bijbehara

A resident of Anantnag area, the young trucker Zahid was attacked with petrol bombs by a mob on October 9 in Ud Udhampur area over rumours that three cows were killed in the area.

Severely injured, Zahid along with the truck's driver Shaukat Ahmed were moved to Delhi for treatment. While the truck driver is still in hospital, Zahid succumbed to his injuries at on Sunday, nine days after the attack.

Indian officials have claimed arrest of at least nine suspects for their involvement in the attack.

Related: ‘Why can’t you respect our religious values?’: Kashmiris react to news of beef ban

Earlier this month, lawmakers from India's ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) attacked a Muslim member in India-held Kashmir' legislative assembly over eating beef.

Television footage showed several BJP legislators pushing and shoving Abdul Rashid in the Jammu and Kashmir state assembly for holding what they called a “provocative beef party”.

While in September, a 50 year old Muslim man Mohammad Akhlaq was dragged from his house in Dadri, a small town in the outskirts of Indian capital New Delhi, and beaten to death by around 100 people over suspicions he had eaten or stored beef.

The incident occured soon after a nearby temple made an announcement via loudspeaker that the family had consumed beef.

Related: Dadri Lynching: Meat in Muslim man's fridge mutton not beef, forensic test reveals

While in more recent incident, a mob nearly killed two Muslims in Uttar Pradesh's Karhal town of India.

The two men, 55-year-old Mohammad Shafiq and 27-year-old Mohammad Kalam, were skinning a cow when they were accused of slaughtering the animal.

Very rapidly, a mob of 1,000-1,500 people converged on the spot stripped and beat the duo.

After the police succeeded in rescuing Shafiq and Kalam, the mob loaded the cow onto a cart and paraded it through Karhal.

Also Read: Ground report: How rumours about cow slaughter triggered riots in Mainpuri

Jammu and Kashmir high court in September directed police to ensure implementation of a ban on the sale of beef in India-held Kashmir.

The ruling followed bans on slaughtering the animals and selling their flesh which were recently introduced in several Indian states, however the Indian Supreme Court suspended the ban imposed by high court in Indian held-Kashmir earlier this month.

The ban was sought by hardliner Hindus and is seen by religious minorities as a sign of their growing power since Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi won a landslide general election last year.