Indian Christians join protest against mob lynching over Hindu radicals' 'cow devotion'

Christians in India have joined thousands of people from other faiths in their chain of protests against mob violence stemming from Hindus' devotion to cows. This came after a teen Muslim was stabbed to death for allegedly eating beef.

(REUTERS / Rupak De Chowdhuri)A Hindu woman and a girl seek blessings from a six-legged holy cow before heading for an annual trip to Sagar Island for the one-day festival of "Makar Sankranti", in Kolkata January 11, 2014.

Several weeks ago, a group of men stabbed Muslim teenager Junaid Khan for allegedly eating beef. The assailants also threw the teen's three brothers off a train while they were on their way home during the Eid festivities, the Baptist Press detailed.

Most states in India prohibit the consumption of cows since Hindus consider them sacred. However, Christians, Muslims, Jains, Sikhs, and other religious groups consider cows as an inexpensive source of protein.

Starting June 28 until July 12, religious groups staged protests in at least eight cities to call for the enforcement of the Indian constitution's guarantee of religious freedom. They declared that the mob lynching and killings done in the name of the Hindu faith were "not in my name."

"A small group in India believe that every Indian should follow a particular culture and lifestyle dictated by them," United Christian Forum president Michael Williams told UCA News last month. "It cannot exist. Not in my name and not in my constitution. ... You are not protecting the constitution by killing innocents."

Meanwhile, India's Supreme Court has lifted a ban on the sale of cattle for slaughter on July 11. The nationwide ban, which was imposed in May, prohibited the sale of cows or buffaloes except for dairy production or plowing purposes, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The Hindu nationalist government reportedly imposed the ban to appease the country's orthodox Hindus. However, the rule drew flak from critics who say it made cattle traders vulnerable to vigilante attacks.

The central government is expected to receive suggestions on revisions of the cattle sale ban in three months. Until then, the Supreme Court said the ban will be on hold.