A village mob yesterday beat to death three men suspected of stealing cattle in a new “cow vigilante” attack reported by police.
A fourth man is in critical condition in hospital after the attack in a village in Bihar.
Police said three people had been detained for the killings and others in the village were suspected.
At least one of the dead was a Muslim.
The group had been driving a truck and were stopped at Pithori Nandlal village by a crowd who accused them of stealing cows.
Many states ban the eating and slaughter of beef.
Attacks on individuals suspected of trading in cows have increased since Hindu nationalist Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014, according to rights groups.
A Bihar police official said the latest victims, who came from a neighbouring village, “were badly beaten on suspicion of stealing cattle and died on the way to the hospital.”
As news of the deaths spread, residents from the men’s home village went to the hospital to stage an angry protest, police said.
Relatives of the dead beat up a man from Pinthori Nandlal.
Many of the “cow vigilante” attacks in recent years have been on Muslims and the opposition Congress party accused Bihar’s government of failing to protect minorities.
“Three people were beaten to death and are victims of mob lynching. But the government will give a different version of the incident to save its skin,” Congress lawmaker Premchand Mishra said in the state assembly.
At least 44 people were killed in cow-related violence from 2015-2018, according to Human Rights Watch. At least three other cases have been reported this year before the latest three men were killed.
In May, a Muslim man was shot in the head in Kashmir by cow vigilantes.
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