Two men were lynched in West Bengal’s Coochbehar district Thursday for allegedly ferrying two stolen cows in a vehicle with no number plate, police said, adding that 13 people have been arrested so far. According to an officer probing the case, rumours of cows being stolen had been rife in the area of late.

According to police, Mathabhanga residents Prakash Das (32) and Babul Mitra (37) were stopped by around 20 locals at 5.30 am after they noticed the animals in their pick-up van. “They pulled them out and beat them with sticks and stones before torching the vehicle. The mob dispersed when police reached the spot,” said an officer from Kotwali police station. The men were rushed to Coochbehar Government Medical College and Hospital, where they succumbed to injuries. Police said they are yet to ascertain whether the cows were actually stolen.

“Thirteen people have been arrested and an investigation is underway,” SP (Coochbehar) Santosh Nimbalkar said. Police deployment has been increased in the area and raids are underway to identify others who were part of the mob, an officer said.

This story first appeared in The Indian Express on November 22, 2019 here.