SRINAGAR, India (AP) — Lawmakers from India’s ruling Hindu nationalist party in Kashmir kicked and punched an independent member of the state assembly on Thursday for hosting a party where he served beef.
Hindus consider cows to be sacred, and slaughtering the animals is banned in most Indian states.
Bharatiya Janata Party members beat lawmaker Rashid Ahmed, a Muslim, in the assembly soon after its session began Thursday. Television video showed Ahmed hitting back at a BJP member while officials intervened to separate the fighting lawmakers.
Other opposition lawmakers rescued Ahmed and later staged a walkout.
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The ruling party lawmakers were angry over a party hosted by Ahmed the previous night at which beef was served.
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.
Since Prime Minister Narendra Modi, a Hindu nationalist, took office last year, hard-line Hindus have been demanding that India ban beef sales. Most beef sold across India is buffalo meat.
There has been outrage across India after a 50-year-old Muslim man was beaten to death by a mob last week over rumors that his family had eaten beef for dinner.