Two Muslim men, suspected to be cattle thieves, were lynched by a mob in Godda district, Jharkhand, on Wednesday.

The two men were part of a gang of five that entered a village and stole 13 buffalos, police said, Deccan Chronicle reported. Police added that some villagers woke up and informed other villagers about the theft after which they chased the thieves.

Godda Superintendent of Police (SP) Rajeev Ranjan Singh said, “Villagers caught hold of two of the thieves and started beating them due to which they died."

The other three members of the gang managed to escape. Police said a case was registered and four people were arrested for being part of the mob.

There have been instances of cow theft in the village, leading to anger among the villagers who turned violent as soon as they caught the culprits and beat them to death. Police said security was tightened in the village after the incident.

Investigations are on and anyone linked to the attack will be punished, police said.

A video of the incident showed the mob beating up a man mercilessly. The half-conscious person was slung over a bamboo pole and was dragged after beating him up.

cow vigilante Jitendra Depuriya, a member of a Hindu nationalist vigilante group established to protect cows, is pictured with an animal they claimed to have saved from slaughter, in Agra, India, Aug. 8, 2016. Photo: REUTERS/Cathal McNaughton

This is not the first case of cow protection vigilantism in Jharkhand.

A man was mercilessly beaten and his van was set afire by a mob for allegedly carrying around 200 kg of meat in Jharkhand in June 2017. The attackers later circulated photographs of his van aflame and pieces of meat strewn around on the road, The New Indian Express reported. Eleven people who were part of the mob were later convicted of murder.

The 2017 incident took place on a day Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned such attacks that were reported all over India.

"No person in this nation has the right to take the law in his or her own hands," he said.

“Killing human beings in the name of gau bhakti (reverence for cows) is unacceptable," Modi tweeted.

Rampant cow vigilantism has taken over India in the recent years. According to a report by Hindustan Times based on an analysis by public-interest journalism website IndiaSpend, 20 cow-terror attacks were reported from 19 of the 29 Indian states in the first six months of 2017. Also, 124 people were injured in cow-related attacks since 2010 and more than half (52 percent) of these attacks were based on rumors. Eighty-six percent of those killed in the attacks were Muslims.

The report stated that the first such attack took place on June 10, 2012, after carcasses of 25 cows were found near a factory in Joga town in Mansa district in the Indian state of Punjab.

Villagers broke into the factory, went on a rampage, damaging it and also set the houses of at least two of those running the unit ablaze. Four people were injured in the attack and three were arrested.