Police have arrested eight people in northern India for allegedly beating a Muslim farmer to death and severely injuring his son after hearing rumors that the family was eating beef — a taboo for many among India's majority Hindu population.

District Magistrate Nagendra Pratap Singh says a mob of about 60 Hindus became incensed when a temple announced that the family had been slaughtering cows and storing the beef in his house in Bisara, a border village in Uttar Pradesh state.

Singh says the mob dragged 52-year-old Mohammad Akhlaq and his son from their home Monday night and beat them with sticks and bricks. Akhlaq was declared dead at a nearby hospital, while his son was being treated for serious injuries.