Police in India have arrested the alleged ringleader of a mob who tortured a Muslim man for several hours and forced him to praise a Hindu god before he died.
A 10-minute video showed at least thirty men beating Tabrez Ansari, 24, in the latest episode anti-Muslim violence in India.
The mob also forced Mr Ansari to shout “Jai Shri Ram”, which mean “Hail Lord Ram” — a slogan widely used by Hindu nationalists.
Mr Ansari died in hospital on Saturday22 June, four days after he was attacked.
He was tied to a pole, then beaten over accusations that he carried out a burglary in Jharkhand state of east India.
The video footage of the mob killing has gone viral since the victim died.
Seraikela Police Chief Kartik S said: “We have arrested the main accused for the murder, but a dozen people from the mob are on the run.”
The Police Chief said villagers accused Mr Ansari of being a thief and beat him for nearly 12 hours.
The victim was initially taken into police custody before he was later transported to hospital.
Religious intolerance and violence
News of Mr Ansari’s death emerged as the Indian government rejected a US State Department report that stated religious violence and intolerance against minorities had increased under right-wing Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The US religious freedom report stated said there had been a spike in attacks by mobs and vigilantes to protect cows — considered sacred by Hindus — against Muslims and low-caste Dalits since 2014, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power.
India’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement that the country was “proud of its secular credentials, its status as the largest democracy and a pluralistic society with a longstanding commitment to tolerance and inclusion”.
Dozens of Muslims have been killed by Hindu vigilantes in the past five years over allegations that they had slaughtered, smuggled or sold beef.
Many analysts have argued that Prime Minister Modi’s landslide election victory in 2014 for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) had emboldened Hindu nationalists.
The BJP won an even bigger majority in May, leading to fears of more communal violence against Muslims and Dalits.
Rights groups have accused the Modi Government of ignoring vigilante attacks on Muslims in the name of “cow protection”.