A Hindu mob attacked a Muslim village in northern India, torching homes and killing three people, after hearing rumors that cows, considered holy by Hindus, were slaughtered for the Islamic Eid-al-Fitr celebrations, police said Sunday.
Hindus from neighboring areas attacked Mehndipur village in the northern Uttar Pradesh state on Saturday night and set fire to dozens of houses after being told villagers had killed the cows for a feast to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan on Friday, said S. B. Shirodkar, a local police chief.
Three Muslims died and over 40 houses were torched, Shirodkar said. He said a police investigation revealed no cow had been slaughtered in the village.
Authorities deployed paramilitary forces in and around Mehndipur, located about 35 kilometers (20 miles) east of state capital Lucknow. Uttar Pradesh is India's most populous state, and about 15 percent of its 180 million people are Muslims.
Muslims form nearly 16 percent of India's 1 billion people, and simmering tensions with the majority Hindus often spill over into rioting, AP reported. V.A.