JHARKHAND – A Muslim man was tied to a tree and brutally beaten for hours for being in love with a Hindu woman, leading to his death.

According to the Hindustan Times, 20-year-old Mohammad Shalik was allegedly in a one-year long love affair with Soso, a Hindu woman belonging to a nearby village.

The girl allegedly called the boy to meet her at Gumla town for the Ram Navami procession on Wednesday. After initially refusing, Shakil finally went to meet her and dropped her home.

Soso told police that a group of neighbours saw Shalik and surrounded him, tied him to a tree and assaulted him for hours. He succumbed to his injuries on Thursday.

Police have reportedly arrested three people and lodged an FIR against unnamed people. “Though investigation is on, we were told by the villagers that the boy had been asked earlier not to meet the girl and never visit the village,” said Gumla superintendent of police Chandan Kumar Jha.

The incident comes amid rising communal tensions in the neighbouring state Uttar Pradesh where controversial initiatives are on the rise. Organised campaigns have been launched against slaughterhouses and ‘anti-love-Jihad’ squads have been formed.

Hindu extremists have alleged that “Love Jihad” is an activity under which young Muslim boys and men target young girls belonging to non-Muslim communities for conversion to Islam by feigning love.

Earlier this week, a Muslim man was lynched by a group of alleged cow protection vigilantes in Rajasthan’s Alwar when he was transporting cattle. A group of men also forced a couple to shave their heads in Uttar Pradesh, one of a similar string of alleged moral policing incidents.