Two Muslim cattle traders were lynched and hung by a tree in Jharkhand in 2016
A village mob chased the car of a group of cattle traders and lynched three of them near Jamshedpur in a hunt that stretched through Wednesday night and spilled over to Thursday afternoon, the Telegraph has reported.
Those killed were Sheikh Naim, 35, Sheikh Sajju, 25, and Sheikh Siraj, 26. The fate of a fourth, Sheikh Halim, 28, is remains unknown.
Claiming there was no communal angle to the incident, the police said the attack was likely the result of child kidnapping rumours that has been spreading through the region in Jharkhand.
In March last year, two cattle traders had been killed in Latehar in the BJP-ruled state in a suspected instance of cow vigilantism. Last month, a 20-year-old Muslim, Mohammed Shalik was beaten to death in Jharkhand for being in love with a Hindu woman
Police said the three deceased along with Shaikh Halim were travelling in a car on Thursday night to purchase cattle which they apparently planned to sell at the Saturday cattle market in the area.
Police sources said a mob of over 100 tried to stop the car after it crossed Hessel village a little after midnight, but it sped way. The crowd chased the car and forced it to a halt in Daru village. The mob beat Naim mercilessly and torched the car while the other three escaped. Around 6.30am, the crowd reached the nearby village of Shobhapur, which has a large Muslim population, in search of the three.
Stopped by Rajnagar OC Tuleswar Khushwaha, who was with an assistant sub-inspector and a constable, the mob assaulted the three policemen and torched their jeep. Another police team took Naim from Daru to the Seraikela subdivisional hospital, where he died.
By 1pm, the mob had traced Sajju and Siraj, who had been given shelter by Sunil Mahto of Shosomauli village, 2km from Shobhapur, and lynched the duo.
"There is no communal aspect," deputy inspector-general of police Prabhat Kumar told the Telegraph.