Victim Eid Muhammad’s family members outside the emergency in Bathinda Civil Hospital on Monday. (Sanjeev Kumar/HT)

Amid the nationwide outrage over the lynching of Mohammad Ikhlaq in Uttar Pradesh’s Dadri on suspicion of storing and consuming beef at his home, a Muslim man set himself ablaze inside a cow shed on Monday in Bathinda after being allegedly harassed by some gaushala staffers for selling fodder.

The victim, Eid Mohammad, 40, has suffered 60% burns and is admitted to Guru Gobind Singh Medical College at Faridkot. His condition is stated to be critical.

According to sources, Mohammad set himself afire after heated arguments with the employees of Bal Gopal Gaushala who objected to selling of cow fodder by him.

In his statement to the judicial magistrate at the Bathinda civil hospital, Mohammad has reportedly said that he was being harassed by some gaushala employees “who didn’t want him to supply fodder to cows due to his religious affiliation.” Based on his statement, police have booked Monu, 32, a gaushala employee, under section 306 (abetment to suicide) of the Indian Penal Code.

Investigation officer (IP) Karam Singh said the victim has alleged that he was being harassed by the accused for selling fodder. Mohammad stated he used to sell fodder inside the shed, claimed the IO. However, things started turning bad for him after the accused was appointed at the shed. Mohammad also said he was being forced to shut his shop.

About a month ago, he was asked to shift his shop. His wife and brother-in-law had heated argument with Monu on Monday. The victim claimed he used to pay commission to gaushala for permission to sell fodder. Gaushala manager Hind Raj Singla denied the charges. Local MLA Sarup Chand Singla said the incident shouldn’t be given a communal twist.