India police: Murder of Muslim was apparent religious attack

Indian Muslims gather at the Jama Mosque ahead of Friday prayers in New Delhi, India, Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. Muslims are about 14 percent of India's 1.3 billion people while Hindus make up about 80 percent of the population. (AP Photo/Altaf Qadri)

NEW DELHI — Police in western India have arrested a Hindu man they say brutally killed a Muslim laborer in an apparent religious attack.

The Press Trust of India news agency reported late Thursday that the arrest came after the suspect shared a grisly video of the laborer, Mohammad Afrazul, being hacked to death and then set on fire. TV reports aired video of the victim lying on the ground while a man in the foreground raves against Muslims.

The killing took place in the western state of Rajasthan on Wednesday.

Police say the accused, Shambu Lal Raigar, raged against intermarriages of Hindu women and Muslim men. It wasn't clear why Afrazul was singled out.

The killing is the most recent in a spate of attacks on minority groups, especially Muslims, since the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata Party swept national elections in 2014. Most of the violence against Muslims has involved fringe Hindu vigilante groups that have become active in small towns and cities across India.

Muslims are about 14 percent of India's 1.3 billion people while Hindus make up about 80 percent of the population.

Most of the attacks on Muslims were connected to the trade in cows, which many of India's Hindus consider sacred. Human Rights Watch has counted seven acts of mob violence killing at least 10 Muslims over allegations of buying or selling cows for beef. Cow slaughter is banned in most parts of India.

In Rajasthan state in April, Muslim Pehlu Khan was lynched by a mob as he transported cattle he had bought at an animal fair back to his home state of Haryana. Khan and his family were small dairy farmers.

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