A preliminary investigation regarding the death of Mohammad Ikhlaq — the Indian Muslim who was beaten to death by an angry crowd over rumors that he had slaughtered and eaten a cow — has found that the meat in question taken from Ikhlaq’s home was goat meat, not beef.
In September, Ikhlaq and his family were attacked by an estimated 100 people in the northern state of Uttar Pradesh, where the possession and killing of cows is illegal. The animal is considered sacred to the country’s 80 percent Hindu majority. In recent months, an increasingly conservative ruling party has been seen as condoning a number of acts of violence against non-Hindus who do eat beef, or are suspected of doing so.
Roughly a month after Ikhlaq’s death, another Muslim man, Mohammad Hasmat Ali, was also beaten to death by a mob who suspected him of stealing a cow.
A doctor’s note from the Government Veterinary Hospital in Dadri, written in September, said, “It seems that this meat belongs to goat progeny.” The meat has been sent to another lab for a final forensic test, according to the New York Times.
In an interview with the Times, Ikhlaq’s widow, Ikraman Ikhlaq expressed no solace over the preliminary report. “We said then it was goat’s meat, and the truth is out now,” Ikhlaq said. “It does not matter anymore. My husband is dead and gone, and our lives will never be the same again.”