Mohammad Akhlaq, 50, was killed by a mob in Dadri, UP, over beef rumours
Dadri, Uttar Pradesh: On Monday evening, Corporal Mohammad Sartaj of the Indian Air Force made a routine call home and chatted with his father about his health. Less than an hour later, his father had been beaten to death by a mob, allegedly over rumours that he had eaten beef.
Corporal Sartaj's father, Mohammad Ikhlaq, and brother were dragged from their house and beaten with bricks and stones by around 100 villagers in Dadri in Uttar Pradesh, about 45 km from Delhi.
Among the attackers, allegedly, were neighbours who had known the family for years. Sartaj says his sister has not stepped out of the house since the incident.
"There was no sign that something like this would happen, nothing at all, but obviously, those who killed my father were neighbours," he said. "Right now, there is police protection, but what will we do when they leave? We have to shift from here...maybe we will shift to the airbase.
Corporal Sartaj is an engineer with the Air Force and based in Chennai.
Around 25 minutes after he spoke to his father, he said, his sister called. "I spoke to father about his recovery from typhoid and low blood pressure...Then my sister called and said 'they beat father and dragged him out'."
Sartaj's brother is critically ill in hospital since the attack.
"I want to know why they murdered my father. What is the reason?" asks the 25-year-old corporal. "I hope the murderers are given severe punishment as an example."
The police say before the attack, an announcement was allegedly made at a temple nearby that a calf had been slaughtered and its carcass had been found near a transformer.
At around 10.30 pm, a large mob descended on Sartaj's home, wrecked everything and even attacked his mother and 70-year-old grandmother.