Eight Hindu activists drank a pesticide in western India during a demonstration for better protection of the cow, animal revered by Hindus, but one of them died, said Friday the police.
These "gau Bhakt" or cow worshipers consumed poison on Thursday at a rally in front of a government building in Rajkot, in Gujarat (west).
The activists wanted to denounce what they see as the slaughter of cows, considered sacred by Hindus, which is continuing in the country despite the ban slaughter in many states.
"These men came with bottles of a toxic substance and have consumed a small amount before the tax services offices", told AFP a police officer in charge of the investigation, Manish Nakum. "They were all taken to the public hospital where one of them, Gabhru Bharwad, aged 40, died while being treated in the evening" on Thursday.
According to the police, these men who drank a product used in the cotton fields, did not intend to commit suicide.
Slaughter cows and consumption is prohibited in Gujarat and several other states.
But defenders of the cow feel that the animal also continues to be unlawfully killed and must obtain the special status of "rashtra mata" ( "mother of the nation").
Four protesters were hospitalized in a private facility after deterioration of their health condition, police said.
Thirty protesters this group also attempted to block roads in Rajkot, but were arrested.
India has 80% of Hindus among its 1.25 billion people, but also significant Muslim minorities, Christian and Buddhist.
The death of a Muslim falsely accused of having killed and eaten beef last year has raised fears of a rise of intolerance in the country since the coming to power of the Hindu nationalist right of Narendra Modi .