A group of four men responsible for cremating the dead were set upon by an angry mob after they were discovered eating the half cooked remains of the corpses they were supposed to be cremating.
The four, including a father and son, worked at a public cremation ground in the north Indian state of Haryana, where human corpses are usually disposed of by burning on a funeral pyre.
Witnesses reported that late one night the men were tending such a funeral pyre left burning into the night, but instead of overseeing an orderly cremation, they pulled a half-burnt corpse from the pyre, began drinking, and started to eat the roasted cadaver.
The night-watchman who witnessed this particular scene quickly reported it to the authorities responsible for the grounds; soon word had spread and an outraged mob had formed, which began beating the men for their brazen cannibalism.
The cannibals escaped lynching when police arrived and took them into custody; police have levelled an impressive list of charges against the men, mostly centred on blasphemy rather than corpse abuse and cannibalism: “trespassing on burial places with the intention of wounding feelings of any person, insulting religion, defiling a place of worship with intent to insult religion of any class, and wanton provocation.”
It is not clear whether this was an isolated incident.
The sources are quiet on the matter, but it is likely that the workers involved were members of India’s “dalit” caste, hereditary lineages of impoverished peasants tasked with work traditionally considered “unclean”, and who are highly discriminated against.