Haryana Chief Minister Manohar Lal Khattar on Saturday said the murders and gangrapes linked to cow vigilante groups and the beef biryani crackdown in Mewat were “trivial issues”. Khattar’s comments came on the sidelines of an event marking 50 years of Haryana.

On August 24, a 20-year-old woman and her minor cousin were gangraped, and two of their relatives tied up and beaten to death in Mewat, allegedly for eating beef. Two weeks later, authorities started testing samples of biryani being sold in local shops for beef ahead of Bakr-Eid.

“I don’t pay much attention to these small issues. Today we should be talking about Swarna Jayanti [the jubilee event],” Khattar said, according to The Financial Express. Khattar claimed the collection of biryani samples and the two violent crimes “could take place anywhere in the country”.

The murders and gangrapes took place while the family was asleep – the women inside a room and the men on cots outside. One of the survivors said in her police complaint that the attackers tied the men to the cots and beat everybody with rods and sticks. She said, “The four-five men were all armed with country-made pistols.” The gang fled around 3 am when one of the family members managed to sneak out and alert nearby residents.

On September 8, the police were asked to launch a crackdown on meat shops, restaurants and roadside food stalls to ensure that they were not selling beef ahead of Bakr-Eid. The directive was issued after rumours arose that beef biryani was being sold in several parts of the Muslim-dominated district.